Choosing the best printer as a student

Choosing the best printer as a studentWhen choosing a printer it is important to consider what you will be using it for most – Word documents, photos or photocopying for example.

It is also really important to consider the cost, particularly as a student, when money is tight.

Firstly, you need to pick whether you need an all-in-one (printer, scanner and copier) or a more simple machine.

Your university course may dictate what type and what quality printer you need. If all you will be printing out is essays and course notes then buying a printer with a touch screen, scanner and more buttons than your remote control may be somewhat unnecessary.

If you want to be able to use your printer to scan text books, email these scans to your university account and create a number of intricate, coloured pictograms and graphs then you should look for a slightly more advanced printer.

Regardless of what type of printer you need, ensure you look for the following attributes:

· A compact printer. Students don't tend to have a lot of space so keep it small. Whilst at university, students tend to have to keep all their possessions in one room so don't buy a printer the size of a small house as you won't have anywhere to put it.

· Wireless printing. Most printers come with wireless printing as standard these days but it is worth checking. Wireless printing will save you time and get rid of the hassle of finding the right cable from your bundle of wires under your desk. Wireless printing will also enable you to print from anywhere in your house so you can print off your lecture notes from the comfort of your living room so you don't miss any of Don't Tell The Bride.

· Double-sided printing. Choose a printer that offers double-sided printing as this will ultimately save you money. Using half the amount of paper when printing will greatly reduce your costs. By buying a printer that sorts all that double-sided stuff out for you will avoid the annoying 'which way up do I put the paper in now' dilemma which inevitably leads to wasting paper and ink.

Budget buys

If you're looking for a really basic printer then check out the Epson Stylus S22 and the even more compact Epson Stylus SX130, both priced at around £20. Both colour printers, these machines are great for students who just need to print out the odd essay.

Budget printers won't have the option to print double-sided and you won't be able to print wirelessly either.

Mid range

If you are looking to spend a little more to get a slightly better printer, the Epson Stylus SX425W Colour Inkjet all-in-one might suit you.

It costs a little more – around £60 - but has far more print options that the super cheap Epsons. It is WiFi compatible and can print some nice looking photos. You can also put a memory card straight into the printer and print photos instantaneously. Capable of printer around 35 pages per minute, this compact machine is also pretty speedy.

Top end

If you plan on using your printer for photos then consider a Canon PIXMA printer. The Canon PIXMA MG5250 is an economical 5 cartridge printer whereas the Canon PIXMA MG6150 is a 6 cartridge printer utilising a Grey cartridge for more accurate mono prints. Both are all-in-ones and are WiFi ready. Both models also offer double-sided duplex printing.

A black ink cartridge will print around 350 pages, making this printer great value for money. Prices start at around £80.

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Buying a scanner

Buying a scanner

While for many of us, printers are associated with the worlds of work and business, a lot of people use scanners for the fun side of life.

You can guarantee the kids will find some creative things to do with them. Their drawings can suddenly be made to live on a PC, where all the artistic possibilities of the many pieces of painting software available these days await them.

But of course scanners are also invaluable when it comes to tasks such as emailing documents to people.

Some of the different brands you might see on a trip to your local electronics store or during a browse on the internet include Canon, HP and Epson.

Aside from brand, scanners also come in many shapes and sizes and can offer an array of different features, not all of which are useful to all users.

Film scanners, for example, can capture the likes of negatives, as the name suggests.

Some scanners throw in a printer as well - perhaps an option to go for if you are currently without one, but possibly an unnecessary extra if you already have one.

Meanwhile, flatbed scanners offer perhaps the classic scanner "look" and do most of the things you would expect of such a device - they're also more commonly seen than other scanner varieties.

It's possible to pick up a scanner for a very attractive price indeed these days. You may well end up with change from a £50 note.

One feature you'll see referred to often is resolution - though cheaper models do not always have lower resolution than their pricier alternatives.

Though resolution can be measured in "dpi" which sounds complicated, this translates into the reassuringly old-fashioned sounding "dots per inch".

Put simply, more "dpi" means a scanner can snap things into the digital world in greater detail.

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What to think about when buying a printer for the home

What to think about when buying a printer for the home

Like most things it's worth giving printer purchasing some thought before you do it.

We don't mean that you'll have to put aside hours on end to contemplate every tiny difference there could be between the various types of printer on offer, but it's definitely going to pay to take a few things into account.

Do be sure to take a glance at the type of ink cartridge the printer you have your eye on is going to be sucking up its life blood from. Take a little look at how much these babies cost, because you're only going to have to buy more of them later and print cartridges can be very expensive little things.

It might come as a shock to realise you've chosen the printer with the priciest ink options if you haven't prepared yourself first.

Not only that, of course, but you could always opt for another type of printer to the one you had in mind if you discover its cartridges are far more expensive than other options.

It's well worth taking a little glance at how many prints per cartridge you'll get too, if you can. Remember that though the actual cartridge may cost more than another, it could have a greater capacity, too.

It's also worth thinking about aesthetics. This may seem like a trivial point, but unlike a work printer, a home printer is going to be facing you in, well, your own home. No, really, we've researched this.

On top of this bombshell, many people keep their printers in a communal space, rather than a study, and a shocking monstrosity of a printer just isn’t going to set off that new parquet floor (trust us, we tried it in a moment of desperation).

If the printer you need is (whisper it) a bit ugly, think about investing in a desk that will hide it, perhaps on a built-in shelf.

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Buying a printer for business use

Buying a printer for business use

When thinking of buying a new printer for your business you’ll likely find yourself scratching your head, bamboozled by the plethora of options available.

There are a number of pertinent questions you must ponder because just going out and purchasing any printing device can soon come back to bite you on the proverbial backside.

One of the first things to ask yourself is if the business needs a multi-functional printer or a single-function one?

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you just need something which can fire out documents quickly when planning an office but if you are looking at buying things like fax machines, photocopiers and scanners, then why not get a business printer which does it all?

The advantage of having an all-in-one multi-functional printer other than cost is that it will save space.

Despite this, a single-function printer may still be your best bet because they can be set up specifically to handle a single task, meaning that they can work away without causing your staff to have to wait around just because Jeff wants to send a fax at the same time Susie wants to photocopy some files etc.

Single-function laser printers are also often faster than multi-function ones priced in the same or similar bracket

Do you need colour? That’s another thing to consider. While the obvious answer would be “yes”, if your primary function is printing out letters and basic filing documents then a colour printer may not be worth the expense.

If, on the other hand, you want to print out high-quality promotional leaflets and brochures then colour is a definite must.

What many large companies do is invest in colour printers in departments such as sales and marketing while just using black and white workhorse printers in departments where documents are kept simple in design such as administration.

The quality of print varies greatly from printer to printer and indeed manufacturer to manufacturer so it is important to do some research before committing to buy. For general office use you’ll probably be looking at how crisp the text appears but also consider how good a printer’s graphics are if you want to print marketing brochures and such like.

Speed is also important to consider. If you are only printing handfuls of documents each day (say less than 20 pages) then your printer will not need to be mega fast but if you are churning out letter after letter all day everyday then you’ll want something which handles tasks with the speed of a racing car.

Lastly, the biggest and usually most important thing to consider; cost.

It’s easy to look at the price tag of a printer and think you’ll save by buying the cheapest which fits your needs but that is rarely the case in real terms. While printers have wide ranging purchase costs, they also have wide ranging running costs.

David Stone from says the best way to work out cost efficiency is by multiplying “the cost per page by the number of pages you print per year, then multiply that by the number of years you expect to own the printer, and add the initial cost of the printer”.

Using this method it may well be the case that a slightly more expensive printer saves you money in the long run.

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Buying supplies for the office

A good stock of office supplies is key to the smooth-running of a business. Being able to always print out documents, send faxes and prepare for presentations and meetings is crucial to any business's operations.

If you're a start-up business, high on your list of priorities will be making a good impression to new and potential customers. As well as impressing your employees through effective communication.

Proper management of your consumables is a great way to achieve this. It'll mean you can print those all-important invoices to ensure you get paid on time and ensure you never miss a deadline.

This blog suggests a few simple steps you can take to buy in and look after paper, ink and toner for the office.

Buying supplies for the office

Draw up a supplies list

As a starting point, assess what your day-to-day operations will be and take it from there. How many documents a week do you estimate you'll need to print?

Will you be using a lot of colour – say marketing materials, newsletters, designs and graphics?

Working this out will help you to decide what levels of ink, toner and paper you'll need for the office.

Buy in bulk

Draw up a supplies list

Buying in bulk makes financial sense. Once armed with what levels of consumables you'll need you'll also be in a much better position to compare prices.

Most companies offer bulk discounts, but it's important to shop around too. You might find some firms will throw in some little extras in their bundles too.

Once you've been up and running a few months think about putting a regular order system in place with your supplier – this will ensure you get prompt deliveries each month without the need to place new orders and complete paperwork.

Sort some space out

Where will you put all your paper, ink cartridges and toner? Under the desks? Never a good idea. For one thing, and for another, it'll clutter up the office, which won't be good for productivity.

A stationery cupboard is the best idea, failing that, place them in the server room or in the corner of an office.

Keep an eye on stock levels

It's Friday afternoon, you're getting set for the weekend. You just need to print these last few documents out. Thing is, you can't. because you've run out of ink or paper. Or both.

Avoid this office nightmare by keeping a check on your stock levels. Ink cartridges getting low? Paper looking a little thin? Get some more in straightaway to avoid problems further down the line.

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What to think about when buying a printer

Changes to the printer market over the last few years mean the market is now filled with a heady variety of sophisticated printers.

One good thing about this is that the cost of printers has come down significantly – it's now possible to get hold of a capable multi-function machine for as little as £50.

But the sheer range of appliances available can make it difficult to make an informed choice when it comes to choosing the printer that really suits your needs.

One of the most important things anyone thinking about buying a printer should do is consider the 'total cost of ownership' – i.e. how much it will really cost you to buy a printer – so not just the one-off purchase but over the long term.

After your initial outlay, you'll also have consumables – like ink and toner cartridges and photo paper – that you'll need to buy (dependent on how regular a printer user you are).

Tying in with this, another important consideration is what you will actually need to use your printer for. If you're a student, for example, it's likely you'll be best off with a pretty basic mono machine – for your black-and-white print jobs.

A small business might want something with Wi-Fi capabilities and the like for remote working and a professional photographer will require a printer that's specifically tailored to prints.

Working this out will influence how much you decide to spend on your printer. The more jobs you'll be doing, the more consumables you'll need to buy.

It's all about working out what is best for you. The main thing is not to spend a fortune on a printer only to find that it's packed full of features that you won't actually use.

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