Remember when people were saying that the rise of computers would lead to that paperless office? How wrong they were! It is almost a necessity to have a printer attached to your computer. Choosing a printer that is right for your needs can seem like a difficult task at first, since there are a number of different kinds of printing technology, and the speed, quality and cost all very greatly. The right printer for you mostly depends on what kind of computer user you are.

For a home user who prints a variety of different types of documents from letters to snapshots, the best choice is probably an inexpensive color inkjet printer. These can cost as little as $50 and do a decent job with almost any kind of document, but they tend to be slow, and the ink is expensive.

Someone who prints many text documents, such as a novelist or student, might want to opt for a laser printer. These are more expensive than ink jets with the cheapest being around $200, but they are much faster than ink jets and the cost for ink is considerably less. However, they do not print in color, unless you want to shell out $500 or so.

For the user such as a professional photographer who prints many photos and wants quality that is nearly as good as from a photo lab, choosing a printer designed specifically to print photos is best. It should use at least six different ink colors and have a resolution of at least 2400 x 1200 dpi. It used to be that photos not made in a photo lab faded quite quickly, but recently new printers have been introduced that allow photos to last for decades without fading. The Epson Stylus 890, costing around $300, is a good one. The best quality photo printers use a technology known as thermal dye-transfer, but the prices start at around $800, and you have to use special, more expensive paper. They also print quite slowly.

Finally, for an entrepreneur with a home office, a multifunction printer is the way to go. These models scan, copy, and fax as well as print and cost as little as $100. Having one of these will let your computer help you do almost any kind of business task.