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How to Buy the Best Color Inkjet Printer

By Edited Oct 27, 2013 1 1

Color Inkjet Printer
A color inkjet printer is an important thing to own when you need to print photos or if there's a student in the house. There are literally dozens of companies making dozens of different color inkjet printer models and choosing the right one can be difficult if you don't even know what features to look for.  Features vary greatly among the different color printers and, what should be an easy decision is often times difficult. I'm going to walk you through the different things to look for when you want to purchase a great color inkjet printer for your home.

Will you be printing photos with the color inkjet printer?

There are two types of color inkjet printer, those that are optimized to print photos, and those that aren't.

The photo inkjet printer has more than just the standard four ink cartridges, they usually have 5 or more, each with a different color. The photo inkjet printer can produce finer pictures with better color.

The standard color inkjet printer can print photos but the results will be less than great since there's less of a color selection and the resolution is often times just not up to snuff.

Keep this in mind when you are ready to purchase a color inkjet printer. Having the photo capability will cost much more money so look for this feature only if you absolutely need it.

What does print quality mean in a color inkjet printer?

The print quality is measured in DPI, or dots per inch. Simply this means the more dots per inch, the better the print quality. A higher DPI color inkjet printer will produce a finer, or less grainy picture than a lower DPI color inkjet printer.  Naturally photo quality printers will have a higher DPI capability than their less able cousins.

A higher DPI will also cost more money, so consider the usage of the color inkjet printer, and again, if you will not be printing photos then you can settle for a lower DPI printer.

How fast should the color inkjet printer be?

This is subjective as it really depends on what you're printing and how much. A simple page of black text and one or two small non-photo quality pictures may take 30 seconds or so. A photo quality 8x10 photo may take up to 10 minutes to print. Keep this in mind when shopping for a color inkjet printer. The faster the printer is, the more it's going to cost you. A higher DPI printer also tends to be slower too.

Now, the reason I say this is subjective is simple.  If you just occasionally print one or two pages, like some coupons, the difference between 8 seconds per page or 12 seconds per page is meaningless.  On the other hand if you're a student printing a 50 page report it may make a big difference to you.

Go for the faster printer only if you really care about saving 2 or 3 seconds per page.

How much do the ink cartridges cost for the color inkjet printer?

This is where they 'get you'. An annoying trend these days is to sell the color inkjet printer for as little as $20 and then charge up to $45 dollars for the replacement ink cartridges. Research the price of the replacement cartridges before you buy a color inkjet printer, some of the prices are absolutely amazing. 

Another thing to do is look at the number of pages you get per cartridge.  By dividing the price by the number of pages you'll get the cost per page.  You can base your buying decision off of this number, it'll help you find the printer that costs the least to use.

How does the color inkjet printer connect to your PC?

Most printers these days do NOT come with a printer cable, you'll have to spend about $20 to get one. A smart thing to do these days is to choose a color inkjet printer with built in wireless networking. Not only do you save on the printer cable but all the computers in your home will be able to use the color inkjet printer from any location. This is great for you laptop users!

Here's a great article that'll help you find the best wifi inkjet printer for your home.  There's a few more considerations that you'll need to be aware of.

How much does a color inkjet printer cost?

Well, the prices vary by all the features I've listed here as well as by any sales that may be going on. I highly suggest you read inkjet printer reviews from such sites as Consumer Search or Consumer Reports. Not only can you read unbiased reviews by home users just like yourself but they also often times list the lowest prices available on the internet or in stores. You will also find many more useful links right here on this page to help you find the best color inkjet printer.

Here's a top rated printer available on Amazon, it does everything right and worth a good look.



Oct 10, 2009 11:05am
great printer tips... thumbs up!
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