Learning Resources
 

Printer Types


Types of printers

Inkjet
The most common type of printer found in homes today is the inkjet printer.  This printer works by spraying ionized ink onto the paper with magnetized plates directing the ink to the desired shape.  Inkjet printers are capable of producing high quality text and images in black and white or color, approaching the quality that is produced by more costly laser printers.   Many inkjet printers today are capable of printing photo-quality images. Bear in mind that the special ink used by inkjet printers is apt to smudge on common copier paper, so remember to buy paper specifically manufactured for inkjet printers.                                      

Laser
Laser printers provide the highest quality text and images for personal computers today.  Like standard copy machines, they operate by using a laser beam to produce an electrically charged image on a drum, which is then rolled through a reservoir of toner.  The toner is picked up by the electrically charged portions of the drum, and transferred to the paper through a combination of heat and pressure.  While full-color laser printers are available, they tend to be much more expensive than black and white versions and require a great deal of printer memory to produce high-resolution images.  Also, be warned that many specialty papers, such as iron-on transfers, are not suitable for laser printers as the heat used in the transfer process could damage the paper and gum up your printer.  

Portable and wireless
A portable printer is the perfect companion for your notebook. It's a compact mobile inkjet printer that provides flexibility and dependability anywhere you go. Portable printers are compact enough to fit in a briefcase. They weigh very little and run on battery power.

Infrared-compatible (wireless) printers, available in both inkjet and laserjet models, allow you to print from your handheld device, laptop computer or digital camera. The wireless short-range radio technology that allows this to happen is called Bluetooth. No more hassles with multiple cables - just point and print.

All-in-one
The final type of printer to be mentioned here is the multifunction or all-in-one printer.  Many home office users prefer the space-saving convenience of an all-in-one device which combines the functions of printer, scanner, copier and fax into one machine.  All-in-one printers can be either inkjet or laser based.