Today, most inkjet printers serve the small business, home office and office workgroup market with multifunction devices that can copy, scan, print and fax in one desktop model. Over the last few years, inkjet printing technology has made great improvements in print quality and reproduction speed. Using simple-to-replace ink cartridges, inkjet printers offer cost-effective solutions from several major manufacturers. Before deciding on your model, research the advantages and disadvantages to find a product that meets your needs and fits within your budget.
Inkjet printers use a small footprint and are easy to move around, which makes them reasonably portable in a small business or home office environment. The average weight is around 20 pounds and most inkjet printers are plug-and-play devices, with ink cartridges easily snapping into place. Because of the ink technology where thousands of ink droplets are shot onto the paper, image quality can be outstanding, especially with color photos. There are photo-specific inkjet models available for this market that will reproduce photos with exceptional clarity and vivid colors. Inkjet printers are known to be cost-effective, with most of the models in this category being an All-in-One or Multi-Function device. This allows users to have a copy, print, scan and fax function in one easy-to-use printer thus eliminating the need for multiple machines.
Some of the disadvantages of inkjet printers are the cost of each ink cartridge. This has changed for the better in recent years with improved ink technology reducing costs and increasing the life of individual cartridges. When using inkjet for high-quality photos, it is best to use glossy photo paper designed to enhance the ink droplets while at the same time minimizing the possibility of smears or smudges. This type of paper also assists in the ink-drying process. However, the costs for this specialized paper are higher than ordinary copy paper. Any time you use liquid ink technology you run a slight risk of smearing and smudging prior to the ink completely drying on the paper. To a much lesser degree, sometimes the ink may clog where the ink droplets are shot onto the paper. This can cause image-quality problems and the ink cartridge may need to be self-cleaned or replaced.
According to Hewlett Packard and certified by the Guinness World Records, the HP Officejet Pro X576dw is the world’s fastest color desktop printer. This inkjet printer weighs in at around about 50 pounds, and will reproduce from 42 to 70 pages per minute, depending on the print resolution. Black ink cartridges can last 9,200 pages while each color cartridge can last 6,600 pages. These are vast improvements in ink usage and help drive down ink replacement costs.
Whether you use an inkjet printer that states it is all-in-one or multi-function, there are many quality choices in the marketplace. AIO has a tendency to identify the low-end of the market in costs and monthly volume, whereas multi-function is used to commonly describe networked work groups in business who share a printer that can perform several key functions – copy, print, fax and scan. However, the two names are often intermixed in the market. Several well-reviewed printers are the Brother MFC for about $240, the Epson Workforce Pro for around $120 and the HP Officejet Pro for around $300. Spend some time and review the features that are important to you before making your final selection.