Is the Inkjet Printer for You
– Presentation and functioning of the inkjet printer
– Characteristics of an inkjet printer
– The inkjet photo printer
– Price of an inkjet printer
Among the 3 leading printing technologies are laser, inkjet, and thermal. This post will focus on the inkjet printer. Let’s delay no further…
Presentation and operation of the inkjet printer
In an inkjet printer, the liquid ink in the cartridges is injected into tiny channels and projected onto the paper through a series of nozzles.
These droplets of ink have a volume of a few picoliters (that is to say, a few thousandths of billionths of liters) and form tiny and almost indiscernible points on the paper (or any other printable support).
The cartridges are contained in a mobile print head that traverses all the page’s width. This page is driven and then ejected by a mechanism of rollers.
A printed page requires a few drying moments (risk of burr if your printer is poorly adjusted or badly used).
Necessary clarification: under the common name “photo printer” are hidden 2 categories of printers:
– The compact photo printer has only one function: printing photos in 10 x 15 cm format; it exists only with one type of printing: thermal printing.
– The inkjet photo printer: it can print photos in A4 format and smaller (including 10 x 15 cm); you can also use it in office automation (printing texts, graphics, etc.); it is a monofunctional or multifunctional printer.
Characteristics of an inkjet printer
The main characteristics of an inkjet printer are the quality and the speed of printing.
Also called the resolution, the print quality is expressed in dpi (dot per inch); most inkjet printers in 2022 have an outstanding print quality for office, graphics, and photos. It takes 300 dpi to print a black and white text correctly and 600 dpi to print a color image correctly.
Speed of impression
The printing speed is expressed in the number of pages per minute (ppm); it can reach 20 ppm, but the average rate is 10 ppm.
The cartridges are also called “consumables”; they are one of the essential components of the inkjet printer.
The ink is quite fragile (in the face of time and light), and refills are pretty expensive.
Tip: Print at least one sheet once or twice a month. Indeed, if you don’t often print: on the one hand, the cleaning of the print heads will waste an important part of your ink each time you turn on the printer, and on the other hand, the ink can dry and become unusable.
Even if it depends on the type of printer, we can also mention the energy consumption: it is expressed in watts (W).
Tip: Don’t forget to take it into account in standby (< 1 W) and in operation (around 20 W depending on the type of printer used).
The inkjet photo printer
There are also compact photo printers; these models have dye-sublimation technology and are dedicated only to printing photos.
The characteristics of an inkjet photo printer are similar to those of inkjet printers. However, it should be noted that the speed of printing a photo is lower than for printing black and white text.
From the mid-range, you will find excellent photo printers. When you go up in range, some printers can have 6 or 8 cartridges: to the black and the 3 primary colors, come to add nuances of colors: light magenta, light cyan, etc.
Consider that you need 600 dpi to have a good quality color image. With a 2400 and 4800 dpi resolution, you can print a perfect quality photo in A4 format without worry.
2 other factors also come into play in the overall quality of the print of your photo: your original photo quality and the paper quality:
– Check the resolution of the photo you want to print; for example, you’ll not get a good picture quality in 10 x 15 cm format with a resolution of 72 dpi on your computer
– Choose a special inkjet photo paper.
Price of an inkjet printer
The main advantage of the inkjet printer: its purchase price is lower than that of a laser printer of equivalent quality.
You can find inkjet printers starting at $40 in the entry-level range and reaching $450 in the high-end range.
Entry-level, Mid-range & High-end
- Entry-level ranges from $40 to $80;
- Mid-range ranges from $80 to $200;
- High-end $450 and up.
It is also essential to consider the cost per page when choosing a printer type or a type of printing. The inkjet printer will be more expensive to use than a laser printer. On average, we see a cost of $0.15 per page for an inkjet printer.
Check the cost of the ink cartridges associated with the printer of your choice. It is advisable to choose systems with separate cartridges that allow you to replace only the color that has run out.
Note: A $100 inkjet printer will be more economical than a $400 laser printer because it is cheaper. On the other hand, after the fourth ream of paper, you can be sure that you will no longer save money because the cost per page of an inkjet printer is much higher.