Last updated: 16/10/2022

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A printer is a device for printing out digitally stored text or image documents in black and white or in colour. A distinction is made between two models: inkjet and laser printers.

With our big printer test 2023 we want to help you find the best printer for you. There are different types of printers. We have summarised the most important questions for you and compared the advantages and disadvantages. These factors should help you make your decision.




Summary

  • In addition to classic printers, there are also multifunction printers. These are, for example, 4-in-1 printers that allow you to scan, copy and fax documents in addition to the usual printing.
  • When buying, it is important to pay attention to the printer’s printing speed. For the office, this should be higher than for a printer for private use.
  • There are many different printer manufacturers. Therefore, it is even more important that you know in advance what you want to print and where your preferences lie.

The Best Printer: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for printers

In the following, we will show you criteria that can be used to distinguish and compare printers. These different aspects should help you make your decision.

The criteria you can use to compare printers include:

In the following paragraphs we explain what to look for in each of the criteria.

Size and weight

Printer size and weight

Conventional printers are usually 50 x 50 x 30 centimetres in size or slightly larger. The weight of the devices is usually between 5 and 10 kilograms. Powerful devices for commercial use, on the other hand, are much larger and can weigh over 100 kilograms.

DIN size guide

DIN stands for Deutsche Industrienorm (German Industrial Standard) and describes a recommendation for standard paper sizes. The size ratio between the height and width of the sheet must always remain the same.

The largest format is A0 (with a size of 841 x 1189 in mm) and the smallest paper size is A10 (26 x 37). The average and most common paper size is A4 – this is also used by many standard printers.

When buying a printer, it is important to know which DIN paper sizes you want to handle. Standard printers are capable of printing A4 and also smaller paper sizes (for smaller sizes the printer has to be switched).
Large format printers are not suitable for private use, they are mainly used for plan printing and in the advertising industry for posters.

Type / reason of use

Another point to consider is whether the printer should be integrated into a home or office network.

To begin with, it is important to know whether you want a mono or multifunctional printer and whether you want a laser or inkjet printer. In the following sections we list the advantages and disadvantages of both types of printer.

You need to decide for yourself which documents you mainly want to print – text documents or photo printing.

You can’t say across the board whether an inkjet printer or a laser printer prints faster. It depends on the device you choose and the technology involved.

For inkjet printers, print speed depends on several factors. These include:

  • Font quality
  • Number of nozzles
  • Nozzle frequency

Especially if you print a lot, you should consider the print speed of your printer. Printers with a speed of 5 to 10 pages per minute are sufficient for home use. For the office, where several employees print and there is therefore an increased print volume, you should look for a print speed of 25 pages per minute or more.

Additional functions

If you want to print documents from memory sticks or SD cards, it is advisable to choose a device that has this option. Photo printers with USB capability often allow you to select images directly from the storage device (sometimes via an integrated display).

Another additional function would be the connection to the network. This is recommended if you want to print from several computers. In this case, you should buy a WLAN-capable device.

Other additional options of a printer can be the following functions:

  • automatic duplex printing
  • Scanning
  • Copying
  • Faxing
  • WLAN-capable
  • USB connection
  • Touch display

Brand / manufacturer

Printer manufacturers offer a wide variety of printing systems and printer models. In addition to inkjet printers, there are also laser printers, photo printers and multifunction devices with copy, scan and fax functions.

Brother: This company was founded at the beginning of the 20th century and is one of the largest and best-known companies in the world. A few years ago, Brother GmbH was still focused on the corporate sector, but now it also manufactures and sells a wide variety of printers for private households. The company offers the recycling programme “Brother-Earth”, where consumers can return empty ink cartridges to the manufacturer free of charge.

Canon: This manufacturer is mainly known for its cameras and photo technology; only later were printers added to its range and have since established themselves on the market. Today, Canon is one of the leading manufacturers. Photo printers from this manufacturer are particularly popular due to their high resolution and colour quality.

Epson: Epson is considered the third largest manufacturer and focuses on printers and computers. They offer their own recycling programme for the original ink cartridges. This manufacturer stands for high print quality with low consumption and accessory costs.

Hewlett-Packard (HP): The manufacturer HP was founded in the USA and is considered the largest technology manufacturer in the world today. HP counts as the largest printer manufacturer and can be found in the private sector as well as in many offices. They are very committed to environmental protection, among other things by taking back old devices and consumables. The manufacturer stands for excellent workmanship and durability.

Samsung: This company is best known for its televisions and smartphones. As a printer manufacturer, Samsung is even less established on the market and its printers are mainly suitable for commercial customers. In the meantime, Samsung has sold its printer rights to HP.

Tip: If your printer manufacturer does not offer recycling programmes, you should ask about other partner programmes that take over the recycling of consumables.

Decision: What types of printers are there and which one is right for you?

There are different types of printers to choose from. Among the numerous modern printing technologies, inkjet printers and laser printers powered by printer cartridges are the most directly comparable.

Type advantages disadvantages
Inkjet printers highest quality, ink cartridges cheaper special paper required, cartridges can dry out
Laser printers uncomplicated to use, no expensive paper required, perfect in black and white printing high costs, poorer quality

Whether to buy an inkjet or laser printer depends, among other things, on the intended use. The devices differ in acquisition costs, electricity costs and costs for paper consumption. Further differences can be seen in print speed and print quality.

Tintenstrahldrucker

Inkjet printer

The biggest advantage of the inkjet printer is clearly the excellent image quality of the printouts. This is because inkjet printers, which print on special paper, produce such good quality as otherwise only the photo lab can. This printer uses liquid ink to create natural-looking transitions between colours and borders. The purchase price as well as the cost of the ink cartridges are lower than for laser printers.

Advantages
  • easy maintenance
  • uncomplicated operation
  • very good quality photo prints
  • low purchase cost
Disadvantages
  • cartridges can dry out
  • requires special paper
  • slow print speed
  • higher cost per print
Laserdrucker

Laser printers

Laser printers are mostly sold as black and white printers. The colour printing (of a laser printer) cannot compete with that of an inkjet printer. On the other hand, laser printers produce sharper black-and-white graphics and text.

Advantages
  • higher printing speed
  • cartridges cannot dry out
  • no specific paper required
  • duplex function
Disadvantages
  • high purchase costs
  • poorer image/colour quality
  • higher power consumption + +costs

Conclusion: If you are more concerned with document printing and need it to be document-proof and fast, you should go for a laser printer rather than an inkjet printer. However, if photo prints are more important to you, you should buy an inkjet printer.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about printers answered in detail

You want to know where you can buy a printer and how much it costs on average? Below you will find the most important and frequently asked questions on this topic.

Who is a printer for?

The real question is not who is a printer for, but which printer is right for me. You should consider how you mainly want to use the device, i.e. for what purpose you need the printer.

For occasional printers: If you only want to print something once in a while, an inexpensive printer is the best choice for you. The recommendation here is for an inkjet printer in the lower price segment. For “once in a while” printing something, the quality is completely sufficient and at a low price.
An alternative option would be a low-priced laser printer. This will give you faster results due to the printing speed.

For average printers: If you are someone who needs to print things on a regular basis and want to print a photo from the camera as well as documents, a mid-priced inkjet printer is the best choice for you.

For hobby photographers and photo printers: If you want to print high-quality photos, you should go for a photo printer. Besides special photo printers, a high-quality inkjet model would also be a good alternative. Because of the special paper, the results are often just as good as those from a photo lab. A laser printer would be out of the question in this case, as the resolution is too low for photo prints.

For frequent printers: The more you print, scan and copy, the more likely you are to use a laser printer. This type of printer is particularly suitable for the office or home office. They work faster and produce sharper results. Because of the low purchase costs, it also pays to buy a laser printer for private households.

What does a printer cost?

The cost of a printer is influenced by several factors, such as brand, equipment and resolution. Therefore, it is important to know what you want.

Acquisition costs

Inkjet printers that you can use as all-rounders at home can be bought for as little as 50 – 80 €. This investment is definitely worthwhile if you are looking for an all-rounder. The follow-up costs can be very high in this case, as the cartridge sets can be more expensive than a completely new printer.

Laser printers – New laser printers can be had for as little as €100. If you mainly print documents or graphics, this is a worthwhile purchase. The follow-up costs are much lower than for an inkjet printer. Colour laser printers are also available for around 100 €.

Multi-function device – Depending on the model, this type of device can cost between €100 and €350.

Follow-up costs

The follow-up costs depend on the cost of the cartridges. These are significantly higher for inkjet printers than for laser printers.
With standard inks, the printing costs per page are around 18 cents.

It is important to weigh up all the facts, both the costs and the advantages and disadvantages of each device.

Who are the most popular manufacturers?

There is no general answer to the question of who makes the most popular printers. The competition in the market always produces new market leaders.

However, among the best known and most popular are:

  • Canon
  • Samsung
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Brother
  • Epson

Can ink cartridges be refilled?

When the first ink cartridges run out, most customers look for cartridges that fit the respective device. However, since original cartridges are relatively expensive in comparison, many opt for cheaper alternatives.

The so-called refill cartridges are cheaper – these cartridges are refilled with ink by a specialist and sold. The advantage is on the one hand the lower purchase price and on the other hand the protection of the environment through recycling.

Furthermore, there are also cartridges that can be refilled by the customer/owner at home. The cartridges can be opened and refilled with fresh ink. Refilling the cartridges yourself has great savings potential, but involves a lot of effort.

The following video shows you how to refill Epson cartridges. You can get a better idea of how this works here.

For all those who do not opt for refill cartridges, you can buy compatible printer cartridges on the market. These are not produced and sold directly by the printer manufacturer, but by other companies. This way you get a new cartridge, as an alternative, that fits the technical features of the printer. Moreover, they are not inferior to the original cartridges.

What to do if the ink dries up?

If the printer is not used for a longer period of time, the ink may dry up and the printer will no longer function. To prevent this from happening, the printer should be placed in a place that is not too warm and sunny.

Tip: People who do not print very often or for longer periods of time can wrap the cartridges in cling film, for example, to prevent them from drying out.

Drucker-1

Particularly with inkjet printers, the ink can dry out quickly if the printer is used infrequently. Not only do you then have to change the printer cartridges, but the print head can also be damaged because the ink has dried out.
(Image source: 123rf.com/ Pelikh)

How do you dispose of a printer properly?

There are two ways to get rid of your printer.

Important: it is forbidden to dispose of printers in household waste or residual waste.
  • On the one hand, you can sell your printer that is still in working order.
  • However, if the device no longer works, you have to hand it in to the waste disposal service, the electronic scrap.

Is it worth buying a multifunction printer?

With this device you can not only print, but also copy, scan and fax. This means you get several devices in one, making it a more cost-effective purchase.

Drucker-2

Multifunction printers are the workhorses of the home office. They print, scan, copy and fax.
(Photo source: 123rf.com/ Ryzhov)

Which paper format is supported by most printers?

For conventional and modern printers, the A4 paper format is considered the standard. Normally, smaller formats such as DIN A5 do not pose a problem for these printers.

Image source: Vietrov/ 123rf.com

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