The most common way to tell printers apart is to know the difference between home and office models. Office printers are built to meet the higher-volume printing loads of a workplace, where one printer may be used by a workgroup or an entire office. Printers designed for large places of work may have duty cycles (the maximum number of pages you can print in a month without risking damage to the printer) in the hundreds of thousands of pages.
Office printers tend to be bigger than home models and more costly upfront but offer better text quality and faster speeds, and the cost of consumables (ink or toner, etc.) is generally lower. They usually include features such as fax, automatic document feeder (ADF), Ethernet, and duplex or two-sided printing; some have extras such as hard drive, large-format printing capability, or the ability to collate, sort, staple, and finish documents.
Home printers lean towards smaller and cheaper equipment than office models and built for personal use. They’re often restricted to printing on regular-sized (letter, legal, and A4) paper. Many offer Wi-Fi instead of Ethernet while some are limited to USB. Most are inkjets. They often have photo-friendly features such as a photo-paper tray, color LCD, extra ink tanks, or the ability to print from memory cards or USB thumb drives.
Now that we have cleared home use printers versus office use printers; office use printers can be further categorized by normal office use printers and printers for production print, samples of these can be viewed from the range of Konica printers.
Printer types can also be categorized by how the ink gets onto paper. These printers can be either be for home or office use, depending on user preference.
- Inkjet, photo, and all-in-one: The inkjet, photo, and all-in-one printers all use the same basic method for putting ink on paper: Minuscule balls of ink are thrown directly on the paper. Because the tiny ink balls stick to the paper, this type of printer needs no ribbon or toner cartridge. Inkjet printers is the most popular type of printer for home use. Most likely because they are very affordable (sometimes under $100) and still being able to produce high quality text and images. Inkjet printers can print in color, have no warm up time, are relatively easy to use, and print fairly quickly.
- Laser: Laser printers are found primarily in the office environment, where they can handle the high workload. Laser printers do not use liquid inks instead they employ a black or colored powder called toner. Paper feeds through the printer with the aid of a rotating drum cartridge. A laser beam, which is deflected by a mirror across the drum’s surface, generates a charge that forces the toner to adhere to the drum. Toner is then pressed against the paper as the drum rotates. The result is crisp and fast output but not as inexpensive as the inkjet type of printer.
- Impact: Impact printers are few and far between these days, although once they were the dominant type of computer printer. These printers are slower and noisier than the other printer types. They use a ribbon and some device that physically bangs the ribbon on the paper. Because of this, impact printers are primarily used now in printing invoices or multi-copy forms. They’re not practical for home use.