Inkjet Printer

Choosing the Best Inkjet Printers

The best inkjet printers can print black-and-white text, color images, and glossy photos. They also enjoy print speeds equal to and higher than laser printers. Inkjets have several advantages when compared to laser units. They’re more affordable, don’t need to warm up, are better at color printing, and can handle any paper.

What's an Inkjet Printer?

Inkjet printers use liquid ink cartridges, and create digital images by spraying ink droplets on printer paper and media. They’re ideal for printing documents with text and color images, such as school essays and business presentations. Models for home use are usually inexpensive desktop units with moderate print speeds. These are also suitable for small offices. Large and mid-sized offices typically need bigger models with larger paper capacities and higher print speeds.

How Does an Inkjet Printer Work?

Modern inkjets use a Drop-on-Demand (DoD) method instead of older Continuous Jet systems. DoD uses less ink and is a more efficient process. An inkjet has a print head with microscopic nozzles that shoot high-pressure jets at high speeds. There are two types of DoD inkjet printing, and they use different ink cartridges. Thermal DoD machines use cartridges with tiny heating elements that vaporize inks to create bubbles that push the ink out of microscopic nozzles. Piezoelectric DoD machines propel ink droplets out of print heads with pulses generated from rapidly deforming piezoelectric materials inside cartridges.

Types of Inkjet Printers

The most common are color inkjet printers. These are all-purpose versions that accept copy and photo paper. Dedicated photo printers are usually inkjets too. These accept a wider range of photo paper types and sizes. Wide format models can print on special paper and canvases up 24 inches wide. If you use one of these for digital art, make sure to get print finishing lacquers to protect images from water and UV damage. Super-tank inkjets have large reservoirs you can fill with ink. These last longer and are more cost-effective than cartridges. All-in-one inkjets can print, copy, and scan documents. Some also have built-in fax modems.

Connecting an Inkjet to a Computer

Setting up a wired model is as easy as connecting the machine to a computer with a USB cable. To add the printer to a wired network, connect it to the Ethernet port of a router. Wireless-ready units don’t need networking cables to join Wi-Fi networks. Large offices should use print servers to connect printers to multiple computers. These networking devices accept print jobs from computers and queue them while negotiating slots on available printers.