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Buying Guide: Printers and scanners

Whether you are looking for a printer/scanner to print photos at home or scan and print documents at work, choosing from the wide range of options in the market can be a daunting task. You can, however, get the right machine, depending on the type of user you are, if you know what to look for.

Types of users

The home office user The home office user prints letters and office documents such as receipts and also scans and faxes or emails graphic documents when necessary. Buy all in one printer/printer-scanner-fax machine that won't take up more space than a normal fax machine, but will do all you need it to do from your PC if you are this type of user. The traveller
The traveller is often on the go and needs a printer/scanner she can carry with her on her travels. Go for a portable printer/scanner that can fit inside your briefcase and still print standard A-4 documents. The Photographer The photographer scans and prints high quality digital photographs for work. Buy dedicated photo printers that can print without the need for a computer to print directly from your digital camera. Most inkjet printers will also do a good job printing on glossy photo paper. The student The student prints out documents such as assignment, essays and dissertations without particular need for fancy photo paper of colours. Buy laser printer which will print your documents quickly, reliably and clearly.

What to look for

Print quality
Consider the number of ink tanks the printer has. Five tanks is an indication a printer has good colour reproduction. Also, check the print resolution expressed as dots per square inch (dpi) and the number of colours that make up the dots (gradation) on the manufacturer’s product specifications manual. Scan quality Get a high resolution scanner, expressed by two numbers such as 9,600 x 1,200 for scanning high quality photos. Also, consider the print speed indicated as pages per minute (ppm) on the manufacturer’s specifications, paper capacity, paper type such as photo paper or heavy card and paper size such as A-4.


Common types of printer/scanners Common types of printer/scanners to buy include, flatbed scanners (the most common types of scanners, for printing A4 and larger A3 sized documents), ink jet printers (the most cost-effective printers for making colour prints) and laser printers that are best for making black and white prints in quick succession. Multifunction printers are cheap all-in-one printers that can print, scan and send faxes. Where to buy Buy a scanner/printer that suits you from online stores such as or from computer accessories stores near you.

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