After gazing at the computer screen for hours, you are still not finished going through the presentation. By this time your eyes are tired from looking at the screen for so long. What do you do? Print it! It will be much easier on the eyes once you have the paper copy available, but it can’t be done without the computer printer. Chances are you have one for home use, because it is handy and very useful to have around. It is a very essential computer accessory.

There are three main types of computer printers. These are namely the inkjet, laser, and impact printers. This division is largely based on how the ink is applied from the printer to the paper.

Perhaps the most common of the 3 is the inkjet printer. It is easy to use, and can last for years with very little maintenance. In terms of the operation of the device, it prints by spraying tiny balls of ink directly onto the paper, or other printing surface. It can perform at a high level of output and quality, and does not use a toner cartridge. In addition, it is sold at a very affordable price. Some of the companies that manufacture inkjet printers include Hewlett Packard, Lexmark, and Canon.

The laser printer is a more expensive alternative, but provides a higher level of output than the inkjet. It operates by using a laser beam, or LED technology, to put the image onto the paper. The particles are taken from the printer’s toner. The laser is highly recommended for the workplace, because it can manage heavy workloads. Lasers print up 20 pages of text per minute.

The standard lasers are monochrome, that is, they print only one color, usually black. To print color would require the purchase of a color laser printer. This is unlike the inkjet printer, as the same machine can print both color and monochrome. Monochrome lasers retail for about $100 and color for $200. Major manufacturers include Dell, Hewlett Packard, and Lexmark.

Bear in mind that while the initial cost of the laser printer is more, the replacement ink cartridges for the inkjet printer can become quite costly. However, it is also possible to get cartridges re-filled.

The last type of printer we will look at is the impact printer, which is now virtually obsolete. These were very popular in the earlier years, but were subsequently replaced by the inkjets. They print with the use of pins and an ink ribbon. The pins strike the ink ribbon onto the paper, and each pin makes a dot, and several dots form characters. Due to the forcible action, the printer is noisy. It is also much slower than the other printers. The dot-matrix is probably the only impact printer that is still in use. It is generally used to print multi-copy forms, or invoices.

When purchasing a printer, you should first decide if you need to have color or not. Then compare print quality, speed, resolution, and other criteria, and make an informed decision based on your needs.