In this Guide

There’s a lot to consider when buying a printer, but the process doesn’t need to be complicated! It’s just a case of narrowing down the features you need and those you don’t, then finding the device that suits your budget. With a huge range of printers available at, suitable for everything from home and business use to professional printing, we’ll have the right printer for you. Printer technology has come a long way over the last few years: from photo-quality printouts and wireless connectivity to high-quality scanning, today’s devices can fit a lot of functionality into one package. But if you’re not going to use all these features, you may end up paying more than you need to – so it’s a good idea to think about how you’ll be using your printer, and how often, before you make a purchase. All the technical terms surrounding printers can seem complex to begin with, but don’t worry – we’ll explain what everything means as we go along. By the time you’ve finished this guide, you’ll be ready to make a decision about your next printer!

Things to consider when buying a printer


Connectivity is the way your printer connects to your PC (or your business’s network). Wired printers use a cable, often a USB, to physically link the printer to the device, but wireless printers are available too. These don’t need anything except a power cable, and can receive print instructions over Wi-Fi. This can be a huge help if you want to store your printer somewhere discreetly out of the way – it doesn’t even need to be in the same room as your PC. Many modern printers support printing from smartphones via apps, too.

Paper capacity

This is simply how many sheets of paper the printer can store before it needs to be refilled. This can be anything from around 50 sheets to several thousand. If it’s a personal printer for occasional home use, you don’t need to worry about this too much – a low capacity should be fine. On the other hand, a workplace printer for multiple frequent users will need a higher capacity to help keep everything running smoothly. Some printers have optional accessories that let you expand their capacity, too.


Duplexing printers have a mechanism that flips pages over, allowing them to print on both sides of the page automatically. On printers without this feature, you’ll need to flip the sheets over and feed them back in manually if you want to have double-sided printing. Duplexing is a handy feature for any printer to have, especially if you’ll be printing reports and other long documents. However, if you’re mainly planning to print single-sided (pictures, for instance) then you might not use it very often.

Print quality

Print quality is one of the most important factors if you’re planning to print colour images, with the highest print qualities achieving realistic, professional-looking results. As well as photos and artwork, you’ll find a high print quality produces better-looking reports and charts, too, making it an important consideration for anyone using a printer at work. Print quality can also affect the clarity of words on the page, so if you’re printing lots of documents you should choose a printer offering at least a decent level of print quality.

Ink & toners

Ink and toners are the consumables your printer runs on. Inkjet printers use liquid ink cartridges, while laser printers use powder toner – both of these are available in both black and colour types. Whether they’re inkjet or laser, most printers will only accept a specific kind of cartridge made by the manufacturer, although you may also be able to buy third-party ink and toners. The cost of the ink or toner is a big consideration to factor into the overall cost of the printer, especially if you’ll be using it frequently.

Types of printer


  • Cheaper up-front than laser printers
  • Compact and easy to fit on a desk
  • Good print quality for text
  • Excellent image quality results with photo paper
  • No warm-up time
  • Wide choice of models available from


  • Super-fast and ideal for high volumes/multiple users
  • Lower long-term running costs than inkjets
  • Great print quality for both text and images
  • Very quiet
  • Printouts don’t fade over time – ideal for archiving
  • Top laser printer brands at low prices from


  • No messy cables to worry about
  • Store and use your printer anywhere
  • Take advantage of mobile and cloud printing
  • Supports multiple devices and users
  • Easy for IT managers to administrate
  • Find great deals on wireless printers at


  • Unrivalled quality for photos, art and other images
  • Perfect if you need professional-looking results
  • Create paper copies of your smartphone and digital camera snaps
  • Print on all card stocks and finishes
  • Some models support fabric printing
  • Get fantastic photo printers for less at


  • Go anywhere, print anywhere
  • Print from smartphones, tablets and more
  • Self-powered and portable
  • Good quality despite small size
  • Ideal for business trips
  • Find mobile printers from top brands at


  • Combines printer, scanner, fax and photocopier
  • Convenient and saves space
  • Usually cheaper than buying all devices separately
  • Saves on cables and clutter
  • Can be wireless too
  • Find a big range of all-in-one printers at

Find your ideal printer