First thing to know before buying is what one’s need is. Do you need an all-in-one expensive laser printer or will a simple inkjet do? Which inkjet is really necessary: a slow yet less expensive or the one that prints multiple images in minutes but costs a bit more?
Inkjets versus Laser Printers
Inkjets are the choice for printing photos. Photos printed on colour laser-printers are inferior to those printed on inkjet printers. Lasers are best at printing black text. The quality is top-notch and they are fast, and the cost per page is low.
In the tests, photos from colour lasers and inkjets were closer in quality on plain paper than on their manufacturers’ best photo paper.
A user survey conducted by Consumer Union in early 2010 showed that people printed photos on plain paper about as often as on photo paper. A
colour laser with a high rating in that mode may be a good choice for people who plan to print photos only on plain paper and also want the speed advantage of a colour laser in printing coloured graphics.
All-in-One Inkjets versus Regular Inkjet Printers
All-in-one inkjets are the best all-purpose printers for consumers who want to print both text and colour photos, and be able to scan and copy. Most have memory card slots and PictBridge. Many can fax documents. The recent trend is for regular inkjet printers to be basic printers with a few extra features.
Paying more for a printer does not necessarily mean that you will get better prints. Do not consider the purchase price of the printer as a differentiator itself. Per-print costs can make a cheaper model more expensive in the long run than a higher-priced printer with lower consumable costs.