Printer Buying Guide: How to choose a printer that matches your needs

Essays. Forms. Contracts. Even posters.There is a printer out there for you, for home or business use.

But choosing a printer can be tough, given the myriad of printers out there. Not to mention, the jargon and technologies which can be confusing. Read on for our guide in demystifying your printer buying journey.

Alternatively, use our smart finder to walk through your burning questions and select your ideal printer:

1. Quantity
How many prints per month?

2. Quality
Black and white only or colour? Regular or high-quality (Resolution) prints?

3. Functionalities
Print only or print, scan and copy?

4. How do you want to connect to your printer?
Wireless, wired or Bluetooth. Connect to a single device or multiple devices?

5.How important is the speed of printing to you?

6. Type of printer
Inkjet, laserjet, photo printing, large-format printing

DeskJet or Ink Tank DeskJet Ink Advantage OfficeJet or Small LaserJet LaserJet or DesignJet
Ideal For
Occasional printing at home Regular printing at home Small office or home Enterprise office
Prints per Month
Less than 100 pages 100-300 pages More than 300 pages More than 1000 pages
Printing Speed
Slow Slow Medium Fast
Price Range
Low Medium High High

An inkjet printer uses ink to print documents, while a laser printer uses a laser to print documents. The different printing processes affect each printer’s speed, functions, and quality. Let’s go into a bit more detail.

1. Inkjet Printers


  • Low cost for the initial purchase
  • Compact and occupies minimal space
  • High-quality prints due to technology used


  • Highest cost of printing compared to other printers
  • Slow printing speed (Up to 8 prints per minute)

HP’s inkjet printers are most commonly used for personal, at home printing. For their ink supply, most inkjet printers are loaded with either two or four cartridges in total.

Ink cartridges are made with a liquid base and colouring agent. They work by spraying tiny droplets of ink from nozzles onto the paper which dries instantly. To release an ink droplet, the nozzle is heated by electricity. Hundreds of nozzles release thousands of ink droplets.

Entry-level inkjet printers, like the compact and affordable HP DeskJet range, are suitable for printing less than 100 pages per month.

For higher printing volumes, check out the cost-saving HP DeskJet Ink Advantage range or the HP Ink Tank System for colour prints.

While entry-level inkjet printers have high printing costs, these 2 advanced types of inkjet printers provide more prints at a much lower cost per page:

a. HP Ink Tank System

  • Ideal for small businesses or home offices
  • Compatible with different nozzles or tanks for filling inks in liquid form
  • Uses refillable ink tanks instead of ink cartridges
  • You can choose from a range of colour or black & white options


  • Extremely low printing cost per page and hence, lower cost of ownership for the complete life of the printer
  • Unlike cartridges, where you need to replace all the colours even if you run out of just 1 colour, here, you can refill just that 1 colour into the printer tank
  • Higher printing speeds compared to other inkjet printers (10-20 pages per minute)


  • The ink tanks are outside the main printer body, which makes them bigger than other inkjet printers. However, brands have come out with integrated ink tank printers of late, which makes them more compact

Tech Tip: You might have heard that laser printers produce good quality prints. However, colour laser printers produce poor quality photos compared to inkjets. If you intend to use your printer to produce high-quality photos that can even be used in albums, go for a colour inkjet printer.

b. HP DeskJet Ink Advantage

  • Most commonly used for regular home printing
  • Suitable for printing 100-300 pages per month
  • Uses thermal inkjet technology that brings down printing cost
  • Uses ink cartridges


  • Lower cost of printing than entry-level inkjet printers
  • High-quality prints due to technology used


  • Slow printing speed (7-10 pages per minute)
  • High-quality prints due to technology used

Tech Tip: inkjet printers can have either a single colour cartridge that has all colours, or separate cartridges for different colours. If your colour prints use more than 1 colour, go for the multiple cartridge printers. Otherwise, you'll have to replace the entire cartridge if one colour runs out, even if the other colours have not run out yet.

HP DeskJet


HP Ink Tank System


2. LaserJet Printers


  • Fastest printing speeds (20+ pages per minute)
  • Toner powder dries instantly, hence no smudging
  • Multiple devices can connect to one printer simultaneously
  • Low printing cost per page


  • Quality of prints is not as high as that of Inkjet printers

Laserjet printers are commonly used in businesses and enterprises that need low-cost, fast printing for large volumes. Depending on the model, some laserjet printers can print up to 20,000 pages a month.

Toner cartridges are powdered ink that’s more grain-like than regular ink. Toner powder is collected and then transferred to paper by the charged printing drum. The paper is then heated to melt the toner particles and help make sure that your print sets properly.

Tech Tip: Although laser printers are more expensive to buy initially, they turn out to be more economical in the long run compared to inkjet printers due to their lower per page printing cost.

HP LaserJet


3. Other types of printers

a. HP DeskJet Ink Advantage

  • Ideal in the studio or job site
  • Can print up to A1, A0 or D-size
  • Compact design and some models come with a built-in stand
  • HP DesignJet printers

Our Printer Recommendations:

  • For occasional printing of documents, kids' homework, photographs, tickets
  • Occupies less space, high-quality printing
  • We recommend the HP DeskJet printers or the HP Ink Tank printers

Tech Tip: If you need to print more than 100 pages a month, go for Ink Advantage or Ink Tank based on your budget

HP DeskJet


HP Deskjet Ink Advantage


HP Ink Tank System


  • For printing reports, invoices and other documents
  • Printing needs of more than 300 pages per month
  • We recommend the HP OfficeJet printers or the HP Smart Tank printers

Tech Tip: While the initial cost may be high, you will end up saving money in the long run because of extremely low printing cost

HP OfficeJet


HP Smart Tank


  • For printing more than 300 pages a month at fast speeds
  • Multiple functions required like scanning, copying, etc
  • We recommend HP LaserJet printers

Tech Tip: Look for additional functions to increase productivity such as duplex (Automatic 2-sided) printing, automatic document feeder (ADF). For faster speed of printing and to connect more than three devices at once, go for WiFi or Ethernet-enabled laser printers

HP LaserJet


Need a virtual walkthrough to select your ideal printer? Try our Smart Finder at

Once you have decided on which type of printer is best for you, you can narrow your selection based on factors like multifunctional capabilities and colour printing. Your printer is vital to your work or school success, so make sure you get the one that will best suit you, whether it’s an inkjet or laser printer.

Some terms to know:

Resolution: Determines clarity of the print, measured in dots per inch (DPI). The higher the DPI, the better the print quality

Monochrome prints: Black and white printing

PPM: Pages per minute, determines the speed of printing.

Cost per page: This is the cost of ink consumed to print one page. This is different for colour and black & white prints. This is derived using the cost of ink divided by the total number of prints one refill produces. Use this to determine the cost of ownership of the printer.

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