Printer Specs Guide

Printers have come a long way in recent years with technology playing a major role.  Jargon and new terms can make purchasing a new printer confusing.  This guide will help you understand the vocabulary used when discussing printer specs and capabilities.

Inkjets Printers Are Best For

  • Occasional printing.
  • Quality colour printing.

Ink costs

  • Cartridges are cheaper to buy up front, but you get less prints per cartridge.
  • They may require several colour cartridges, depending on the printer.

Ideal for home use, home office, printing documents, tickets etc.

They are typically compact units.

Laser Printers Are Best For

  • Fast, frequent black and white printing.
  • General colour printing.

Ink costs

  • Cartridges are more expensive up front, but you get more prints per cartridge.
  • Needs a black toner and colour toner to work (black and white only models are available).

Ideal for home office and business use. They are typically larger in size.

Print Quality

Measured in dots per inch – DPI. The higher the DPI, the better quality of print, but also the more ink that’s used. Inkjets generally offer more detail.

Paper Capacity

The maximum number of blank sheets of paper you can place in your printer.

Auto Document Feeder

Useful for all-in-one printers. If scanning multiple documents, a feeder will take the next page to scan automatically, without you having to insert it yourself.

Optical Resolution

For scanners on all-in-one printers, also measured in dots per inch (DPI). The higher the DPI, the higher the copy quality is. Black and white documents don’t normally require a high DPI.

Print Speed

This is measured in pages per-minute. Laser printers are quite fast. Inkjets vary but are generally slower.

Double-sided (duplex) Printing

The printer can print on both sides of paper without you needing to turn the paper over.

Wireless & Cable

Almost all printers can be easily connected to a desktop or laptop computer using Wi-Fi. You can also connect via USB if you prefer.

To connect with a network, your printer will need an ethernet port.

Mobile Printing

Most printer manufacturers offer apps you can install on your mobile devices so you can print from them directly.

Many printers are also compatible with Apple Airprint (for Apple devices) and Google Cloud Print (for Android devices)

Email Printing (e-print)

This connects the printer to any device that can send emails. The printer will have a special email address and will print files you send it.

Memory Card Slot

This allows SD cards to slot straight into the printer. You can then select want you want to print from the printer control panel.


This allows digital cameras to connect directly to the printer via USB. You can select which pictures you want to print using the printer control panel.


Near field communication allows devices to connect just by touching. Both the printer and the device need to be NFC compatible.

Whatever your needs we recommend sourcing a local equipment provider for the best outcome.


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