Printers are some of the most common peripheral hardware devices in use in homes and offices. A printer can be used to make printed copies of documents, images or photos, in black and white or in color.
The two most common types of printer are the laser printer and the inkjet printer. Laser printers use toner cartridges while inkjet printers use ink cartridges. A laser printer typically produces higher quality print outs, but inkjet printers are more common, particularly among consumers who need printers for home use since inkjet printers tend to be cheaper than laser printers. Laser printers also tend to work faster than inkjet printers, and the toner cartridges typically last for longer than ink cartridges. Laser printers use their laser to create an image on a drum. This drum is then rolled through the toner. Electrical charges generated by the laser determine which parts of the drum pick up toner. A combination of heat and pressure are then used to transfer the ink that has been picked up from the drum onto the paper. LED printers are an alternative to laser printers. LED printers also use toner rather than ink cartridges, but rather than using a laser to direct the printing process, they use LED lights.
Inkjet printers work by spraying little drops of ink onto the paper or other medium. The ink is directed by magnetized plates. Most inkjet printers can be used for either black and white or color printing, while there are some laser printers that can only be used for black and white printing. Color laser printers are also available that can create both types of print out.
Solid ink printers are more commonly used in offices than in the home. They are able to print on a wide range of different surfaces, including the transparencies that are used with overhead projectors. A solid ink printer works by spraying ink onto a rotating drum. The paper or material, which is to be printed upon is then passed over the drum, and the image or text is printed onto it.
Dye sublimation printers transfer dye onto the medium using heat. They can be used to print on a wide range of different surfaces, including paper, canvas and plastic. Usually, these printers produce one color at a time, using a ribbon that has multiple color panels. Dye sub printers, as they are often called, are generally used to produce high quality color images, such as photographs and they may not be as effective at printing text. These types of printers were once restricted to photo shops, but there are no consumer grade versions available.
Inkless printers have also been developed. The traditional inkless printer is the thermal printer, which uses heat to print on a heat sensitive paper. This type of printer is mainly used in devices such as ATMs and cash registers. They can produce color print outs, although they are commonly used to create black and white documents.
A newer form of inkless printer is currently being developed that is intended to use UV light to print upon paper that has been coated with chemicals that are sensitive to light.
Other types of printers have been used in the past, such as dot matrix printers, or are used for special purposes. Special printers are also available that are designed to be used for particular purposes, such as printing photos. Small portable printers are also available. More information about different types of printers is available on the Boomeranghardware.com website.
Different models of printers use different types of ink cartridges or toner, which will be fitted into the printer in a particular way. There can also be differences in the controls on different printers and in the sizes of paper which can be used with them. It is important to consider these aspects of different types of printer when choosing a new printer, as well as thinking about the type of printer.