Your Complete Guide to the Different Types of Printers
Did you know that the very first mechanical printer was built almost 200 years ago? In the 1830s, a man named Charles Babbage invented this printer and used it with the different engines that he invented about 15 years earlier.
Printers have come a really long way since then. They’ve become a whole lot more sophisticated than they used to be, and they’ve also gotten better about providing people with crystal-clear printouts that are easy to read.
Additionally, there are lots of different types of printers that you can buy nowadays when you’re in the market for one. In fact, there are so many kinds of printers that it can make choosing a printer a real challenge.
You should make sure that you’re able to buy the best printer possible by learning about the various types of printers. Get more information on some of the most popular kinds of printers below.
Of all the different types of printers on this list, laser printers have been around for the longest. They were first invented way back in the early 1970s by Xerox employee Gary Starkweather who spent about five years fine-tuning the very first laser printer.
Laser printers consist of laser lights, drums, and toner reservoirs that are responsible for taking text and images from a computer and transferring them onto printer paper. They’re able to print things out very quickly and can do it for an affordable price.
Laser printers do have a bunch of internal parts inside of them that can wear down over time and force you to tackle repairs. But generally speaking, they’re some of the most reliable printers around and continue to be among the most popular types of printers in the industry.
Although laser printers were some of the first types of printers to show up on the scene, it wasn’t long before inkjet printers came along and made a big splash within the industry. They were first developed in the late 1970s before becoming commercially available in the 1980s.
Rather than relying on lasers and toner to pull off printing projects, inkjet printers have cartridges containing ink in them and propelling nozzles that work to transfer this ink onto paper when you print something out.
Inkjet printers are capable of printing things out quickly like laser printers, and they also provide high-quality printing in both home and business settings. You’ll just need to make sure that you always have ink handy for inkjet printers to avoid delays with printing jobs.
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Solid Ink Printer
Most people are pretty familiar with what inkjet printers are. But they aren’t always as knowledgeable when it comes to solid ink printers.
Many other types of printers that use ink to print things have liquid ink reservoirs in them that provide them with the ink that they need. But solid ink printers have a wax that is used during printing. A little bit of this wax is melted and transferred onto paper when printing takes place.
The downside of using these types of printers is that it can take a long time to print a single sheet. As a result, you aren’t going to want to use solid ink printers for larger printing jobs or when you’re in a hurry to print a single page.
But on the plus side, solid ink printers are known for producing high-quality printouts every time. You’ll love the way that things look when you print them out on a solid ink printer, even if you have to wait a little longer than normal for them to print.
LED printers are a lot like the laser printers that we talked about earlier. The key difference between the two is that LED printers obviously use light-emitting diode (LED) lights to print things out versus laser printers do.
When you hit “Print” on your computer and print something out with an LED printer, the LED lights inside the printer will work to send information from a rolling drum to the ink in the printer. This will allow the printer to then print things out fast without having to use too many internal parts.
Because LED printers don’t have too many parts in them, they’re easier to maintain than other types of printers. They also use up a lot less energy than other types of printers and can print things out fast.
LED printers don’t always produce the highest-quality prints possible. But that will be a small price to pay for the convenience that they’ll add to your life when you invest in one.
Once upon a time, people used to have to purchase several different kinds of equipment in order to be able to print, copy, scan, and fax things. But that all changed when the first multifunction printers started to come around.
Multifunction printers—which are also called all-in-one printers—can take on a variety of tasks as necessary. You can use these types of printers as printers, copiers, scanners, and fax machines all at one time.
And while some of the first multifunction printers were big and bulky and took up a lot of space, newer ones are every bit as compact as most other types of printers are. You should be able to find a place to put one in your home or business so that you can enjoy all the different things that it can do for you.
You won’t find many dot-matrix printers in homes and businesses anymore. These types of printers are very old and look ancient when you put them next to most modern-day printers.
But there are still some people out there who have to rely on these types of printers to print things, so we thought it would be worth mentioning them. It’ll ensure that you know what one is should you ever come across one.
Dot-matrix printers have printer heads that contain a wide range of different pins. When you print something out, these pins will spring into action and work hard to print small dots on printer paper that will come together to create the desired characters.
Many years ago, dot-matrix printers were some of the quickest types of printers around. But if you sit and watch one print something out today, you’ll find them to be on the slower side.
Dot-matrix printers are also often very noisy. It can make them inconvenient to use in homes and businesses since you’ll usually have to sit and deal with the noise that they make until they’re all done.
Like dot-matrix printers, line printers are on the older side. Most of the people who used to utilize line printers have since replaced them with laser printers or inkjet printers by now.
But you will still find some businesses that use these types of printers because of how easy they are to use and because of how cheap they can make it to finish larger printing jobs.
Although a line printer can only print a single line at a time, there are line printers that can print anywhere from 300 to 3,000 lines every minute. This makes them an ideal choice for businesses that have to print out large quantities of text-only documents.
Line printers aren’t a good option for those who need to print out images since they aren’t able to do this. They also aren’t going to be right for those searching for printers with all the latest bells and whistles. But these types of printers continue to have a place in the industry thanks to their efficiency and their cost-effectiveness.
Daisy Wheel Printer
While dot-matrix printers and line printers might be old, they can still compete with some of the other types of printers that have come around since they were first invented. The same cannot be said for daisy wheel printers. If you still have one of these types of printers, you should look into replacing it ASAP.
Daisy wheel printers have rotating letter wheels in them that are used to transfer individual letters, numbers, and characters onto paper. As you can probably imagine, this system can make it impossible to print things in a timely fashion.
At this point, it has also become very difficult to find parts for daisy wheel printers when they need to be repaired or serviced. It’s why so many home and business owners have moved away from using these types of printers.
Daisy wheel printers are interesting to look at and are a reminder of how far printers have come over time. But they don’t really have a place in homes or businesses anymore.
If you own a business, you’re probably at least a little bit familiar with thermal printers. They’re the types of printers that are used to print out things like receipts, bills, and other slips.
There are only a few parts found in most thermal printers. There are thermal heads, platens, and springs in place to complete the thermal printing process.
During this process, the thermal head in a thermal printer will produce heat and use it to print on special paper. The platen, meanwhile, will keep the paper moving through the printer while the spring will apply pressure to the thermal head to ensure that it’s able to print things out smoothly.
Obviously, you won’t really need a thermal printer unless you’re a business owner who prints out things like receipts with one. But thermal printers have maintained a strong presence in the business world because of how quickly they’re able to produce these types of things on command.
Twenty years ago, the idea of using a 3D printer to print out actual objects would have been laughable. But as time has gone on, 3D printers have become more and more advanced. And today, it’s starting to look like 3D printers could become a staple in many homes and businesses soon.
Unlike all the other types of printers on this list, 3D printers don’t print things out on paper. Instead, they print actual things. The thought is that people are going to be able to print out almost any objects that they want in the years to come.
3D printers have molten plastic material in them that can be pushed through a nozzle to create objects from scratch. You will need to come up with blueprints for an object before a 3D printer can get to work. But once you have them in place, using a 3D printer to print out objects is fascinating to watch.
At the moment, 3D printers still work a little too slowly for some people’s taste. They’re also very expensive and not accessible for everyone yet.
But as time goes on, 3D printers are expected to come down in price quite a bit. This should open a lot of people up to them and put them into more homes and businesses throughout the country and world.
Invest in the Right Types of Printers for Your Home or Business
It’s incredible to see how far printers have come over the last two centuries. While many of the earliest printers look prehistoric now, they helped set the tone for what printers would become.
If you’re in the market for a printer, you should consider (almost!) all the different types of printers on this list. Some, like daisy wheel printers, might not be your best option. But you should be able to find at least one printer that’ll do the trick for you.
Read more articles about printers and other computer equipment by browsing through the rest of our blog.