|Shopping For An Inkjet Printer|
|By The iScrapbook Team, last updated 11/21/2008
|Inkjet printers are a great choice for digital scrapbooking since they're relatively inexpensive, produce stunning results, and can be used in the convenience of your own home (think instant gratification). The prints from modern inkjet printer rival the print quality of photos printed on commercial printers. Inkjet printers also typically produce more vibrant colors than color laser printers, another type of printer many scrapbookers may consider purchasing.
Inkjet printers do have some downsides. They consume a lot of ink when printing scrapbook pages because most scrapbook pages have little or no white space and ink can become expensive. For best results, inkjet printers also require special paper which adds additional expense. Most consumer-grade inkjet printers can handle normal personal use well, but if you're printing lots of pages you may want to consider a more expensive professional-grade inkjet printer. Professional-grade inkjet printers can actually save you money in the long run because you can buy ink for them in "bulk".
When shopping for an inkjet printer for scrapbooking, there's actually quite a bit to consider. This article will describe the features you should look for so your scrapbook pages look as good on a paper as they do on screen.
|Price is a major consideration for most people. What's not apparent to most, is that the cost of consumables (ink and paper) can actually outweigh the initial cost of the printer. An industry trend among inkjet printer manufacturers has been to offer printers at really low prices (sometimes below cost) to entice customers to buy, but then make up for it on the ink and paper consumables.
You should thus look at the total cost of ownership associated with each printer you choose. This means you should consider the cost of the printer itself, the capacity and cost of ink cartridges, and the cost of paper. More on this follows below.
|Supported Paper Sizes|
|Your printer determines the size of paper you can print on. Most printers are only capable of printing on Letter (8.5"x11"), Legal (8.5"x14"), and other smaller sizes of paper. To print on 12"x12" paper (a popular scrapbook paper size), you'll need what's called a "wide format printer".|
|Make sure the printer is capable of printing all the way to edges of the paper (this feature is commonly called "full-bleed" or "borderless"). Without this feature, a blank margin will be left along each edge of the paper. Some printers advertise that they print full-bleed but can in reality only print full-bleed on certain limited paper sizes. This means you need to make sure the printer you choose supports full-bleed printing on your desired paper size. If you're hoping to print on 12"x12" paper, be especially careful of wide-format printers that say they print full-bleed since many of these will print full-bleed only at sizes other than 12"x12".|
|Individual Ink Cartridges|
|Inkjet printers typically produce their range of colors from four or more different ink colors. The standard four colors are: black, cyan, magenta, yellow. Some printer manufactures sell a single cartridge that contains all four inks. This means if you run out of one color, you have to replace the entire cartridge of inks even if there is plenty of ink left in the other colors. Other printer manufacturers sell individual cartridges for each color so you only have to replace the ink color that has run out. Individual ink cartridges means less wasted ink and hopefully more economy.|
|Number of Ink Cartridges|
|In recent years, inkjet printer manufacturers have started producing printers that use as many as 9 different colored ink cartridges. These additional ink colors allow the printers to produce even more accurate colors. If color accuracy is important to you, then you should consider a printer with these additional ink cartridges. If you like producing black and white prints, some of these printers contain special blacks inks just for black and white prints.|
|Ink Cartridge Capacity & Price|
|Printing scrapbook pages takes quite a bit of ink since the entire page usually has printing on it. Ink will thus be a major cost in printing scrapbook pages. Unfortunately, printer manufacturers make the bulk of their money from selling ink so the price of ink should be a major consideration in your printer purchase. Ink cartridges hold varying volumes of ink (usually measured in milliliters). Higher volume ink cartridges typically cost less per milliliter than lower capacity cartridges (in a sense you're buying in bulk).|