In a nutshell, B. A. Computer Services discourages the purchase of liquid ink-based printers for general printing purposes. Nonetheless, there are some good reasons to buy specialized ink-based printers, primarily related to photographic printing.
Ink-based printers are sometimes offered free with purchase of a computer for the simple fact the printer itself is not the money-making item, it is the very high cost of ink cartridges. Someone might argue that $15 is not all that high for a cartridge, but consider the number of pages that can be printed for that $15. The page yield is often not printed on the cartridge box at all, but experience with inkjet printers will quickly demonstrate that any given cartridge may last only a few hundred pages, or if you have to mess around with cleaning the head or making test prints, you may get only 50 pages printed, in several hours of time before the cartridge shows empty again!
Another key reason ink-jet printers (often also marketed as desk-jet printers) are poor choices is their failure rate over time, especially if not used frequently. The tiny tubing that is required to flow the ink from the cartridge to the printer head, and the printer head itself WILL DRY UP over time and clog the system. Attempts to free the clogs are usually futile, and replacing the tubing and printer head becomes an ordeal beyond most printer-owners’ ability. In contrast, a laser printer, if it sits, will happily fire back up months later because laser printing is basically a dry-printing process.
What about those scan-copy-print-all-in-ones? They seem like a great deal! First of all, how often do you really need to copy a stack of papers? Once a month? Is it possible that the cost of getting those copies done at the local copy shop or library greatly outweighs your personal need for an awkward and cheap machine to do it at home for you? Further, if you have a printer, it is likely you also have a computer, and probably a cell phone too these days. Have you tried taking a picture of your document with a cell-phone application, and emailing it to yourself, or directly to the recipients? That email can then be viewed on your computer, and the page printed. Even better, B. A. Computer Services can demonstrate how you may turn your phone into a page scan-copy-print device directly without the need of your computer at all.
Printer models change over time so it is impossible to recommend any particular model without details about your needs. However, on the average, laser printers have throughput about 10 times the throughput of inkjet printers. One very inexpensive laser printer recently sold at Walmart for $110, had a printing speed of up to 26 pages per minute! The standard toner was rated at 700 pages and cost about $45 to replace, while a high-yield (recommended) toner cost $80 for 3000 pages of print (less than 3 cents per page)!
One last consideration regarding ink-based printers — the printed ink will run when wet! Inkjet printers are simply a very poor choice for long-term storage of documents. Any accidental spill over an inkjet print will smear the ink all over the page. Even a wet thumb on the corner of the page can distort part of the printout. Laser prints are a dry printing process and are much more highly rated for legal document storage. No serious business should ever consider printing their invoices on ink-based printers.