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The Printer On Your Desk

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By Author: Louisa London
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HP, Epson and other printers

The modern printer is an indispensable adjunct to every modern desk- once you have bought your new computer, the next piece of equipment that you consider is the printer. There are many makes, and even more types of printer, and few people consider which is the ideal for them before buying. The major make in the UK (figures taken in March 2010) is HP, which has nearly 50% of the market share. Epson holds the next largest share at 17%, and Lexmark, Samsung and Canon combined only sell 20% of UK printers.

Which printer is best?

One of the most important factors in the cost and longevity of your printer is the type of cartridge, and ink, that it uses. Printers can be divided roughly into two main types, laser jet printers and ink jet printers. Laser jet printers are more expensive, as are their cartridges, which use ink toner, but the number of pages that can be printed by each cartridge is a great deal more than with an ink jet cartridge, as high as 2000 sheets per cartridge. Many would assert that the quality of printing is superior. Ink jet printers are cheaper and generally ...
... come with both black and colour cartridges- the total cost of the printer can often be less than buying 2 new cartridges, and indeed the manufacturers will sometimes artificially lower the price of a printer in order to make their profits on the ink cartridges bought during the life of the printer. This year sales of ink jet printers have overtaken laser jet, accounting for nearly 60% of the market.

How they work

HP ink jet cartridges work using a thermal impulse, produced by a resistor within the cartridge, which causes a bubble to form in the nozzle. With millisecond timing the increased pressure forces ink onto the page being printed. Canon and Lexmark also use similar thermal devices but Epson uses a piezoelectric impulse to produce a similar effect.

How much do they print?

Manufacturers for the most part do not make public either the amount of ink contained in the cartridge or the average number of pages that can be printed. To be fair, this is very difficult to estimate because each page printed has different characteristics. HP once estimated the number of pages that could be printed by an ink jet cartridge as being around 800, but at 5% coverage-which is very nearly a blank sheet! Various computer magazines have published figures that they've researched for average number of printed sheets per cartridge: these estimates are usually of the order of 300-500 per cartridge. An ink toner cartridge for a laser jet printer should print 2,000 sheets.


It has been estimated that 350 million ink cartridges are discarded to the dustbin every year in the UK, and they take hundreds of years to break down, so it's a very good idea to recycle each empty cartridge as you replace it. One form of recycling is to refill the cartridge. Inks with composition close to the original formula are sold commercially, often with a filling device, although refilling is only possible a limited number of times. Some printer cartridges have protective devices so that they cannot be refilled, some printers have defensive software to reject cartridges that have been made by other companies.

With so much variation, it's worth doing some research before you make that purchase!

If you're looking for a high quality, yet affordable HP Toner Cartridge, then look no further than Ink N Toner, a UK company offering a wide range of toner and ink cartridges including HP InkJet, PhotoSmart and OfficeJet HP Printers.

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