The printer buying decision boils down to what you are willing to spend to get the features you want. The good news is that today’s printers combine multiple features, often at low cost.

Below are the printer features most home users look for. Whether you are a typical home user or not, make sure you consider your lifestyle in choosing a printer.


Cost may be a straightforward consideration for most buyers. However, there are a few things you should think about before you set your budget.

Even inexpensive printers can produce great prints. Baseline printer quality is getting better. Many inexpensive inkjet printers can produce photo-quality prints. And, with all-in-one functionality becoming common on lower-end models, inexpensive printers are looking more and more attractive.

You'll have to replace ink and paper. So why not make replacements convenient? No more sudden ink outages and tedious trips to the store. Dell printers tell you when your ink is running low and direct you to the online ink shop. Watch for free 3–5 day shipping offers that sweeten the deal (Valid in Continental U.S. only, except Alaska).


Features determine what you'll be able to do with your printer. As you look at printers, you’ll need to evaluate these basics.
  1. Wireless printing — Many printers are going wireless a must-have in a multiple-computer setting. (Note: PC must have a wireless card, be connected to a wireless network, and have the printer software installed for proper function)
  2. Copy, scan and fax functionality — All-in-one printers allow users to easily copy, scan and fax documents. Previously a luxury, these features are becoming standard on inkjet printers.
  3. Print speed — Most printers can print at least 15 pages per minute in black, which satisfies most home users. Those operating a demanding home office may want to go for higher print speeds. (Print speeds will vary with use.)
  4. Print resolution — Resolution determines how crisp your images will appear in print. It's measured in dots per inch, or dpi. Printing pictures? A higher dpi helps ensure photo-quality prints.
  5. Color or black-and-white — Most home users enjoy the versatility they get with color printers.