Printers & printing - Printer types

When you have gone through all the trouble of capturing an image on camera, the most satisfying moment is when you are holding a nicely finished print on glossy paper.

To accomplish this, the inkjet or bubble jet printer is probably the most common in the home market. It works by propelling tiny drops of ink on paper and is capable of producing high quality prints especially when using "Photo" inkjets with the right type of photo quality paper. Their ink cartridges are quite expensive though and droplets of ink may bleed and affect neighboring colors.

For regularly printing large quantities of images a color laser printer would be a better choice. They are quieter in operation and generally produce higher quality images. Their initial purchase price is higher than inkjets, but running costs will be lower in the long run. It uses a laser beam to generate an image, which is transferred to paper electronically by an electronic charge which deposits toner on paper.

Dye sublimation printers form images by delivering dyes to the paper using heat. Images are close to photo quality but as yet consumer models can only produce small prints and they are unsuitable for normal correspondence as special paper is needed.

Thermal Wax or Microdry printers work in the same way but use wax based colors dyes which eliminates the need for special paper, so printing documents is possible.