Portable Laptop Printers – different types?

If you’re looking for laptop printers which are also portable there are a few things you need to consider first before you make your purchase.  There are lots of different type of printing mechanism as well as connectivity and all these affect the size, and cost.  Find out more below.

When it comes to finding out which portable printer is right for you there are two main things which you need to consider.  The first is whether you’re looking for an inkjet or thermal based printer.  Now you may not have even heard of thermal printers but you’ll actually use them almost everyday.  They’re most commonly used for printing receipts, as well as tickets, labels and so forth.  The reason for this is that they don’t use any ink, they’re reliable (because they don’t have moving parts like an inkjet printer) and their running costs are low as well as them being very compact.  This makes them perfect for portable laptop printing because essentially you want something which is portable.  Portable means lightweight and small, and thermal printers tick both the boxes because they’re both small and very light (usually just 1-2 pounds maximum).  They’re reliable because unlike an inkjet with an ink head moving back and forth (which is fine for stationary use but moving moving parts is never a wise thing to do) they don’t have any moving parts or far fewer in the rare instances that there are some.  In this case it’s quite clear that if you want true mobility then thermal portable printing is where you need to be at.  But they come with their downsides too.

To start with, thermal portable printers tend to print to much lower resolutions, around 200-300 dots per inch, you may find some with 400 dpi but they tend to be unreliable.  This is incredibly low, it’s not so bad for black but you can expect modern day equivalents to be able to print around 600 dpi for black – so they’re twice as good.  But when it comes to color, the dpi needs to be far higher and you can expect modern printers to have at least 2-3,000 dpi which isn’t unreasonable whatsoever, and it’s this which really lets the thermal printers down.  They’re also more expensive than their counters, usually around 50-100% more expensive which is nothing to be laughed of.  They have one added advantage in that their overall running costs are reduced because they don’t need ink cartridges.  On the other hand some argue that this is offset by their thermal paper which is require for them to work and which costs double that of regular inkjet/laser paper.  Nevertheless over long term use I have no doubt in my mind that they are cheaper, because I don’t think they’d have such widespread commercial use if they were more expensive.

Inkjet printers comes with their downsides too, but we’ll take a look at what’s good about them first.  To start with their core functionalities are simply better, their resolutions are higher, their print times are faster, they can print photographs out, on many different sizes of paper, many different types of paper.  Overall inkjet mobile printers can perform better and do much more which is great if you want almost everything a stationary printer can do with it just being portable.

However their downsides are firstly with regards to their portability, they tend to weigh between 4-7 pounds meaning they’re a little heavy.  What’s worse than this is looking at them from a dimension perspective they’re also much much bigger, a thermal device you can slip into a deep pocket and it’s similar to a battery from a laptop in size.  On the other hand an inkjet based wireless portable printer is more similar to a net-book and twice as thick.  This makes them unsuitable for people who need genuine portability such as in the field construction workers.  If you’re a travelling businessmen then go ahead because they’ll be great for printing of your glossy business cards.  It’s completely fine if you’re taking them from one destination to another, to set up somewhere temporarily.  But if you’re on a train it’s not the type of device you can quickly whip out, use in 2 minutes and store away again.  They’re portable, you can use them in your car with a portable printing car adapter, but they’re not for rugged use – they’re simply not reliable enough, not compact enough and not lightweight enough for that.

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