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Printer Types

All-in-One Printers
An all-in-one printer (also known as a multifunction or MFP) combines the features of more than one device in one package. At its simplest, an all-in-one offers a printer (either an inkjet or a laser printer) together with a scanner so that it can act as a printer, a scanner, and a copier. Many all-in-one devices also have the capability of sending and receiving faxes, which make them very useful for home offices and small businesses.

Inkjet Printers
Inkjet printers are the most common home printers available today. They come in a wide range of prices, depending on what features you need and the type of quality you're looking for. You can get a solid printer that can do your business letters and your kids' birthday cards for under $100; if you want something that will print professional-level graphics, you could spend ten times as much.

Photo Printers
Photo printers fit into a range of printer types. They are optimized for printing photographs, which means that more attention is paid to color quality, and less to text quality and speed. They are available in a wide range of sizes -- there are several on the market that are very small, so that you can take them along with your camera and print photos on the go. Many, including the portable printers, will connect directly to your digital camera, so that you don't need a computer to print out your pictures. Others will have slots for digital media cards, so you can simply remove them from your camera and pop them right into the printer.

Laser printers
Laser printers have traditionally been used for business applications because they offer higher speeds and crisper print. They tend to be more expensive than inkjet printers, although prices have dropped considerably -- you can buy a home monochrome laser printer starting at about $200. There are color laser printers as well, but they are priced above the budget of most home and small business users.

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