Has your printer malfunctioned? Do you just need another one for your home or office?  Not sure what to get or how to install a new printer?  These pointers should make the process easier and quicker.

What Printer to Buy

First, what printer should you buy?  This depends on what you are using it for. 

Laserjet Printers

If you are printing a lot of documents for an office or flyers for a project, I would suggest looking at a laser printer. These are able to handle thousands of prints per cartridge instead of around 500 with inkjet printers. 

The laser printer also has toner which will not dry out if you are one of those that only prints occasionally and have a problem with the ink in your printer drying up before you can use it. 

Laser printers come in 2 different categories, monochrome and color.  Monochrome is just a fancy word meaning black and white.  These are good if you only print information documents or don’t need to have things printed in color. They are also cheaper, you can pick on up for about $100-$300 depending on features.

If you want color on your laser printer you are going to be looking at a bit higher price.  They start at about $300 and go up to the thousands depending on the features that you want. 

Even though it is a color printer you won’t get great pictures out of it.  This printer is designed for colorful documents, not photos.  This is the laser printer I have used for about 3 years now and have loved it. 

Inkjet Printers

If you want to have great pictures from your home printer, you want to get a photo printer or a higher-end inkjet printer. 

For photos, you want to look for a printer with more than the standard 4 colors (black, magenta, cyan, and yellow).  You want to find one that has at least grey, you can find printers with light magenta, light cyan, some even come with green now.

The more colors and the lighter colors allow the printer to put the drops closer together so when you look closely at the picture you won’t see spacing. The way a standard printer makes a lighter shade of a color is to spread the drops further apart so it looks lighter, but when you look close you will see a pixelation effect. 

So if you want to print great pictures at home spend the money on a good printer with 5-8 cartridges.  This is a printer I would suggest for pretty good quality pictures.

If you want a cheap printer just to print school papers and occasional recipes online then you can get a cheap inkjet printer. 

When you are looking for these kinds of printers walk over to the ink aisle while you are at the store and see how much the cartridge is for the printer.  Sometimes the ink is more than the printer. 

If you do get one of these inkjet printers make sure you are printing something on the printer at least once a week to keep the cartridges from drying out. 

I have seen printers destroyed because the owner only printed something once in a great while and the heads got plugged up. Then they had to get a new printer instead of just ink.

You can go to google.com and just print that page once a week, it has all the colors in it and won’t use much ink.  You can even use the same page every week so you don’t waste paper.

Now You Have Your Printer How Do You Install It?

Most printers these days come network ready.  This means that you can connect them to your home or office network either wired or wirelessly. 

This is the most common way to connect your printer these days so we will discuss that first.  If your printer is going to be installed with a USB cable follow along and skip the parts talking about IP addresses and such.

First, pull the printer out of the box and remove all the packing plastic and tape.  Check everywhere for the tape pieces they put on the printer to keep everything closed and from moving while being shipped.  Pull out all the drawers and open all the access panels, they put tape everywhere.

Now put the printer on the table or shelf where you are going to use it.  Plug it in with the provided power cord and press the power button. 

While the printer is starting up for the first time go to your computer.  If the printer came with a disc go ahead and put that in and follow the instructions for downloading and installing the software. 

If there is no disc or you can’t find it then go to the manufacturers’ website and download the software.  Depending on the maker of the printer you want to go to canon.com, brother.com, hp.com, etc

These sites usually have a support option at the top with a drivers option somewhere within the support page.  Just search for the printer you bought and download the drivers for it.  If it gives you multiple options you will usually pick the first one, this will most likely be the full package. 

Once the driver is downloaded run the program and it will walk you through the install process. You will get to the point that it asks how the printer is going to be used, USB, Wired or Wireless.  Choose the option that you are going to use for your selection. Stop here and go back to the printer.

Install Toner or Ink

By now the printer should be done doing its start up process and is probably asking you to put in the ink or toner.  Since most printers have a display screen you will see the instructions on the screen. 

Follow these to install the ink or toner cartridges.  You will have to open a door on the front or pull the top up to access this area.  Every printer is different so check the instructions.

With the ink or toner installed the printer should move on to the welcome screen.  If you are using a USB cord you can plug that into the printer and the computer now and continue the install on the computer.  Make sure to plug in the network cable at this time if you are using a wired setup. 

Network Connection

If you are using a wireless setup you want to first run the wireless setup wizard.  On the screen look for a wireless icon, a network icon, a gear or a wrench to get to these settings. 

When you find the wireless setup wizard it will look for your wireless signal and ask you for a password.  Input the details and the printer will connect to your network. 

Once you have connected to the network go back to your computer and continue the install setup. The program will look on the network for your new printer and pull it up on the screen.

If it doesn’t find it then have it try again, this usually works.  If the program still doesn’t find the printer then check your computer and make sure you are on the same network. 

Sometimes if you use your computer outside the house and connect it to your phone it may still be on that signal and you have to switch over.  Other time you may have to reset your router.  If these still don’t fix it then you want to install with the IP address.

Install Printer With Static IP Address

If you have to install with the IP address I suggest setting the one on the printer to a static or manual IP.  To do this you have to set the IP address on the printer. 

Go to the printer and go to the settings, this is going to be a menu button or a gear icon or a wrench icon.  Once you get to the settings look for network settings. 

When you get to there look for TCP/IP settings.  In this menu go to the Static or Manual settings.  When you click on this it will show an IP address it suggests.

Write down this number and click the next button and leave the subnet and gateway as they are and click next all the way through.  All printers are different so look at the manual to find these settings.

Now, go back to the computer and find the button to find the printer with an IP address.  Enter the number that you wrote down and have the computer search for it.  Once it finds the printer continue the install process. 

When the printer is installed it will ask if you want to print a test page.  Click the button and see if the printer prints.  Tada.  Now you have a printer. 

If you need help installing the printer give us a call 720.281.4990.