When it comes to picking a printer, it isn’t an easy decision. No matter what printer you pick, they aren’t exactly known for being the most user friendly things around. It can also be one of the most important things you purchase during your homeschool journey.
I’ve worked with printers a lot, in the office setting, and now at home. I’ve learned a thing or two along the way, which I’m going to share with. We’re going to take a closer look at what makes a good printer so you can pick the best printer for homeschooling.
Why do I need a printer for homeschool?
If you aren’t convinced you need a printer for homeschool, let’s talk. It has got to be one of the tools I use the most. There are so many free printables out there that you can just download and print to teach your kids with.
Not to mention lots of arts and crafts you can download too! Printers are for way more than just worksheets.
Also, you may want to print material from your online curriculum, and as your kids grow and type out reports, nothing is more satisfying than getting that paper with a nice big red A on it.
I use my printer many different ways, and almost every day.
What to look for in a homeschool printer
There are two things you really need to worry about when picking a homeschool printer:
- The cost of the printer itself
- The cost of consumables (Ink cartridges)
What looks like a cheap printer may not be so cheap once you realize how fast you blow through ink cartridges. Remember, each ink cartridge will tell you how many pages it is rated for!
I’m also going to only recommend “big” household names for printers, since they are generally the easiest to work with.
You should also think about if you are in the market for a printer only, or an “all in one” printer that also scans and copies.
Now, let’s take a look at what you need to know about printers in general.
Types of printers
There are two types of printers, inkjet and laser jet. Each of these come in two different types, black & white and color. That means you have four choices when picking a printer, ranked from least expensive to most expensive.
- Black & White Inkjet Printer
- Color Inkjet Printer
- Black & White Laser Printer
- Color Laser Printer
To me, laser printers are the ultimate when it comes to printers. One of the main advantages it has over inkjet is that the pages won’t run if you get them wet. With an inkjet paper, the ink will run if you get it wet which isn’t great in many scenarios.
When it comes to Black and White vs Color Injkets, most injects you buy today will be color. While it says color, it still has a black and white cartridge in it, as well as a color cartridge, so they can be used for black and white printing only.
The most magnificent printer out there is probably the color laser printer.
Do I need a color laser printer for homeschool?
Here’s the problem with a color laser printer for homeschool, the printer itself is expensive, and so is the color laser ink. Honestly, we don’t print with color very often, we mostly use black and white.
I have a black & white laser printer, and a color inkjet printer that has a scanner built in that I use mostly to make stickers. I’ve saved some money by buying cheaper ink cartridges, and they last much longer since we don’t use it very often.
Which should I choose for homeschooling, a laser printer or an inkjet printer?
The biggest thing here is your budget. If you aren’t concerned with money, then a laser printer is the way to go. My black and white laser printer is probably one of my single best technology purchases in my home. They are meant for higher volumes of printing, and are what you would see in most offices.
That’s not to say that ink jet printers are bad, the big problem I have is that the ink will run if it gets wet, since the ink is water based.
Laser jet printers use a special ink called “toner”, which is actually made out of polyester, so it won’t run and is basically indestructible. This is important if you want to get into crafting with your printer, or you like to print recipes to use in the kitchen.
Picking the Best Printer for Homeschool
Now, let’s take a more in-depth look at several different printers that are great for homeschooling. These are sorted by price, from least expensive to most expensive.