What happened to my brother printer

How does a printer work? Easily explained

There is one in almost every household: the printer. But only a few know how a printer actually works. We explain to you what constitutes the technology of a printer and what happens between your devices before you hold a printout in your hand.

Printer as output device - this is how printers work

In principle, a printer is nothing more than an output device: like your screen, it also displays data visually - images, text, photos. Unlike the screen, a printer fixes these on paper, which is why, depending on the process, they are applied to the paper with toner powder or ink. The most popular types of printers are inkjet printers and laser printers:

  • Inkjet printers are cheaper to buy. On the other hand, they print more slowly than laser printers and deliver poorer image quality in lower price ranges. Inkjet printers are still recommended for home use, as even the cheapest models can also print in color. You will find the best inkjet printers in our price comparison.
  • Laser printers cost far more than inkjet printers. Print a lot, but save on the cartridges in the long run: Laser printers work with toners. Even a small amount of toner is enough for about 2,000 printed pages. With us you will find the best inkjet printer in comparison.

Inkjet printer: printing method and characteristics

As the name suggests, inkjet printers spray fine drops of ink onto the paper and thus create entire printouts. A droplet is about 0.3 to 0.4 millimeters in size. The resolution of an inkjet printer depends on the number of nozzles on the printhead.

  • Older inkjet printers often had low resolutions of 300 to 360 dpi. In the meantime, even inexpensive inkjet printers such as the Canon Pixma MG3550 deliver good results with a resolution of 1200 dpi.
  • The printing speed of inkjet printers is still comparatively slow. The Canon Pixma MG3550 prints 10 pages per minute in black and white. With color printouts it only manages 6 pages per minute.
  • Another disadvantage of inkjet printers is the nature of the ink itself: it is often not waterproof and smears when the printed paper becomes damp. In addition, the ink itself is moist, which is why some types of paper already curl when printing.

Laser printer: printing method and properties

Contrary to what the name suggests, a laser printer's printout is not produced by rays. An image drum that is statically charged is built into the laser printer. The drum is bombarded with a laser beam at the points where an image point is to be created. The image drum discharges, creating a kind of negative of the image to be printed. The image drum is then coated with the toner powder, which has the same charge. The powder only adheres to the uncharged parts of the drum - then the imaging drum is heated and the powder is fixed on the paper.

  • Inkjet printers have a resolution of at least 600, but mostly 1200 dpi. The resolution of high-priced models can be even greater. This means that inexpensive laser printers such as the Brother HL-2135w produce sharp images.
  • The Brother HL-2135w only prints in black and white. It creates 20 prints per minute - twice as many as the aforementioned inkjet printer.
  • When printing, the laser printer does not generate any moisture - on the contrary: the paper is heated. Therefore, the paper does not curl. To do this, you have to dig deep into your pocket to get a color laser printer. A good color laser printer is the Brother HL-4150cdn. But that costs around 270 euros - those who rarely print are better off financially with an inkjet printer.

If you are also interested in 3D printers, you will find a comparison of the best 3D printers here.