Print from your Apple devices with an AirPrint printer
An AirPrint printer buying guide
AirPrint is a technology created by Apple that allows you to print instantly from a number of Apple electronics such as the iPad, iPod touch, iPhone and Mac computers without having to download or install drivers or software. In order to make use of the AirPrint technology, you must use an AirPrint compatible printer. Fortunately, many of the most popular printer manufacturers make a number of AirPrint printers to choose from. Because of this, it is important to consider many factors when deciding on the best AirPrint printer for your needs.
>> Which type of printer is best for you?
When you buy an AirPrint printer, one of the first things to decide is what type of printer to buy. The two main types of printers to decide between are color inkjet and laser printers.
- Inkjet: Color inkjet printers are one of the many computer accessories and peripherals that are in many homes. These are some of the best AirPrint printers because of their versatility. Inkjet printers can print almost anything, including pie charts, essays, glossy photographs and much more.
- Laser: Color laser printers are computer accessories often found in businesses. The top AirPrint printers of this type can print large amounts of text very quickly. Document printers from the best AirPrint printers that are laser printers will be crisp and sharp, and the ink will not run if it becomes wet.
>> Consider functionality
When deciding on the perfect AirPrint printer models, it is important to consider what features will be useful and what you plan on doing with your new computer component. If you look at a list of AirPrint printers, you will see that there are many different types ranging from plain printers to mobile printers, and from USB printers that need a connection to a computer, to wireless printers that need no cable.
- Plain printer: These are the best AirPrint printers if you only need to print text, images and color photographs. Top AirPrint printers can print almost anything, including graphical items, plain text and photographs of virtually any size. New AirPrint printers of this type can print on various sizes and types of paper. Buy an AirPrint printer like this if you only need to print and don't need to scan, copy or fax.
- All-in-one printer: Both inkjet and laser printers are available as all-in-one printers, copiers and scanners. When you buy an AirPrint printer, consider an all-in-one model if you also need to scan or copy pictures or documents. Additionally, if you are limited on space, consider an all-in-one printer rather than a separate printer, scanner and copier. Some of the best AirPrint printers of this type include a built-in fax machine.
- Photo printer: If you will be spending most of your time printing photographs rather than text or documents, it may be beneficial to buy an AirPrint printer that is a dedicated photo printer. Top AirPrint printers in this category will usually print good quality photographs, often comparable to those printed by a kiosk or mail order photograph printing service.
- Mobile printer: Portable AirPrint printer models are much smaller and lighter than regular printers. They typically weigh between two and five pounds and can hold a standard 8.5-inch wide sheet of paper. If you spend a lot of time traveling and need to print on the go, buy an AirPrint printer that is portable.
>> Consider memory requirements
Inkjet AirPrint printers use the computer's memory to process a print job, whereas laser printers are equipped with their own on-board memory. The best AirPrint printers of this type have 256 MB to 512 MB of RAM to ensure that they can handle large print jobs. Some of the top AirPrint printers designed for printing graphics can have 1 GB or more of on-board RAM.
>> Specifications you should know
In order to make an informed decision when buying an AirPrint printer, there are certain specifications that need to be understood.
- Dots per inch (dpi): This specification defines how many dots the printer will print on a square inch of paper. When purchasing a printer, those with higher dpi can print sharper, more detailed text and images.
- Print speed: This is a measurement of how many pages or photographs per minute (ppm) a printer can print. The print speed listed by printer manufacturers should only be used as an approximate number as there are many factors that determine true print speed.
>> What features do you need?
The best way to decide which features you need is to think about how you will be using the printer and what type of things you plan to print.
- USB port: All good quality AirPrint printers will have a USB port that allows them to connect to both Windows and Mac computers.
- Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or infrared wireless: Many of the best AirPrint printers will have the ability to connect wirelessly via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or infrared connectivity. Many top AirPrint printers are also equipped with PictBridge, which allows you to connect a digital camera directly to the printer. Some new AirPrint printers can also download or print directly from a camera's memory card.
- Memory card reader: Many of the best AirPrint printers are equipped with a memory card reader so that you can print images from a memory card taken from a digital camera or other form of external media without using a computer.
- LCD viewer: Many new AirPrint printers incorporate a small LCD screen. This allows you to view and edit images from a memory card. While some of the best printers have screens that are four inches wide or larger, most are smaller.
- Ink monitor: Most good inkjet printers will be equipped with an ink monitor to alert you when the ink is getting low.
- Internet connectivity: Many all-in-one printers are able to communicate with the Internet by running applications that allow you to print online content. Some can even send print jobs to your home computer from a remote location.
- Double-sided printing: Many high quality AirPrint printers offer double-sided printing. This type of printing prints the odd-numbered pages of a document first. When they are finished, you flip the pages over to print the even-numbered pages on the other side of the paper. Some printers are equipped with built-in duplexers so that they can print on both sides automatically.
Using an AirPrint printer will allow you to print from almost any Apple device without having to download or install any special drivers or software. Using an AirPrint printer, you can print from many Apple applications, including Safari, Mail, Photos, Maps, Camera, Numbers, Pages and Keynote.