Like any job, you need the right tools on hand to get the work done effectively. The same logic can be applied to preparing to send your loved ones back to school. The transition into a new year, new challenges and opportunities calls for the right gear to be available. The good news? You don’t need to spend a fortune to set your budding students on the right path. We’ve pulled together a selection of IT essentials to start the school year off right.

Print perfect
How do you shop for a new printer? Do you walk up to the in-store display filled with printers, noting how they all look kind of the same? And after staring at them blankly for a few minutes or so, pondering the price difference between the various models, should you opt for the cheapest one? Well, you’re not alone. Buying printers can be a confusing exercise, especially when faced with so many options. What is an inkjet printer? Is a laser printer a better option? What’s the cheapest printer to run? Do I really need a scanner? Where do I even start? Allow us to demystify the technical mumbo jumbo and make your buying decision a whole lot easier.

Inkjet printer
One of the most popular choices for the home is an inkjet printer, a system that uses ink-filled cartridges. Cheaper to buy, an inkjet printer delivers high quality prints but is best suited for occasional use as opposed to bulk printing, due to the high cost of replacement cartridges. And it’s important to use them regularly to avoid clogging the ink jets.

Laser printer
Typically reserved for high volume printing, laser printers use a powder-based ink that sets on the paper. While they’re generally more expensive to buy outright, the lower cost of ink makes them a viable proposition for bulk usage, and they tend to print faster too.

Ink tanks
Some budget inkjet printers use a single cartridge that contains all the ink colours. The problem with that system is that when one colour runs out, the entire cartridge has to be replaced, making it a potentially expensive option. The principle behind an ink tank is simple; the cartridges are refillable through bottles of ink. It saves on waste and keeps the cost of printing low.

Multifunction printer
The Swiss army knife of the printing world, a multifunction printer combines the ability to print with a scanner and sometimes a copier, too.

Duplex printing
Duplex printers will print on both sides of a page, thus reducing the amount of paper required for a printing task.
If your printing is uniquely black and white, a monochrome printer will fit the bill nicely.

Canon TS3160
Coming from a reputable brand, the entry level inkjet Canon TS3160 combines print, copy and scan functionality. It’s a sleekly designed unit and small enough to perch on a desk without taking up too much surface area. A quiet operator, it produces good quality prints perfect for school projects.

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Epson Expression Home XP-4100
The Epson Expression Home XP-4100 is another multi-functional printer that scans, copies, and can also print double-sided. It has a colour screen for easy operation and once paired with devices, it’s possible to print directly from a smartphone or tablet and even direct from cloud storage.

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HP 1202NW Neverstop
For large volume black and white printing jobs on a regular basis, the fast HP 1202NW Neverstop is the laser printer for the job. Perfect for a household with several students, it has 5,000 pages worth of toner that is easily refillable at a low price, making it a very cost-effective printer. Operated via an app, jobs can be sent to the printer from anywhere and it can also scan and copy.

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Canon G6065 Pixma Endurance
A good example of large scale printing using ink tank technology is the Canon G6065 Pixma Endurance, which can print 7,700 colour pages and 18,000 black and white. A compact printer, it also has scan and copy features and can print a multitude of different job sizes. It’s wireless, has an LCD display for easy operation, and can hold 350 sheets of paper.

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