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Printers & Printer Supplies Buying Guide

Bring home a new printer and turn your home or home office into a do-it-yourself printing haven. Whether you want to print digital photos or need a cost-effective way to make hundreds of prints, you'll find ink-jet printers, photo printers, laser printers, or multifunction printers to fit your needs on eBay Canada.

Select the Right Type of Printer

Select the Right Type of Printer

Concentrate on the type of things you want to print when selecting a printer. Popular brands include HP printers, Epson printers, Lexmark printers, Canon printers, Dell printers, Samsung printers, Minolta printers, Panasonic printers, Oki printers, and Brother printers.

Get a good general-use printer

Inexpensive ink-jet printers print text and photos in black & white and colour, and offer most home printer users all the functionality they need. They make a good choice if you plan to print documents, spreadsheets, Web pages, and a few family photos.

Some printers mix cyan, magenta, and yellow (CMY) ink to create black text. These printers can quickly use up your colour ink and black often takes on a blue or green tone. Instead, look for a printer that has a separate K cartridge of black ink. A lot of newer printer models offer a four-colour cartridge. If you want the ability to replace each colour as ink runs out, look for a printer with separate cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink cartridges.

Create a digital darkroom

Photo printers are a type of ink-jet printer designed with photography enthusiasts in mind, using separate cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink cartridges to produce detailed images. For professional-quality photo printing, look into six-colour photo printers that also have light cyan and light magenta ink. Photo printers can also have these features.

  • Memory card slot: Many photo printers have a memory card slot that allows you to print from your camera's memory card without transferring photos to your PC first.

  • LCD preview screen: Preview prints on your printer's LCD screen.

  • Borderless printing feature: Borderless printing enables the printer to print right up to photo paper edges. Look for a photo printer that supports borderless printing for 4x6 or 8x10 photo paper.

Take your printer anywhere

Compact and lightweight mobile printers, also called portable printers, can go anywhere you go and can also include a scanner. Some manufacturers also offer mobile photo printers.

Put a printer in your home office

Anyone who prints more than 100 pages a day can save time and money by using a laser printer instead of an ink-jet printer. Laser printers feature large paper trays, print more pages per minute than ink-jets, and come in two varieties: monochrome and colour.

  • Monochrome laser printers: Fast monochrome laser printers produce sharp black text at about six to eight pages per minute (ppm) (12 to 14 ppm at minimum settings). Although laser printers cost more than ink-jet printers up front, the cost of monochrome toner costs less per printed page than ink.

  • Colour laser printers: Ultra-versatile colour laser printers use CMYK toner to turn out vivid photos and graphics at a rate of two to three ppm. They cost more than monochrome laser printers, photo printers, or ink-jets. However, if you need to print a large number of colourful images for your home business in less time it takes to print on an ink-jet, they make a good option.

Print, scan, and copy with one device

Get a multifunction printer, also known as an All-In-One (AIO), to enjoy the great economy of having printing, scanning, copying—and often faxing—in a single multifunction printer device.

Available as ink-jets or laser printers, multifunction printers take up less space than a separate printer, scanner, fax machine, and photocopier. Unfortunately, multifunction printers don't do everything perfectly, so prepare to sacrifice a little quality for convenience.

If you tend to scan or copy multiple sheets of paper, look into a multifunction printer with an automatic sheet feeder (ADF) so you don't have to feed each sheet of paper individually.

Use a dot matrix printer

Dot matrix printers use a typewriter-style ribbon and may seem like a throwback to the early days of home printing. They still work well for point-of-sale (POS) printing, however.

Pick up printer accessories

You'll find hundreds of printer accessories on eBay, including printer cleaning kits, printer repair kits, and printer power supplies. When buying a new printer, make sure the consumables for your printer are available on the market and figure the cost of consumables, such as replacement colour ink-jet cartridges, black ink-jet cartridges, paper, photo paper, black laser toner, colour laser toner, drum cartridges, and ribbons, into your final printer price.

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Understand Printer Specifications

Understand Printer Specifications

Know how to compare the technical differences between printer models

  • Printer resolution: Resolution describes how many dots a printer prints horizontally and vertically per inch. Higher resolution printers produce superior image quality. In general, 600x600 dots per inch (dpi) works fine for plain text while 1200x600 dpi to 5760x1440 dpi works well for photos.

  • Printer speed: Measured in pages per minute (ppm), printer speed determines how fast the printer can turn out a blank page or a page of text in draft mode. In general, laser printers print faster than ink-jets and monochrome laser printers print faster than colour laser printers. As speed increases, price tends to increase as well.

  • Printer memory: Like your computer, printers have an onboard processor and memory. For the most part, your computer does a great job lining up print jobs by itself, but look into upgrade solutions if you have concerns. You can find plenty of memory upgrades on eBay.

  • Printer connections: Printers can connect to your computer via USB 1.1, USB 2.0, or a parallel connection. A parallel port may suffice for personal use or in a small office. USB 2.0 offers high data transfer rates and the option to daisy-chain devices. Make sure the printers you look at include the type of connector you want to use and get the right printer cables. If you want to network your printer, set up a print server on a dedicated computer or buy an external print server.

  • Operating system compatibility: Make sure the printer you select is compatible with your Mac, Windows, or Linux machine.

  • Printer paper handling: Make sure the printer can handle the types of paper you use. Some printers can print on heavy stock, envelopes, transparencies, and labels. Most ink-jet printers, laser printers, and multifunction printers will print text and images to letter-size paper, legal-size paper, and envelopes, depending on the print options you choose. If you plan to frequently print to different sized paper, look into a printer with several paper trays and note the capacity of each tray. High-end printers may offer multiple output trays, collators, and automatic staplers.

Sellers often include product specs from a product's box, manual, or manufacturer's website in their item listings. This information comes from the manufacturer and your actual printer performance will depend on the print settings you choose when you print.

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Find Printers & Printer Supplies on eBay

Find Printers & Printer Supplies on eBay

Once you know what type of printer or printer supplies you need, go to the Computers & Networking portal, click Printers or Printer Supplies & Accessories, and start searching for item listings on eBay.

  • Categories: The Categories list on the left side of each page will help you narrow down your listings by item type. For example, the Printers Categories list contains links to All-In-One, Multifunction, Ink Jet & Photo Printers, Laser Printers, and more. As you dig deeper into the site you'll also be able to narrow down your choice by brand.

  • Keyword search: Search eBay listing titles for specific words. For example, if you want to find a colour laser printer, type "colour laser printer" (without quotation marks) into the Search box. Select "Search title and description" to expand your results. Visit eBay's Search Tips page for more tips on searching with keywords.

If you can't find exactly what you want, try shopping eBay Stores, tell the eBay Community what you want by creating a post on Want It Now, or save a search on My eBay and eBay will email you when a match becomes available.

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Buy Printers & Printer Supplies with Confidence

Buy Printers & Printer Supplies with Confidence

Before making your purchase, make sure you know exactly what you're buying, research your seller, and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you.

Know your purchase

Carefully read the details in item listings.

  • Figure delivery costs into your final price. If you spend a lot of money, make sure the seller will insure the item when it ships.

  • If you want more information, ask by clicking the "Ask seller a question" link under the seller's profile.

  • Always make sure to complete your transaction on eBay (with a bid, Buy It Now, or Best Offer). Transactions conducted outside of eBay are not covered by eBay protection programs.

  • Never pay for your eBay item using instant cash wire transfer services through Western Union or MoneyGram. These payment methods are unsafe when paying someone you do not know.

Know your seller

Research your seller so you feel positive and secure about every transaction.

  • What is the seller's Feedback rating? How many transactions have they completed? What percentage of positive responses do they have?

  • What do buyers say in their Feedback? Did the seller receive praise?

  • Most top eBay sellers operate like retail stores and have return policies. Do they offer a money-back guarantee? What are the terms and conditions?

Buyer protection

In the unlikely event that a problem arises during your transaction, eBay and PayPal are there for you.

  • Pay safely with PayPal: PayPal enables you to pay without the seller ever seeing your bank account or credit card numbers. In fact, PayPal protects buyers 100% against unauthorized payments from their accounts. Plus, with PayPal Buyer Protection, your purchase can be covered up to C$1,250.

  • eBay Security & Resolution Centre: Visit the Security & Resolution Centre to learn how to protect your account and use eBay's quick and efficient resolution tools.

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