The struggle to better the competition has also meant that each generation of new models have more and more features added - resulting in a better range of facilities and a better quality of print - to the benefit of you, the consumer.
However, the list of specifications and features when looking to purchase a new printer can be bewildering.
In our printer buying guide we intend to give you that extra bit of knowledge that can help you make the right choice.
Is an inkjet or laser printer the right choice for me?
There are now two main technologies for computer printers. the inkjet and the laser.
The choice in general, will come down the quantity and type of work that you want to do - and obviously the purchase price of the equipment.
The price of a personal A4 Inkjet printer starts from under £30 ($60 USD apx) at entry level to around £90 ($180 USD apx) for the very best.
The cost of producing an A4 text page is around 8p ($0.16 USD apx) with a full colour A4 photograph at between 30p ($0.60 USD apx) and 50p ($1 USD apx) dependent on the printer.
The price of a personal A4 Laser starts at around £65 ($130 USD apx) for a monochrome (black & white) printer and between £190 ($380 USD apx) up to £400 ($800 USD apx) for a colour machine. The cost of producing an A4 text page is around 1p ($0.02 USD apx) with a combined colour graphics and text page at around 2p ($0.04 USD apx).
As you can see, the difference in purchase price is offset by the cost of each print - with the laser producing an A4 page at up to a tenth of the cost of an inkjet print.
Laser printers therefore are much cheaper to run than an inkjet, and will excel at the printing of text and solid colour graphics - reports with logo's and charts for example. However, the machines in the scope of this article can not output a photo realistic print to the same quality as an inkjet.
Inkjets are more expensive to run than a laser, but they produce high quality prints of all types. They can also be found in this price range with the ability to print on CD's and DVD's, to be networked to other computers, and to print directly from cameras, mobile phones and data cards without even having to turn on your PC.
If you want a good all round printer that will give you exceptional quality, and you do not produce large amount of prints then the inkjet is the right choice for you.
There are a few situations in which a home user may consider the purchase of a laser, maybe even as a compliment to a good inkjet photo printer - for example:
You are involved with a local society, sporting group or similar, and are tasked with sending out a monthly newsletter to the other sixty members. Or, you run a small business, and want to regularly send out mailers and information to the 500 customers in your database.
In both these cases a laser would make more sense in terms of the cost per newsletter or mailer. This type of publication would also allow the inclusion of lower quality photos that a laser would produce.
You love the quality of the photos produced by your inkjet, but you want to run off lots of prints - maybe of a holiday or event for friends and family. Batch printing on a personal inkjet printer is expensive. Consider using an online printing service. These will provide the same high quality prints at 6x4 inches at a fraction of the cost - and deliver overnight from your e-mailed files.
Are there any other choices for me?
There are other printer technologies in the marketplace but these all appear on the larger machines for office use. However, there is one more solution to consider. If you have limited space in your home 'office' - take a look at an 'All-in-One' device. For a small premium over the corresponding printer, these machines incorporate a printer and scanner in the same footprint - and offer the facilities of a Printer, Scanner, Photocopier and Fax. For the price these are really amazing value, and offer the home user a feature rich package in a compact unit.