Toners, Inks and Consumables (11)

What is CMYK?

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CMYK is simply the range of colours in printer ink.

C = Cyan (the blue colour)

M = Magenta (the red colour)

Y = Yellow

K = Black (K stands for key as it is required to produce true black colour)

How much will a machine cost to run?

If the user buys the consumables for their printer, then it is impossible to know for sure which is cheapest, as it depends entirely on the amount of toner/cartridge coverage on the page – it can range from 1% to over 150% or more coverage.

The only way in which we can work out average running costs is through the ISO [International Organization for Standardization] toner/cartridge yields, which allows us to work out how much it costs to print a standard PDF document. From this information, we can then say that one machine is cheaper to run than another.

Should a customer need their print costs to be at a guaranteed price, then the only option in a Managed Print Service [MPS], which allows you to get a set cost per page printed.

How much do I have to pay for replacement consumables/parts?

The cost of replacement consumables and parts depends entirely on the brand and specification of the bits and pieces that you want. Generally speaking, higher yield toners will cost more money than those with a lesser capacity. However, in the long-term, consumers tend to find that these are much more cost-effective.
When it comes to replacement parts, prices will vary subject to the machine that you own. Manufacturers all retail their replacement parts at different prices, so it can be useful to research these costs before buying your machine. This will give you a good idea of which brands offer greatest value for money.

Can I still print using black if the colour toner has run out?

Something that often surprises customers is that greyscale does in fact use coloured toner, so generally speaking, if the colour toner has run out, you cannot print using black. However, Xerox operate a ‘run black’ system, which allows you to do this effectively with selected devices.

Do consumables dry up?

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Laser and LED printers use dry toner – they should last a lifetime, as long as they are kept at a normal room temperature.

Solid Ink should also last as long, provided it is kept inside its sealed wrapper.

Inkjet cartridges, on the other hand, have a shelf life due to the liquid ink deteriorating over time. Also, when they are opened, the heads tend to dry up if only used occasionally – frequent cleaning cycles may be necessary to prevent this, though that does use up a small amount of ink.

On some occasions, the Inkjet cartridge heads can dry up to the point where they cannot be cleaned and, therefore, require a replacement.

What is toner?

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Toner is a powder that is superheated onto the paper to form text and images – it is used in laser printers.

What brands are best for vibrant output?

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Different brands boast different features, and some brands are better for certain types of output than others. When it comes to vibrant output, Oki, Xerox and Samsung are renowned for their excellence. This is all to do with the toners that they use.

What is Solid Ink?

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Solid Ink is a patented colour print technology offered only by Xerox. Similar to a wax crayon, small solid blocks of non–toxic, no–mess ink are used, as opposed to traditional toner and inkjet cartridges.

Xerox Solid Ink printers melt blocks of the Solid Ink and lay them onto the page at print speeds close to that of Laser machines.

The Solid Ink blocks are easy–to–use and do not compromise on print quality.

What is a gel printer?

Gel printers are a patented technology owned by Ricoh – they use cartridges similar to Inkjet devices and print at a similar speed, too.

Ricoh have stated that, once the prints have dried, this technology is water and fade resistant.

What is GSM or g/m2?

GSM or g/m2 simply mean ‘grams per square metre’.

This relates to the weight of the paper and manufacturers will state the maximum weights their printers will accept.

What is the maximum GSM that laser printers will accept?

Most A4 office printers accept maximum weights of anything between 90gsm – 250gsm.

A3 office printers accept anything up to 350gsm.

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Printer Technology (32)

Why is there a vertical line down the page when I’m printing?

Generally speaking, a visible vertical line down your page after printing is an indication that the image drum in the machine may be damaged.

It could also mean that the machine is reaching the end of its life. An idea would be to check the page count of the printer, or run a quick maintenance check to make sure that the machine isn’t simply in need of a clean.

If this doesn’t solve the issue, then you may need to consider a new machine.

Is my printer Wi-Fi compatible?

Many of our machines are now Wi-Fi compatible. To find out if your machine is Wi-Fi compatible, double-check the specification of the model that you have purchased. All features and facilities will be listed in the printer handbook, and will also be mentioned online on our website.

Another quick way to check if your machine is Wi-Fi compatible is to check the name of the machine. If your machine has a ‘W’ in the title – for example the Dell E310DW – then this generally means that the machine has Wi-Fi capabilities.  In some cases, the ‘W’ may stand for something else – such as ‘white’, so be aware of the fact that this may not be for every printer. However, generally speaking, this is a fairly reliable indicator – make sure you always check this to be absolutely certain, though.

Why are there dots on my page when I print?

Dots on the page are usually a sign that the printer you are using needs a good clean. Paper dust, glue and other things can wear off inside the machine, damaging the surface of the drum. When this happens, toner can build up or stick to these areas of the drum, which causes black dots on the paper.

Why is the paper jamming in the machine?

If the paper that you have put in the machine is jamming, then this could be for a multitude of reasons. The two most common causes of this issue are a) cheap paper and b) paper that’s too thick.

To avoid any future paper jamming issues, do your research to find out which papers are/aren’t compatible with your machine. The standard paper thickness for most machines is between 80gsm & 120 gsm.

Will my operating system support this printer?

Some operating systems, particularly older or dated systems, may not be supported by your new machine. We usually advise that printers last for about 3 years before they will need replacing. Of course, this depends entirely on how much you use the printer.

However, this means that newer machines are less likely to support old operating systems. The best way to find out whether or not your operating system is supported is to check the specification of your printer. All of this information will be available to find either online on our website, or in the printer handbook.

How can I find out the total cost of ownership for my printer?

The TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of a machine refers to the expected cost of the machine by the time it reaches the end of its duty cycle. When buying a printer, many customers only take the initial price of the machine into consideration. If the face value of a machine is relatively cheap, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the total cost of ownership will be the same.

In fact, in many cases, cheaper printers can end up being more expensive in the long-run. Replacement parts, ink and toner all contribute to the TCO of a machine, so that cheap and cheerful machine may prove to be much costlier than you first anticipated.

Should I choose Laser or Inkjet?

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This decision depends on how you plan to use your printer.

Inkjets are designed for low-volume printing and tend to have a higher cost per page, although some business Inkjets are bucking this trend.

Laser machines are much more suited to high-volume printing and will give you much sharper images, however, if you want high-resolution photo prints, then Inkjet is the best choice by far.

Inkjet devices can wrinkle and saturate standard paper, so specialist Inkjet media is recommended for the best results.

Toner is waterproof and fade resistant, therefore Laser printers tends to produce a much more stable colourfast output.  Whereas, Inkjets can only replicate this with the more expensive pigment inks.

How do I choose my printer?

Generally speaking, we recommend that you base your printer choice on the volume and frequency of output. In simple terms, if you are printing lots of documents on a regular basis, it would be beneficial to invest in a more expensive, heavy-duty machine. If on the other hand, you will be printing lower volumes on an occasional basis, then a smaller, more affordable machine should be absolutely fine. All printers come with a ‘duty cycle’, which refers to the monthly volume guidelines. Pay attention to this when you are buying your printer, as you may find that the machine you were originally looking at doesn’t actually meet your needs and requirements.

Another factor to consider when shopping for a printer is what it is that you wish to print. If you intend on printing lots of images, then your ideal machine will be different to someone who wants to print lots of text.

Why is my printer smoking / steaming?

More often than not, a printer that appears to be ‘smoking’ is actually a lot less sinister than it may seem. Though this may look alarming, what you are probably seeing is more than likely to be steam as opposed to smoke. Steam coming off your printer is not uncommon, particularly if the media that you are printing on is damp. This may produce a water vapour or steam.

However, if you have reason to believe that what you are seeing is definitely smoke, or if there is a ‘smoky’ smell eschewing from the printer, then turn the machine off, and contact the manufacturer immediately.

How do I connect my printer using AirPrint?

Printing using AirPrint is easy once you know how. As long as your printer is AirPrint-enabled, then you can connect your iOS device to it, allowing you to print all of your photographs and documents with ease.

First of all, you must open the app that you want to print from. In order to find the print option, simply tap on the share icon. This should bring up the option to print.

Select ‘print’

The iOS device will then load devices connected to it. Select the AirPrint-enabled printer.

You will then be able to select the number of copies that you wish to print. If you want more than one copy, you can change this now. If you just want one copy, then you can leave this.

Finally, tap ‘print’ – and you’re good to go.

What is a wide format printer?

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Wide format printers are simply Inkjets that are capable of printing on large-size media, such as A3, A2, A1 etc. – they are generally used to print large posters and banners.

Does my printer come with a USB cable?

In the majority of cases, your machine will not come with a USB cable as standard. However, if you have reason to believe that your printer should come with a USB cable, but this is missing from the box, then please let us know. We will happily replace any missing parts, you also have the option on our product page to add a USB cable.

Why can’t I scan to network?

If you are experiencing difficulty scanning to a network, then this is most likely to be a connectivity issue. Double-check to ensure that everything is properly connected and try again.

If the issue persists after you have trouble-shooted, then it may be worth contacting the manufacturer directly to report the issue. More often than not, though, a network connectivity failure is highly resolvable.

Why can’t I scan to my PC?

If you can’t scan to your PC, this will usually be due to some kind of connectivity failure. Check that the two devices are connected with one another to begin with. Some older computer systems won’t be compatible with new printing devices, so if you’ve had your computer for quite a while, or it’s running on an outdated operating system such as Windows 97, then this may not work. If, once you have trouble-shooted, the issue persists, contact your printer manufacturer promptly.

What brands are best for a matte finish?

If you want to achieve a high-quality, matte finish, then HP and Brother are up there with the best.

Why do my photos look poor?

Poor quality photographs can be the result of a variety of things. The image quality, media type and colour spaces all impact highly on the output. In order to overcome poor quality output, it is important to consider the various causes of the issue.

Why is my printer taking so long?

If your printer is taking a long time to function, this could indicate an issue with the connection or a dodgy file. To resolve this, you need to address each possible fault.

Firstly, check that everything is properly connected. Check the settings on your PC, laptop or mobile device and ensure that everything is fully linked up.

If everything appears okay with the connection, check to see that the file is safe. If there is an issue with the file, then it is likely that the document will not print. A simple, quick-fire way to test this is to simply double click to open the file. If an error message pops up, and the file does not open, then there is a strong chance that it is corrupt.

How do I install paper trays?

Your paper trays should always come with full installation instructions to guide you through the set-up process. If you are having issues with this, or if you are struggling to locate these instructions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

There are some great installation tutorials online, too!

What are the media restrictions with paper trays?

With any paper tray, there will be media restrictions. What those restrictions are will depend on the paper tray that you have bought. Some trays have a higher capacity than others and so on, so this will completely vary. When you buy your paper tray(s), this information should come with the item itself.

What is a dot-matrix machine?

Not dissimilar to typewriters in the way that they operate, dot-matrix is a form of computer printing which works using a print head that moves up and down or in a back and forth style motion. The print head strikes the ink-soaked cloth ribbon against the paper, and prints using the impact.

Though this style of printing isn’t common nowadays, it has been highly popular in garages and when printing documents of high-importance such as bank statements.

What is a solid ink/wax printer?

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Currently the only group of printers that adopt this style of machine is the Xerox ColorQube range. Sold in/wax printers are exactly as you would imagine them to be. Unlike fluid ink cartridges, wax printers run of solid ink sticks. In order to print, the ink melts and transfers onto the paper. Xerox have copyrighted this method of print.

What is a gel printer?

Gel printers are a patented technology owned by Ricoh – they use cartridges similar to Inkjet devices and print at a similar speed, too.

Ricoh have stated that, once the prints have dried, this technology is water and fade resistant.

What is a thermal printer?

A thermal machine uses heated pins to form characters on specialised, heat-sensitive paper. The printer works by sending an electric current to the heating elements in the thermal head. The heat generated activates the thermos-sensitive colour part of the thermos-sensitive paper. When this comes into contact with the heat, the colour changes.

Can I print A4 on my A3 machine?

Yes, of course you can! Depending on the manufacturer or model of your machine, you will probably have to use the printer handbook to follow instructions on how to adjust the settings to suit A4 paper.

What is dpi?

The term dpi simply means ‘dots per inch’ – this refers to the number of individual dots that the printer can produce.

Although dpi is often used by various manufacturers to promote the quality of their printers, it is important to bear in mind that the higher values are not always a true indication of better prints.

At Printerbase, we almost always note the dpi of a machine in the product description so that our customers have a fair idea as to what their prints will look like.

What is bit depth?

The term bit depth refers to the shades of colour each dot can represent.

For example, a printer with a low bit depth will have to separate the dots to simulate shading, which reduces the dpi.

Whereas, a printer with a high bit depth would be able to alter the shade of each dot without separating them – giving the printer a much higher dpi.

What is a RIP?

RIP is the Raster Image Processor, which is the internal or external software that processes the job and tells the printer where to put each dot.

What is the difference between a USB, parallel, serial and network printer?

USB, parallel, serial and network are all ways in which to connect your printer to a computer or network.

If your printer simply plugs into your computer, then a USB cable is normally used – although older parallel or serial connections are occasionally required.

However, if you plan to use your printer as part of an office or home network, in which several people need access to the machine, then the best choice is a network printer than connects directly to your router.

What is a WiFi printer?

A WiFi printer is a printer that can print directly from a WiFi network without the need for a cable or a cord to connect the two physically.

As time moves forward, WiFi printing is becoming a more common feature on a lot of machines, and manufacturers are keen to make this a standard feature on all future models.

At Printerbase, we retail a whole portfolio of WiFi connected printers that are great for increasing productivity and enhancing workflow.


What is a mono printer?

A lot of people are confused by the term ‘mono’, but all it means is that a printer prints solely in monochrome – AKA: black and white. It’s that simple.

Generally speaking, mono printers or multifunction devices tend to be slightly cheaper than their colour counterparts. These machines are usually quite popular with businesses that print a lot of formal documents, or schools and colleges where copious amounts of colour printing can end up costing a lot of money.

Mono printers and multifunction devices are usually cheaper to run, too. You can pick up good quality black ink sometimes for a fraction of the price of colour. So, if your colour printing needs are minimal or non-existent, a mono machine is the perfect option for keeping costs to a minimum.

What is a duplex printer?

The term ‘duplex’ is commonly used in the printing world to describe printers and multifunction devices that print, scan or copy (or all three!) double sided.  Some machines do this automatically to help reduce paper and costs instantly, whilst others require the user to specify that they want to do this. When buying a printer, look out for the terms ‘automatic duplex’ and ‘manual duplex’ .

At Printerbase, we tend to simplify this term to either double-sided or two-sided to avoid unnecessary confusion with ‘techy’ jargon. Double-sided functionality, whether that be in printing, copying or scanning, is a great way to reduce paper consumption and cut waste and costs.

When printing double-sided, the maximum paper weight accepted in the machine is usually much lower.

What is secure print?

Secure print is a specialised safety and security feature that allows a user to print documents confidentially. This gives the user complete peace of mind when printing, and that added reassurance that their sensitive data and documents are fully protected.

In order to utilise the secure print function, the user enters a password by going into the properties of the printer driver before sending the job to the machine.  Then, rather than printing automatically, the document will be stored on the printer until the same password is entered. This ensures that the person printing the document, and that person only, has access to the document once it’s been processed.

This feature usually requires a HDD [Hard Disk Drive].

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Other (5)

What is my warranty?

In short, this refers to the length of time that you are covered for with your machine. For example, if your machine comes with a 3-year manufacturer warranty, and it breaks down within that time, you are liable for a complete refund or replacement from the manufacturer. The majority of our machines come with a lengthy warranty, giving our customers that much-needed peace of mind.

How long will my delivery take?

We deliver the next working day after your purchase has been made. We usually advise that next working day delivery is guaranteed providing that order is processed in full by 4:30pm.

To keep your costs down, our next day delivery is completely free of charge. If you want a time slot delivery pre 12pm, there is a charge of £15 ex VAT.

Why can’t I locate my printer when I go to install it?

If you are struggling to locate your printer when you go to install it, then it is likely that there has been a connectivity failure, and that the computer hasn’t picked up the device

Can I come to your office to buy a printer?

Unfortunately, not, no – although we do love meeting our customers! Our service is for delivery only, and all orders must be made either online or via telephone.

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2 Replies to “FAQs”

  1. Do you ship internatinally?

    1. Hi Rico, thanks for getting in touch.

      Unfortunately not except for a couple of exceptions. You can find our delivery terms and conditions here – https://www.printerbase.co.uk/free-delivery-terms

      The Printerbase Team

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