O.K. so you want a printer but you don't want it to cost you the earth..... STOP! remember that the ongoing cost is far greater than the original outlay of the machine i.e. some Ink Jet Printers will cost you under $100 to buy, have minimum amount of ink in the supplied cartridges and when you go to replace your inks, you find that they cost OVER $100. It may be worth buying the $150 Printer that takes the $10 cartridges rather than the $60 printer that takes the $60 cartridges!
Quick Step by Step:
1. Determine your volume (how many pages you will print per month) and select a printer type to suit. (Printers have a duty cycle i.e. 5000pgs per month. Using them more that this will lead to costly repairs early in their life that will most probably not be covered by warranty)
2. Determine your applications (private use, small office do you really need colour?) and therefore the features you are looking for in a machine i.e. printers can now.... Print photo's, CD's/DVD's, onto fabric, fax, copy, scan and much more - what do you want/need?
3. Determine which printer you want/need (Ink or Laser, stand alone printer or a multifunctional/print, copy scan unit) find out what you want then compare all the models of printers to each other (you'll be able to find specs on their web sites i.e. HP, Canon, Epson etc).
4. Determine your ongoing costs firstly what are the costs of the cartridges? how many pages do they print/how long will they last (don't be fooled, most of the industry quotes at 5% coverage which is not much! i.e. this cartridge will do 500pgs @ 5% Coverage which is gererally just a fairly plain letterhead worth of ink not even the body of the document) are there compatible cartridges available? How long do the print heads last and what is the replacement cost (if it's an inkjet). How long untill it will need maintenance and what is the cost?
5. Buy your machine with piece of mind you may spend a little more on your original outlay but you could save THOUSANDS in ongoing costs.
p.s. lastly... printers do not come supplied with the cable that connects them to your computer - get your supplier to throw one in for free, or at cost!