What Printer Can I Get That Will Not Smear?

You don’t have to live with prints that smudge when you touch them, highlight them, or get them wet. The majority of printer technologies aimed at small businesses are resistant to smudging. Avoid dye-based inkjet printers in favour of laser printers, solid ink printers, and pigment-based inkjets.

Laser Printers

Pages from a properly functioning laser printer cannot smear once they are ejected. To create page images, a laser printer employs a solid material known as toner. After an electric charge adheres to the toner on the page inside the printer, the page passes through a special heated roller known as a fuser. The fuser melts the toner onto the paper at temperatures up to 400 degrees, making it unlikely that it will melt off the paper in the future. If your printer’s fuser operates at a lower-than-ideal temperature, your laser prints will smudge. To address this issue, adjust the temperature of the fuser on a regular basis.

Solid Ink Printers

Solid ink printers provide the vibrant colours of inkjet printers without the risk of smudging. These printers, like inkjet printers, use solid ink sticks that are melted to create liquid ink that is applied to the page. However, when dry, the inks revert to solid form and are virtually impervious to smudging. The only disadvantage of this technology is that the ink remelts at temperatures near the boiling point of water. While this would never happen in an office, it could happen inside a car on a hot day.

Pigment-Based Inkjets

Traditional inkjet printers employ two ink technologies. Solid colourant particles are suspended in a liquid solvent by pigment-based inks. The solvent evaporates when the printer deposits them on the page, leaving the solid pigments behind. According to major printer manufacturers, this technology is much more resistant to smudging than dye-based printing and can even withstand a highlighter or spilled water in many cases. Printers that use pigment-based inks are manufactured by Epson, HP, and Canon.

Maximizing Ink Performance

If you must use a dye-based inkjet printer, use good printing techniques and printer-appropriate products to reduce smears. Allowing prints to sit in the output tray of your printer for a minute or two before touching them will give the ink more time to dry. Special coated inkjet papers can also help to lock the dye into the sheet and reduce the risk of smudging.

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