Walk to the printer with your laptop, connect a USB cable and then print? It is one way to do it, but not necessarily the most elegant. Even the most budget-friendly printers nowadays easily connect to your wireless network at home, which means that you can send your print job from anywhere – and with which device.
Okay, not all printers that are in the store today can be connected to WiFi, but you won’t have to search for long. Even those models that are the friendliest for your wallet (think prices from around 40 USD) make the connection hassle-free. When you choose a printer, there are actually no reasons why you should not take a printer with WiFi.
Print via WiFi
Connecting to your home network is often a one-time hassle. The interface on the device usually shows you the way smoothly, but it is entering your password that often causes some (again: one-off) misery. Not all printers have a touch screen, so it often takes a while before you have selected the correct letters, numbers and other characters with the arrow and ok keys. Even if your printer has a touchscreen, it can still be tricky: those things are usually so small that you quickly type a letter or number incorrectly.
The good news: that only has to happen once. From the moment your printer is on the network, it becomes a breeze. The operating software of your Windows PC or Mac usually finds it automatically.
If this does not happen due to circumstances, go to the settings in the Start menu (Windows) or your Preferences (Mac), and choose your printer manually, or download the appropriate operating software if necessary. Once the device is on the network, it usually goes smoothly.
Print from your smartphone
A wifi printer in the house not only accepts print jobs from your computer: mobile devices are now also easily recognized. Apple and Google have therefore developed relatively new modules for their operating systems.
With iOS, you have AirPrint, which connects directly to a printer on your network, and that allows you to print from a lot of apps (via the ‘Share’ button, so the arrow).
With Android smartphones, you have a counterpart, Google Cloud Print, which after a first link even sends a print job from anywhere on the internet to the printer at home.
The printer you buy must be compatible with those new systems. But the standards in question are already well established.