I'm searching for a printer that will give me the highest quality print out for a press-n-peel / etching project I'm playing around with and I just realized that I seem to be having a blonde moment..

I don't understand the thought process of why printers describe the maximum print resolution as a formula (e.g. 2400 x 600 dpi.. or 600 x 2400 dpi).. so..

Question 1: Does that mean I get 2400 dots horizontally and 600 dots vertically? But isn't the printer printing the page line by line horizontally? The printer is printing the page in 1 dimensions so why is the resolution in 2 dimensions?

Question 2: And is there a difference between 2400 x 600 vs 600 x 2400 I assume so but just have to check because I know I'm stupid right now.

Question 3: Ultimately I want to purchase a monochrome laser printer to print the highest possible resolution press-n-peel templates for artistic etching project. Within a reasonable budget of maybe $500... finding a comparison on printer resolutions seems to be very hard to find so.. which printer will meet my needs?

I just don't understand and I'm sure this is a stupid question but please explain it to me like I'm 5.


  • I'm not going to answer this because hardware is kinda off-topic here. Sorry. But anyway, these numbers are mostly marketing hype used to fool consumers. The lowest of the two values is the true highest possible resolution.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jun 2, 2021 at 10:37
  • Did you get your questions answered?
    – Circle B
    Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 13:17

3 Answers 3


Ignoring any discussion of what is the true highest resolution, "The printer is printing the page in 1 dimensions" is false.

The printer may print in a scanline-like fashion, but the paper feeder mechanism itself can act as a resolution limiter: what looks like a smooth feed is usually a step-wise motion with discreet movements at the scale of the print resolution. It can be overcome, but (aside from cost) the design tension is between quality and speed.

  1. Printer resolution is listed in two dimensions, because you have the resolution of the printhead (horizontal), and the resolution of the paper advance mechanism (vertical). (The high number is just promotional hype)
  2. The higher number is always going to be referencing the printhead resolution, the lower number will represent the paper advance mechanism.
  3. In my experience, you cannot perceive any improvement in resolution over 600 dpi without a magnifying glass. Brother has an excellent printer (HL-L6200) that has served us very well for years.

There is a printer head moving left to right. 1 dimension.

There are some rollers moving the paper from bottom to top. 2 dimensions.

I do not know if there is a standard on what resolution take into account first, the head or the roller, so I suppose the difference is on how each manufacturer uses the data.

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