Reviews of Bluetooth Printer Adapters
Bluetooth printer adapters enable you to connect Bluetooth-enabled devices such as your laptops, cellphones and PDAs wirelessly to your printer. This not only helps you to get rid of long messy cables running between the devices but it also makes you printer more portable. Usually one adapter can enable the printer to connect to 5-10 devices simultaneously.
Depending on the design Bluetooth printer adapters may adapt a USB port or the parallel port on the printer to receive Bluetooth signals. Bluetooth Class-1 adapters provide the maximum range within which good signaling can be achieved. Manufacturers claim that you can print within a 100m range but in the real world the range depends on the amount of interference from other wireless networks in the vicinity and the environment.
For printers, you do not need to worry about power consumption. So go with an Bluetooth printer adapter optimized for communication range rather than economy of power.
There are many brands of Bluetooth printer adapters available in the market in the price range between $20-$150. The better known brands are Belkin, HP, Linksys and D-Link. I have reviewed below the ones I have used at home and at work.
I have used the Belkin F8T031 Bluetooth Wireless USB Printer Adapter with HP and Brother Laser printers. It offers Class-1 Bluetooth services. You have to carefully read through the manual to get the installation correct. Once you load the software, it works quite well. It is also compatible with Pocket PC and Palm OS. In my office settings, we connect up to five devices to the adapter within 20m-25m range and it works very well. The drivers for the printer may not work well with Windows Vista. It is also big and bulky.
The HP bt450 Bluetooth printer adapter is has memory stick-like form factor. It uses the Bluetooth 2.0 technology which provides greater coverage and higher data-transfer speeds. I use it for printing pictures from my Bluetooth capable digital camera wirelessly. The printer responds well to print instruction given with a 30m range. However, the printer drivers may not be compatible with all cameras. In fact not all HP devices are compatible with this adapter.
D-Link DBT-320 Bluetooth printer adapter has an antenna to provide good coverage. It is also a little hard to install both with Windows and Mac OS. However, in terms of performance, it is similar to the Belkin adapter. It is also bulky.
Most of the Bluetooth printer adapters are known to have problems with software installation. If you have installation problems, check for updated drivers and instructions on manufacturer’s website or manufacturer’s customer service to install your adapter. For all these Bluetooth printer adapters, I had to get some help from their customer service to establish a stable and working Bluetooth network.