There are scores of office printer models available in the market, so it’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever find a shortfall when it comes to the choices being offered by leading manufacturers. On the contrary, choosing a printer that fits your needs best from such a broad spectrum of options could be one of the biggest challenges that you might encounter when looking for a new office printer.
Where do you even begin when buying a new printer for your business? Read our pointers below to get some ideas on how you can get started with your search.
Choose the right printer size for your business
Always take into consideration the size of your business when choosing a printer. If you happen to have a small office where only a few people will be printing on a regular basis, then it makes more sense to buy a personal office printer than a larger one. A personal inkjet or laser printer is ideal if you’ll be printing only a few dozen pages every day since such machines typically don’t print fast enough to produce large volumes of documents anyway.
Take note that personal printers can be very inexpensive (between $25 to $150), but additional expenses in ink can augment the costs significantly over the long term. Larger businesses may opt to acquire more high-end, more robust models, which can handle larger volumes of documents.
Color printer or just black and white?
In many office settings, documents are usually produced in monochrome or black and white, except when they are needed for more formal applications. A color printer may be required, for instance, when a business needs to produce presentation materials, advertising brochures, or company letter heads. A lot of times, however, this is not the case, so you might not need to invest heavily in color printers. Perhaps a single or a few high-end color printers would be enough for your organization.
Match the printer speed with your printing needs
If you need a fast printer that can produce hundreds of documents per day, then a printer with a printing capacity of between 10 to 20 pages per minute might not suffice. Consider a printer that can print more than 40 pages per minute.
Aside from the actual volume capacity, you should be aware that processing power can also affect a printer’s speed. Host-based printers rely on a connected computer’s processor to produce printable pages. Because they don’t have their own processors, their speed can be affected by factors like the associated computer’s processing power, as well as the amount of other operations the computer is handling at the same time it is printing.
Think if you need a printer that can multitask
Among the most useful equipment businesses can take advantage of are multifunction printers (MFP). These all-in-one printers provide additional functionalities on top of printing, which can include the ability to photocopy, scan and digitize documents, store large volumes of these scanned documents, and share these documents through a network connection or via email.
The ability to perform multiple tasks is all well and good, but also consider if it would be better for your business to have separate equipment that can do all these other things. Maybe a dedicated scanner, photocopier, or fax machine can streamline your operations better, or maybe you should consider if just emailing digital images through a computer would be less of a hassle compared to doing it on the printer itself. It all depends on your employees’ needs.
Determine the print quality you require
Printers vary considerably when it comes to the quality of their print output. One factor that you should consider when looking for a printer is its DPI (dots per inch) rating. DPI refers to the dot density or the number of individual dots that a printer can produce in an inch-long line. Inkjet printers can print images of between 300 to 1000 DPI, while laser printers are capable of printing at upwards of 2000 DPI.
The DPI rating could be helpful if you’re looking for a printer that can produce photo-quality images, but if you just need a regular printer for printing text documents and the occasional images, then the DPI rating is something you can ignore entirely. Improvements in technology have narrowed the print quality gap among the many different printer models so much that, at present, the variance in the quality of their outputs has become largely negligible.
Consider your connectivity and sharing needs
Also make sure to choose printers according to your connectivity and sharing needs. Many printer models have integrated ethernet and Wi-Fi capability, making it easier for you to share the equipment with other people in your network. If the printer model doesn’t have these, you may have to connect it to a standalone print server or to a network router to be able to share the equipment with the rest of the office.
Have an idea about how much you’ll end up spending on the printer in the long run
Finally, make sure to consider how much cash you’ll need to shell out for the entire lifecycle of the printer. Remember that many printers sell for next to nothing, but these initial lower prices will just be offset by the high costs of the replacement ink or toner cartridges. In a business setting, this might not be the most economical option, unless your enterprise is so small that the volume of documents you print is very small.
You might also want to consider choosing alternative ink and toner products like high-quality remanufactured cartridges that are refilled with suitable ink or toner, as well as compatible ink cartridges, which are newly manufactured by third-party suppliers according to original equipment manufacturer standards.