Friday, 01 February 2019

Confused by all the acronyms when buying a new printer in Calgary?

There are many options if you’re looking to purchase a new printer or update your office printer fleet. There are several great brands to choose from, and you can decide whether to go with inkjet or laser. But what about the specs? All those acronyms can be confusing.

Here are some basic terms so you can make an informed decision and purchase the right printer for your needs in Calgary:


DPI or Dots Per Inch is the output resolution of a printer. It refers to the number of dots the printer can fit onto a single square inch on a sheet of paper. The more dots per inch a printer is able to produce translates to a more highly detailed image. If you need high quality, detailed prints or professional grade photos, look for a printer with a higher DPI rating. If you are in the market for a printer that just needs to meet most business printing requirements, a DPI of 600-1200 should be sufficient.


PPM stands for Pages Per Minute (PPM) and is the rating which identifies the speed at which a printer produces a standard size (8.5 x 11) page of text printed with black ink. PPM does not include the speed for colour prints or a combination of black and colour ink printing, or printing on larger sizes of paper. To improve speed, some manufacturers will use a number to refer to the PPM that means the number of pages that can be printed in draft mode, a less expensive printing option which uses less ink, resulting in faster print speed. If you often print large documents, choose a printer with a faster PPM rating.

Duty Cycle?

All business printers and some personal printers include a number to indicate the monthly maximum number of pages the printer can produce without developing issues. Having this information allows you to determine if the printer is able to handle, on a monthly basis, the volume of your business or personal needs. For example, you will require a printer with a higher duty cycle rating if the number you predict you need exceeds the rating. The duty cycle number also indicates a printer’s durability. Higher duty cycle ratings translate to a higher quality printer.

Paper Handling Specs

Automatic Duplexing?

Two-sided printing or duplexing is a popular feature to consider when looking for a printer. This feature can reduce paper consumption by half, lowering your paper costs while also being environmentally conscious. Look for automatic duplexing because the printer will automatically flip the page — some printers only offer manual duplexing, which be inconvenient and time-consuming.

Multipurpose Tray or Manual Feed Slot?

If you occasionally print on thicker stock paper or other paper, i.e. envelopes, look for a printer with the option to manually feed it through a slot in the printer (the Manual Feed Slot). If you require this option more frequently, look for a printer with a dedicated media tray.

Automatic Document Feeder?

Many multifunction printers come equipped with an automatic document feeder (ADF) which allows users to complete faxing, scanning and copying jobs unattended. To operate this feature, load the multipage document into the document feeder and the prints will pull the pages through to complete the job.

Most of the specs we have described here are what people typically search for in a printer. PrinterWorks West is a Managed Print Service provider in Calgary and can assess your office print environment and supplying solutions to optimize your workflows and reduce your ongoing costs. If you’d like to learn more about Managed Print Services and how they can help your business, please feel free to contact us.