Friday, 01 July 2016

How to Choose the Right Printer for Your Business

Despite the paperless revolution heavily underway, sometimes you still need a hard copy document. To get your doc off your computer and onto a piece of paper, you need a printer. But with the variety of printers available including inkjet, laser, and LED models that are also either multifunction or single function machines, making a choice about which printer is best for your business can seem overwhelming.

Worry not. By assessing what type of documents you print, how much you print, whether you require extra features and how much you’re willing to spend outright and on consumables (i.e. printer ink/toner), a choice can be made much easier. It can also ensure that you’re happy with the printer you do choose, rather than feeling regretful later.

Here are five things to consider when choosing the right printer for your business:

Why Cheap Can Actually Be Expensive

We get that you don’t want to spend more than you can afford but be weary of buying the cheapest printer you can find. “Cheap” printers aren’t always the most affordable printers because most printer vendors use a business model that reels you in with a low initial cost and then surprises you with high costs when it comes to ink or toner cartridge replacements.

If your office isn’t printing documents that often, then a lower priced model in this respect may be beneficial for you. However, if you do print more than sparingly be sure to check the cost of consumables to see if your ongoing costs will be bearable and worth it. We’ve written an article on how to figure out ink and toner costs here.

Select a Printer that Fits Your Office Size & Print Volume

You don’t want too much printer and yet too little. What does this mean? Well, prior to purchasing a printer you’ll want to ask yourself how much you want the printer to do – is your office printing a few sheets a day or hundreds? How many people will be using the machine? Do you want the printer to have automatic duplexing (double sided printing) as a feature? Considering all these things prior to purchasing a printer will ensure that you aren’t left with a machine that leaves you frustrated because it can’t do what you want it to.

Inkjet, Laser, or LED?

Choosing a printer based on its underlying technology isn’t as complicated as it used to be given that differences in speed and output quality have narrowed with the advances made by printer manufacturers.

If your office’s printer output mainly consists of text based documents and spreadsheets that do not require complex graphics, then a monochrome laser or LED printer model should do the job. Consumables for both these types of printers are often also more economical which is an added bonus.

If your office requires colour printing, then you’ll want to ask yourself what images are being printed and are you looking for superior photo quality output. If that’s the case, you may want to consider purchasing an inkjet printer as these can deliver competitive speed and precise print quality superior to laser and LED models. Some of these types of models can also print on speciality media including canvas, CD-R’s, photographic paper, etc.

Single Function or Multifunction

Again, ask yourself what you need your printer to do when choosing between a single function and multi-function printer. Also consider how many people will be using the same machine if there is only the one in the office. Although multi-function printers are appealing given their added ability to copy and scan documents, having this as your single source of copy, fax, scan and print production can hold up office productivity when some one is doing a big print, scan, fax, copy job.

It may make more sense to have several machines dedicated to tasks that you know your office performs regularly. For example, if scanning documents is a huge part of your file structure, then getting a dedicated document scanner that has an automatic document feeder may be more beneficial and aide your office’s workflow.

Paper Handling Abilities

Your printer should be able to do what is required for your office, it’s that simple. If you want the ability to print double sided, automatic duplexing is a must. Not only will it help you reduce paper costs, you’ll be doing the environment a favour as well. Do you want to be able to print labels, on envelopes and use different paper types? Look at models that have manual feed slots for this purpose. Higher end laser printers even have functionalities that include collating, stapling and stacking envelopes. Wide format printers let you go beyond typical letter and legal sizes to print large format documents, like structural drawings for interior designers and architects.

Choosing the right printer for your business is a matter of assessing what will aid your office’s productivity. To do this, you need to consider what functions are most pertinent for you and your business everyday. By considering the aforementioned you’ll be able to select a printer that works for you and your office’s workflow.