What should I look for when purchasing a printer?
Deciding on which printer to purchase for your organization is no easy task. It’s easy to get overwhelmed given the complicated technical specs and hundreds of models available. However, with a little research and groundwork, you can save yourself a lot of time and frustration in the shopping phase and, potentially, save money in the end. In this blog post, we’ve compiled a list of things to keep in mind when shopping for a new printer.
Will your business need just a printer or a multi-function device? Most business printer models are able to perform multiple functions such as Print, Copy, Scan, Fax, and E-mail. If you’re needing a “bare bones” printer that does only printing, you can skip the extra functionality and save some money by buying a personal printer without the unnecessary features.
Most business-class printers today are able to be networked to be used by multiple users on the network. There are a few ways to do this, with the most common being wired directly to the network via an Ethernet connection. In addition, more and more printers are coming with options for Wi-Fi connectivity. In some cases, a Wi-Fi printer may be easier to install because it’s more flexible in regards to the location with fewer cables.
Color or Black & White
Will your business need color printing? The problem most businesses run into is that 95% of their printing can be done in black and white, but a few times a month, it would be helpful for a document to be in color (documentation, diagrams, charts, etc). In those cases, most businesses purchase a color laser printer and use it primarily in monochrome (Black & White mode).
Inkjet or Laser
Surprisingly, inkjet printers are still available in 2018. This is primarily because inkjet allows for higher resolution prints than laser. Printers are measured in dots per inch (DPI). Laser printers commonly print at resolutions of 600 to 1200 DPI versus 3600+ DPI for some inkjets. This isn’t an issue for most businesses as 1200 DPI will look just fine for anything short of detailed documents (blueprints, photos, etc). Typically, laser printers are most cost-effective in the long run when you consider the cost of replacement ink cartridges vs replacement toner.
Printing Demand & Speed
Printer duty cycle is typically measured by Pages-Per-Month. This is exactly what it sounds like, a measure of roughly how many pages are output in a monthly cycle. While some of the cheaper laser printers are only rated for 8,000 pages per month up to 100,000+ pages per month for a typical mid-sized workgroup printer.
Printer duty cycle is not to be confused with printer speed, which is measured in max PPM (Maximum Pages-Per-Minute). This is simply a measure of how many pages a printer can print back-to-back. Some of the lower end printers may only print 15 pages per minute, while some of the higher end printers can easily print 60+ pages per minute. Waiting on a printer is unacceptable for most businesses. Luckily, printer technology has advanced to a point where print speed is not as much of an issue now.
Support & Warranty
As with every other technology device (especially ones with moving parts), printers occasionally malfunction and break down. This is one of the often overlooked things when purchasing a printer. Most large manufacturers have field techs that can come out and diagnose/repair their products. This is especially helpful for departments that rely heavily on printing, such as billing/accounting.
With printers, there are also some features that will vary from model to model. Some may be beneficial to your business, some may not.
Common features that you might consider include:
- Wi-Fi Connectivity
- Automatic Duplex Printing (Double-sided)
- Memory Card input
- USB input
- Bluetooth Printing
- Oversize Media Handing (11×17 for example)
If you need help either selecting a new printer or setting one up, feel free to reach out to the experts at SandStorm IT at 901-475-0275. We can assist you to make an informed decision based on the printing needs of your organization.