The amount of printing that the average person does per year was halved from 1000-pages per month to 500-pages within a 7-year span during the mid-2000s. That number has continued to drop since then.
Even though your business may not be printing as much as it was a decade or so ago, we’re willing to bet that at least once per week, you’re putting ink on paper. To make sure that the printing that you still do is done right, you’re going to want to ensure that the device you’re using is treating you to the latest in cost-saving, flexibility and quality innovations.
The following 7-point how to choose a printer guide will give you the best chance of buying a device that covers your company’s needs without breaking its operating budget.
1. Weigh Inkjet Versus Laser Printing Technology
There are two chief technologies that power printing today: Inkjet and laser. Understanding the difference between those two options and selecting the one that fits your business best should be the first step towards answering your how to choose a printer questions.
Here’s a brief rundown on both methods of printing:
Laser printers have long been considered an office favorite because of how rich these devices render the color black and the speed in which they can produce pages. Given the number of pages per cartridge that laser printers spit out, you’ll save more money over the long run with this printing technology.
If you print lots of graphic elements, Inkjet technology is almost certainly the best choice for you. Inkjet printers are more versatile and are much better at blending colors in complex images when compared to laser printers.
Inkjet printers are typically much cheaper than comparable laser models.
2. What Will You Be Using Your Printer For?
Are you using your printer simply to print text on white sheets of paper? Are you going to be printing out photography that you’d like to hang up? Maybe all of your print jobs are going to be rendered on wide-format mediums like on posters…
Think about whatever your primary print job might look like and let that drive your printer purchase decision. It’s important that you don’t let the prospect of occasionally doing an odd job determine your printer purchase. For example, if you were to buy a plotter printing device just because you knew that you wanted to print one wide banner per year, you’d end up spending a boatload of extra money for a feature that you’re hardly going to be using.
For one-off specialty prints, it’s always a better idea to go to a professional printer.
3. Cost of Ink
While laser printers have a better cost per page price than Inkjet printers do in general, different laser printers have different levels of cartridge efficiency. That means that one laser printer might give you 30,000 pages before it needs a new cartridge while another might give you 50,000.
If efficiency is important to you (and it should be), as you try to suss out how to choose a printer, be sure to keep each of your option’s ink efficiency at the forefront of your decision-making process. Also, make sure that your printer can accept 3rd party ink cartridges as sticking solely to manufacturer made ink can cost you thousands of extra dollars per year.
4. Ancillary Functions
Printers print. That’s a given. Many printers do a number of other things though that you may or may not need.
For example, most business printers have the ability to scan documents. If that’s an important feature for you, ensure that your printer has a scanning tray. Other printers have the ability to fax. If you’re still faxing documents at your company, again, make sure that your printer has fax capabilities.
We always recommend to business owners that they list out all of their non-negotiable printer features before going to the store so they can quickly filter out sub-par models.
5. Networking Capabilities
It’s easy enough to plug a printer into a single computer via USB. It’s much harder to set a printer up over a wireless network that’s going to be shared by multiple computers.
If you want your printer to be able to service multiple devices at once, make sure that the printer you’re considering is “network ready”. Then, make sure that your printer’s manufacturer has details published online on how to set up your printer as a network device.
If you purchase a printer that’s not network-ready or doesn’t have instructions on how to share its capabilities within your network, you may end up in a place where each person that wants to print has to physically jack into your machine.
6. Read About the Kinds of Paper That a Printer Accepts
Not all printers accept all kinds of paper. If you’re going to be printing a lot on card stock or photo paper, ensure that your printer allows that type of paper to feed into it and can do a good job of rendering images on the paper types that you’ll be leveraging the most.
Inkjet printers are more reliable when it comes to printing quality images on various paper types.
7. Speed, Color, and Quality
To wrap up your how to choose a printer search, head online and start reading reviews. Pay close attention to how people describe a printer’s speed, the richness of its colors and the overall quality of its print.
Combine reviews with the other factors that we’ve mentioned and you should be able to make the perfect printer pick!
Learn How to Choose a Printer, Make Your Purchase and Start Printing!
If you don’t know how to choose a printer when you’re looking for a printing device, you’ll usually end up overpaying for a machine that offers too little or too much in the way of features.
Lean on our printer search steps above to make sure that you get the most bang for your printing buck and can buy with confidence!
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