There are many different printer types on the market – from inkjet to laser, multifunction to single-function, photo printers to high capacity printers – the list goes on and on. But, really, these can be simplified and put into two camps – home printers and business printers. To find the printer that best suits your specific business needs, consider asking yourself the questions presented in this article.
Do you need a multifunction printer?
Multifunction printers are jack of all trades. An MFP will offer scanning, copying and office MFPs also include fax capabilities. The premiere advantage of MFPs are cost, space saving and additional features you wouldn’t get on a single-function printer. However, if MFPs are the printing jack of all trades, they are, as the saying goes, master of none.
Single-function printers are optimized for specific tasks. A single-function laser printer will afford you faster prints than a multifunction laser printer; a single-function photo printer will produce a professional photo quality that an MFP can’t compete with; and, those whose business requires them to be on the road may prefer a single-function scanner for scanning business cards, receipts or other important items while away from the office.
But MFPs remain a popular fixture in many offices for the simple reason that they save space while providing features that every office utilizes. One of the most important of these, though not offered on all MFP models, is email. Some MFPs will send out an email message on your PC and attach the scanned documents, others can email scanned documents directly, and a few can do both.
If a multifunction seems like the right fit for your office or home work space, try finding one with an automatic document feeder. This will allow you to fax, scan, copy or email multiple page documents with ease.
Does the nature of your work require an inkjet printer or a laser printer?
This could also be titled “How much print speed do you need?” or “Will you be printing mostly text or images as well?” Laser printers, especially single-function laser printers, offer tremendous speed for businesses that depend on high volume printing on a daily basis. They’ll also save you money on those prints as consumables for laser printers are generally less expensive than inkjet printers in terms of cost per page. However, they won’t produce the kind of image, graphics or photos that an inkjet printer provides.
If you print a lot you may want to consider buying a single-function laser printer and keep an MFP handy for its versatility and superior image output.
How much do you print?
This question goes a long way to make sure you get the most out of your printer. For one, you’ll want to look at the monthly duty cycle to make sure it can handle the amount of jobs you’ll be sending to the printer. Contrary to popular opinion, a printer’s maximum duty cycle does not indicate the maximum amount of print jobs you should be performing in a given month. It is simply the maximum amount of prints you can perform without damaging your printer. For this reason, many manufacturers will list a recommended duty cycle. If a recommended duty cycle isn’t stated by the manufacturer, a safe rule of thumb is to pick a printer whose maximum duty cycle is at least three times the number of pages you typically print per month.
How much does it cost?
Answering the question of how much you print will help you to understand whether or not a printer’s price tag is worth it. Generally speaking, cheaper printers have more expensive consumables and a higher cost per page than expensive printers. So, if you know that you’ll be using your printer daily for high volume print jobs, it’s worth it to pay more for the initial high price of the printer to take advantage of low-priced and high-yielding consumables.
To get a rough approximation of the total cost of ownership, multiply the cost per page by the number of pages you print per year, then multiply that by the number of years you plan on owning the printer and, finally, add the initial cost of the printer itself. Compare these figures to each printer you’re shopping for to help you assess whether or not you’d be making a cost-effective purchase.