Employee contracts. Accounting documents. Financial statements.
That makes printers an office staple. But is there some kind of guide on how to choose a printer? The right one, at least?
You’ll find lots of “Ultimate Buyer’s Guides” on the internet for sure. But to find a printer that will truly serve you, you have to understand your needs first – and you alone know what those are more than anyone else.
6 Question to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Printer
To start the quest that will lead you to the right printer, ask yourself these questions:
1. How Many Functions Do I Want My Printer to Have?
Is printing all that you need or are you scanning, faxing, and photocopying documents from time to time as well? If your answer is yes, then you might want to opt for a printer that has all those functions.
An all-in-one printer is the best solution. It’s a lot more practical than buying separate machines for scanning, faxing, and photocopying.
It might be a little more expensive than most printers, but it will certainly improve your workflow. At least you won’t need to leave your desk to run to the nearest copy centre each time you need to photocopy or fax a document.
If you already have a scanner or a photocopier in the office, then buying a multifunction printer will just be overkill – a print-only device will do. These details are important in helping you make a practical decision.
2. Ink Cartridges or Supertank?
Have you ever run out of ink in the middle of a printing task? If you have, you’ve just experienced one of the biggest disadvantages of ink cartridge printers.
With a print average of around 350 pages off a single cartridge, ink cartridge printers aren’t the best choice for high-volume printing. The ink dries out over time, and the cartridges can be expensive to replace.
What’s great about it though is that it dries faster than laser toners, doesn’t smudge as often, and can print on different types of paper (even fabric!) without problems.
Supertank printers, on the other hand, aren’t ideal for pure photo printing – there are certainly better printers for that kind of job. But tank printers can print thousands of pages with fewer interruptions to replenish the ink – as many as 7,000 pages from a single refill. They’re not called “continuous ink printers” for nothing!
Tank printers are a little more expensive to purchase initially, but the printing costs are cheaper in the long run. It also doesn’t dry up as quickly as cartridges because the ink is delivered through an airtight tube.
3. How Many Pages Does My Company Print Each Month?
If you need to print a lot of pages every day, then you need a high-capacity, high-speed printer. Some printers can churn out as many as 100 ppm (pages per minute) should that be what you need.
Depending on your requirements, your office can benefit from a 2,000-page capacity printer that can print 50 pages per minute or high-capacity printers that can print 350 pages with 16ml of ink.
Also, if you have several employees who will be using the same printer, it’s best to buy a machine with auto-document feeders and multiple-feed trays. This way, your printer can handle all their printing needs and keep up with even the most complex print projects.
4. Do I Need to Print High-Quality Images?
Do you work in design or in an industry that needs high-quality prints? If you are, then a printer with just the bare essentials won’t work. You need one with a photo printing function that has these specs:
If you’re printing artwork and photographs you need to have a printer with at least 1200 dpi resolution. Or you can opt for a printer with a wide range of print resolutions (such as 360dpi to 2880 dpi) so it can cover various modes in between.
Images that have vibrant tones are the result of printers with a wide range of printable colour gamut. The more colour a printer has, the wider the colour gamut it can achieve.
Ink density is another factor that can affect the depth and richness of what you print. A good indication of a high-ink density is to use a densitometer to take delta readings of the ink density.
The smaller the droplet size, the sharper the printed image will be. You want to choose a printer with a droplet size of around 4 to 12pl (picolitres). But as a general rule, the droplets shouldn’t be visible to the naked eye.
Newer print models usually have orange, green, and lighter versions of existing colours to smooth out gradations. You can compare each printer’s achievable gamut by checking the information kit or brochure of the printer you’re thinking of buying.
5. What Paper Size Do I Often Use?
Paper size is often forgotten when choosing a printer. If you need to print on large pieces of paper from time to time, you need a wide-format printer that’s big enough to do the job.
6.Should I Buy or Lease a Printer?
For an individual or a small business, buying a high-end printer can easily bite off a big chunk of the investment budget. That doesn’t even include the cost needed to run the printer (paper, ink, maintenance, and repairs).
If your budget is limited but your printing needs are huge, leasing a printer is your next best option. Typically, it also includes paper, tone replacement, and maintenance costs so you get an all-in-one, hassle-free package.
Buy a Printer With Growth in Mind
You don’t want to buy a printer today that you’ll outgrow next year. Remember: your business won’t always stay small. When it grows, so will your printing needs. That’s why it’s always a good idea to purchase with ample room for growth.
We’ve built lasting relationships with our clients and have seen through the years how a printer is a major decision that can impact your company’s workflow and productivity. We hope the questions we’ve listed above helped you decide how to choose a printer that would best serve your needs.