Small Business Brief


What to Look For In Office Printers: 7 Helpful Buying Tips

What if your latest office purchase ends up being a huge waste of time and money?

We’re not talking about major appliances, either. Instead, the real danger comes from office printers.

A good printer is crucial to a good office. However, printers can break down, malfunction, and absolutely sabotage your productive staff.

No need to worry, though. We’ve put together an awesome guide to help you buy the best printers for your business!

1. Know Your Needs

At the end of the day, a printer is a solution to a problem. Therefore, knowing what solution you need means knowing the kind of problem you have.

For instance, how much will you actually be printing out? Some offices have been going as paperless as possible: if you’re only printing on rare occasions, you can maybe get away with smaller and cheaper models.

On the other hand, some offices are constantly printing and copying documents. If you have an office that effectively runs on paper, then it’s important to buy a business printer that can keep up with the demand.

Don’t forget options such as these printers if you need to print in a wide format!

2. Inkjet or Laser

There are many factors that determine what kind of printer your office needs. Eventually, though, you must answer the classic question: inkjet or laser?

Which printer you need mostly comes down to what you are printing. For instance, inkjet printers are better for printing out photos and other graphics. Conversely, laser printers are better for printing out pure text documents.

Ultimately, you’re paying for either convenience or versatility. You get the lowest cost per page via laser printers, but if you need to print image-heavy documents, inkjet is by far the way to go.

3. The Bells and Whistles

So far, we’ve been focusing on the business printer as only a printer. However, it can potentially be so much more!

For example, many business printers can also function as scanners. Some also have fax machine capability built in. Other bells and whistles include the ability to have the printer automatically staple documents together.

Of course, all of those extra features drive up the cost of the printer. So the decision comes down to whether your office actually needs these features.

If you really need all those devices, then it’s better to have only one device that can do it all than several devices taking up room. However, if you truly just need the best small business printer available, then you can skip the extra features.

4. The Dreaded Refills

In some ways, business printers are a lot like home printers. And that means that the most annoying thing about them is buying new ink!

Cost is one consideration, of course. You’ll want to know which companies have better prices than the competition when it comes to ink refills.

However, you’ll also want to consider ink efficiency as well. Things like power cycling and head cleaning can lead to a loss of ink. Buying more efficient cartridges, then, can be a real money saver in the long term.

If your small business is really trying to save money (and what small business isn’t?), then ink cartridges should be one of your biggest considerations.

5. To Network or Not to Network

It wasn’t that long ago that printing was a really simple matter. Cables connected a computer to a printer, and that was pretty much that.

Now, many business printers can be networked. This means that you can connect phones, computers, and other devices to the printer without having to install any physical cables.

As you can imagine, this convenient feature costs extra money. If you are really watching your budget or are buying multiple printers, you may decide you want to keep things simple.

On the other hand, this is a great option for a really decentralized office. You can have freelancers and part-timers who may not have permanent desks easily print documents directly from their mobile devices.

The relative “tech-savviness” of your workers should also be a consideration. If you have many workers who can barely turn on their own computers, these same workers may have difficulty connecting to and using the networking features of a fancy new printer.

6. Portable or Centralized

Like we said above, one of the big benefits of a networked printer is that it works well for a decentralized workspace. However, that’s not the only way to achieve that kind of convenience.

In this case, size really does matter. That’s because you can achieve decentralized convenience by purchasing smaller portable printers that can be moved as needed from office to office.

The alternative is the traditional setup with one big office printer that everyone uses. And each approach has unique advantages and disadvantages.

For instance, it’s convenient to have a portable printer. But constantly unplugging a printer and setting it back up can lead to some annoying technical difficulties.

Meanwhile, a centralized printer is going to cost more. But the lower level of maintenance and overall consistency of this printer may be worth paying a premium for.

7. You Say You Want a Resolution

If you’re still on the fence about the printer you need, there is one simple way to answer this question. You just need to determine what your printing resolution needs are.

Different printers have different DPI capabilities. DPI stands for “dots per inch” and basically determines how high-resolution your print outs are.

The higher the DPI, the higher the quality. And the higher the quality, the higher the cost.

Once more, it comes down to what you will mostly be printing. Most offices eventually find a “sweet spot” in DPI that accommodates their needs without breaking the bank.

Office Printers: The Bottom Line

Now you’ve learned more about how to buy the best office printers. But do you know how else to get the business news you can use?

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