Buying a printer can be overwhelming, there are so many options available from so many different brands. Yet we still often see people with printers that are not the best ones for their needs. That said, here are five tips to help you find the right fit for you.
#1 Identify Your Needs
As with any new device work out what are you going to use the printer for? Is it for:
- home office use?
- large office usage?
- printing documents, photos, graphic designs?
- do you need colour or will black and white be sufficient?
- what type of quality and speed?
- does it need to be used by multiple people across a network?
- do you need any other functionality (ie scanning, copying, extra paper trays etc)?
- what type of printing size, just A4 or do you need A3 or another size?
These needs will influence your choice, as different printers offer distinct functions. You may want one that prints quickly or one that is compact. Or perhaps you want one that holds a lot of paper. If your priority is photos, you may need a printer that can handle many types and sizes of paper.
If you are using your printer for photographs, you may better off going to an actual photo printer. It’s about five times cheaper to get photos professionally printed than to colour print at home, you will also get top-quality copies every time.
In terms of connectivity we generally don’t recommend wireless printers. Plugging into a cabled network makes life a lot easier. Wireless printers can be hard to install and troubleshoot and their printing speeds can be slow.
#2 Do Not Settle for Cheap Inkjet
Yes, you can buy an inkjet printer from the local big-box store for dirt cheap prices. You may even get a free or dramatically reduced price on a printer with the purchase of your computer. That is because they are getting you to buy the printer so that you will need to purchase highly-priced ink at a later stage. You may also need high-quality printing paper if you want to avoid the ink bleed that can happen on normal office paper.
Another issue with inkjet printers is that if you don’t use the color cartridges for a long while, they can dry up. This will leave partial lines on your prints, or the printer won’t work at all until you pay for a new ink cartridge. Also if say the yellow cartridge is used up, the printer won’t even let you print in black until you purchase a new yellow cartridge!
#3 Consider A Laser Printer
If you have decided you do need a printer, strongly consider a laser printer. These printers use a fine powder that doesn’t dry out due to inactivity.
Whether you want a printer that works fast or you plan to use it all the time, a laser printer is quick to start up and print. There is a higher cost upfront and the replacement cartridges can be expensive, but in the long-term you save on ink as the cartridges tend to last several thousand prints compared to several hundred (if that) for inkjet printers.
Yes, color laser printing can be expensive (it also isn’t cheap on inkjets), but black-and-white printing on a laser printer is quite cheap and effective.
#4 Read the Reviews
The manufacturer specifications will help you learn:
- monthly page volume.
- print speed.
- automatic duplex printing (ie printing on both sides of the paper).
- estimated annual print costs.
- quality and maximum resolution.
- network and / or USB functionality.
- card reader and media plug-in capability.
- added benefits (e.g. automation features such as collating or stapling).
These specifications are indeed important but, customer and online reviews can help you find out about durability and productivity. Read both the positive and negative reviews to help you get a full sense of how the printer will suit your needs.
#5 Let Us Help
Inkjet, laser, all-in-one and photo printers each have their benefits and disadvantages, and as with most things there is a lot to consider. We can help you choose the right model, set it up in your business and help you keep it going strong for the long term. Contact us today.