Whether your department is tired of paper jams and streaky prints or you’re expanding, there will come a time when you need to select new printers for your office. Like other machines, no two office printers are exactly alike. Knowing what to look for can be confusing, so it is best to assess what your office needs. In this piece, we’re going to look at some questions your office can ask itself in order to determine what printer will fit the bill.
1. Do you need to frequently print images?
Some offices may need to be able to show creative ideas and photos to clients. Other offices may never need to print anything more complex than a simple company logo on a letterhead. Choosing a printer that can handle high-quality images can make life easier for creative services companies. Picking a printer that specializes in efficiently printing simple documents can save the latter companies unnecessary costs.
- Yes: You’ll likely want a commercial grade inkjet printer.
- No: You’ll likely prefer a toner-based commercial laser printer.
- Sometimes: You may want to consider a lower-volume inkjet printer specifically for graphic-rich images and a laser print for text-based documents.
- Rarely: Your best option may be a commercial laser printer, but outsource graphic-rich print jobs to a third-party print shop for optimal quality.
2. Do you need to print large documents?
If your office creates or manages creative assets or plans, it can be handy to be able to print out posters or plans. In these cases, selecting office printers with wide format capabilities can be helpful.
- Yes: If you’re needing to regularly print wide-format documents, you may consider obtaining a wide-format printer.
- Sometimes: If you occasionally need wide-format prints, but not regularly and you don’t have space for a wide-format printer, you may be best served by outsourcing your wide-format print needs to a third-party print shop.
3. How fast do you need to be able to print?
There are times when you only need to print a page or two. There are other times when you need to print 1,000 pages by that afternoon. Taking print volume and speed into consideration when selecting an office printer can save you a headache when the latter is necessary.
- Fast: If speed trumps all else, you’re best served by a laser printer.
- Not fast: If image quality trumps speed and you need regularly print photo-quality items, an inkjet printer may be your preferred choice.
- No rush, but consistent: If you don’t necessarily have speed concerns, but you’d like consistent image quality for text-based documents, a laser printer will likely be your best option.
4. Do you need a machine that can also do finishing?
If you’re needing to create stapled documents, hole-punched reports, or even spiral-found presentations, printers can with special finishing features can be a huge help.
- Yes, regularly: You’ll be best served by a production-level print setup with finishers.
- Yes, sometimes: You’ll be best served by outsourcing print jobs that require finishing to a third-party print shop.
5. Do you prefer ink or laser/toner-based prints?
Ink-based and laser toner-based printing each have their own benefits. Deciding to go ink or go laser can dramatically shift your office printer buying decision.
Laser / Toner Benefits
- Affordable cartridge replacements
- Photo-quality images
- Vibrant color capabilities
Enjoy this guide to deciding if inkjet or laser (toner) printers are right for your company.
6. Are you printing sensitive information?
If you’re needing to print documents that contain sensitive information, it is important to look for printers with robust network security options. This is crucial in making sure that your company or client data is secure on its way from device to printer.
7. Are you also needing to scan or fax?
Added scanner or faxing capabilities may end up being helpful for some companies. If this is the case, a robust multi-function device (MFD) will be a preferred choice.
8. How often do you need to make copies?
Some office printer models are built more as copiers that also print. Others may be more printers that can also make copies. Keep in mind which of these would best benefit your office’s needs. Again, an MFD would likely best suit your needs if copying is just as important a part of your organization’s office function as printing.
9. How much are you looking to spend on the device?
If your office doesn’t require much printing or additional features, you may be able to cut costs by going with a more affordable office printer. On the flip side of the coin, a lower-tier printer may ultimately cost offices with increased printing demands more in terms of speed and efficiency.
What is your organization’s philosophy on technology?
- Only the newest and best: If your company values having the latest technology, a brand new model or remanufactured model will serve them best.
- Among the latest, as long as its somewhat modern: If your company appreciates having newer technology for the sake of function and security, but not necessary the “latest and greatest,” a refurbished machine will likely fit the bill.
- We just need a machine for our low-volume space: If your organization is looking for the bare minimum, yet consistent print functions of a commercial-grade device, a used machine may be all that is needed.
10. How much are you looking to spend on supplies?
While many office printers can seem extremely affordable upfront, their true cost may be evident in the cost of their supplies. Taking all of the costs over a certain period of time into consideration can give you a more accurate idea of the true cost of the printer.
- Affordable upfront, instead paying for the printer over its lifespan in supplies: consumer-level printer equipment is known for building the price of the ownership of the device into its consumables.
Expensive upfront, but with an affordable and more diverse range of consumables: most commercial-grade copiers and print equipment will build the price of ownership mostly into the upfront cost. In this way, the cost of the device over time is relatively low.