How to choose the perfect office printer for your needs
Walking into a store of a large electronics chain you can hardly find, among the many choices available, a office printer That has all those advanced features, necessary for the business sector. Through this guide, we will try to help you choose the perfect office printer for your needs to then turn to experts in the online sale of office products already knowing what to buy.
For several years now, most companies have been opting for networked printers that can be shared by multiple users rather than individual printers for each desk.
These office printers save resources and tend to last much longer than conventional desktop printers, while also providing faster print speeds, advanced features and management such as photocopying, scanning, e-mail, and faxing.
In 2016, the catalog of networked business printers is very large indeed with hundreds of models all with different features and capabilities, which can make the buying process daunting: there are office printers with Ethernet or wireless connectivity, laser, LED, inkjet or solid-ink types; still black-and-white or color, compatible with printing from mobile devices and obviously of different price ranges based on what they offer.
In this guide we will try to base the choice on your needs so as to break down the options and simplify the buying process. We will explain the different office printers on the market based on available features, network options, costs, and payment methods.
Types of Printers
Laser / LED
Laser and LED printers, which are very similar, are by far the most popular in offices. Using a light source, they project an’image onto a rotating drum, which then transfers toner onto paper. These are reliable and fast, and produce high-quality text.
Memory and hard drive capacities are the’ideal for networking. operating costs are reasonable because toner is relatively inexpensive compared to other printing methods.
Speaking in economic terms, however, laser and LED-type office printers have a high initial cost. They are also not ideal for photo type printing.
Inkjet printers are most common for home and small office use: these work by spraying liquid ink through a print head and are the least expensive choice in terms of purchase, while also guaranteeing high photo quality, making them an excellent choice for those who want to make brochures, flyers and documents that contain graphics, also being able to print on many types of media.
Although it is possible to find an office-quality inkjet printer with network capabilities, these are less common: this is mainly due to the high costs of ink cartridges, which also make them unsuitable for high-volume printing for which they are also significantly slower than other technologies.
Other types of printers
Other lesser-known types of printers than Laser/LED and inkjet include:
– Solid ink printers (d’ink sublimation) that use solid ink sticks instead of the fluid ink or toner cartridges usually used in printers. After the ink stick is loaded into the printer, it is dissolved and used to produce images on paper in a process very similar to offset printing. The sticks are non-toxic and can be handled without any harmful consequences. These tend to be comparable to laser printers in quality, reliability, and cost in white printing, and while costs are significantly higher for color printing.
In contrast, ad printers solid ink Are prone to smearing. And because they are less common, there are far fewer models to choose from.
– Snapshot printers are ideal for printing images. Photo quality is much higher than other types of printers. These are most common for home use, but can also have commercial applications.
– Dye-sublimation printers made specifically to provide the best possible photographic quality. Typically, these printers are reserved for companies such as graphic design studios, which must have higher quality images. Costs per page are extremely high, often exceeding 2 euros.
Wired vs. Wireless
Most of us use wireless printers at home. Why bother plugging in your computer when you can print from anywhere in the home and with any device connected to the network?
However, wired connections are generally faster, reliable, and much more secure, making them ideal in business environments where printers are used often and by several people at once. Choosing a wireless solution instead is ideal because it is more flexible and less expensive to implement. They are also compatible with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
In our increasingly mobile world, many companies and particularly large enterprises, offer employees applications that enable mobile printing either by connecting the device to the printer or using a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection or by accessing the cloud. Not all printers are compatible with this technology, but already several office printers are compatible with mobile printing technologies such as Apple AirPrint, HP ePrint, and Google Cloud Print.
Color vs. Monochrome
For the office that primarily prints simple plain-text business documents such as spreadsheets, notes, and letters, a monochrome printer may be the ideal choice. In case, on the other hand, the company needs to print graphics, custom logos or documents with graphics and other visual elements, the recommendation can only fall on a color printer.
Despite the fact that we are about to enter 2017, monochrome printers are still selling surprisingly well because of their low cost both in purchase and consumables such as toner and drum, but it is important to point out that choosing an office printer still has high costs that will be amortized over the years, and perhaps in the future a color printer could always help in the office.
Office printer features
One of the first things to consider when it comes to functionality is whether you need a simple printer or a multifunction type (MFP) printer. Just as the name implies, single-function printers do only one thing: they print documents. MFPs, on the other hand, can perform many other tasks, including scanning, copying, e-mailing, and document conversion.
Different models combine different features.
MFPs are the ideal choice in terms of cost because you avoid having to buy multiple machines and they take up less space. They help simplify document management and business workflow because you can fax, scan and email documents, all from the same machine. However, they are obviously more expensive than a single-use printer.
Also, if one person is using the machine to print, for example, another employee will have to wait to send a fax, make a copy, etc.
Other features to consider include the speed of printing and volume provided by office printers, which have a significant impact on price. In general, a print speed of less than 20 pages per minute (ppm) is too slow for office environments; speeds of 20 ppm to 40 ppm will be sufficient for most offices; speeds above 40 ppm are ideal for high-volume use. Some of the more sophisticated machines achieve 100 ppm, although this is far more than most small businesses really need.
Print volume can range from basic models that hold only 100 sheets in the tray to MFPs that hold 500 sheets in the main tray and 2.000 or more in two or more additional trays.
Memory is another important value to consider. Most office printers range from 64 MB to 256 MB RAM, although some high-end printers allow additional memory to be added, subsequent to purchase.
Other features to consider are:
- Automatic duplex printing -Also known as duplexing, printing on both sides of the sheet without having to reload the machine.
- Automatic document feeder (ADF) Load multiple sheets automatically for scanning or faxing or emailing.
- Multipurpose trays -Ideal for printing on special paper, such as envelopes, postcards, business cards, brochures, and large paper.
- Dots per inch (dpi) -The number of dots per square inch in which you will be able to print. The higher the number, the sharper the prints of documents and images will be.
- USB and card readers To print without a computer.
- Interactive touch-screen controls For ease of use and convenience.
- Energy Star compliance For the reduction of operating costs.
Sharing among as many employees as possible is undoubtedly one of the main features for which it makes sense to purchase an office printer. To do this, the printer must be connected to the office network, allowing users to print to a single machine from their desktops, laptops, mobile devices, and sometimes remotely.
There are two ways to connect a laser printer to a business network: purchase a printer with network capabilities or connect a printer to a dedicated print server. Printers with built-in features are easier to connect, but higher cost. In either case, you can hire an outside vendor to do the setup (if it is not included in the purchase or lease price), or rely on in-house IT staff (if you have one).
More than one printer is needed in large companies, so companies often choose to purchase a laser printer for each department, group, or team. Separate printers can reside on the same network, allowing employees to use the one they need. This is especially useful if employees need to switch from a monochrome machine to a color machine, for example. Alternatively, you can use subnets that allow certain users only certain printers’access.
These configurations are used to limit or restrict access to color printers because their operating costs are much higher.
Business Printer Costs
After reading and thinking about choosing the ideal office printer, however, the question arises for many: how much will I have to spend? This is a difficult question to answer without knowing your company’s specific needs, but we’ll give you a general idea of what to expect.
As of today, you can buy a multifunction home printer with wifi connection for less than €8, but don’t expect these prices for a good quality office printer.
Inkjet printers designed for medium-small businesses range from about 150 euros up to 300 euros, providing performance and speed that in most cases will be more than sufficient. Obviously, this choice should be made for those with a very limited budget, while those who want to print high volumes of data and a certain speed of printing will have no choice but to opt for a laser printer.
The most basic color laser printers start at around 350 euros, but models that are suitable for small and medium-sized offices usually cost between 750 euros and 3000 euros,with high-end models with network connectivity and multifunction options can go as high as 5000 euros and up to 10000 euros.
How to assess your needs and to budget
Before making purchases, it is important to assess the needs of your business -What you want from the printer? How many people will need to use it? Is speed more important than print quality? You will use it for documents such as spreadsheets and Word files, or for documents that incorporate graphics and photos?
Our advice then is to identify how the printer will be used, make a list of your priorities and must-have features. Time spent in assessing your needs will make it easier to eliminate the myriad of available but unnecessary options and help vendors or sites experienced in selling office products online recommend the types and models that best suit your business.
Consider your budget. How much you are willing and/or able to spend? Keep in mind that commercial printers are an important investment because they are essential for daily functions.
The cheapest model on the market, often does not offer the best investment in the long run while, on the other hand, one should not overdo the investment, oversizing it, so as not to regret the purchase later on.
With the hope that our advice has helped you in choosing the perfect office printer for your needs, we leave you with some of the best deals currently on Amazon for the main product types listed above.