Printers can be confusing to shop for, but taking a bit of extra time to choose the right one for your business can save you quite a bit of time and money over its lifespan. Unfortunately, when it comes to printers, there’s no clear winner that’s right for every small business. But if you consider how often you’re printing, what you’re printing, how fast you need your items printed, and how you’d like to budget for it, you’ll be able to narrow down your search considerably.
What to consider before buying a printer
Most businesses don’t track their print costs, but you might want to start paying attention to what you’re really spending to get an idea of where you can save. Toner and ink can be incredibly expensive, and choosing the right printer can set you down a better path to saving money each month.
1. Upfront vs. long-term cost
In addition to your budget, you might want to consider whether you’d rather pay more upfront and enjoy more savings in the long run. Printers that are more energy-efficient and don’t inflate the price of their toner and ink cartridges may be more expensive initially. But over time, they could save you quite a bit more.
2. speed vs. quality images
Printers that produce gorgeous images are typically not known for their tremendous speed. If your office produces a large number of text documents and only occasionally needs to generate color images, don’t be too tempted by the printer with the best graphics quality. It will likely slow you down, use more toner and ink than you’d like, and frustrate your staff.
In the past few years, hackers have grown wise to the fact that networked printers are often vulnerable to attack. Not only can a sophisticated cybercriminal access sensitive data through an obsolete or unsecured printer, but they could also access your entire network. If your business must comply with privacy laws, you should consider a printer with sophisticated security tools.
types of printers
Having a printer that also serves as a fax machine, scanner, and copier can save you a lot of money, space, and energy. You’ll have to stock only one type of toner or ink, and these multifunction devices can churn out documents pretty quickly. However, depending on how much you need to print, copy, and fax, one device might not cut it. Additionally, as with every multifunction device, it may be more disruptive to your workflow if it isn’t operational.
Laser printers are expensive, but the cartridges last longer, and they can churn out high-quality text documents quickly. Laser printers also tend to be more durable than the average printer and may last longer. However, you won’t be able to get by with cheap paper, and they aren’t the best at producing images.
In some ways, inkjet printers strike a nice balance between quality text and images. Their cartridges are less expensive than toner, and you can print on a wider variety of materials. However, ink can be problematic. It can smudge or fade, ink nozzles can get clogged easily, and if you don’t print often, ink cartridges can dry out. These printers are also not built for churning out lots of text documents quickly.
dot matrix printers
Believe it or not, there are still many of these in use today, and they’re still being made. While they don’t produce high-quality documents, they’re extremely cost-effective, and even in hot environments, the print doesn’t tend to smudge or fade. Dot-matrix printers are especially popular in warehouses and restaurants, where a document’s appearance is far less important.
Most businesses won’t need a thermal printer, but if you need to generate receipts and printing labels that can survive in a harsh environment, you may want to consider one. They don’t use ink or toner, but instead use heat to generate images. However, if you’ve been frustrated at tax time with receipts where the ink fades over time, you’ve already experienced one of the chief drawbacks to these printers.
Should you need to create high-quality photos on glossy paper, photo printers have come quite a long way. However, if you don’t need to produce photos often, it’s probably more cost-effective to use a provider instead of investing in costly equipment.
wide format printers
You can create your own display and marketing materials for indoor and outdoor use with a wide format printer. But that’s not all. Wide format printers will also allow you to generate architectural plans, vehicle wraps, fabric, wallpaper, and more. They aren’t cheap, but a wide format printer can significantly expand your office’s printing capabilities and generate eye-catching results.
get the best printers for your small business
Marco’s print experts have prepared this helpful two-minute questionnaire to help you pinpoint which printer might be right for your business. However, the right printer for your business might not be one you have to buy. Instead of figuring out the right type of printer and then researching the hidden costs associated with it, you could contract with a Managed Print Services (MPS) provider instead.
Marco’s Managed Print Services typically save clients up to 30% on printing supplies, maintenance, and energy use, while providing help desk support and necessary repairs. It’s one of the easiest ways to save yourself a tremendous amount of time and actually save money doing it. Read up on everything Managed Print Services can do for your organization with this guide, or save yourself even more time and speak directly with one of our print experts.