5 Shopping Guidelines for a Business Printer

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Starting a business or looking to expand? There are lots of things to consider, but properly equipping your office space is essential. The type of printer you’d pick up at an office supply store is not going to cut it for business use, at least in most cases. Even small offices usually need far more sophisticated machines in order to maximize efficiency and productivity. Picking the right business printer will ensure that things run smoothly around the office.

1. Networks to the rescue

That being said, printing needs are not what they used to be, with most companies trying to minimize their paper use. For that reason, most businesses opt for networked printers that can be shared by multiple users, rather than individual printers for each desk. Due to their durability and sturdy design, these machines save resources and tend to last much longer than out-of-the-box varieties. They also offer faster printing speeds, better handling and advanced finishing options. In addition to your standard printing services, most are also capable of copying, scanning, emailing and faxing.

2. Determine your needs and consider your choices

Networked business printers are available in hundreds of models and in varying types, all with different features and capabilities, it’s great to have options but it can also make the buying process a little overwhelming. The key things to consider are whether you need something wireless, laser, LED, inkjet or solid-ink, and monochrome or color. Also keep in mind that not all are compatible with mobile printing, and depending on which of these characteristics you prioritize, you are going to find a wide variation is price.

3. Pros and cons of laser/LED printers

Laser and LED printers are very similar, and they are what you will find in the vast majority of offices these days. They are reliable, print quickly, and most important, consistently produce high-quality text. Due to the fact that they have memory and hard-drive capabilities, they are well suited to networking. Toner is relatively inexpensive compared with other methods of printing, so once you’ve made the investment in the machine itself, you can expect your costs to remain relatively low over time. As mentioned here, in addition to the hefty price up front, really the only other downside of a laser printer is that they are not particularly well suited to photo printing.

4. Pros and cons of an Inkjet printer

This is probably the type of printer you have at home. Most common for personal or home office use, some small business find that Injet printers better suit their needs too. The most appealing aspect is that Inkjet printers are less expensive up front and the photo quality is high. This makes them the best choice for anyone who is printing a lot of brochures, fliers and documents that contain graphics. They can print on many types of media and will result in a high-quality final product. Positives aside, these printers work much more slowly, and most aren’t equipped with networking capabilities, due to the high cost of replacing ink.

5. Some other options

There are also a few less common printer types to choose from. There are solid-ink printers, which melt blocks of colored wax onto paper. These tend to be comparable to laser printers in black-and-white print quality, reliability and ongoing costs, but they are superior for color printing. They’re also smaller and more compact, but more prone to smudging without as many models to choose from. Snapshot printers are also an option if you’re only printing images. The photo quality is much higher than with other types of printers. These are more common for home use, but they can also have business applications.

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Waking Science Magazine contains the latest editorials about science and technology.

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