The classic monochrome laser business printer sells surprisingly well, but the best printer for your business might be Inkjet, Laser, LED, or Solid-Ink; and it can either be a multi-function or a single-function model.
This article will tell you how to decide which level of printer technology and function is best for your business. How much to spend on a printer keeping in mind the consumables cost, if the cost is bearable or no. Think and buy as to what the company has to print, in what quantity the company has to print, whether you want any additional features in the printer, etc.
The Cheapest Printers
Everyone wants to spend as low as they can on a printer. But before you buy anything cheap examine what cheap exactly means. The printer might be cheap but is it affordable? You can buy a cheap printer but the additional requirement like printer ink cartridges, toner, etc to run the printer, might not be cheap. The actual cost of the printer is kept at a low price by the vendors and the ink and toner required for replacement are kept high by the vendors. A low cost printer whose consumables cost high is beneficial for those whose printing quantity is very low. So the next time you go to buy a printer don’t just look at the cost of the printer but also look at the cost of the consumables which are used for a printer to work.
Inkjet, Laser, LED, Solid Ink
The differences in speed and output quality have narrowed, which makes it easier to choose which printer will be required for the SMB. If the printing is normal, like printing plain texts, documents, spreadsheet, or even a basic graphic logo, a monochrome laser or an LED printer will be perfect for your business. The additional cost for the ink, toner, etc. is also very cheap.
The monochrome models are slowly being replaced by laser printers or LED printers. The colour printers cost higher than the monochrome printers. The business must manage the use of colour printers as the ink, toner costs high so avoiding the misuse of the colour printer is recommended to the SMBs. Most of the laser printers, LED printers do not print with smooth looking images.
For a business which has to print a good quality photo is the reason inkjet printers are recommended to them. Many office ready printers provide a good printing results and a good speed of printing. Media flexibility is another selling point, as some models can print on specially designed canvas, iron-on transfers, or even CD/DVD media.
A solid ink printer is available only through Xerox. The photo quality of a solid ink printer is almost the same as a laser printer/LED printer, but not as good as an inkjet.
A solid ink printer is worth considering for SMBs who want something faster than an inkjet, but less complicated than a colour or LED printer. The solid ink printers compete more closely with laser printers and LED printers.
Office Size and Volume
The amount of pages you want to print, who will be printing from the printer, will it be only you or will your co-workers will be using it too. You will have to figure out which features will be suitable for your business.
A personal inkjet or a laser printer will be best for you if your printing demand is not more than 20 pages per day. If you have more printing demands then the inkjet will work very slow as the automatic duplexing feature will not work, and also it will need pricey consumables for the printer. The printer can be connected to a computer or a laptop via a USB cable. There are wireless options available now.
For many users to print from one printer, then Ethernet connectivity is recommended for printing/sharing. Wireless connectivity is recommended for small groups but the speed may vary depending on the network.
A simple way to calculate the print volume is to make a note of how many times the paper try gets refilled in a day. If the paper tray is refilled only once a day, keep a track on it for a few days and then see which printer best suits you. The paper volume should be low that what volume the printer has, the printer will take time to print if such things happen.
Speed of the Printer
The volume of printing of the printer determines the speed of the engine of the printer, processing power, and the memory the printer has.
The engine-speed of the printer should be taken into consideration as they might not reflect your usage pattern. This will provide an indication as to what the printer can accomplish under optimal conditions. A printer speed of 20 pages per minute will not be favourable and will be quiet slow. A printer that prints 20-40 pages per minute is the minimum requirement for most offices. And the printer that prints 40+ pages per minute, such printers are for high volume use. The higher number pages printed in a minute, the cost of the printer keeps increasing.
Host based printers lack their own image processing power, so they depend on a connected computer to handle the job for them. The higher the processor of the printer the faster the machine can receive, interpret and print a job.
The printer you choose should have good paper handling capabilities, as it is very essential for any SMB to keep in mind for the future if the business grows and the printing demand increases. A few entry level printers have a capacity of 150 pages, which is sufficient for a small work group, such models are not expandable.
The minimum capacity of a normal printer is 250 pages. Some printers are provided with secondary paper slots for more paper to be put in for more printing results. If you use one slot for one type of paper then it will be quick and time saving as you don’t have to adjust the slot as per what paper is to be printed. Automatic duplexing printers are those printers that you should be looking out for. The printing speed of the automatic duplexing printer will be slow but a lot of paper will be saved which will in turn save a lot of trees from getting cut.
Modern printers support printing on envelops, labels, index cards. So if you have anything that you can’t print in a normal printer, these printers can do it for you. Thanks to the straighter paper paths on majority of the inkjets and some laser printers and to manually feed slots that bypass the toughest turns on others. High end laser printers offer a special feeding and finishing units for collating, stapling, and stacking envelops and postcards. A wide-format printer lets you print in a larger size than the typical letter and legal dimensions.
Single Function or Multi-Function
If your company does basic printing like a word documents, spreadsheets etc. then you might not need a multifunctional printer also called All-In-One printer. But if you want to digitize all your documents, share them, and then you can use the all-in-one printer to create electronic images of documents and store and send them via emails.
The all in one printer has its own limitations. If your office is very busy, a single all in one machine won’t be effective and can be time consuming as it can cause too much chaos as it cannot perform all the functions at the same time, this can frustrate the workers. If you want to scan too many documents for long term use a dedicated document scanner with its own Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) will simplify the job of scanning instead of standing near the printer and changing the page to be scanned manually.
Ink and Toner
As learnt above, if the cost of the printer is low, the cost of the consumables such as ink, toner, etc is high. So while buying a printer looking only at the cost of the printer is not the only thing to be kept in mind. Researching and making a note of the consumables that are put in the printer is also to be remembered.
How to Choose the Right Printer
- Get the current price of each cartridge from the vendor’s own Website. If the vendor doesn’t sell cartridges directly to consumers, we average the prices collected from three or more major online retailers. Check to see whether a printer offers high-yield cartridges, which are often cheaper.
- All inkjet printer vendors publish yield data for their ink and toner cartridges, estimating how many pages a cartridge can print before it runs dry. Most vendors’ yields are based on an industry-standard measuring tool–a specific suite of documents printed at specific settings–so the results are comparable across different models. Finding the yields can require a little digging, but feel free to explore, and don’t hesitate to bug the vendor for guidance if you can’t easily find what you’re looking for.
- For each colour, divide the price of the cartridge by the total page yield to obtain a figure for the cost per colour per page. Be aware that your mileage will vary depending on what and how much you print from day to day.
One more tip: Check the information on “what’s in the box” to see whether you’re getting full-size ink or toner cartridges or lower-capacity, “starter”-size supplies. Often, lower-end laser and LED printers come with starter-size supplies, forcing you to buy a full set of replacement cartridges almost immediately. It’s getting harder to avoid this vendor trick, but at least you’ll be aware of it.
Finding the best printer for your business doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. All of the available technologies work adequately or better, so it’s more important to focus on the features and capabilities you need. After identifying several printers that seem suitable, check their ink or toner pricing to minimize your ongoing costs.
Which Printer to Buy?
There are many entry level printers available in the market which are useful for SMBs.
Here are the specifications of a few entry level printers:
- HP OfficeJet Pro 6230 ePrinter
In black and white prints 29 ppm in draft and 18 ppm in colour.
In colour prints 24 ppm in draft and 10 ppm in colour.
It has a duty cycle of up to 15000 pages per month.
The RMPV is 200 to 800 pages per month.
Consists of 1 USB2.0 port; 1 Ethernet; 1 wireless 802.11b/g/n
It also has Automatic two side printing (duplexing)
Can print from any mobile with HP ePrint option
Has a 1 year onsite warranty
HP OfficeJet Pro 6230 ePrinter can print professional colour for up to 50% lower cost per page than laser printers.
- HP OfficeJet Pro 6830 e-All-in-one
In black and white prints 28 ppm in draft and 18 ppm in colour.
In colour prints 24 ppm in draft and 10 ppm in colour.
Flatbed 35 sheets ADF
Auto duplexing printing
Duty cycle of up to 15000 pages per month.
RMPV is 200 to 800 pages for print and 50 to 150 pages for scanning.
Consist of 1 USB 2.0; 1 host USB; 1 Ethernet, 1 wireless 802.11b/g/n.
Gives one year on site warrant.
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