Buying a business printer for your office is different than buying a printer for your home computer. The main purpose of a business printer will be to print documents. Versus a home printer that needs to print documents, photos, color reports, projects for your kid's report, etc.
The All-In-One Printer (AIO) or Multifunction Printer (MFP)
is not only a printer, but can also scan, copy, fax and/or email documents. These can save you money in the long run by only having to buy one machine versus paying for three or four different ones. The main drawback to AIO is that if it goes down then nobody can print, fax, scan or copy. Also, if there are a lot of people using it, employees may be waiting for their documents while somebody else is faxing. Look at your printing volume before you decide to buy an AIO/MFP.
Color vs. Black and White
Ask yourself, "Do you really need a color business printer?" Color printers are nice and really brighten up a document, but they will also add a significant amount to the cost of the printer. If color is a requirement (for example, printing marketing documents for prospective customers), then a color laser printer is required. Additionally, you will need to purchase and replace four toner cartridges (black and one for each primary color) instead of the usual one black toner cartridge.
The physical size of the printer must be taken into consideration. Look at the technical specifications to exactly how big it is. Will it fit on the corner of a desk? Will you need to buy a printer stand? Or will you need to find some floor space to put on?
How will your new business printer be connected to the people that need to print to it? Almost all business printers have a USB port for direct connection to a computer. But if you need to connect it to the business' computer network, it must have an Ethernet port.
The Need for Speed
Of course everyone wants their printouts instantaneously. The faster a printer is the more it will cost you. The average business printer should be able to produce at least 20 pages per minute (PPM) in black and white mode.
Evaluate the quality that is required for your business printer. A draft quality printer will be able to print 600 dots per inch (DPI) while a high quality printer will print at more than 1,200 DPI.
Quantity of Output
Estimating how much you print each month might be a little tricky. A simple way to get a reasonable estimate is to look at your receipts/invoices and total up how many reams of paper you purchase each month. Then look at the printer's specifications to see what its monthly duty cycle rating is. Remember that the published duty cycle rating is the average number of pages that are printed per month before the printer breaks. A good duty cycle rating for a business printer is three times your estimated number of pages that you print each month.
The purchase price of the printer is just the beginning of the cost of owning a business printer. Consumable supplies such as toner or ink cartridges can add up quickly. Most vendors will tell you what the average cost per page is for each model.
Other Special Needs
Other requirements that should be taken into consideration. These include:
- Large paper sizes: Ability to print on 11" by 17" paper or larger
- Small paper sizes: Ability to print on 4" by 6" cards
- Tray capacity: 1,000 or 5,000 sheet capacity trays/drawers
- Duplex units: Allows the printer to print on both sides of the paper
- Special paper/forms: Envelope trays to automatically feed envelopes.