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The Ultimate Printer Buying Guide for Businesses
Thu Oct 19, 2023 | Ameritel Corporation
Printer buying guides can lend helpful insight into the world of technology before leaders make big investments. Equipping your office with the right tools is key for boosting your team’s productivity and using a buying guide can boost your confidence before purchase.
Just like with any technology, printers have different functions and features that will benefit various teams. There isn’t a universal “best device” that will work for everyone. Understanding the tasks that your team will need to complete, your business’s budget, and the functionalities you’re looking for in a printer will lead you to finding the right tech for your company.
To help with this process, we’ve created this printer buying guide. We’ll help you find the right printer one step at a time. Here are some things you should ask yourself before making a big technology purchase.
1. Finding the Best Printer for Your Budget
Before buying anything, the first step will be setting a budget. Knowing the price point that you’ll be working with will make the rest of the process easier. Remember that while setting up your budget there are several other factors to consider.
Things you need to calculate include:
- Printer Cost
- Supplies Cost
- Repair Costs
Regular Maintenance Costs
Sorting out these details will help you set a more realistic budget. You can then divide up the costs into sections, knowing how much you’ll be spending on the initial purchase and how much you’ll be expected to spend after. Remember too that while some printers come at a lower price point, their supplies can be costlier. This would mean that while you’re saving money at first, you could end up spending more than you’d like in the long run.
A simple way to calculate the expected cost of your supplies will be to know the number of pages the printer will yield before needing a replacement cartridge. Remember when calculating this that the amount of ink coverage on the page will also factor in. If you’re expecting to print color-rich photos then you’ll likely need more frequent replacement cartridges.
To better calculate the cost of supplies, you’ll first need to decide between an inkjet (ink) and a laser (toner) printer.
2. Choosing Between an Inkjet or Laser Printer
As we’ve discussed in a previous blog, inkjets and laser printers are used for very different projects. Both devices have their pros and cons and deciding which one to buy will come down to the needs of your team. More specifically, you should examine two factors: how often you’ll be printing and what types of documents you need printed.
Built with quality printing in mind, inkjets are designed to bring a splash of color to your documents. The rich inks that these devices use help to make eye-catching prints that can be used for presentations, marketing purposes, handouts, and infographics. Many inkjet devices also come at a lower starting price than their laser counterparts. These savings are offset by the sometimes more expensive supply costs.
Another thing to keep in mind is how often your device will be used. Inkjets are best for offices who are going to be frequently printing, especially in color. If you think that your team will be more focused on black and white documents, or won’t print that often, then these are probably not the best devices for you. Ink can dry up when not used, meaning you risk spending even more on supplies. Be sure to talk with your team and determine these things before investing in an inkjet printer.
Looking to print mostly text documents? Then a laser printer is one of the best investments you could make! These devices are created for fast paper output of text-heavy documents. They tend to make for some of the best devices for teams in the financial, legal, and healthcare industries. The initial cost of the device will be higher than an inkjet would be, but you’ll save money on the cost of supplies in the long run. Toner tends to yield more pages before a replacement is needed, and it won’t ever run the risk of “drying out” as the toner is already dry to begin with.
Downsides of having a laser printer include less vivid color prints. You might see a lower quality in images, graphs, and marketing handouts that you print with a laser printer. While not terrible, when compared to an inkjet’s prints you’ll notice a significant difference in quality. For teams printing text documents, this isn’t a concern. But for those wanting a more dynamic printer that can do both, you might be better choosing an inkjet.
3. Deciding the Print Functions Your Team Will Need
Everything from your business’s size to where your team will be operating out of will also factor in when buying a new printer. Make sure you decide where the printer will go before making a final decision, as some of the functions that will be essential for your workflows might not be available in select devices.
Large Organizations, Government Agencies, and Teams with a Main Office:
If you want a device that will act as your office’s central information highway, then you’ll want a device that is optimized for security and comes with functions such as follow-me-printing and user specific authorization. Make sure that your device also comes with wi-fi connectivity, as your team could be sending print jobs from opposite ends of your office building.
Choosing a device that has higher page per minute (PPM) speeds will also be important for larger teams working out of one main office. The faster the PPM, the better optimized your workflows will be.
A great choice would be the Kyocera 4054ci. This device can print speedily in both color and in black and white, with up to 40 PPM. With speeds like that you can help to minimize downtime and improve your office's overall efficiency.
Small Businesses, Non-Profits, and Pop-Ups:
For small businesses, teams under twenty people, or pop-ups for events run by nonprofits, your device should have mobile printing options. Giving your team members the ability to send documents to the printer from their phones and tablets will offer them more flexibility when interacting with their team members, working on close-knit group projects, and connecting with clients.
You may also want to consider looking for devices that come with on-screen editing functionalities. This will give your team the chance to work faster and adapt to any changes without stress.
Remote Workers and Home Offices:
For the teams working remotely or in a hybrid model, staying connected is everything. Just like with small offices, having mobile printing options will be essential. Giving your team the chance to send things back and forth between their home office and the main office will help improve productivity and collaboration.
They will also benefit from on-screen editing, much like small businesses. Giving your team members the option to edit the doc via their printer will create stronger collaboration and help with any future group projects they may have. This will also lower the chance for errors, as everyone can see in real-time the edits being made to each document.
4. Equipping Your New Device with the Right Supplies
Supplies costs include everything from the ink, toner, and the paper. These are often the most overlooked factors when people consider buying a new device. As we mentioned earlier, the cost of your supplies will vary greatly depending on what the printer will be used for.
Things that can affect how much supplies you use include:
- PPM Speeds
- Coverage on the Page
- Ink vs Toner
Number of Printer Users
These factors might initially overwhelm you but remember that there are lots of options out there, and that your team will find the right fit. To help with the process, you may want to reach out and consult with print experts. Teams like ours at Ameritel work daily with businesses in all fields to pair them with the best printers. We can lend guidance on all print matters, including helping you better understand the costs of supplies.
Looking for a printer that's good on supplies and still prints quality text and images? Canon's C3926i is an excellent choice. As one of the leading brands in the industry, Canon is known for their reliability and quick outputs. You can trust that the C3926i will help you save costs on supplies, will helpful levels and alerts that will keep you informed on levels well-before any replacement is needed.
Another great way to save is by getting managed print services. There are many benefits to managed print services, but one of the greatest perks is not worrying as much about supplies acquisitions. With managed print, you can rely on a team of experts to keep you informed on when supplies are running low and help order the right amount. This will decrease the potential for excessive supplies wastage and equally ensures your office is well-stocked to avoid downtime.
5. Determining What Size Paper You Will Need
The last thing to decide is the paper to load into your new device. As you go through each step, keep in mind what types of documents your team will be printing. If it’s going to mostly be standard letter and legal-size pages, then you aren’t going to run into any issues.
If, however, your team is thinking about printing larger documents for posters, marketing supplies, or large-scale infographics, then you may want to consider buying a wide format printer.
Wide format printers are great assets for any business, especially for marketing teams and engineering firms. Having the option to print brand-boosting materials or design blueprints can help your team work more productively and encourage more collaboration.
Have Questions or Concerns?
There’s a lot of things to consider before buying a new printer, and it can quickly become overwhelming. If this sounds like something you’re experiencing, know that the Ameritel team is here to support you! We can answer any questions you might have about printers and pair you up with the right device.
Our print experts are here to help! Feel free to reach out and speak with our team for assistance.