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@ 5:19 pm
It is astounding how many times we enter a business and find a number of print devices that are just wrong for the job and a waste of time and money for the company. At some point you may determine your printer is not right for you, or perhaps your printer is nearing retirement. In any case here are some tips to help you in purchasing your next printer.
- Determine your monthly print volume. It is very important to purchase a printer with the correct duty cycle. You do not want to purchase a $200 desktop printer if your output is 10,000 pages per month nor do you want to purchase a $5,000 multifunction device when your volume is 500 pages per month. Price goes up with duty cycle and there are many levels, this is the first area where buying the right size makes economic sense. How can you determine your monthly print volume? A professional print fleet manager can help you determine your monthly usage very accurately.
- Paper size rules printer size. In the US, there are three standard sizes of printed output in the office: letter, legal and ledger. The sizes respectively are 8-1/2×11”, 8-1/2×14”, and 11×17”. Letter is also known as A4 and ledger as A3. The majority of letter sized printers will also take legal. A3 sized printers will take all three sizes. Unless you truly need A3 sized printing, the cost of a device can be greatly reduced by purchasing letter/legal printing.
- Would multi-functionality make your business more efficient? One of the beauties of modern printing is the capability to perform other functions with the same device. These functions include scanning directly to email, scanning documents to files on your computer or network, wireless printing from mobile devices, faxing, and copying. Having these functions dispersed around the office, eliminating the need to walk long distances to scan or copy, has added a great deal of efficiency to a lot of companies with only a minimal cost increase.
- Color. Print devices are available for all duty cycles and functionalities in either a monochrome or a color version. The additional cost for the equipment in color is really not significant these days. Color printing does cost more to operate however. As a rule of thumb, each color page costs 5-10 times more than a black page. Unless color is an integral part of your business printing, costs can be kept lower using a mixture of high speed monochrome printers and carefully placed color devices.
- Duplexing. Du-what? Duplexing is the ability to print on both sides of the page automatically. This feature is an add-on available for most printer models for only a nominal charge. The advantage of duplexing is the potential to cut paper usage, theoretically in half.
- Networking. Recommendation: always buy a networkable printer. This will give you the capability of making your new device usable by more than one user, even if that is not the intention initially. It also makes it possible for your print fleet professional to monitor the performance of your device for you. Nearly all laser printers are networkable anyway, but make sure.
- What about refurbished printers? Refurbished printers can be a viable option in many cases. But be careful. There are plenty of used printers available online at very low prices. In most cases, these are truly used, back from leases or purchased on the aftermarket. You do not know their history and oftentimes there has been little or no refurbishing. And typically the warranties are minimal. Reputable companies are truly refurbishing the machines, replacing most of the critical parts, reloading software, re-treating the inside and outside plastic, fully testing, packaging the devices to look like new, and offering a substantial warranty. Because of all the cost put into the process, our recommendation is to look at refurbished for higher speed devices. There are two primary advantages of considering a refurbished print device. The first is to maintain the same model that you may be replacing. You can get a refurbished version of a discontinued printer model in order to fit in with the rest of your fleet and avoid changing out the drivers. The second reason is cost. Refurbished devices sell at a substantial discount from the current new model. Talk to your printer professional about this option.
- Laser vs. inkjet. For most office uses, laser is superior. Inkjet printers are built for inexpensive entry into owning equipment, but this is quickly overcome with the high cost of ink cartridges. Inexpensive inkjet machines are slow and made for very low duty cycles typical for home use or photo printing. We sometimes find them in offices as individual desktop printers. In almost all cases it would be better to purchase a laser printer of the desktop variety instead, or look at a workgroup print device for a number of inkjet users. One caveat: there are now some high end inkjet printers that can compete with and even beat color laser on cost and speed.
As we have stated throughout this article, let your print fleet professional advise you on the various options you have when choosing a device. You may be pleasantly surprised by your increase in efficiency.
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