Printers are a vital piece of office machinery. An outdated, poorly functioning printer is not only frustrating to use but costly and inefficient. But, with so many different technologies and models to choose from, deciding which machine is the best printer for your small business in Anchorage, AK, can be overwhelming. Taking time to carefully consider the following five factors will help you narrow your search and find a printer that meets your needs and keeps your office running smoothly.
What are you printing?
Functionality needs to be your first consideration when shopping for a printer. Make a careful study of the types of documents your office prints daily. Are you printing mostly black and white text documents, or do your regular requirements lean more towards color and graphics?
As a general rule, laser printers are better for black and white text-heavy printing, especially at high volumes, and inkjets are the preferred choice for color photos. The dye and pigment-based inks used by inkjet printers produce rich, vibrant colors that can't be matched by most laser printers. While laser printers can produce quality color results, they require special laser-ready photo paper, which is costly and often inconvenient. Laser printers, however, excel at creating crisp, clean letters. Inkjet prints often bleed or smear ever so slightly, making individual notes less sharp than their laser-produced counterparts.
How much are you printing?
As you shop for a printer, there are many terms you should know that relate to speed and volume; understanding these terms will help you determine which printers will meet your needs.
Print speed – the number of pages the printer can produce per minute.
Duty cycle – the volume of pages the printer can generate in a month without causing damage.
Recommended monthly print volume – the number of pages you should print each month to keep the printer working its best.
Page yield – the number of pages an ink or toner cartridge can print.
Laser printers are the printer world; heavy-duty laser printers can generate up to 100 pages per minute of text, while inkjets top out at about 15 pages per minute. Also, many laser printers have high duty cycles, and their cartridges have high page yields, meaning you can produce large volumes without damaging the printer or continually changing the toner. If your office requires high volumes of speedy printing, a laser printer is a clear choice.
It's important to note that buying a printer that far exceeds your printing requirements is not necessarily wise. Printers that regularly operate below their recommended monthly print volume will not perform optimally.
Do you need extra features?
Today's printers often come packaged as all-in-one machines; scanner, copier, and fax machine capabilities are included in these multi-function printers. Adding additional functions increases the device's price, but purchasing one machine that does it all is considerably less expensive than buying separate appliances for each position. One machine also takes up less space than several different devices, so if your office is small, these combo printers are a lifesaver.
That said, all-in-one machines are not always the right answer. If you already have scanners and copiers in your office that work well, spending extra money on a multi-function printer that offers redundant capabilities is not necessarily the way to go. A single all-in-one machine might create bottlenecks in your office, with multiple employees waiting to use one device for different tasks.
How are your employees connecting to the printer?
Connectivity is a critical component of selecting the right printer. Your initial instinct might be to go for a machine with mobile connectivity capabilities like wi-fi and Bluetooth. Wireless printing eliminates the need for cumbersome cables and makes it possible for employees to print from any device. These features are undoubtedly convenient, but they also come with significant drawbacks. For one, they are less secure and provide an additional door for anyone looking to access your network. Wi-fi printers also offer slower print times and are subject to interference and low signal strength.
On the other hand, traditional networked printers offer reliable, consistent, and secure high-speed printing. While these advantages come at the cost of less flexibility and more complicated setup and installation than wireless printers, if you need speed and reliability, a networked printer is a clear choice.
What's your budget?
Printers have two costs: the upfront purchase price and ongoing maintenance costs, including ink and toner refills. It would be best if you weighed both as you make your decision carefully. As a general rule, laser printers and toner cartridges are more expensive than inkjet printers and ink. However, because laser printers also have higher print capacities than inkjets, laser prints' price per page is lower. If you're printing high volumes, this is important to consider. And, before you choose an inkjet printer because it's cheap, consider the cost of the ink refills; the more inexpensive the inkjet, the more expensive the ink.
Get the Right Printer for the Job
Your printer should support your business and boost your productivity. Limited functions, high costs, and unreliability will hold you back. Arctic Office offers a variety of business printers in Anchorage, AK. The best printer for you isn't the cheapest one with the most bells and whistles; it's the machine that offers the functions you need at a price you can afford. Come in and let our team set you up with a new printer today.