It’s time to get new printers for your business. Maybe you’re opening a new office and need to outfit an entire department. Or perhaps the printers you already have are making unsettling noises and burning through your ink faster than you go through your morning coffee. Whatever the case it’s time for something new. But what does your business need?

Find out just how much you print

How often do you find yourself walking to the printer? Once a day? Once an hour? Five times a minute?

Before you shop for a new print solution, you need to figure out what you print and how much of it you print. Here are some other points to consider:

  • The regularity of your printing schedule. Do you have high-volume days and low-volume days or are your needs fairly consistent? There are printers built to handle copying, faxing, scanning and emailing documents, so keep this in mind when making your decision.
  • The type of documents you print. Do you need full-color printing in day to day operations or is a monochrome system more practical?
  • The number of printers you need. Are you planning on sharing one system between several employees or setting up individual systems? It might be more cost-effective to choose a single enterprise-grade printer rather than trying to manage several personal units.

Monochrome vs full-color printers

Most office printing is typically done in black and white, which partly explains why laser printers are so popular.

If your office is mostly printing text documents, laser printers can be faster and cheaper per print for a black and white model than an Inkjet or solid ink printer. This is especially true if you are looking for an inexpensive, lower-duty printer. (However, keep in mind that lower-end printers require more ink, which can quickly run up costs.)

If you print color illustrations or charts, a full-color laser or LED printer may be your best option. Laser and LED printers are both fast and efficient, making them perfectly suited for most businesses.

However, if your business needs high-quality images and reproductions, Inkjet and solid Ink printers are a better option. They’re also good for businesses that don’t print often because – despite the ongoing cost of replacement cartridges – the initial costs are generally lower than laser printers.

Multifunction vs single function printers

If you don’t print much, a simple single-function unit can serve you perfectly. You’ll save money on features and – because there are fewer moving parts – your printer is less likely to malfunction.

For most offices, however, a multifunction printer may be the smarter choice. That way, you can print wirelessly, copy and scan docs and even send emails all from the same unit.

How fast do you want to print?

If you want to avoid hanging out at the print station, awkwardly avoiding eye contact with the pot plant in the corner, choose a printer that can keep up with your business.

Manufacturers typically list the Pages per Minute (PPM) in the specifications for each model to give you an idea of how quickly they print. However, each model has its tendencies. Laser printers, for example, work at almost double the speed of inkjets and solid ink printers while LED printers can be even faster (though image quality can suffer).

The cost of ink

The old rule of “you get what you pay for” is very relevant when it comes to choosing your print system. Initial unit cost isn’t the most expensive part of setting up a printer system for your business: ink costs can eclipse the cost of everything but the most expensive systems.

Inexpensive printers tend to be less efficient with ink and toner because they’re designed for users who don’t print that much. So if you are planning on doing a lot of printing getting the cheapest printer might not be the least expensive option.

Most manufacturers try to approximate a price-per-page for each model they sell so when choosing a printer, compare your monthly print needs and the duty cycle of the printer to the price-per-page. Typically, laser printers can produce more pages per refill than inkjet printers can. Toner cartridges can hold enough ink for a thousand pages or more, whereas even high-yield XL inkjet cartridges usually top out around six or seven hundred pages. For either option, choosing the right ink cartridges can save you time and money.

Think about the print duty cycle

A printer’s duty cycle is the number of pages per month a unit is designed to produce safely. This number is based on stress testing done by your printer’s manufacturer and is often measured in pages per month.

If you print more than the recommended duty cycle your printer won’t spontaneously combust – hopefully – but it will lead to premature parts failure that can dramatically reduce the life cycle of your unit. The duty cycle of a new printer is particularly important if your business prints a lot of pages monthly. If that’s the case you may want to opt for an enterprise-grade unit to avoid potential disruption of service due to ongoing troubles.

Consider the cost of replacement parts

Anticipate wear and tear on your printer by taking a look at how much it costs to replace moving parts. In some cases, replacement printheads and drums can cost almost as much as replacing the entire unit, especially when you start talking about enterprise-grade printers. Another thing to consider here is how comfortable you are with replacing warranty parts. Do you have technicians that can replace printheads or diagnose operating issues? Make sure all parts of the print cycle and maintenance are covered by your budget.

Check for Wi-Fi and Smartphone capabilities

Choosing a unit that can connect wirelessly means you can store in a central location. Newer printers often feature software that makes it easy to connect from mobile technology. As tablets and phones play a big role in business, investing in a printer that can easily connect to them puts you ahead of the curve (even if you aren’t using mobile much right now).

Choosing the right corporate printer

If you’re having a tough time choosing between different models, sometimes it’s better to get a professional opinion. A good, managed print service can help you assess your needs and budget while making sure everything runs smoothly day-to-day. Finding out exactly what you need will cost less in the long run and you’ll be more satisfied with the results. Happy printing!