If you’re searching for a new office printer, then you know there’s a seemingly endless choice of options.
From multi-functional devices and personal printers to cloud functionality and duplexing – there’s a lot to consider.
This guide aims to simplify choosing the best printer for your office, by explaining the key terms, detailing what to look for, and helping you find the best office printer to suit your needs and budget.
Identifying your office printing requirements
The first step in choosing the best printer for your office is identifying your requirements, which broadly fall into three categories:
1. Print requirements
Print requirements cover printer use and output, including:
- Volume – the number of pages printed on an hourly, daily, and weekly basis.
- Document type – whether you’re printing text, graphics, or photographs.
- Paper size – if you’re printing standard A4 or want to print labels, envelopes, and larger documents.
- Other functionalities – if you require additional features such as copying, scanning, and emailing.
2. User requirements
User requirements cover the people using your printers, specifically:
- The number of users – how many people use the same printer.
- Location of users – whether people are printing from the office or remotely.
- Connectivity – how people send documents to the printer.
3. Business requirements
Business requirements cover all other necessary considerations, including:
- Location – the amount of space you have for a printer.
- Budget – the amount of money you have for upfront and ongoing costs.
- Business values – sustainable and environmentally friendly business values or KPIs that your printer must meet.
Relevant reading: how to increase your company’s green credentials
Understanding office printer terminology and phrases
Once you understand your office printer requirements, it’s time to get to grips with the following printer terminology.
Collation is the printer’s ability to print multiple copies of a document simultaneously, without having to re-order the documents yourself.
Duplexing allows you to print on both sides of the paper, which is especially useful when trying to cut down on paper usage or printing leaflets and booklets.
The duty cycle is the maximum number of pages a printer can print per month without breaking down. This is important when considering your intended printer volume.
Finishing functionalities cover folding, stapling, punching, and trimming, which can save significant time for employees.
An inkjet printer prints by spraying thousands of tiny ink droplets onto the paper to create an image, graphic, or word. Inkjet printers are great for printing high-quality photographs and graphics but can be slow and expensive for black and white text documents.
A laser printer prints by melting toner powder onto paper to create an image, graphic, or word. Laser printers are generally more expensive to buy than inkjet printers but are cheaper and faster to run. This makes them popular for black and white or text printing.
Multi-functional device (MFD)
An MFD is an all-in-one printer with additional functionalities such as photocopying, scanning, and emailing.
Page per minute
The page per minute is the printer speed, telling you how many pages it can process in one minute. This is a vital consideration if you have a high print volume. The slower the page per minute, the longer employees will be waiting around for their job to finish. Generally, laser printers operate at twice the speed of inkjet.
Paper handling, also known as print handling, is the ability to print to various output trays depending on the user. This is extremely useful if one printer has multiple users.
Print noise level
The print noise level tells you how much noise is emitted during a printer job, measured in Db.
What to look for in an office printer
So, you know your print requirements, and you understand the key printer terminology. Now, it’s time to learn the main things to look for in an office printer.
1. Functionalities that meet your requirements
First, the obvious. It’s fundamental to choose an office printer that meets your print requirements. Failure to do so results in frustration, inefficiencies, and a printer that soon needs replacing.
The main functionalities and requirements to match are:
- Print speed and demand
- Print quality and output documents
- Print usage and duty cycle
- Paper size and paper need
- Printer size and office space
2. Costs that don’t break the bank
Printers come with two main costs: the printer’s upfront cost and the ongoing costs of running and maintaining the printer. As a general rule of thumb, the cheaper the upfront cost, the more expensive the ongoing costs.
Therefore it’s important to calculate the following ongoing costs before investing in a new office printer:
- The cost of ink
- The cost of replacement parts
- The cost of regular maintenance
3. Maintenance options
Speaking of maintenance, wear and tear are expected, so it’s vital your printers can be quickly maintained and repaired when required.
There are various ways to maintain a printer, including using a business managed print service (MPS) to help you identify, source, and maintain your printers, with little input from you.
4. Connectivity with user devices
The old days of connecting individual computers to printers using a cable are long-gone – wireless printing has been around for a while. However, there are now many different connectivity options for office printers, including:
- Cloud printing
- Mobile phone printing
- Voice-activated printing
Depending on the physical location and devices of your employees, these may be necessary.
5. A reputable printer brand
Look for a reputable printer brand that you know and trust. Not only are their printers more reliable and advanced, but your ongoing costs will be cheaper too. At Versatech, we only supply Canon, HP, and Epson printers because we know they’re the best.
6. Positive reviews
Finally, seek out reviews about your chosen printer – you can’t beat honest user feedback from businesses similar to yours.
If choosing a printer for your office still feels like an impossible task, get in touch with a local MPS for their assessment of your needs and advice for the best office printer to meet them.