Many new business owners assume that buying an office printer is exactly like buying a personal printer. In essence, you use a printer for one thing—to print out some documents. There are of course the common features to consider such as color, picture printing, and whether or not you want a scanner along with a printer, but other than that a printer is pretty much a printer. Right?

As it turns out, there are actually quite a few decisions that need to be made when it comes time to buy office printers. You need to consider the size of your office, how fast you need the printer to go in order to keep your business running, and then consider what type of printer is needed for your office printing needs. The answers to these questions are usually very different when discussing office printers versus personal printers, so it’s important to really consider what is right for you before walking into a store and buying ten printers identical to the ones you have at home.

Questions to Ask before Buying an Office Printer

Once you buy ten or twenty office printers you are more-or-less stuck with your choice, so you need to ask yourself basic questions as well as more advanced questions when it comes time to buy printers for your office. Consider below a few of these questions:

1.    How many printers will you need, and how much are you willing to spend?

Company owners will need to assess the size of the company and how much printing the company will do. It’s best to underestimate this at first because office printers can be expensive. You will also want to ask yourself if anyone in the office needs a personal office printer. For example, many companies give the accountants personal printers because they print confidential information and checks. Once you decide approximately how many office printers you will need, it’s time to set out a budget. Try and overestimate the number of printers you will need when determining your budget. Most companies purchase printers, but daily rentals (about $120 per day) are available if you’re really a new company on a budget. You also must consider the cost of ink and toner.

2.    What type of office printers will your employees need?

There are really three different types of printers that are popular today: inkjet, laser, LED and all-in-one. Consider below the features of each type of printer:

  • An inkjet office printer is the most affordable printer and works well for companies with very basic printing needs. If your employees don’t print much, this is probably your best option.
  • A laser office printer is probably the most popular printer for the office because they are so reliable. This type of printer is known to be fast, accurate, and great for companies with a lot of printing needs, but they are a tad on the expensive side (however they generally need less toner cartridges).
  • An LED office printer stands for light-emitting diode, which simply means the printer uses light to create the images that are printed. These types of printers are considered very reliable and fast and generally have less moving parts than a laser printer. The speed and size is very comparable to a laser printer—it is the way the printer works that really differentiates the two. If you’re a company with a lot of printing needs, you can’t go wrong with the LED or laser option.
  • An all-in-one office printer is best for small companies. These printers are also fax, copy, and scanning machines. If your company really needs these services, it could be best to buy the all-in-one option. However, larger companies usually have separate machines for all of these needs.

You will also want to consider whether or not you want a color printer. Most of the options have the color feature, but it’s something to consider before making your purchase.

3.    What are your paper-handling needs?

Many printers offer more than one paper tray for companies that have a lot of printing needs. Although these printers are generally much larger, it cuts down on the amount of time that you need to continually fill the paper in the printer. There are also many companies that like to print on different types of paper, such as envelopes. You will also want to consider whether or not you will need to print on both sides of the paper or if you want to create packets. Some printers can actually staple pages for you, so consider your paper-handling needs before buying.

It is also worth noting that many businesses do not stick with one type of printer across the entire office. If one department has different printing needs than another, consider getting different types of printers.

What types of printers do you use in your office? Do you find that certain types work better than others? Let us know in the comments!

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