Your guide to affordable, high-quality printing for your business

In the past, consumers looking for a high-quality printer usually had to make a decision - do they side with a cheap printer that has questionable reliability or do they opt for an expensive printer that might break their bank balance? In the present, consumers no longer have to make this decision as the vast majority of printers on the market combine print quality, speed and cost-effectiveness with aplomb. Nonetheless, there are still decisions that consumers need to make if they want to choose the right printer for their business. One of those is evaluating the cost-per-page (CPP) of a printer's ink cartridges to ensure it meets business objectives.

CPP and ISO standards

Many consumer printer manufacturers don't make their money from the sales of printers themselves but from the sales of ink and toner cartridges. While this isn't as widespread in the business sector (where professional printers often retail for £2000 and more), there is still the issue of CPP to consider. According to PC Advisor, many manufacturers quite a 'page yield' estimate for their ink cartridges. This is the typical number of pages you can expect to print before the cartridge is empty, therefore allowing customers to calculate the average cost per page. If you're looking for cheap, low-quality prints then the CPP is likely to be low - but then you're receiving low-quality prints as a result. Conversely, high-quality prints will be of an exceptional standard but are likely to have a high CPP. Decide which cost is acceptable for your business model. In order to produce honest CPP yields, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) had created a suite of tests that help produce truthful yields. A number of big-name manufacturers - Xerox, Hewlett-Packard and more - have already adopted ISO standards in their CPP tests so you know whether you're purchasing the Xerox Digital Color Press 770 or the HP Designjet Z2100 Photo Printer, their CPP figures are accurate.

Printer features

It's not just CPP businesses need to be on the lookout for. You might be able to acquire a printer with an acceptable CPP but can it print on materials other than paper? Will it allow for preview layouts? How quickly does it print? You might buy a printer with a superb print quality but what use is this if it takes hours to print a single document? Some printers also come with a multitude of advanced features that might interested specialist businesses. For instance, the HP Designjet Z2100 comes with HP's first-ever embedded spectrophotometer, enabling the printer to generate custom ICC profiles for your preferred paper in under 20 minutes. If this is an essential feature for your business then consider the Z2100; if not, you might be better off looking elsewhere. This is just a quick roundup of some of the ways you can identify an affordable, high-quality printer. It's worth speaking to an expert in the field if you're still unsure as to which printer is best for your business - they'll be able to advise further.

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