Your five minute guide to printers for small business

If you're a managing director looking for the right printer for your small business, browsing the printer market can be intimidating and bewildering. There's a huge amount of competition in the market and, naturally, every manufacturer is going to want you - the customer - to put their hard-earned money towards a new printer. So where do you even start?

Context

First, it is key that you purchase a printer that relates to your chosen industry. If you run a small graphic design business than you're going to want to choose a heavy-duty graphic and photo printer (HP, Canon and Epson are the market leaders in this area) and perhaps an outdoor printer (HP, Roland and Durst are good options in this sector) for those larger prints. The HP Designjet L25500 could be a good option as the printer can produce billboard-sized signage along with bus-shelter prints and vehicle wraps. Similarly if you're a small marketing firm that needs to create reports for clients, you're probably going to need a small format printer/copier that prints and scans to meet the needs of a fast-paced marketing agency. In this respect, the ColorQube 9301/9302/9303 may be worth considering as it is an all-in-one multifunctional printer that can deliver high quality prints on lower quality media. You'll also need to consider whether you need a printer capable of networked use. Sharing one printer can be sensible in an office, particularly a very small workplace. In addition the difference between wired and wireless should be considered. According to Tech Radar, wired printers offer speed and robust function for a fixed office but wireless printers are hugely flexible and cheap to deploy but not as fast. Which one suits your business model?

Cost Per Page

In this economic climate, every penny is crucial. In order to work out how much money you're going to spend over the course of a printer's lifetime, it's worth working out the Cost Per Page (CPP) between printers. Tech Radar claims manufacturers measure the toner or cartridge yields with an ISO rating, allowing consumers to safely assess the total price of replacing all the cartridges or toner "divided by the print yield across all the potential models". If possible, managing directors should assess the number of prints needed per employee in order to ensure their chosen printer is capable of meeting current demands and, if possible, future demands should the business grow. You can reduce the cost further by purchasing a printer that only prints in mono rather than colour. Colour cartridges tend to be more expensive than black and white but this can be a clear hindrance should you need to print in colour in the future. From basic monochrome laser printers to all-in-one multifunctional gadgets, there's a variety of printers to suit your small business. It's worth running through this guide and making a checklist off all the features you need from your new printer, enabling you to make an educated decision regarding a purchase in the future.

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