Despite our push toward the paperless office, printers are still a vital tool for nearly every business in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area. If you need a new or replacement printer and haven’t educated yourself before taking the leap, you are in danger of spending too much or leasing a device that doesn’t meet your office’s needs. Consider these four aspects of printing to ensure you’re making the right purchase for your office and to avoid buyer’s remorse.
Volume is always the starting point for selecting the right device, as you must consider how many pages per day, week, and/or month you expect to print. This number informs several components of the station you ultimately select. If you are doing high-volume printing every day, you need something with a good per-page print rate. If your new device can’t keep up with your workflows, jobs will bottleneck and create additional operation costs. On the other hand, a high-volume printer is a major investment for an office that doesn’t need one. When your initial focus is on your company’s unique monthly volume, the other features start to fall into place.
Printers can do much more than just put ink on a page. Multifunction devices can add scanning, copying, and faxing functionalities to a single machine, decreasing physical space needed to house multiple machines. Additionally, a variety of software options are available for multifunction devices, providing workflow and efficiency solutions to companies of all sizes. Duplexers allow you to print double-sided documents, a universal eco-friendly option. PDF scanners automatically convert images to a digital format, providing headway to become a paperless office. Flatbed and sheet-fed scanners have their own pros and cons. An important feature for many offices is networking. Do multiple users need to access the same printer? Do you need mobile capabilities, servicing smartphones and tablets? If so, ensure that your next office printer is one that includes networking. There are many functions to consider, but if you know at least a few of your specific needs, it gets easier to select the right device.
Print quality might seem like it would roll into functionality, but it is a different metric. There are many components to quality, such as color scales, but one of the primary metrics is dots per inch (dpi). This determines how pixilated a printed image may appear, and, as you can imagine, higher quality printing typically costs more. Still, if you need photo-quality prints, a 300 dpi machine shouldn’t be your first option. It’s important to note that print quality, more than anything else, will determine the operational cost of your printer.
There are three ways that printing costs money: initial investment, cost to print, and maintenance. The initial investment includes the cost of the printer, of course, but it can also include setup and additional ink and even a maintenance contract from the outset. The cost to print mostly boils down to ink and device efficiency. On average, laser printers cost less to print per page but provide a lower quality output than their inkjet counterparts. That said, there are high-efficiency inkjets that rival high-volume laser printers. As for maintenance, that will vary by device. The amount of maintenance a machine requires can usually be found in user manuals, so check with your office equipment dealer to determine the amount of maintenance your device requires. Moreover, your office technology provider can talk to you about plans that include everything from maintenance to consumables, so be sure to have that conversation before making your decision.
This list covers the basics, but if you are ready to make the leap, you may favor a conversation with a seasoned expert. Contact Digital Office Products today, and we’ll help you nail down the details of exactly what you do and don’t need from your new office printer.