A Printer guide for small business owners

As a local IT Support company a lot of people ask us what printer we recommend as if there’s a standard single printer that’s right for everyone.  Unfortunately that’s not the case.  Like a lot of things your business relies on such as insurance, vehicles and staff the answer very much depends on your own individual requirements.  Just like there’s no point handing out Ferrari’s as company cars to your sales team if you sell office supplies there’s no point going for an all singing all dancing 3D printer if you’re business will never take full commercial advantage of it, which brings us on to our first criteria.

Do you need a printer?

There are many obvious advantages to a paperless office and we know first-hand archiving paper documents can become very inefficient after you’ve been around for a few years so don’t take it for granted that you do need a printer.  Technology is now at a point where there are plenty of very successful businesses that are completely paperless thanks to advances in cloud technology and digital signatures.

Laser or Ink

If the concept of going paperless is not practical or a little too bleeding edge for you then the 1st consideration will be Laser or Inkjet.  As a general rule of thumb Laser is better if your print volume is high and speed is a priority.  If you’re a one man band then an Inkjet may be a better option even if the long term costs are generally a little higher as there’s usually a lower upfront cost.

What are you printing?

If you’re for the most part doing documents Laser will be the way to go.  If you’re doing more image based printing then it’s likely Inkjet will be the best option.

What manufacturer?

At the time of writing we’ve yet to see a smaller manufacturer really offer anything to compete with the likes of HP, Epson Xerox, and Samsung etc. for mainstream printing. When you buy a printer you’ll likely be relying on it day in day out and the support of the bigger companies is generally good especially some of the added cloud functionality that is being offered.

Making your final choice

Using the above as guide you should be able to select a printer that’s fit for purpose and serves you well.  For individual models use online reviews as a guide but as with all online reviews remember people are much more likely to tell the world about a bad experience then a good one.

One other thing to keep in mind is that printer manufacturers much like the razor blade industry really do make their money on the ongoing consumables (the ink) rather than the hardware itself.  Be aware of very cheap printers, it may be that the cost of their ink cartridges is very expensive or the cartridges they use never last that long.  Reviews can be a good guide to what’s what in this area or ask your local IT Support people to double check for you.




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