Budget shouldn’t be your only consideration when buying a printer. You should think about what you’ll need in order to get the most out of your new purchase. Here are some of the most important things to take into account.
First consider whether you need a simple printer or a multifunction printer (MFP). MFPs are the most common choice for small offices. They’re also called all-in-ones or AIOs. An MFP includes the functionality of multiple devices — such as a printer, fax machine, scanner and copier — in a single device. You may not regularly use some of the more specialized features, but you’ll be glad to have them around when you do.
You’ll next want to think about whether or not you need to print in color. Both laser and inkjet printers have color capabilities, but you’ll want to look at the cost per page (CPP). CPP is the metric typically used to compare printing costs. The CPP of printing color with a laser printer is generally cheaper than that of an inkjet printer. However, there are exceptions, so be sure to research CPP before making your purchase.
Beyond color printing, consider if you’re going to print photos. A photo MFP, along with a giant roll of stock photo paper, will typically produce the highest quality images.
If you’re limited in space, you’ll also need to take into account your new printer’s size. MFPs are typically compact, but some laser printers take up a lot of space. It might be worth picking out a place for your printer ahead of time and taking measurements to make sure it fits.
What about wireless connectivity? Most printers, but not all, come with a network card. You can connect the printer to your network just like a desktop or laptop. Wireless connectivity provides a lot of flexibility, letting you place the printer anywhere in your office.
Finally, think about the print speed or pages per minute (PPM) that you’ll need. If you intend to print lengthy, multi-page documents, you’ll appreciate a higher PPM. You’ll also want a higher PPM if several people will be using the same printer.