Finding the right printer for your small business

When you consider the technology that your particular business needs to thrive, what pops into your mind? Cloud storage? Contact-management software? Social media pages? Tablets and smartphones for your salespeople and other staffers? What about printers? You might think that printers are increasingly becoming obsolete, going the way of faxes before them. But you’d be wrong. Sure, we’re all looking to the day when business goes completely paperless. With e-mail, cloud storage systems, social networking sites and tablets which can be as powerful as miniature computers, we’re closing in on that day. But we’re not there yet.

Can’t turn away business

That’s because you will find many clients with whom you’ll deal still haven’t gone paperless. They’re either unwilling or unable to transition to a paperless system. In order to keep their business, you need to provide them with printouts listing your transactions with them. Fortunately, there are still lots of high-quality small enterprise printers out there. Writer Paul Mah, with Small Business Computing.com, gives you several recommendations on finding the right one for your business.

All-in-one?

First, you’ll want to decide if you need a multi-function printer. Such printers, as their name suggests, do more than just print. They also scan, photocopy and fax. Such printers make sense for very small businesses and home offices that need to perform these other functions. These printers, due to their many functions, are usually more expensive. However, the complexity can also lead to more breakdowns and configuration issues. If your business rarely faxes or makes photocopies, a unit dedicated solely to printing might make more sense. For larger businesses, printers dedicated to printing only make more sense. They are designed to do one thing, and do that one thing well.

Laser vs. Inkjet

The old debate has always centered on whether laser printers or inkjet printers make more sense for small companies. The truth is, both kinds of printers come with downsides and upsides.

Consider laser printers. As Mah writes, it’s widely acknowledged that laser printers produce cleaner, more vibrant copy than inkjet printers. On the down side? The initial cost of laser printers is higher. This, however, is offset by a lower cost per copy. Often one-eighth the cost per print of an inkjet printer.

Then consider inkjet printers. These are generally more affordable and their technology has improved so the prints from them are clearer than ever before. But you will discover downsides here, too. For instance, you’ll have to replace those printer heads often if your business does lots of printing. Secondly, the printer heads clog up on an inkjet printer if the printer is not used often enough. As

There are other factors to consider when buying a printer for your small enterprise. The more you print, the higher-end printer you’ll need. If you need to print in color, you’ll have to decide whether to use a printer that contains both black and color cartridges, or one that utilizes a single-cartridge system to generate all colors. Color only systems blend the color toners to produce black, and are therefore substantially more expensive per copy.

 


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