What to consider when purchasing a business printer

Color quality, multi-function and speed

Printing a quick recipe for Wednesday night's taco night is a bit different than printing quality documents for an upcoming pitch meeting. There are several important differences between printers meant for everyday home use and those meant for the office.

TechRadar Pro compiled these essential buying tips in order help enterprise customers make well-informed decisions.

Color quality

All printers are not alike. If you are solely printing letters and other monochromatic documents, there is probably little reason to consider a color printer. However, if you are printing high-quality business pitches, advertising flyers or other documents that require a strong visual display, then a color printer can save your business time and money. Invest in a printer that features solid output quality, and above-par graphics.

Multi-function capabilities

In addition to a printer, is your business also looking to purchase new office input or output devices, such as copiers, scanners, or fax machines? If so, consider a multi-function device to consolidate space and expense. Multi-function devices save desk space and benefit from having a single technical-support source for handling multiple functions. Most multi-function devices cost less than $1000, which proves to be a budget saver opposed to shopping for several individual machines.

Speed

Are you printing hundreds of pages at a time? If so, speed should be a top priority when purchasing your business printer. Judge speed carefully. It is inaccurate to compare claimed speeds for inkjets with claimed speeds for lasers. Laser printers will be close to their claimed speeds for text documents, which don't need much processing time. Inkjets may claim faster speeds than more expensive lasers, but sometimes fail to live up to expectations.

Print speeds depend on how complex documents are and how many pages are to be printed. A 50 page text-only word document will probably print faster than a 100-megapixel photo printed on an A4 sheet. Printers used to rely a lot on the host computer for compute and memory resources but this has dramatically changed over the past few years. Some now integrate the same base hardware as a smartphone and can rapidly process even large image files.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré (Twitter, Google+) has been musing and writing about technology since 1997. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global techfests, developing an uncanny attraction for anything silicon, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro.