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How to improve your printer speed

(Image credit: Shutterstock.com)

It’s an interesting discovery for many companies that you can improve printer speed even for the devices you currently own. While you might assume a printer has to output at a set speed as dictated by the manufacturer, many devices do offer some form of control over this. 

Factors such as the network you use, security features being configured incorrectly, the quality of the output, the paper you use, and even whether you have the latest firmware installed can also influence how fast you can print. 

In some cases, you can even upgrade the components like the processor and the RAM for an older printer - although it’s recommended to do so through the manufacturer itself and not a third party, which can void the warranty. 

Additionally, your overall workflow can impact print speed (or at least the perception of print speed). 

  • Read our review on the Xerox VersaLink C405 here
  • Read our review on the Xerox VersaLink C500DN  here
  • Read our review on the Xerox VersaLink C7000DN here
  • Read our review on the Xerox WorkCentre 6515 here

Network used for printing

Printer speed is more than the speed the actual device can output your documents. Although that is the most critical factor, and the reason printer manufacturers rate the output speed per page for color or blackand white documents, your network can also be a factor. If the network is congested or has issues related to your server or the network configuration, you will notice that documents do not transmit as quickly to the printer itself, which slows down the printer speed. To address this problem, make sure you resolve any network issues. 

In addition, print speed will be impacted by the network you use - whether it is a wired network or wireless and even the speed of the network itself. These issues won’t have a dramatic impact, but it is also true that a faster network connection will improve the time it takes to transmit any print job to the printer itself.

2. Security features

It’s obvious that printer security is more important than ever. Hackers have been known to find ways to steal data through a printer, often by capturing business documents that contain sensitive business information. And, there’s no question printer security is incredibly important. 

That said, one thing that can slow printing speed is when security features are not configured properly or when the wrong security features are used. It’s worth the time to investigate any printer slowdowns related to printer security, both on the network and on the printer itself. In some rare cases, you could disable printer security altogether - for example, when the printer is disconnected from any network and you are printing documents that do not need to be secured. (Keep in mind, this is a rare case and the print speed impact might not be worth the risk.) 

3. Quality settings

One of the most dramatic changes you will see in printer output speed has to do with the quality settings. If you’re used to printing in full quality mode, then decide to change to the draft output setting, you will notice a major increase in speed for all documents. 

Surprisingly, many users tend to keep using the same quality settings print after print for months on end. However, not every document needs to be printed at the highest quality setting. By lowering the quality, you can even double the output speed for some models. It’s also worth evaluating color versus blackand white printing needs. Color outputs print slower, so you can increase print speed if you select black and white printing for draft documents when you don’t really need color. 

4. Firmware updates

Most printers do not benefit greatly in terms of speed after you install a new firmware update. The fact is, a printer is rated at a certain speed of output based on the components used for that device and even the processor used for that printer. 

However, updating the firmware could potentially provide some speed related benefits. For example, a printer manufacturer might introduce a new draft mode setting that uses less ink and outputs faster. There may be a new setting related to an “eco” mode that is even faster because it uses less ink. There is also a possibility that a new firmware increases print speed slightly due to using new programming techniques or improving the print speed through the printhead. 

5. Paper choices

The paper you use can have a slight impact on print speed, mostly because the best paper materials will travel smoothly through the print head. It’s surprising for anyone who has used printers for some time to discover how a high quality piece of paper will load smoothly, flow through the printhead, and eject smoothly such that every print is slightly faster. More importantly, low quality paper is more likely to jam than higher-quality paper. 

6. Processor and RAM upgrades

Although these steps are not widely known or even widely used, there is a way to improve printer speed by upgrading the components inside of a printer. In some cases, this could mean adding more RAM to the device (which means the printer can handle more data). With the processor, print speed can increase because the printer is able to handle more jobs at once and process documents faster, although this does not impact the printhead speed. Be careful about voiding the warranty though through unauthorized upgrades. In most cases, you will need to connect with the original manufacturer for the upgrades. In some cases, printer models are designed for a RAM upgrade you can easily do yourself (and not void the warranty).

7. Workflow process

Although these steps are not widely known or even widely used, there is a way to improve printer speed by upgrading the components inside of a printer. In some cases, this could mean adding more RAM to the device (which means the printer can handle more data). With the processor, print speed can increase because the printer is able to handle more jobs at once and process documents faster, although this does not impact the printhead speed. Be careful about voiding the warranty though through unauthorized upgrades. In most cases, you will need to connect with the original manufacturer for the upgrades. In some cases, printer models are designed for a RAM upgrade you can easily do yourself (and not void the warranty).