How to Shop for an Office Printer

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Buying a printer or copier for your business seems like a simple task. But it’s difficult to weed through the lists of consumer-grade home printers that are inexpensive and often poorly built. They’re not meant for the bustling office of a small business or mid-sized organization. And those who make the mistake of buying an off-the-shelf printer often throw them out when they malfunction, filling landfills and wasting money.

If you need printers for an office environment, it’s important to get professional-grade equipment and service to support them and your business needs.

Here, we’ll outline the basics of what to look for in an office printer, and how to determine the next steps.

Evaluate Your Office Printing Needs

Every office uses printers differently. A marketing firm or event planner might need polished, full-color printed materials whereas a medical office or law firm might require faxing capabilities.

Determine which features are important to you and your business by answering some of the following questions:

  • How many pages do you print each month?
  • Do you predominantly print in color, black and white, or a blend of both?
  • Do you need to print on larger paper sizes than standard copy paper?
  • Do you frequently fax and/or scan documents?
  • Do you need to print crisp, quality photos and graphics for presentations or promotional materials, or is it mostly text?
  • Would you like to have features like duplex printing, collating, stapling or folding?
  • What kind of print security features do you need?

These are just a few of the options you’ll need to consider when you shop for printers. Another major consideration is the type of printer.

Decide Between Inkjet vs. Laser Printers

There are two common types of printers: inkjet and laser. The basic difference between the two is in how they transfer images and text to the paper.

Laser printers use an electrostatic charge to transfer toner to the paper. The toner is a powder made of pigment and plastic that fuses with the paper. Inkjet printers work by spraying precise liquid ink droplets from an ink cartridge through tiny nozzles onto paper.

Laser or toner printer pros:

  • Fast printing speeds at high volumes
  • Deliver consistent quality
  • Have less expensive cartridges/toner
  • Lower cost per page
  • Longer lifespan
  • Less maintenance
  • Lower total cost of ownership

Inkjet printer pros:

The majority of office printers used in business today are laser printers, including multifunction printers that offer robust features like duplex printing, scanning, faxing, collating and a host of others. Some call them all-in-one printers.

That said, there is a time and place for inkjet printers, but it’s important to know the difference and why you might choose one over the other. To learn more about the differences, view our helpful comparison chart included in our expanded article below:

RELATED ARTICLE: Inkjet vs. Laser Printer Comparison

See Your Printer in Action

When you purchase a printer or copier off the shelf, there’s often no way of testing it until it’s set up in your office. That can be a major hassle and waste of time if it doesn’t work as well as promised or deliver the high quality you expect. Even small things can lead to regret, like a machine that takes too long to warm up before it finally spits out copies, or how loud it is.

Reputable office printer vendors will have a showroom where you can see various printers in action and test them out. It’s nice to get your hands on the product and kick the tires, so to speak. If an in-person visit isn’t possible, ask whether a prospective provider offers virtual product demonstrations. It can save you time and energy and maximize your efforts to find the best machine for your needs.

Ask for a Print Assessment

With so many printers and copiers on the market, it’s easy to get overwhelmed to the point of indecision. This is especially true if you need more than a single printer.

If you and your organization want to reign in your print costs and update your printer fleet, consider inviting a Managed Print provider like Gordon Flesch Company into your business to assess your current print environment and help you determine a right-sized solution. You’ll learn about the latest technologies, features and budget-friendly options. Plus, we’ll help identify potential print security issues and whether you might benefit from print management software or other technologies — all with no obligation or high-pressure sales tactics.

Request a 30-Minute Print Assessment

Financing Your Printers

If you walk into an office supply store, you likely won’t get expert advice on how each printer on the shelf works or why one might be better than another. There’s also a chance you might settle for something based on how much cash you’ll need to come up with at the cash register (rather than choose a printer that actually meets your needs for years to come).

It’s important to consider the total cost of ownership before laying down that company credit card or settling for inferior print technology. A quality printer that’s tailored to your needs can last for years and, while it might cost a bit more upfront, is a better business decision in the long run.

If you work with a Managed Print Services (MPS) provider, they may have flexible payment or leasing options. Leasing is a convenient and flexible option for those who need to finance multiple machines.

For example, a lease from Gordon Flesch Company can offer a lot of advantages:

  • Lower your upfront costs and preserve credit
  • Get a maintenance plan (can be included in the lease itself or paid for separately)
  • Avoid technology obsolescence
  • Don’t worry about resale or disposal hassles
  • Centralize purchasing decisions across different branches
  • Standardize equipment across an organization
  • Enhance print security
  • And more

As you can see, shopping for office printers isn’t a matter of just driving to the nearest retailer. Connect with the print experts at Gordon Flesch Company about your print needs today. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation Print Assessment, and check out our Managed Print Services FAQ below to learn more. 

What is managed print? The 5 most frequently asked questions about MPS. Get it now!

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