So you’ve decided that your office needs a (new) printer. And you’re here because you’re doing your research. That’s great! When selecting a business printer, you’re making a choice not only for yourself, but also for everyone else who will have to use it. Choose poorly, and everyone at the office might be mildly inconvenienced for years to come.
The stakes are clearly high, but we’re here to take some of the pressure off the buying process. Enter your requirements in the quote request box, and we’ll connect you with several suitable suppliers.
Using our service may help you get a better deal than anywhere else. Depending on your particular needs, you might save up to 30%. Our service is free of charge and imposes no obligation, so try it out.
Of course, to get the best deal you can, you must be aware of what your actual needs are. So what is important to consider when choosing an office printer?
Multi-functional or dedicated printer
This is a rather straightforward choice. Multifunctional devices (MFD), in addition to printing, allow you to copy, scan, and possibly fax. If you need to use these additional functions, an MFD can be worth considering.
- If you decide to go for a multifunction device, you should find out if the different functions are able to run in parallel. Not every all-in-one device is multitasking. For example, two users might not be able to print and scan at the same time.
- If you don't really need the different functions and just want to print reliably, pick a standalone printer. It will cost less, and dedicated devices tend to be better at their one job.
Laser or inkjet
You’ve likely heard that laser printers are the only real choice for business, while inkjet is better left for home use. This is generally true; laser printers are faster, and their cost per page is typically lower.
“The speed of laser printers is astounding: measured in pages per minute, rather than character per second, or line per minute.”
– PC Mag, October 1983
In recent years, though, inkjet printers have made strides toward catching up with laser for office purposes. Yes, a laser printer is still probably the better choice for most bigger offices. It will usually be more economical and faster for printing high volumes. However, you should not discount inkjet entirely.
- The main benefit inkjet printers have over laser is their ability to output higher-quality photos – however, this also depends on the quality of paper used (more on that below).
- Also, inkjets allow printing on a variety of media, including directly printing on fabric and CDs.
In short, laser printers are the traditional first choice for business – but, if you find a printer that matches all your needs (in terms of specifications like pages per minute (PPM), first-page-out time, monthly recommended volume, etc.), there is no need to avoid it just because it uses ink.
Resolution, measured in dots per inch (DPI), is one of the most widely cited printer specifications – but not one you should actually worry about.
The figure refers to the amount of dots that the printer can output on one square inch of paper. A printer with a quoted resolution of 600 DPI can print 600 by 600 or 360,000 dots per square inch. That’s a lot of dots!
For typical business purposes (provided you're not in the "printing high-quality photos" business), even materials printed at 300 DPI will look perfectly fine.
Virtually all modern printers have a resolution of at least 600 DPI, and there is no need to go higher than that – unless you need to print extremely high-quality materials on special paper.
In fact, if your printer outputs at 1200 DPI, you might want to set it to print in draft mode to save a lot of toner. The quality difference will be hardly discernible.
Pages per minute
As with copiers, the quoted pages per minute (PPM) refer to the maximum number of pages a printer can output once it has fully woken from standby and warmed up.
If your print jobs are relatively infrequent, it is important to also note the first-page-out time. If you only need to print a few pages at a time, a printer that can output seventy pages per minute, but takes a full minute to warm up, is probably not the best choice.
To achieve the best quality with your printer, it is important to use suitable paper.
Normal copy paper will work well for laser printers. However, if you have an inkjet printer, you should choose special inkjet paper (designed for the best absorption of ink).
Using inkjet to print photos on plan copy paper will lead to disappointing results. If you’ve experienced this, investing in a more expensive printer with a higher resolution is not necessarily the solution – perhaps you simply need to switch to the right type of paper.
Consider what other features might be useful for your office. Some of the most common ones are:
Duplex printing – printing on both sides of the page.
Wireless connectivity – useful for enabling easy access from devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Memory card compatibility – this can be used for printing directly from a camera without first transferring photos to a computer. Obviously, this feature is more useful for home users than for typical business purposes.
Once you have a good idea of your desired printer specifications, it should be easier to narrow down your search.
To make the whole process even simpler, you may use our supplier matching service. Enter your requirements in the quote request box, and we'll get back to you with quotes from up to four suitable suppliers.
If you choose to use the service, all you'll have to do is compare the offers and pick the best one (or none, if you change your mind or happen to find a great deal elsewhere – the service is non-binding, and free of charge).