Buying a printer for business use

When thinking of buying a new printer for your business you’ll likely find yourself scratching your head, bamboozled by the plethora of options available.

There are a number of pertinent questions you must ponder because just going out and purchasing any printing device can soon come back to bite you on the proverbial backside.

One of the first things to ask yourself is if the business needs a multi-functional printer or a single-function one?

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you just need something which can fire out documents quickly when planning an office but if you are looking at buying things like fax machines, photocopiers and scanners, then why not get a business printer which does it all?

The advantage of having an all-in-one multi-functional printer other than cost is that it will save space.

Despite this, a single-function printer may still be your best bet because they can be set up specifically to handle a single task, meaning that they can work away without causing your staff to have to wait around just because Jeff wants to send a fax at the same time Susie wants to photocopy some files etc.

Single-function laser printers are also often faster than multi-function ones priced in the same or similar bracket

Do you need colour? That’s another thing to consider. While the obvious answer would be “yes”, if your primary function is printing out letters and basic filing documents then a colour printer may not be worth the expense.

If, on the other hand, you want to print out high-quality promotional leaflets and brochures then colour is a definite must.

What many large companies do is invest in colour printers in departments such as sales and marketing while just using black and white workhorse printers in departments where documents are kept simple in design such as administration.

The quality of print varies greatly from printer to printer and indeed manufacturer to manufacturer so it is important to do some research before committing to buy. For general office use you’ll probably be looking at how crisp the text appears but also consider how good a printer’s graphics are if you want to print marketing brochures and such like.

Speed is also important to consider. If you are only printing handfuls of documents each day (say less than 20 pages) then your printer will not need to be mega fast but if you are churning out letter after letter all day everyday then you’ll want something which handles tasks with the speed of a racing car.

Lastly, the biggest and usually most important thing to consider; cost.

It’s easy to look at the price tag of a printer and think you’ll save by buying the cheapest which fits your needs but that is rarely the case in real terms. While printers have wide ranging purchase costs, they also have wide ranging running costs.

David Stone from says the best way to work out cost efficiency is by multiplying “the cost per page by the number of pages you print per year, then multiply that by the number of years you expect to own the printer, and add the initial cost of the printer”.

Using this method it may well be the case that a slightly more expensive printer saves you money in the long run.

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