Choosing a Printer that’s Right for You
When you're out shopping for a printer, you have to first think about who will be using it.
Enterprise-level businesses have gigantic, collating, document-handling monstrosities but most small and medium businesses don't need that much power. Here are some reliable techniques for purchasing a printer for just yourself or your small business.
1. Determine who needs the printer, and what that person does
This will help you learn what class of printer you actually need for your upcoming purchase. How long are you willing to wait for pages to print? Do you need a multifunction device (MFD) that does faxing, printing, scanning and copying? Does your printer need network features? And will you need to be able to print wirelessly over Wi-Fi ?
And do you want an ink or laser printer? Ink printers don't always print pages as speedily as their laser counterparts. Compare this value in printers by looking at their pages per minute (ppm) output in color and in sheer black. Usually, a printer will produce pages faster in black than in color, resulting in a higher ppm count. To sum up: Laser printers usually print faster than ink printers, and black usually prints faster than color.
2. Get a Price Range
Now you can check a shopping site, such as Newegg.com or Buy.com, and search for printers based on the features you've decided you need. Jot down some models with specs and pricing. After you've gotten an overview of what's available out there, narrow it further.
Another thing to think about is the cost of ink or toner cartridges, and how many pages you can expect to print before replacing them. Both ink and laser toner are pricey, so determine both and the cost of the printer itself in your price sheet.
Once you have a printer, you should keep track of how many pages your printer prints throughout the life cycle of one black and one color (any of the three colors, cyan, magenta or yellow) cartridge. Note that most printers will allow you to print a report of how many pages you've printed; divide the number of pages by the amount you've spent on ink/toner. The result tells you the cost per page of your printer .
3. Play the Elimination Game
Now is the time to find those reviews. You'll find that prices of printers and supplies vary widely, sweepingly even.
You should have a list of the top 10 or so printers whose features you need and whose price you can afford. User reviews are available on many shopping sites. Amazon is well known for its reviews, and Newegg.com has some of the most tech-savvy users out there. Check all of the printers on your list with professional and user reviews and see how they stack up.
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