The ultimate SMB guide to selecting the perfect business printer

The ultimate SMB guide to selecting the perfect business printer

Printers are the unsung heroes of the modern office. They quietly churn out proposals, reports, and presentations, forming the backbone of everyday operations in small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Yet, choosing the right printer can be a challenge, particularly with the myriad options available. This guide is designed to help your SMB navigate the overwhelming printer market and select the perfect business printer for your specific needs.

Understanding the printer ecosystem

Before diving into the specifics of selecting a business printer, it's important to understand the different types of printers and their capabilities.

Laser printers

Laser printers are recognized for their speed and cost-effectiveness. Utilizing a powder called toner, they produce crisp, sharp text and images, making them ideal for offices that print high volumes of black-and-white documents.
Laser printers can handle heavy workloads and are the go-to choice for businesses where quality and speed are crucial. Their long-term cost per page tends to be lower than their inkjet counterparts, but they may require a higher initial investment.

Inkjet printers

Inkjet printers operate by spraying droplets of ink onto paper to recreate an image or text. They are prized for their versatility and capacity for producing high-quality prints of documents, color photographs, and marketing materials alike.

While inkjet printers often have a lower upfront cost compared to laser printers, they can be more expensive to run in terms of ink usage, especially when it comes to printing high volumes.

Multifunction printers (MFPs)

MFPs combine the traits of a printer with those of a photocopy machine, scanner, and sometimes a fax machine, all in one device. They are space-saving and can often handle large workloads at a variety of outputs.

MFPs promote office efficiency by reducing the number of devices and consumables that need to be managed. For small businesses looking to consolidate resources, an MFP can be an all-in-one solution.

Factoring your needs

Each business is as unique as a fingerprint, and the degree and type of printing required will be a personal choice. Here are the critical factors to consider when shopping for your business printer.

Print volume

The amount of printing you expect to do is one of the single most essential factors in determining the right printer for your business. For lower print volumes — under 500 pages a month, for example — an inkjet printer could suffice. However, if you're printing several thousands of pages a month, a more robust solution like a laser printer is the prudent choice.

Budget considerations

Budgeting for a printer isn't just about the cost of the machine itself. You need to consider the price of consumables (e.g., ink or toner, paper, maintenance kits) over the printer's life. With laser printers, the price per printed page is typically lower, so while your initial outlay is greater, you're potentially saving in the long run.

Desired features and functionality

Do you need wireless printing, scanning to email, or automatic duplex (double-sided) printing? These and other features can significantly impact your office workflow. For example, if you're in a rapidly scaling business, the ability to easily install additional paper trays or networking capabilities might be a make-or-break feature for your new printer.

Navigating the printer market

Once you've honed in on your requirements, it's time to comb through the market for potential candidates. Here are guidelines to help you to sift through the numerous options.

Research and comparison shopping

Take the time to research different printer models, compare prices, and look through customer reviews. Doing so will give you a better understanding of what you're looking for and what's available.

Assess your options

Here are some questions to consider about the printers you're researching:

  • How easy is it to use and maintain?
  • What ongoing support is available from the manufacturer or vendor?
  • Can it accommodate your office's network or interface with your existing software systems?
  • Is the printer durable and reliable, with good market feedback on its long-term performance?

By thoroughly investigating these criteria, you can narrow down your options to find the ones that best match your SMB’s needs.

Seek expert advice

Don't underestimate the value of expert opinions. Printing professionals can provide insights about your shortlisted printers, including how well they’ll integrate with your existing systems, and what kind of support and service you can expect.

Making the investment

Once you've selected the printer that best aligns with your business requirements, it's time to seal the deal. Here are some final considerations to ensure your investment pays off.

Installation and training

Some printers may require professional installation, especially if they integrate into a complex network. Additionally, training your staff on how to use the new equipment is vital to ensuring you get the most out of your investment.

Support for your printer

Consider an extended warranty or service agreement that includes maintenance and support. A well-maintained printer can last for many years, and having a support plan can prevent costly downtime and repairs down the line.

Environmental considerations

Sustainable business practices are becoming increasingly important, and choosing an eco-friendly printer is a step in the right direction. Look for ENERGY STAR-certified printers or those with energy-saving features. The availability of recycling programs for your printer's consumables is also worth considering.

Ensuring a print-ready future

Selecting the right printer for your SMB is more than a simple transaction; it's an investment in your team’s efficiency and productivity. Taking the time to understand your needs and the market will ensure you make a decision that will contribute to your business's success for years to come.

Our print solution experts at Complete Document Solutions are here to support you in this journey and help you find the perfect printer for your business needs. Contact us today for personalized recommendations and a hassle-free printer shopping experience.

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