Keeping up with the administrative requirements of a busy office means investing in better equipment to handle the workload. Office printers come in all shapes and sizes and are designed to help companies operate efficiently while contributing to the overall productivity of each department.
However, with the number of options currently available, it can be challenging to narrow down the choices while finding a solution that is both highly functional and sustainable for the business over time.
To make this process easier, here are five areas of consideration when purchasing an office printer.
Depending on the needs of your business, deciding on the level of functionality your printer has should be one of your first considerations. Typically, you'll want to determine if you require a single function or a multifunction printer (MFP). Let's break down each of these options.
Single Function - Much like their name denotes, single function printers are designed for one purpose - printing. While these printers are limited in functionality, the speed and efficiency with which they print documents can benefit companies needing a fast, cost-efficient solution.
Multifunction - Most growing companies choose to invest in multifunction printers as they present all-in-one solutions to a variety of administrative tasks. MFPs provide solutions for printing, scanning, copying, faxing, and other essential functionality all in one piece of equipment. There are multiple types of MFPs available, including:
- Color multifunction printers
- Black & White multifunction printers
- Compact multifunction printers
How to Compare: Decide whether single function vs. multifunction printer product attributes supports your needs.
The capacity of your printer is another area you'll want to consider when shopping for an office printing solution. Some printers can only hold a couple of hundred sheets of paper, while others can have thousands. If you print many sheets daily, you’ll also want to consider how many pages per minute (ppm) each printer can produce.
You will have to balance these considerations according to how many employees will use the equipment, the complexity of your administrative workloads, and the amount of office space you can afford to use for equipment. Typically, the larger the capacity, the larger the machine, so you should ensure your office has enough space to support a larger commercial-grade printer if required.
How to Compare: Assess paper capacity and output speeds.
While single function printers may be a bit limited when it comes to capabilities, multifunction printers have a variety of functions. Newer MFP models utilize advanced scanning technology and finishing options that make them much easier to use and adaptable to individual employees needs.
In modern offices, mobility and convenience have become essential to maintaining productivity and work efficiency. Newer, more innovative office printers enable employees to print, scan, and fax documents right from their phones to help them manage their workloads whether they're in the office or not.
Additionally, be sure to think about whether you need color capabilities or whether black-and-white only will work for you. Depending on how you intend to use your new printer, color may or may not be necessary.
How to Compare: Define the business-critical functions you need, including black-and-white vs. color and mobile printing capabilities.
When investing in an office printer, you must weigh the needs of each department individually and decide on a solution that's the best fit for the growing needs of your organization.
In most cases, employees will have varying needs regarding the format of their documentation and the ease of customization. Over the years, many new office printers have integrated advanced technology to help a wide range of users maximize the functionality of their investment.
Certain printers have touchscreen interfaces that make it easy to navigate through feature sets, allowing employees to design document formats that work best for them. Some networked printers also allow for easy cloud-based access, allowing users to easily store and share their documentation with internal team members directly delivered to their email inboxes.
How to Compare: Identify which features will make your operations more efficient, from touchscreens to advanced workflows to cloud connectivity.
Most of today’s printers and MFPs are fully-fledged networked computers. While this is great for productivity and efficiency, it can occasionally open up network security risks. Security is essential for compliance with regulations and for your customers’ peace of mind. Not to mention, a security breach will slow productivity to a halt as you deal with the consequences.
When choosing a printer for your company, think about whether it includes certain critical security features:
- Restricting access with passwords or PINs
- Using encrypted connections to transmit your printing data to the machine’s hard drive
- Securely printing to a mailbox and releasing documents at the device itself
How to Compare: Identify whether you require specific security features for regulatory compliance or for business security in general.
Discover the Best Office Printer for Your Workplace
There is no shortage of options when it comes to deciding on the best printer investment for your business. However, following these guidelines when sourcing an office printer will ensure you get the most value out of your investment while maximizing employee productivity.
When deciding between office printers, the best decision you can make is to consult an experienced print specialist. A print specialist will factor in cost, size, and security to select the most suitable office printer for your workplace. When chosen correctly, a high-performing office printer streamlines workflows and enables you to keep up with printing demands regardless of volume or intensity.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published on August 24, 2018, and has been updated for accuracy and current best practices.