Replacing your professional printer – a survivor’s guide
If the time has come for you to change your professional printer and after an initial search you are still completely flummoxed – the product specifications of Canon, HP, Brother and Epson have confused you even further.
If you’re wondering what exactly are all those references that look like they do the same thing.
If you have come here looking for the answer to all these questions then you’re in the right place! Professional printing is my domain and in this article I offer advice on how to decipher all this information and help you make this difficult decision.
What functions do I need for my professional printer?
The first thing to do before starting your search (whether it’s urgent or not) is to write down a list of functions that you require for your professional printing (both essential needs and options that could be useful). This will help you keep your printer budget as low as possible.
Here are some questions you need to ask yourself before purchasing a professional printer:
- Functions: do you just want to print or do you need to scan, photocopy and fax as well?
- Do you need a machine that will print in colour or is black and white sufficient?
- Which connectivity options do you want? : A USB cable for one single station, a RJ45 cable connected to your network so you can share your professional printer or Wi-Fi so you can share your printer without a cable. Do you actually need cables? Cables can be an issue since none of the manufacturers supply them with their printers. However, they are universal so if you need to replace your professional printer, you won’t have any compatibility problems.
- What are your printing volumes? It’s sometimes easier to calculate this in reams and if you’re not sure what this will be yet it can be helpful to express this in levels: 2 reams (1,000 pages), 4 reams (2,000 pages) or between 4 and above.
- What types of documents will you be printing: just office documents or photos and pictures too? Depending on your answer, you will then need to decide what media you’re going to need: A4, A3, A5, stickers, photo paper; and what weight: 80 gr, 100gr, 160 gr, 300 gr.
Once you’ve answered these questions you’re ready to start your search; you can find a very useful filtering system for professional printers on our website. This filter will show you all the professional printers that match your requirements: multifunction printers, compact printers and even plotters for those who are used to thinking big!
What options do I need for my professional printing?
You now need to select what options you want as this will help you refine your search even further.
Bear in mind that most of these options will affect the price of the printer in varying degrees so you need to decide whether you will use them or not:
- Does your business require duplex printing, if yes, in which sizes and for which functions: printing, scanning or copying?
- Does your business require fast printing and/or scanning?
- Does your business require a good standard of printing?
- Does your business require several paper trays (you may need several paper sizes: A3, A4).
- Do you have a limited amount of space for your printer? High-performance performance printers tend to take up more room.
You will now have considerably reduced the number of machines that match your requirements; this will make your choice easier!
Laser or inkjet?
If your print volume is over 1,500 sheets per month, there now remains the important question of whether you should opt for a laser or inkjet printer.
This is slightly more technical, but I will make things simple so I apologise to any manufacturers or engineers who work on print systems and may be reading this blog!
- If you print a lot of files with over 30 pages, you should opt for a laser printer as their optimum duty cycle will be more appropriate for your requirements and will be better for your budget; the price of wear parts should be considered also: drum unit, fuser unit, belt unit, etc., as these can be fairly expensive and are essential if you want your equipment to work properly.
If you require glossy documents then you should opt for a professional laser printer since the process they use involves the heating of ink powder, which gives a shiny finish to prints. This finish is not possible with inkjet printers.
- If you require high print volumes on an ad hoc basis, I recommend you opt for a professional inkjet printer. The print speeds and cartridge volumes of some of the more recent models are actually pretty impressive compared to certain laser machines.
The advantage of professional inkjet printers is that they are a lot less energy-consuming than professional laser printers, so you can print whilst also saving the environment (once green always green!) .
- If you are in between these two profiles, both laser and inkjet printers could be the answer for your business.
I’ve found the perfect professional printer, so what do I do now?
I recommend you check their ink capacity and price, you may find yourself paying out considerable sums of money by the end of the year for a machine that was initially quite cheap. I hope by now that things are clearer for you and that I’ve helped you to make some headway. If you are still not sure or if this article does not answer all of your questions, visit our chat room where I’d be happy give you some more advice.
We also have a range of services that will help you find the most appropriate printing system for your needs, feel free to contact us if we can be of further assistance.