4 October 2021
By Roger Jones
With employees returning to the office many businesses are getting back up to speed and reacquainted with office life. For obvious reasons, printing wasn’t a huge concern to many whilst staff were working from home but now as desks are occupied once again you may be wondering how to choose a printer for a small business?
Firstly you need to determine what exactly it is you need, a large-format, colour printer? Or a black and white, A4 only option. Ask yourself the following questions –
- What volume of printing will the unit be expected to produce
- Do you need a full colour unit or a monochrome machine
- What do you print? Posters? Cards? Labels? Just documents?
- How many staff will be regularly using the machine
- Do you require remote printing features?
Inkjet V Laser Printers
One size doesn’t fit all, there are two main types of printers you’ll have to choose from when selecting your new machine. Firstly, there’s inkjet. These are quite versatile units that can do a bit of everything. Inkjet printers work by spraying tiny, microscopic drops of ink onto the page you are printing, this makes them a fantastic option for printing high-quality photos and graphics, however, they can handle text documents in low volumes.
Laser printers in contrast to this melt specialised toner powder onto paper in order to create a print. As you can imagine, the microscopic droplets are far more accurate which means that laser printers are a weaker option when it comes to printing images, however for high-volume, text-based document printing, laser wins out.
In terms of speed, laser printers are built to service even the most demanding of workplaces and are more than capable of printing between 15-100 pages per minute. Inkjet printers in comparison are far slower, maxing out at around 16 pages per minute.
Print Volume Estimation
Prior to investing in a printer for your small business, you need to really examine your current printing habits. A business that is constantly printing and posting printed materials to their clients will have very different needs to those who just print the occasional hard copy of something for their records. A general rule of thumb is to count the number of reams of paper your team uses in either an entire quarter or on a monthly basis, from here you can roughly work out how much printing is actually being done. This is a hugely important metric to consider as you don’t want to have a hugely powerful machine that is barely being used, but it’s also totally pointless to have a machine that is constantly being pushed to its limits, balance is key.
Remember to consider the actual quality of the print you’ll require – is black and white enough? Do you need a host of finishing options? We’d recommend jotting down a list of ideal features you’d like, then begin your search.
Cost Calculations – Colour vs. Black & White
Simply put, colour business printers are far more costly than their B&W counterparts. Black and white printers are relatively inexpensive as they only use one toner and ink cartridge and as a result, are quite efficient. If you’re only printing plain text documents at a high volume, a monochrome, high volume printer may be the correct option for your business.
However, colour printers are rapidly moving out of the “just nice to have” bracket. With a solid managed print services plan behind you a colour printer offers far better long terms options and flexibility than a B&W machine. If you’re worried about keeping costs down, colour machines can be set to print all documents mono, meaning that users will have to manually select the colour option. You can explore units that can do both however with a wide array of Canon multifunction printers available.
Printing Types – What do you Need?
Not everything is printed on A4 you know – There’s a huge variety of paper sizes, weights, labels, cards and more. For most small businesses there’ll be a particular focus on one type of document, so when investing it always makes sense to choose the printer best suited to your needs, whilst also considering your more infrequent printing needs!
For example, an architectural firm needs an efficient, flexible, large format printer on a daily basis, it’s just a necessity. Plans and drawings can be printed in sharp detail in a wide range of sizes all the way up to A0. A small business that regularly prints things like QR codes or even barcodes may benefit from a more specialised label printer. Things like labels, cards and various different paperweights can be easily managed by a standard office printer.
Security & Remote Access
Security is always of the utmost importance, especially as we introduce more and more cloud-based and mobile devices to our business systems, the need for a secure print service grows annually. If you print, store and file all of your crucial business information in a back office you’re leaving yourself susceptible to significant data loss, fires or floods can ruin these documents alongside other threats like theft. Therefore and Papercut are managed print applications that can keep all of your information safe on a secure network – When you actually need to print a document, the secure authentication process requires a PIN entry. You’re also ensuring compliance with GDPR by going down this route and are cutting the amount of printing waste.
Remote access in the post COVID-19 world isn’t an option anymore, it’s a necessity. All of our office systems need to be far more accessible, flexible and mobile. Workforces are now very seldom completely stationary due to hybrid working models and more so the ability to rapidly print documents securely from home, out on the road or anywhere else is absolutely essential. Your small business printer, document scanner or even your regular office photocopier printer needs to facilitate workers wherever they may be.
Options, options, options
Many people wonder whether they should take out a canon print lease, rent one or just buy a model outright. For a smaller business, leasing a printer can oftentimes be the most viable option as it frees up your finances for other critical needs. At Docutec, we offer a leasing option as a part of our managed print services. This effectively allows you to make use of the most up to date printing hardware and software without having to commit to a significant capital outlay.
When it comes to choosing the right printer for your small business, get in touch with Docutec today for expert advice and complete printer supplies Ireland know-how. With offices in Cork, Limerick, Waterford and beyond, Docutec is the leading provider of managed print services in Ireland, as well as being a Canon accredited platinum partner for over 26 years. For all of your printing needs, contact Docutec, Irelands largest, certified Canon dealer for business printers.