- Buy HP only. Personally I won’t buy anything else. Yes, there is plenty of other good stuff out there, but I don’t mess with it. I either buy an HP printer, or I call one of my local reps who sells multifunction copier leases. Good copier-leasing companies are getting harder to find, but I have several contacts for you - let me know when you have an need like this, and I’ll introduce you!
- Duty cycle - how many pages per month will you print? Estimate and quantify – you’ll need a real number to use here.
- Needed print speed?
- Time to first page printed (includes cold warm-up) – often the most important number in performance for a single user
- Pages per minute (20ppm is fast, but note that 30ppm is 50% faster! This is probably a long-term purchase, so do the math)
- Do you need color printing? If not, Black & White may be best, as color printers often consume some of the color toners even when printing in black and white, which dramatically impacts your long-term cost per page!
- Do you need real Photo printing? (most lasers will print good-looking photos, but not great - not true photo quality). If you need a real color photo printer, then we need to talk about that in a separate article.
- Do you need to print both sides of the page (Duplex printing)? Dual-pass duplex printing has to print one side of the page, suck the page back into the printer, then print the other side of the page. Single-pass duplex printing prints BOTH sides of the page in a single pass! Check page-per-minute output both simplex and duplex to be sure you’re buying a printer that will be fast with the type of printing you use most often.
- Paper types
- Nearly every printer prints Letter size.
- Do your user(s) need to print Legal size?
- Other sizes?
- Labels and stickers?
- Card stock or greeting cards, postcards, etc?
- Toner costs (estimate avg. cost per page, given your expected volume in Line 2 above) – this could be a deal breaker for many smaller printers with smaller expected print volumes, especially in jets! Don’t fall victim to cheap-o printers with ridiculously expensive real costs per page – DO THE MATH! Getting it right now will pay you dividends over the next several years.
- Do you need a multi-function printer (“MFP”) which includes a Scanner?
- Do you need to scan in Color?
- Do you need to scan Duplex? (scanning both sides) Simplex scanning scans one side at a time, sucking the page back through the scanner, flipping the page over, and then re-scanning to scan the other side. This slow, cumbersome, and can be a common source of paper jams. If you use dual-side scanning frequently, then keep reading…
- If you use Duplex scanning frequently (scanning both sides of the page), then we STRONGLY recommend choosing a MFP which includes Single-pass Duplex, scanning both sides in a single pass.
- If you do LOTS of scanning, consider adding an on-desk dedicated scanner instead, or in addition to the printer. Ask me about this – the Fujitsu ScanSnap is awesome.
- Have you considered Warranty support? Can the warranty be extended? Is on-site service included? Get a good support contract, especially if you’re a high-volume print user.
- Always order an extra set of each toner (or two!). There’s never a good day to run out of toner – you generally won’t notice you’re getting low until it’s too late, when you really need to print something. So just keep extras on-hand at all times! I always order the “x” extended-life toners.
That’s it! Next you’re just comparing models and their various cute aesthetics and marketing/pricing gimmicks. There are plenty of other good manufacturers out there as well, but we generally keep it simple and stick with HP. Quality, service and support are great, and you won’t be disappointed.
If you have any questions, contact me, and I’ll connect you with an IT concierge on our team today!
1808 S Good Latimer Expy
Dallas, TX 75204