Friday, December 7, 2007

Choosing an Office Printer

The modern day office increasingly relies on computer and online based distribution of documents to function efficiently. While it is not uncommon for companies to communicate solely via electronic means, there is still a demand for hard copies of documents for most businesses. Contracts and other legal documents are good examples of where the need for physical copies is a must and so it is important for a business to have a printer of some kind that can handle the work load of the office and be economical for the business at the same time.

Choosing a printer for an office is a matter of assessing the printing needs of your business and then looking at the wide range of printers available to see which most aptly suits those needs while remaining within budget restraints. Questions a business should ask themselves include does the company produce a large volume of printed materials? Will the printer need to be part of a network? Is there a need for colour or high quality photo printing? Will you need to print on paper larger than A4?

Once the assessment of the companies needs has been completed, it is time to look at the variety of printer types.

Generally speaking, for a business with occasional print needs such as monthly reports and maybe fax functionality, one of the many low-cost multifunction printers will suffice. As the company expands, this printer can be replaced safe in the knowledge that the money lost due to depreciation won't cause too much of a dent in the company finances. Multifunction printers are inexpensive yet produce good quality prints but should not be used for companies who do more than mentioned above as the cost of consumables and repairs may make the whole venture uneconomic compared to buying a more robust printer in the first place.

If your company does need a sturdier printer that can produce large amounts of documents at a relatively low cost, an actual office laser printer should be looked into. These printers can take much more wear and tear than cheaper multifunction printers and through the utilisation of toner cartridges, the running costs can be greatly reduced. The typical monochrome office laser printer can produce approximately one thousand pages on one toner cartridge.

Something to bear in mind when choosing an office printer is the capacity of it's paper feed tray. Too small a tray will result in continual trips to refill the tray - not exactly what is needed in a busy office as it wastes time and results in queues for printing. A busy office where the printer is in regular use through out day might need a printer whose tray holds at least 250 sheets. A useful alternative is to source a printer that has two trays that can take different sizes. One tray can carry standard A4 paper and the other tray can carry a different paper size such as legal letter paper or A3.

The amount of memory the printer has is also a consideration that needs to be taken into account. If your office needs to reproduce finely detailed images or documents of large size, the more memory the printer has, the easier it will be to print these documents in one run.

Connecting your printer to a network is essential for any office what has just one central printer but many computer terminals. Almost all modern printers have a networking function so that multiple computers can access and print from it. The step up from this is a printer that can connect to all the computers in an office via the Local Area Network (LAN) of the company. Thus the printer can be used by any computer in the office or building regardless of location.

In addition to the aforementioned aspects of modern printers, companies that need to reproduce colour or graphical documents would need to look at the colour printing and art reproductive qualities of a printer.

If an office needs a colour printer, a high quality colour laser printer should be considered. It may even be worth having a colour laser printer dedicated to colour work and then a cheaper monochrome printer for printing text documents or anything that does not need to be printed at as high a quality.

The other consideration is using a colour inkjet printer for photography printing. Even though inkjet printers are considered by most to be old fashioned, inkjet printers work much more effectively when used in conjunction with high-gloss photo paper.

Robin Kemp is a Freelance writer living and working in Brighton.

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