Posted by: bhalley | 06/12/2011

Choosing a Printer – Pt 1

This week I will cover printing.  I will cover whether you should purchase a ink-based printer or toner-based printer, color vs. black-n-white, multi-function or stand-alone units, do you need a duplexing print (prints both sides), and should you get a wireless printer.  I will also cover techniques to help extend your toner and ink when printing to help in saving on additional supplies.  To begin you will first need to answer some questions that will help in making the best decision as to what to purchase.  For today’s post you will need to answer the following questions and then through this week we discover what is the best product to suit your needs.

1.  How much printing will you be doing?  This is terms of the amount per month.  If you will only print a couple pages a month than you may want to look at an alternative to buying a printer because of cost.  If you will do a lot of printing but it is sporadic, this will make a difference on chose of printer.  The volume you print per month makes a big difference in selection.

2.  Will you print jobs be many small jobs or a couple of large jobs?  The amount you print in a single job will make a difference on the printer you select.  Let’s say you will print 500 pages per month.  But you print 250 pages at time.  A small laser printer will develop problems because of the heat generated by large jobs.

3.  What is the print quality required by the print jobs?  If you only print text and simple graphics, than a  low dpi (dots per inch) will work fine.  But if you are printing photos and other high detailed graphics than you need a higher resolution printing solution.

4.  Do you need color printing or just black-n-white?  If you are mainly printing text than a color printer would not be a wise choice to make.

5.  Where will the printed materials be used?  Print that is exposed to a lot of light will have issues with discoloration, so the base materials can have an affect of the longevity of the printed material.

6.  What all do I need to function effectively?  Do you have a need for scanning and faxing, too?

7.  How many computers need access to printing?  Are they desktops, laptops, and are they networked with wire?  If they are networked than your need for a wireless solution is greatly decreased.  Also, if you have a wireless setup, does the wireless unit have a USB plug already for printing?

8.  What is my budget for a printer?  Should I spend a little extra now because of the savings in the long-term?

There maybe some other questions to ask but this will get you started in the right direction for choosing a printer.

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