Which printer should I buy ?
Martin from the techincal department here at zinetic.co.uk shares his five top tips in this short video. The aim of this video is to give you some clear information and help you avoid the 5 most common mistakes when looking to buy a low cost printer.
If you are unsure of what printer to buy, stuck with the technical jargon, have questions that need answering or would like to know more about reducing your printing costs you have come to the right place.
So before you buy a printer - watch our video and if you still need help call or email our team and lets us help save you money !
5 questions to ask before you buy your next printer:
- Volume - How many pages do you want to print per month?
- Cost - How much do the replacement toner(s) and drum(s) / parts cost?
- Functions - Does the machine do everything I want - i.e print / copy / scan ?
- Do I want/need to print in colour?
- Are compatible cartridges or refill kits available?
1 Print Volume - Inkjet or Laser Printer ?
The 1st choice is Ink or Laser, and the answer will depend on what you intend to print & how often you plan to use the printer.
For working environments where there will be a high volume of daily usage, there is no doubt that the laser printer is the better option. The laser printer is built to hold up to repeated daily usage and larger print jobs. If your printer is used simply to print a page or 2 each day - an inkjet printer may be the best choice for your needs.
If you have any significant volume, more than 100 pages a month, you should buy a laser printer. You can expect to pay twice or three times as much per page if you print on an inkjet.
2 Cost - Purchase price of the Printer
The number-one place where people go wrong on printers is they buy based on equipment cost and don't look at the toner or ink prices,” “The first thing they should look at is the price of consumables – some of the lower-price printers wind up having a high price per page.
Most consumers look simply at the cost to purchase the printer. - WARNING - this is how the printer manufacturers thrive. The manufacturers sell the printers cheaply and rip you off on the toner! Often the cost of the replacement cartridge(s) is higher than buying the actual printer - so look at the price of the printer and the price of the toner before you open your wallet!
Remember: The cost of replacement cartridges can run much higher than the cost of the printer itself. Refilling your cartridges can further reduce the running costs by up to 80%.
Do you want to purchase a stand-alone printer or would a multi-function printer (MFP) one that includes copier, scanner and fax capabilities, better suit your needs? Increasingly popular, multi-function printers, both in color and black and white, are replacing copiers and printers, particularly in small and medium businesses. Benefits include space-saving and being economical in terms of purchase price.
4 Color or Monochrome
Do you want to print documents in colour - now or in the future ? The price of colour laser printers has crashed in recent years making them much more affordable. You may be able to set a colour printer to print in "black" only - but you cannot set a monochrome printer to print in colour !
It can make great commercial sense to purchase a cheap monochrome printer to run alongside your expensive colour printer. Why? - send your internal documents to the cheap monochrome printer and save your colour printer for important documents. This will save you money over the years!
5 Are toner refills or compatible cartridges available for your model printer ?
Yes - great !
No - you will need to buy original replacement cartridges until a refill kit or a compatible cartridge is launched. Check with us if we have your model under development,
Here are a few more points to consider before you buy a laser printer
- Size - What size documents do you need to print A4/A3?
- Speed - How many pages do you want to print per minute?
- How do you want to connect to my printer? Wireless/network/stand-alone
Does your printer use a separate drum and toner cartridge ?
Very important - if you can - purchase a printer that offers the drum (also known as an OPC / Photoconductor unit) and the toner cartridge as separate consumable items. That way, you only need to change the consumable that needs to be changed. i.e. if your toner unit is empty - why should you change the drum unit when it still has life left ?
If you buy a printer that uses a combined toner / drum in one fixed unit, you will limit the amount of times that you can refill. The drum will eventually wear out and you will need to dispose of both the drum and the toner section together. Bad for your pocket and the environment !
Number of prints: Printers are rated at by the number of prints or copies they are expected to produce per month. Buy one that is designed to meet your workload requirements. Cartridges / Drum units are measured by page yield - i.e. how long they will last until they need to be replaced.
Once you've settled on a laser printer you still have to pick the best item from over 500 laser printer models made by more than a dozen manufacturers including Canon, Epson, HP, IBM, Oki and Xerox. Here are a few criteria to help you make the correct selection:
Other items to consider
Print Speed: Some printers print pages faster than others. Check out the 'pages per minute' figure to compare.
Network Printer: To set up a print network you will need a printer with an in-built Ethernet port or one that offers it as an optional extra. This lets the printer plug into a local network so multiple computers can access it.
Colour printing: Some laser printers only produce monochrome prints. If you want to print in colour, make sure you buy a model with colour printing capabilities.
Duplex: The ability to print on both sides of a piece of a paper.
Paper Tray Capacity: The maximum number of pages that fit inside the printer's paper tray.
Toner: Unlike inkjet printers that use cartridges filled with ink, laser printers require a fine powder called toner. Monochrome laser printers use just black toner, while colour printers require additional cyan, yellow and magenta.
Duty Cycle: The maximum number of printouts a printer is designed to handle per month. If you expect to output more pages than the specified duty cycle consider a more robust model, as this can invalidate a printer's warranty.
PPM: This stands for Pages Per Minute and defines how many pages a printer can print in either colour or black & white within one minute.