Most of us use wireless printers from blackbox-solutions.co.uk at home. Why worry about connecting your computer when you can print from anywhere? However, wired connections are typically faster, more reliable and far more secure, all of which are important in business environments, where printers are used more often and by more people at once. Wireless setups, on the other hand, are more flexible, along with being less expensive to deploy.
They are also compatible with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. In our increasingly mobile world, many businesses —particularly large enterprises —are choosing to install applications that allow mobile printing either by connecting the device to the printer or using a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection. This is often referred to as cloud printing or mobile printing. Not all printers are compatible with this emerging technology, but it’s something to consider if you have a highly mobile-reliant workforce. Some office printers are also compatible with mobile-printing technologies such as Apple AirPrint, HP ePrint and Google Cloud Print, but that’s something you’ll need to verify.
If you’re solely printing simple business documents in plain text —spreadsheets, memos and letters —monochrome is probably fine. If you need to print graphics, custom logos or documents with charts and other visuals, you’ll want to go with a color printer. Monochrome printers still sell surprisingly well because they cut ongoing costs, but keep in mind that you’re likely stuck with the printer you choose for many years. If you need the ability to print color in the future, you’ll have to find another source.
One of the first things to consider when it comes to features is whether you need a single-function or multi-function printer (MFP). Just as it sounds, single-function printers do one thing: print documents. MFPs are capable of many other tasks, including scanning, copying, emailing and converting documents. Different models combine different features. MFPs are cost-effective because you avoid having to purchase multiple machines, and they take up less space. They help streamline document management and business workflow because you can fax, scan and email documents all from the same machine. However, they’re more expensive. And if one person is using the machine to print, for example, another employee will have to wait to send a fax, make a copy, etc.
Next, consider printing speed and volume, which have a significant impact on price. Generally, print speeds of less than 20 pages per minute (ppm) are too slow for office environments; speeds of 20 ppm to 40 ppm will suffice for most offices; and speeds above 40 ppm are ideal for high-volume use. Some of the most sophisticated machines reach 100 ppm, although this is far more than most small businesses need. Print volume can range from basic models that hold just 100 sheets in the tray and 250 in the cassette to MFPs that hold 500 sheets in the tray and 2,000 or more in two or more cassettes.