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August 2012 - Printers = Essential Business Equipment

August 2012

PRINTERS = ESSENTIAL BUSINESS EQUIPMENT
Choosing the Right One For Your Needs

Every company needs a printer, whether an office tries to become "paperless" or whether the establishment uses reams of paper for making copies, scanning, faxing, and printing documents on a daily basis. Sometimes printers merely need to provide black and white hard copies and other times, printers need to produce colorful, aesthetically appealing pages. Businesses, therefore, need to understand what type of printer (from inkjet to laser, from monochrome to color, from basic to multifunction) best suits their needs for the most cost effective and reliable solution.

A Multifunction Printer? - As the name implies, multi-function printers can perform the job of several other devices. With a business grade multi-function printer, the printer can be connected to the network and print from office computers. The multi-function can also serve as a scanner, turning hard-copy pages into digital documents; work as a copy machine, some with duplex (two-sided) copying capabilities; and communicate with other fax machines, whether faxing physical documents or digital versions. The benefits to investing in a multi-function printer include saving money and office space that would be consumed by purchasing separate equipment for faxing, scanning, copying, and printing. There is also only one device that users must learn to operate and maintain. The main disadvantage to utilizing a multifunction printer is that if one feature breaks, it can be more expensive to repair than simply replacing a single device to take over the lost functionality. Of course, businesses can prevent premature device failure by investing in a quality multifunction printer instead of getting whatever's on sale at the local electronics department. Still, if companies only need a printer, they should avoid multifunction printers.

Monochrome vs. Color? - For the majority of industries, monochrome (black and white) printers are sufficient. In fact, monochrome printers often have the ability to translate color images/graphics into "grayscale" (where colors are represented by varying shades of gray). Thus, if businesses print few documents requiring color, a monochrome printer with the single black ink/toner refill will be the most cost effective solution. If companies need to print colorful flyers or brochures on a regular basis, a color printer may be the best option. The advantage to owning color printers is saving businesses the cost and trip to the local print shop, but the disadvantage is that color printers require several different colored ink/cartridge refills. Often, those color refills don't come cheap-- that's how the retail printer manufacturers make their money! And when the color printing is destined for clients and prospective customers, the company should invest in a quality color laser printer instead of an inkjet (more on inkjet vs. laser printing below). There is a significant cost difference between monochrome and color laser printers-- for both the initial purchase price and for toner refills.

Inkjet or Laser? - For basic printing functions or for photo quality images, an inkjet printer works best. These inkjet printers have small cartridges filled with different dyes and can handle only small numbers of print jobs at a time. Inkjets are not fast and if users need a quality photo, the output is painfully slow. A sturdy inkjet will work for an office that is mostly "paperless" though the ink tanks will dry up and become problematic if not used regularly. However, for businesses that print more than a few hundred pages a month and require sharp clear text (monochrome or color), laser printers are the best solution. Not only does the toner in the laser printers never "dry up", laser printers are faster and more durable than inkjet printers. In fact, laser toners yield 3 to 10 times more prints than a comparable inkjet refill and produce superior quality prints, with the exception that most color laser printers do not produce photo quality pictures.

So Which To Buy? - Once companies understand their required functionalities, color utilization, and average print quantities, they should compare a few additional factors to determine which printer will provide the lowest total cost of ownership: yield, coverage, and price. The printer's yield is the estimated number of pages produced before the ink/toner needs to be replaced. Coverage is a percentage of the page covered by text and is associated with the printer's yield. Often, retailers advertise cheap printers with deceptively low yields based on low coverage percentages only to trap buyers with over-priced ink/toner refills. Even worse, the printers will suffer mechanical breakdown soon after the warranty expires, only to cost more to fix than to buy a new printer. It's a diabolical cycle... But PCTech has a special tool to help clients avoid getting stuck with a problematic, costly printer. Upon request, PCTech will send you a custom spreadsheet that allows you to compare different printers' price, yield, coverage, and total cost of ownership before you buy another printer or multifunction device. The spreadsheet is also an excellent means to estimate your annual cost savings when you're thinking about buying another business printer.

If you don't have time to review and rate which printer would be best suited for your company, PCTech has already done the research! Based on the lowest Total Cost of Ownership, including factors such as high reliability and excellent customer support, PCTech partnered with Ricoh to bring clients high-quality printers, copiers, and multifunction devices at the best prices available. In fact, PCTech relies on Ricoh devices to power their own office and recommends Ricoh for all black and white, color, and multifunction business needs. And just how did Ricoh surpass the other brands? Because under the brutal use in an IT office, PCTech verified that Ricoh devices deliver, among many other benefits, a lower cost per print and significantly longer lifespan than the competition. Call PCTech today for a quote on a Ricoh printer/copier/multifunction that fits both your budget and technical needs.

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This Article is Copyrighted. All Rights Reserved
© Angela Stover, 4 September 2012


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