Negosentro.com | Just about every office needs a printer. Yes, paperless document production and management is the talk of the of the town. But businesses still rely on printers to create receipts, memos, contracts, and other paper-works, and a complete transition to a paper-free environment may not be possible yet. But if you are on the market for a new office printer, know that manufacturers often withheld important information that can affect your business’ productivity and printing costs. What are they? Let’s take a look!
1. Printing Speeds Can Be Skewed
Printing speed is an important feature to pay attention to when shopping for an office printer. Measured in pages per minute (PPM), a faster printer means employees spend less time waiting for their printing jobs to finish and more time stuff that matters – whether it’s attending to complaints or questions, brainstorming with the team, or developing new solutions for customers. Laser or LED printers often top the speed department, with high-end models able to reach speeds of 60 to 80 PPM especially when printing black and white office documents. Inkjet printers, on the other hand, may work better for images and photos. But their print heads, which need to move back and forth across a page, make inkjet models slower than their laser and LED counterparts. Now, whichever type of printer you are shopping for, know that printing speeds can be skewed by vendors. An office printer manufacturer may advertise a speed of 30 PPM after running the printer through a series of tests. But remember: The manufacturer also decides what content to put on the pages and the printing mode to use during the tests. It’s not at all uncommon for manufacturers to print test pages with less than 10% ink coverage or print in low resolution modes, inflating the printer’s PPM.
What To Do About It
Since office printer manufacturers have total control over a printer’s testing conditions, having speed testing standards set by a third-party can help shoppers make a better apples-to-apples comparison. The ISO/IEC 24734 is an internationally recognized and standardized test for measuring the productivity of printers. The test requires using the normal printing mode, mixed content for the test pages, and an average of 11% ink coverage (margins excluded). Check the “ISO PPM” when comparing printers to get a more accurate comparison between models and manufacturers.
2. Recommended Monthly Page Volume Is More Important Than The Monthly Duty Cycle
The monthly duty cycle of a printer refers to the maximum number of pages the machine can print in a month without suffering from wear and tear. If you ever had a printer die on you in the middle of a print job, chances are, the printer has reached its monthly duty cycle. Personal printers often have a duty cycle of 5,000 pages. The least expensive business printers, on the other hand, can handle 10,000 to 20,000 pages per month while the pricey office workhorses can print 100,000 pages without breaking down. So if your office’s monthly print volume hovers around 4,000 to 4,500 pages, a personal printer is enough for the job, isn’t it? Not the case! You see, if a printer’s monthly duty cycle is just barely higher than your average print volume, you run the risk of popping the machine long before you get any ROI.
What To Do About It
You want a printer durable enough to keep up with your document production needs even when the office gets busy – and without breaking down on the following month. Look for a model whose monthly duty cycle is at least three times greater than your print volume during the busiest months. Or, shop for a printer whose recommended monthly page volume is close or higher to your business’ monthly print volume. The recommended page volume refers to the number of pages the machine can print in a month while delivering the best possible performance and maximizing the printer’s life.
3. Printer Ink Can Bleed Your Budget Dry!
So you found an office printer at a rock-bottom price of less than $100? The deal a bargain – except when it isn’t! You see, the cheap printers seen at local PC supplies stores are often sold at a loss. Why? Because manufacturers know that they’ll make more money when you come back to shop for printer ink. And boy, printer ink is one of the priciest liquids known to man! Even the least expensive ink can cost $13 per ounce, far more expensive than a fine champagne. And what of the highest priced inks? They can cost more than the Chanel Number 5 perfume at $75 per ounce. Worse, printer manufacturers make it hard for customers to switch to more affordable, non-OEM inks and cartridges. Some threaten customers with a warranty void, and many build microchips into OEM cartridges. With the built-in microchip, a printer may refuse a non-OEM ink and even refilled OEM cartridges.
What To Do About It
You don’t want your monthly budget to take a beating from cartridges, toners, and other printing consumables. After you have determined your printing requirements and the models that make the cut, have a thorough look at the cost of ink or toner cartridges for every printer. Next, divide the cost of the cartridge by the number of pages it yields, giving you a rough idea of the cost per page and helping you find the model that gives you the best bang for your buck. A cost-cutting idea to consider is to sign up for a printer leasing contract with a managed print service (MPS) built into it. Leasing a printer means you don’t have to worry about huge cash outlays associated with buying a new machine. Plus, the managed print service consolidates your business’ printing environment and takes advantage of volume discounts for inks and other consumables.
Wouldn’t it be nice if shopping for a printer is straightforward and free from well-hidden, money-sucking pitfalls? Definitely! But as things stand, a small business owner needs to exercise extra caution and look beyond the price tag to find the best value printer for his office’s document needs. And in this brief guide, we looked at three things you must know about office printers but manufacturers won’t tell you. Armed with this information and workarounds for every issue, you can hopefully make better and smarter shopping choices.