When shopping for a new printer for your home or office, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the features, brands, and options available to you. There is no shortage of printers you can choose from, ranging from simple and inexpensive to feature-rich, high-end printers with price tags to match. In this post, we will try and walk you through the main questions you should ask yourself when shopping for a new printer that should help widdle down your options and leave you with a shortlist of your best possible options. 

Top Considerations

Color Or Black And White

A quick way to narrow down your selections by half is to decide whether you will require a color printer, or if a black and white printer will get the job done for you. If all you’re printing are text documents, invoices, receipts, or shipping labels, you can likely get away without spending the extra money on a color printer. Monochrome printers, as these black and white printers are known, are some of the most cost-efficient printers you can buy. Not only is the laser toner they use wallet-friendly, but these printers also have fewer parts and components and are often more affordable for that reason as well. Of course, if you plan to print documents with graphics, photographs, and other non-text media, you will likely want to get a color printer so you can produce vibrant and colorful documents too. 

Do You Need Printer Security Features?

Most printers will have some basic security features, but if you’re shopping for your office, where sensitive documents might be printed, and the printer is available to all your employees via a network, you might have more stringent security requirements. Many Enterprise printers are designed with security in mind, and it’s a major reason businesses opt for these larger more expensive printers instead of just using cheaper home or small business models. Be sure to read up on the security features of the printers you are considering to make sure they are up to your standards and risk tolerance. 

How Much Do You Plan to Print? 

Another key consideration is the volume of printing you are expecting to subject your printer to. Home and small business printers are designed for low volume and might last you for many years without issue if you only print a few pages a day, but if you put your home printer into a high volume environment you will find it may not hold up the rigors you put it through. 

How Fast Do You Need to Print?

Similarly, you should consider how fast of a printer you will need. Most printers will advertise their PPM or “pages per minute” speed to help you compare them and decide if the speed of one printer makes it more appealing than another printer with a slower output. 

Do You Need a Single-Function Printer or an All-in-One? 

Typically, when it comes to choosing between a single-function printer and an all-in-one printer, most individuals gravitate towards the more feature-rich model and do not consider standalone printers. In fact, owners of printers report that they rarely, if ever, use the copy, scan, and fax features on their printers. In general, the more features a device has, the more chance for something to break or go wrong, and the higher the repair cost will be as well. Therefore, if you do not intend on using the scanner often, it might be better to consider the one-function printer instead. In most cases, the devices that have a single, basic function are able to perform better and more consistently than those that attempt to perform many functions at the same time. 

Secondary Features To Look For When Making Your Purchase

Having gone through the sections above, you may still be left with several possible choices of printers. Here are a couple of features that some shoppers overlook when making their final printer buying decision.

Duplex Printing

being able to print on both sides of a sheet automatically is a useful feature to save on paper.

Duty Cycle

some manufacturers will advertise their printer’s duty cycle or the maximum number of pages they expect the printer to be able to handle in a month. Comparing the duty cycle of different printers can give you a sense of how robust the device is without having to handle it inspect it yourself. 

DPI (Print Quality)

DPI, or dots per inch, is a measure of the resolution of a printed document or digital scan. The higher the dot density, the higher the resolution of the print or scan.

Input & Output Trays – If you need to print envelopes, cardstock or other media, you should be sure the printer you buy has the appropriate input and output trays to handle your print job. 

Wireless Connectivity

If you’re just printing from desktop and laptop computers, just having a networked printer will cover your needs, but if you’re planning to print from cell phones and tablets, you might want to buy a printer with NFC features. 

Cost Per Page

if the printer’s print quality isn’t the biggest factor for you, be sure to compare the advertised cost per page of the printers you are considering. These numbers are based on printing a basic page of text and will give you a rough estimate of what you can expect if you mainly print text documents.

Warranty

As you are making your shortlist when it comes to choosing your printer, it is worthwhile to take into account the warranty included with the printer as a possible tiebreaker. It is no secret that printers are notoriously finicky devices, and the more features a printer has, the greater the chances of it breaking down. In case your paper starts jamming or your ink begins to smear, I guarantee you’ll be glad to have your warranty as a backup. 

Blue Dog Ink Has All the Top Printers

No matter where your research leads you, you can be sure that Blue Dog Ink will have the printer you’re looking for at the best prices online. Our relationship with manufacturers allows us to sell the top models at the most competitive prices. Check our online reviews and sign up to our newsletter for the latest offers and deals.