Your Office Printer: Repair Or Replace?

Your printer just broke down, AGAIN and you’re tired of the costs associated with having it repaired. Or maybe it’s so old just know it’s time for a new one. When making the decision to replace, you have some options:

You can buy the deluxe powerhouse version that prints 20-50 pages per minute, tempting. Or you can buy a cheap one that just gets you by. The question is, how do you know which one you really need?

Here are some tips to help you make that decision:

1: Do You Need a Laser or Inkjet?

Consider the size of your office. If it’s relatively small, you’ll want to consider purchasing a laser printer. Laser printers print up to 50 pages per minute of black and white text. They work surprisingly well for printing high-quality color pages. Inkjets are a more affordable way of printing but they generally print at around half the speed of laser printers. They’re great for very small offices that print 500 pages or less each week.

2. Do You Need an All-In-One or Single Function Printer?

If you’re a one-man show or only employ a few people and you don’t have plans to expand, you will want to consider, an all-in-one printer. They are very functional. You can print, scan, copy, and in most cases, fax. Single-function printers are another option but they ONLY print. The benefit of these printers is the print quality is generally much better than the all-in-one printers. Consider your printing needs.  If you’re going to print at least a couple hundred pages per week, then a single-function printer is your best choice.

3. What About a Photo Printer?

How often do you need to print high-resolution images? If you answered “yes” and you plan to do this on a regular basis, you might want to consider purchasing one. If this is a rare occurrence (once per month or less), then you might want to consider printing at your local drugstore.

If your needs warrant purchasing a photo printer, it’s good to know that they will require an investment and maintenance should be part of the equation as repair costs run high. This type of investment is really for an established business with a larger amount of print demands.

4. How about a Business-Ready Printer?

If you run a very small business with less than 5 employees, we recommend an all-in-one or single-function printer. They are functional and fairly inexpensive.  However, a business-ready printer makes more sense if you plan on crossing that 500-page-per-week barrier.

These printers come in all shapes and sizes depending on your business needs. They have all the features of all-in-one printers (print, scan, copy, and fax). However, they also have some higher end features like automatic duplexing (double-sided printing), and a feeder that lets you scan more than one page at a time. Their ink for these units is generally less expensive, and one great feature – they’re network-ready so everyone in your office can print on them.

These models come as inkjets and laser. The inkjets are generally less expensive, and run around $200 or so for a medium quality model. Laser printers however, can cost $1,000 or more.

5. Do You Really Need a New Printer?

If you’re experiencing printer problems and need an expensive printer repair, the choice to repair or replace rests in your lap. If you decide to replace, the process of defining your needs and finding the best value for your dollar can be a daunting task. Because it’s a critical part of your day to day operations, you may want to consider hiring an outsourced IT solution to do the work for you. In either case, these considerations should help you make up your mind.

Serving as President of Great Lakes Computer Corporation, Bob Martin holds his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Akron and has extensive experience in IT and Business Development.  He brings his expertise on the ever-changing world of IT to print bi-weekly on the GRLakes blog  “Tips on Tech

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