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10 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Printer

From the Printware Blog on Wednesday 27th November 2013 in Consumer Advice

Have you ever bought a printer then ended up regretting it? Perhaps you realised straight away that it wasn't the right machine for you and had to send it back. Or maybe you bought a printer that seemed perfect at the time but wasn't up to the job when your needs changed. You can avoid these potential pitfalls by doing a little research first and ensuring that you don't make one of these common mistakes...

1. Buying a cheap printer

Picture the scenario – you’re pricing up new printers and you realise that the one you want is going to cost you £500. Then you realise that you can buy one for £200 that will do what you need it to. Fast forward three years and the £300 you saved has been wiped out several times over by the extra money you’ve spent on toner.

Cheap printers often turn out not to be cheap at all (Why Your Printer Cost More Than You Think) – unless you’re printing very low volumes, it’s worth spending a bit more on a printer
with lower running costs.


2. Buying mono instead of colour

There’s no getting away from the fact that colour printers are more expensive than mono printers. There’s also no getting away from the fact that there’s a reason they’re more expensive. Customers are more 80% more likely to read material printed in colour and colour is 85% more effective at selling products than mono (Printware Buying Guide - Colour or Mono).

Anything that needs to make an impact or any material that includes your company logo should be printed in colour. Print in mono and you could be selling yourself short.

3. No duplex unit

Duplex printing saves paper and energy, it’s better for the environment and it helps keep your running costs down. Most non-duplex printers allow you to manually print double-sided documents but have you ever tried manual duplexing? It’s tedious, slow and creates multiple opportunities for errors and wasted printouts, costing you both time and money.


4. Not networked/ WiFi

If your printer is going to be connected to more than one PC, it should be networked. This is one of the most common features that people fail to check when they’re buying a new printer and, if you’re a business, it’s a pretty big one. WiFi is also becoming increasingly important. For example, if you and your employees intend to print from Apple mobile devices at work, a printer with wireless connectivity will make this a great deal easier.


5. Software compatibility

When you buy a new printer, you’d like to think that you can just plug it straight in to your existing IT setup and most of the time you can – but not always. Not all printers will work with all operating systems, so it’s worth doing some research before you buy, particularly if you’re running older software or have a non-standard setup. This applies regardless of the size of your printer fleet and whether or not the new device will be networked.


6. Single instead of multi-function

You might not consider buying a single function printer to be a mistake but you could be missing an opportunity. Multifunction devices aren’t just about faxing and copying – used properly, they can improve efficiency and streamline your document management processes (Printware Buying Guide - Single or Multifunction).

For instance, converting paper documents to an electronic format makes them easier to store. Electronic document are also more portable and can be accessed and shared far more quickly. All of this helps to reduce costs, free up resources and save time.


7. Wrong printer technology

This is an important one to get right and your decision will very much depend on what you need your printer to do. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that inkjets are “cheaper” or lasers are “better” – they each have their own strengths and weaknesses.

As a rule of thumb, inkjet printers are better suited to printing low volumes and for applications where superior image quality is important. Laser printers are generally better at printing text and can usually handle larger print volumes than inkjets.

However, the lines between inkjet and laser aren’t as clear cut as they used to be, so it’s worth getting some expert advice if you’re not sure which technology is right for you.


8. Not planning for the future

Are you planning to do the same amount of business this year as you did last year and have the same amount of customers? Unlikely. If you’re planning for your business to grow, you should be planning for your print requirements to grow too.

That doesn’t just mean printing more pages, it could mean more users and a higher demand for document management (e.g. electronic storage and sharing), as well as cloud and wireless printing. If you buy a printer that is just adequate for your current requirements, you could find yourself looking for a replacement sooner than you hoped.


9. No Fax

Many businesses still have a requirement for faxing and, while it’s easy to assume that all MFPs have a built-in fax, this isn’t the case. It’s not helped by the fact that the terms “All-in-One” and “MFP” or “multifunction printer” are sometimes used interchangeably. “All-in-One” clearly implies that the machine comes with a fax but it’s definitely worth making sure.


10. Size

This is an easy one to overlook and it’s tempting to use the product images as a guide but appearances can be deceptive and what looked like a nice little desktop printer can turn out to be a bit of a beast. Nearly all the printers on the Printware website show the weight and dimensions on the product page, so it’s worth having a quick look to make sure that your new printer will fit in the space you have available.


Talk to the experts

Finding the right printer can seem like a bit of a minefield so it's always advisable to do as much research as you can before you go ahead and buy one. The Printware website has plenty of in-depth information to help you make the right decision and, if you're still unsure, you can always speak to us on 023 9262 3300. Our expert team will do everything they can to make sure that you're happy with your purchase.


by Anthony Morgan

Posted in Consumer Advice

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