Deciding on the “right time” to purchase a replacement printer isn’t as easy as some would hope. If your current printer seems to be still functioning reasonably reliably, then the choice becomes even more difficult. However, if you fail to replace or upgrade your printer at the proper time, it may translate into technology headaches along with potentially lost hours due to downtime caused by the printer failing when you aren’t adequately prepared. Here are a few tips to help you decide if it’s time to get a new printer.
Slow Print Speed
Printer speeds can range anywhere from one to 50 pages per minute (PPM). Typically more expensive models will offer the higher PPM speeds. If you are always waiting for your printer to complete a print job, then that is a definite sign that you should maybe invest in a newer and faster model. After all, waiting for any device becomes an expense that quite often goes overlooked. Consider the tasks you could be addressing if your printer had the documents you requested ready at a much quicker pace.
Poor Quality of Prints
Do you sometimes hand out a document that includes an apology to the recipient because the print is smeared, fade, or even sometimes contains large gaps where it didn’t print at all? Choosing to get a new printer becomes quite simple at that point. Print quality degrading is quite often the first indication of a printer reaching its end of usefulness. Sometimes you can clean your printheads (especially if the printer is an inkjet model) and you should always check that first. However, if you have to perform the printhead cleaning procedure regularly, then chances are good you are just putting off the inevitable and should seriously consider that new printer. More often than not, repair costs for your current printer will significantly exceed the cost of purchasing a new one.
Higher Cost of Printing
Newer models of printers have improved technology to decrease the overall usage of ink. Older printers will often use much more ink to print the same page. Adding to that is the fact that many of the older printer cartridges will start to increase again in price as they age. Quite often, as the demand for an older model begins to decrease, the cost of that cartridge will typically increase. It’s a simple mathematical formula of supply and demand. If end users are no longer demanding it in the higher volumes, then the supply chains stop producing as many, and costs go up.
Sometimes, your current printer just doesn’t perform the tasks you need from it. An older model may not have a specific function that would much improve your day-to-day life. It’s also possible that it can no longer keep up with the volume of printing you now require with the growth of your business. Whether you currently need photographic quality prints, wireless networking technology or even the ability to read off of removable media such as USB thumb drives, there are quite often features or services that newer models offer that weren’t yet available when you purchased the printer you have now. There is also a pretty good chance that you may not even realize the capabilities of some of the newer machines until you go looking at them. Most printers made today can be connected to your computer(s) using a USB cable, or wired ethernet, and even wirelessly so you are no longer tied down to the placement of your computer in your office. As long as you can provide power to the location, you can put your printer there and possibly decrease the time spent walking back and forth to the printer for at least a few of your employees.
Choosing a New Printer
Be sure that whenever you decide to get that new printer you do your necessary due diligence. More expensive printers will typically have a lower daily operating expense as the ink or toner is generally less costly. Be sure to not only check the cost of replacement ink for your printer but how many pages that ink or toner is designed to output. You will find that while some printer supplies are defined as having maybe 500 pages of output, others could be in the thousands of pages. Suddenly, that $200 toner cartridge capable of 10,000 printed pages becomes much cheaper than the $30 ink cartridge designed to print 500 pages. If you aren’t sure what you are looking for (or at), be sure to check with a local ink and toner company to help guide you to the printer that best meets your daily requirements. Printers are not a one-model-fits-all device. Depending on whether you need full-color high-quality photo prints or 200-page legal documents, there is a particular style of printer explicitly designed for that task.
Replacing a printer can increase your daily output, decrease the headaches you have to deal with in getting an older model to work, and sometimes create new opportunities for services you can offer. Just be sure not to purchase that first printer you find, especially strictly making your buying decision based on the price of the printer. Check all the various factors that go into your overall costs of operating a printer, how quickly it can print, what features it offers, and then make a decision.
As always, answers to any tech or office print questions are only an email away, send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will reply with some advice. QCBN
By Greg Hicks