A printer is an essential piece of hardware when you are looking to set up a computer for your office or college work. It helps you perform various functions like printing documents and photos, copying physical pages and even scanning documents into soft copies.
To make an intelligent and informed decision about buying your first printer, you need to go through a lot of things. Here is a simple 10-points guide to help you pick out the best printer according to your needs.
Printer Buying Guide: How To Choose the Best One?
Revise Your Requirements
The various functions that I discussed above are what multifunction printers can perform. The level of complexity on your printer depends on the various purposes you need it for. If you want it just for occasional printing of documents and photos, you should get a basic one-function printer. In case you need one, which has functions like the photocopy, scanning and even fax, you should go for a multifunction 3-in-1 or 4-in-1 alternative. Keep in mind that such printers are costly as well as available with select brands.
Calculate The Cost Benefit
A printer is usually used in offices and helps in increasing productivity. Before making the purchase, try and analyze the benefit of keeping and maintaining a printer on your desk. A printer does not have a fixed cost, with the need of updating printer ink at regular intervals.
Out of the three most popular types of printers, a laser printer offers the lowest cost per page to print, while an inkjet one is the costliest. Do keep in mind though that a laser printer costs multiple times an average inkjet or dot printer. If you choose wisely, your printer can become a useful asset in managing and controlling costs for printing and imaging, and adding newer capabilities to your organization.
Check Online And Offline Reviews
The spec sheet and company information for a printer tells only half the story. While the printer you pick might seem powerful to handle your workload, is it efficient in real-time usage? For this, you can check out reviews on Amazon and YouTube that tell the other side of the story. Many reviewers can acutely point out the flaws and benefits of the printer, making you choose the right one according to your preference. Even asking some offline customers may help.
Test How Easy It Is To Connect To A Network
A printer purchase these days doesn’t just involve buying the damn device and hooking it onto your computer, it has a lot of steps from understanding the mechanism, downloading the drivers and then finally finding the right ports to connect it your home network. Before purchasing the right printer, find out whether the device comes with guides for software installation and whether troubleshooting on the printer is simple to understand. If it is a WiFi-compatible multifunction printer, the setup process is fairly tough and takes a bit of time to understand.
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Know How Good Is It At Multitasking
If you are getting a complex and multifunction printer for work, make sure it is capable of performing the tasks all at once. It gets even more important when your workload is high and constant. Compare all the technical specs and make a wise decision as to which printer would be better at performance, by testing them out at stores or with friends and peers. Some of the printers that offer multiple actions can’t generally perform them all at once. So, if you are looking to reduce downtime, avoid these options.
Check The Device Support And Management
When purchasing the printer, always check with the vendor about the various accessories, management and support options that they offer with the purchase. A printer is an electronic device and requires frequent maintenance as well as may experience a sudden breakdown. To be covered in avoiding such mishappenings, confirm all the kind of support that the brand offers with the printer you are buying. You should have the complete trust of functioning efficiently, in your printer before you leave the store.
Test The Amount Of Security It Offers
Printers are connected to our office and/or home networks. This means that all the data on your computers and devices is vulnerable to getting accessed via the printer or any other hardware device for that matter. Make sure that the printer you buy has a certain level of security and confidentiality, like password protection, in order to ensure that your data is safe within your network and no one can easily hack into sensitive files. Another thing you should keep in mind is whether the printer is capable of scaling up the level of security with changing needs.
Check The Available Software And Drivers
The soul of any hardware device is its software. Understand what all software and driver files are available and compatible with your printer. Also, check whether this software is easily accessible from the manufacturer’s website or any other third-party source. Some vendors usually have software partners to help with solutions for their printers. You may want to check them out and see whether the updates to your specific printer model are frequent and help eliminate errors easily via OTA.
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Determine How Portable It Is
Nowadays, with mobiles and laptops gaining traction, portability is key to productivity. Wireless and lightweight printers are on trend due to their portable nature. If you have a digital business or one that involves a lot of traveling, you may want to consider a small, portable printer that connects to your network via Wireless Fidelity or WiFi. These printers are usually pint-sized devices and weigh around 2-3 kgs on average. They are commonly available in the inkjet printer range but may be priced substantially higher compared to their bigger brothers.
Connectivity And Compatibility
With micro-USB and USB Type-C taking over the connectivity ports, deciding on what printer you choose depends a lot on the type of devices you are using on your home network. If your preferred printer is a wired one, pick the ones that have proper USB 2.0 and above, and Ethernet compatibility. For a wireless printer, though, the options with WiFi 802.11ac and Infrared are the most compatible in the market currently.
Printers can help you organize and manage documents, photos, and important files. They can turn your computer network into a great mechanism of transferring and receiving physical as well as electronic files easily.
Once you are equipped with these 10 pointers, you should be confident enough to go out and make the right decision for your business or study.