Inkjet, laser, colour or mono? If you’re choosing a printer, knowing your multi-functional device from your mono laser is all-important if you want your new machine to meet all potential user needs.

From the safety of keeping hard copies to producing quality photos, printers are an asset to every business and household. Plus state of the art wireless printing and device connectivity are making it easier than ever for users to send essential documents to print.

Here are six questions to ask before buying a new printer:

1. Colour or mono?

Colour was traditionally seen as a more expensive option, but with improvements in technology and lower costs, colour printers are now more in line price-wise with mono. If you choose a colour printer, you can follow the practice of many businesses and set it to print mono by default and select colour only when you need it. In HR or finance environments, or wherever you need a high quantity of text-only documents, a mono printer can be the best option.

2. What size pages?

If you mostly print A4 documents and an occasional A3 sheet, an A3 inkjet may be your best choice. Where over 1000 A3 pages are printed each month an A3 laser printer is recommended. Home printers are designed for printing pages up to A4 in size, with some offering label, envelope and A5 options.

However, if you are only printing A4 documents then your choice will depend on the type of documents you’re likely to print most. For example, someone producing A4 photos is likely to need the higher quality print finish of ink, but a university student may opt for laser, which prints more pages per minute.

3. Is space at a premium?

For home office and small business users a multi-functional device (MFD or MFP) can be a best friend. These compact all-in-one printers bring printing, scanning and photocopying features into one machine, helping to save time, money and space.

4. What’s the monthly use?

If you’re printing up to 750 pages a month, you probably fall in the small office printers category, where multifunctional and desktop devices are usually the best bet. Up to 1,500 pages a month a laser printer will probably prove most cost effective, although business inkjets now offer a comparable solution and crisper print. For the printing of photos a high quality inkjet or photo printer will be most suitable.

5. Would wireless printing be useful?

If the answer isn’t already yes, it may well become so, so make sure the printer specifies Wifi connectivity.

6. Which devices to print from?

Knowing which devices are likely to be used to print from is critical. Apple devices use Airprint via a Wifi connection, HP uses ePrint through cloud technology and Google Cloud Print enables users to transfer documents to the printer over a web connection before deleting those documents for security reasons. The latest smartphones, tablets and some cameras have NFC (Near Field Communications) which allows users to print simply by tapping the device into the printer, without any need for set up beforehand. Most Samsung printers & devices feature NFC technology.

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