While it may seem like there are a thousand different options on the market, all the big name printer brands (within the same price range) are comparable to each other without a distinct winner. Whether its HP, Lexmark, Xerox, Brother or Canon, you’ll find printers that are easy-to-use, easy-to-maintain and reliable. Almost all of them have parts and supplies that are readily available either online or at your local Staples.
So with so many comparable printers on the market, how do you choose the right one? “It’s not so much about the brand, unless you have a personal favorite that you want to stick with, it’s more about finding the right machine that will do exactly what you need it to do,” said Josh Brown, Owner, Midwest Laser Specialist, Inc.
“If you buy the right printer for your needs, it will perform. But if you don’t, it’s actually a bigger problem than many people realize. Our techs see it constantly – the user is putting too much strain on the machine, and it starts to malfunction. That’s only going to increase your repair costs over time. If they bought a bigger machine upfront, they’d save a lot of headaches, and money, in the long run,” said Brown.
Consult with a non-biased expert
If you chat with HP about purchasing a new printer, obviously they are only going to recommend HP printers. If you go into Best Buy, they are going to push certain models based on sales criteria and your salesperson may not be as knowledgeable as you’d expect.
If you call a local seller or repair shop on the other hand, we can give really weigh all your options and give you an honest opinion about what printer to buy. It doesn’t matter to us what brand or model you purchase – we just want a satisfied customer. Not to mention, we’re only a phone call away if any problems come up or if you need a toner refill. The big brands and big box stores can’t do that.
How to choose a printer
When choosing a printer, we recommend considering the following questions because they are the most important factors in machine performance:
- Are you printing mostly in monochrome (black and white) or color?
- What paper size will you be printing most?
- What is your input capacity (how many sheets the trays will hold)?
- Do you need additional capabilities like wireless and duplex (double sided) printing?
- Do you need to scan and copy?
- How fast does it need to print?
Some of these seem like a no-brainer but for users who work in certain environments, like law, speed and input are of the utmost importance. Parents on the other hand may care more about color printing and work-from-home professionals may need wireless printing first and foremost.
“Customers who buy the right machine off the bat are much happier. Just remember that even with the perfect printer, you’ll still need regular maintenance every 6-12 months to prolong the life of your machine,” said Brown.