If you are launching a new small business, you are going to need whatever equipment it takes to make the venture successful. But whatever field you are in, chances are you are going to need a computer and some sort of printer.
While many of us dream of living in a paperless world, the reality is that there is always something that needs to be printed.
What is an All in One Printer?
The average “all in one” printer (also referred to as a three-in-one printer) is a machine that can scan (and therefore be used for copying), print and fax, although specific capabilities differ. For example, some all-in-one printers can scan directly to email, or even to the Internet via WiFi, and print selected content without you needing to access a computer. Others can fax multiple page documents. Some don’t incorporate a fax machine at all. Also the actual printing quality differs, as does the way it handles ink.
Choosing the Right Printer for Your Business Needs
Many a time people have found that long-term they spend considerably more on ink than they did when they initially bought the printer. However, you can get cheap ink cartridges online at Cartridge Discount and start saving a little extra money.
There are so many different printers on the market today – both in terms of brand and capability (not to mention price) – it is essential to identify your needs accurately before you even start looking for one to buy.
All-in-one printers are suitable for both home and office use, and they are mostly general-purpose machines that fulfill the average people’s overall needs in terms of producing printed text (including labels for envelopes and so on), graphics and photographs. But some printers (specifically the ones that use inkjet technology) produce higher quality photographs, while others (the ones that use laser technology) generally print better quality text as well as straightforward graphics and tables.
Even if you don’t need to print in color, most printers today have the facility for color. What does make a difference though is whether the printer has separate ink cartridges or a black (K) and then the three colors that make up the CMYK process (cyan, magenta and yellow). Some have four separate cartridges. While those with combined colors are usually cheaper, you can end up forking out a lot more money for ink long term; so take this into consideration. Many a time people have found that long-term they spend considerably more on ink than they did when they initially bought the printer!
Also consider how quickly you need the printer to churn out printed pages. If you are working with big volumes (for whatever reason), this will be another very important factor that should not be overlooked.
If you know something about printers – for instance you may have had several prior to this time – or you know business-orientated people who use printers in their offices, you will have a head start. But because technology is forever changing, and improving, you do need to do some homework to see what will best meet your needs.
Visiting a well equipped store that sells a variety of different models and makes is one way to familiarize yourself with what is currently on the market. Another is to buy specialist magazines that deal with this sort of equipment, and offer advice to potential buyers. Reading reviews, either in newspapers, magazines or on the Internet is another exceptionally good way to find out what different types of all-in-one printers have to offer. Just be sure you are reading objective reviews and not those compiled or commissioned by manufacturers.
For many cost is the bottom line, but don’t only consider the initial price of the machine. You do need to take the ink factor into account, and ideally work out what the cost per page will amount to for the kind of printing you do most.
Some Popular All in One Printer Brands
HP is a tried and tested brand and one that offers several good options for the small business office. The HP Officejet Pro 8500A is relatively fast (though it is sometimes criticized for not keeping up with other brand models in the same quality range) and undoubtedly efficient. The HP Photosmart Premium C410a offers high-resolution color printing, but its black ink printing appears to be of a lower quality. This makes it a good option for anyone needing to print lots of photographs. If this is a brand that appeals to you, and you aren’t going to need color, then the HP LaserJetPro M1217nfw is a good bet, since it offers fast, affordable black-ink printing. The HP Photosmart eStation all-in-one printer has been heralded as a machine that will give you a print quality way above average. It comes with a detachable seven-inch wireless tablet which gives it extra appeal.
Epson printers also have a good reputation internationally and there are several models of “all-in-one” that should suit the small business operator. The Epson Artisan 835 is reputably a great little scanner and copier, and prints well in black and white, but its color resolution isn’t that great. The Epson Artisan 810, on the other hand, offers very good quality – but understandably at a higher price tag. The Artisan 837 is also pretty good. The little Epson Artisan 725 produces good quality color and black and white prints, but it is relatively slow. (So not all the Artisan models offer the same qualities at all, and you’ll find that not all outlets stock them all.) Epson’s WorkForce 635 is an excellent black and white printer, but the scanning quality is relatively inferior and the color resolution not great. However it’s cost effective and quick for lots and lots of documents.
Canon has made its name in the “all-in-one” printer market, offering a number of different, relatively low-priced models that are well suited for home use and for some small business owners. The Canon Pixma MG8120 is a pretty neat unit that prints fast, and is reasonably priced. But it doesn’t have the fax option. The cheaper Pixma MX870 also produces great prints, but it has a reputation for chowing black ink.
Lexmark is another brand to consider, but the machines and ink do tend to be a little pricey. The Lexmark Platinum Pro905 boasts relatively inexpensive black ink and super-quick document printing. The Lexmark S605 has a nice big touch-screen and it allows you to customize the printer. It’s fast and the quality is great.
Brother offers some of the cheapest all-in-one inkjet printers, including the MFC-J825DW, which is generally considered to a good option. It has an automatic document feeder, prints on both sides of the paper, and even has a tray for CDs and DVDs, plus wire and wireless networking capability.
So if you shop around, you’ll be certain to find an all in one printer that meets your personal and business needs.
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