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Buying Laser printer: What to expect

We have witnessed drop in cost of printers over few years, making it easy purchase for many of us. The purchase of printers have increased because of new SMB's and people have started buying for their homes.

If you're want to buy a new laser printer or laser-based multifunction device, you should keep in mind below are 10 things to consider before buying.

1. Monochrome or colour?

Your first criteria is your basic need:  you should have answer to the question about your usage. What type of documents you intend to print? Let your requirement guide you to the model / brand you want to buy. If you need to print documents such as invoices or other monochrome documents, then all you’ll need is a monochrome laser printer. If you are looking for printers for your home or a printer to help your kids with their projects, then color laser printer is all you need.

2. Types of functions

Second question you need to answer is what functions your printers should have? Do you need printer for scanning documents, making copies, sending and receiving faxes, then you might need to consider a multifunction laser printer that can perform all of the above tasks. Further, you should look into convenience of accessibility like functions such as printing from USB sticks, scanning to USB sticks and network locations, and moreover the ability to print and scan using Cloud-based apps.

3. Paper handling

Commonly, printers will handle paper up to the A4 size. So if you want to print documents on A3 paper then you should narrow your search to specific models. Things such as envelopes and heavier paper can be printed if the printer has a multi-purpose tray, and you can be absolutely sure about paper handling once you check the printer's, as well as the number of envelopes that can be loaded.

If you require printer for your office which is relatively busy office, then the printer should have capacity to hold enough paper in the printer at all times is a necessity. Frequent filling of trays can be cumbersome and no one ever wants to be one to have to fill up the trays. So look for a printer that has an appropriate capacity according to the number of users who will be printing. Also, look for a printer that can be expanded via a second or third tray to satisfy growing needs.

At the same time, look for other paper handling characteristics that may concern you. This can include the ability of the printer to print on both sides of the page automatically (via a built-in duplex unit), and also the ability to scan or copy multi-page documents via an automatic document feeder (ADF).

4. Connectivity

USB connectivity is standard on all printers, but for an office environment, the key type of connectivity you should look for is Ethernet. This will allow you to plug the printer in to your network router and share it among the workers in your office. The printer's driver will need to be installed on all the computers in the network that will require access.

Look for wireless connectivity (usually up to 802.11n specification) if you would like to set up the printer on your wireless network instead. Furthermore, look for Wi-Fi Direct capability if you would like to give mobile devices a way to communicate with the printer directly and print via an app. This can work with NFC functionality on some printers, allowing the direct connection to be set up by placing the device on the printer to pair it.

Ensure that the printer supports all the devices that will require access in your office, be they Apple devices, Android devices, or even Windows Phone.

Printing from Cloud services is also supported in many printers these days. Check up on the services that a printer supports, which could make it easier to print from places such as Google Docs, Dropbox, OneDrive, and other online services, without having to go through a computer or mobile device

5. Ease of use and size

By now almost all of us are used to the touchscreen using phone, tablet, or perhaps even laptop. So why not go for touchscreen on a printer? A touchscreen can make it easier to navigate a printer's menu system, especially if it has built-in access to apps that require the user to punch in their login details. Ease of use can also encompass the swiftness with which the paper tray can be accessed and loaded, and the way in which the toner cartridges can be changed.

A typical printer for an office can be bulky and perhaps difficult to move around without the help of another person. Consider the size of the printer in your purchase and where you will be installing it in your environment. You may want more compact printer for your home.

6. Toner cost and TCO

The initial cost of a laser printer may be very low these days for some models, but it’s the overall total cost of ownership that you need to be aware of.

This includes things such as the cost of replacement toner (for each colour), the yield of the toner (how many pages it can print), and the cost of any other consumables that are associated with the printer, such as a fuser (the unit that fixes the toner to the paper) or drum unit (which transfers the toner onto the paper). Many laser printers only have the one consumable these days, which is the toner.

You should also consider if a printer can take XL or super-high yield cartridges, which can offer a better overall cost per print and a longer duration before the toner needs to be replenished.

7. Noise emissions and power consumption

Noise emissions can be a hard one to evaluate unless you see the printer in action at a showroom or retailer with a low noise floor, but it’s something that you must be mindful of, especially when purchasing a big printer.

The noise when the printer's engine starts up and churns through a print can be significant. Some printer manufacturers (Brother is one of them) list a noise level (in decibels) for different models, which you can use as a guide to figure out how loud it will be when set up in your environmentPower usage should also be a consideration. In particular, you should look for a printer that has a deep sleep mode, and also assess how much power the printer uses when it’s actively printing. Look for a model that is Energy Star compliant.

8. Duty cycle

The duty cycle is the number of prints that the printer is rated as being able to print on a monthly basis. It’s a rating that should be looked at if you will be doing a large volume of printing on a regular basis. This rating can be anything from 1000-5000 pages, all the way up to tens of thousands.

9. Processor and memory

While it’s not easy to compare processors between laser printers, the quoted speed in megahertz can give a good indication of the power the printer has to process jobs and run its inbuilt functions.

Furthermore, the memory capacity (and a printer with upgradeable memory) is key if you will be printing from graphics and design applications, especially when using PCL or PostScript languages for printing, for which space is needed to store the print information as it is converted.

10. Jam free Printers

Paper jam is usual problem with every second printers. Ricoh SP111 SU is Worlds First Jam free printers. This unique printer can print on torn and crumbled paper also.