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Finding the Right Printer for Your Small Business

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In today’s economy, the challenges for someone starting up their own business have never been greater. For people who want to go into business for themselves, buying the right office equipment is one of those crucial decisions that can be seriously restricted by your capital. There are a lot of choices available and picking the right machine depends a lot on what uses you will have for a printer. So, I’m going to walk you through several basic topics to help find the best printer for your business.

How much color do you need?

Let’s start with the basic question of whether or not you need color. If your business doesn’t need color printing capability, the best long-term solution (for quality and affordability) is a monochrome laser printer. The quality of laser printing on text and monochrome graphics is generally consistently better than inkjet. On top of that, text printing tends to use less ink and laser printers can adjust the print intensity to match your needs which makes laser toner cartridges last longer, on the whole, than inkjet cartridges.

Of course, lasers can print in color, too. In fact, Dell’s 1320c Color Laser printer has won some rave reviews for its speed, print quality, and small footprint– at a fraction of what color laser printers cost a few short years ago. But, if you need to print color photos on photo paper, then a laser really isn’t the best solution for you. You’ll want a photo-quality color inkjet printer .

Are you asking a lot of your printer?

It is generally a good idea to think about printing capacity, as well. Some machines accept fairly modest stacks of paper and are really designed for somewhat smaller printing demands. Others feature higher capacity paper trays and can handle multi-page documents a lot more easily.

Once you have a handle on the kinds of things you intend to print, you need to think about what you intend to do with your documents. In some cases, a printer doesn’t do anything but print. But many of Dell’s printers –both color and inkjet– are multifunction machines. You can get printers with built in scanning and copying capability and even with fax machine functions that make the printer a true all-in-one office document station.

Do you need to be wireless?

The final question about how you intend to utilize your printer is whether you need it to connect to your network. Many models of printer include a built in network adapter. Most of these also have wireless capability for the ultimate office connectivity.

Armed with these answers, here are some of my recommendations. If you need:

· An affordable color inkjet – Dell 305w – It’s a very affordable, low-capacity office printing solution that will: scan, copy, and print in full photo color quality. Also, it features a wireless internal network adapter.

· A do-it-all color inkjet – Dell 948 All-in-One – This printer offers the same functionality as the 305w but adds in fax features and an automatic document feeder. This makes scanning, copying, and faxing multi-page documents a dream. In addition, this printer can connect to either a wired or wireless network and has higher capacity paper trays.

· A quality color laserDell 1320c Color Laser – This will give you the quality of a laser printer and color capability, the Dell 1320c will be your best option. Also, you can upgrade it to full wired network capability.

· High-capacity laser – Dell 1720dn – A monochrome laser printer with outstanding capacity, full duplex printing and network capability.

· An all-in-one laser Dell 1125 Multifunction – Your all-in-one laser printing solution. This printer has scan, copy, and fax features with a low-cost monochrome laser engine (but it doesn’t have a network adapter).

All in all, the key to finding the right printer for your small business is to identify your specific printing needs and match them up to the right printer.

Note from Kara: For more on printing and imaging, check out Randy’s posts on Your Blog.

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