A Comprehensive Guide: Choosing the Right Digital Printer for Your Business

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Written By Andrew Lane

Andrew Lane is a Digital Printing Technology Expert with over a decade of experience in the printing industry. With a deep knowledge of the latest printing technologies, Andrew has a keen eye for emerging trends and innovations.

Navigating the world of digital printers can feel like a maze, especially when you’re looking to boost your business productivity. It’s not just about picking a printer; it’s about finding the right tool that aligns with your business objectives, budget, and specific printing needs.

From understanding the different types of digital printers to knowing what features to look for, the journey can be overwhelming. But don’t fret! I’m here to help you cut through the jargon and make an informed decision. Let’s dive into the world of digital printers and find the perfect match for your business.

Whether you’re a small business owner or a manager of a large corporation, this guide will help you navigate the complex landscape of digital printers. So, let’s get started and find that perfect printer to elevate your business operations to the next level.

Understanding Your Business Printing Needs

Your business printing needs play a pivotal role in determining the right type of printer. Matching a printer’s capabilities with your company’s specific demands ensures efficiency and cost effectiveness. The vast range of digital printers offers varied functionalities, making it crucial to understand your business’ printing requirements. Using two key factors, volume and frequency, along with print quality can guide your selection process.

Assessing Volume and Frequency

Assessing the volume and frequency of your company’s print jobs is a priority in the selection process. By evaluating the number of pages your company prints per day or month, it’s possible to quantify your print volume. A larger volume often entails a more robust, heavy-duty printer. Conversely, a business with moderate to low printing needs may benefit from a compact, cost-effective model.

For example, businesses such as law firms or publishing houses typically have high print volumes, printing thousands of pages each month. For this business type, digital printers promising high speed and significant load handling capabilities prove beneficial.

Understanding printing frequency is equally crucial. If your company prints infrequently, perhaps a printer with lower cartridge costs could be the ideal choice. Consider the frequency first, given your volume requirements, to make a more targeted choice.

Evaluating Print Quality Requirements

Quality is a non-negotiable feature. The print quality necessary for your business depends on the type of documents you generally produce. For instance, businesses that predominantly print text documents may not require the highest resolution. Conversely, a design studio that prints high-resolution images would need a printer that delivers superior colour accuracy and definition.

Apart from textual and imaging documents, the type of paper also contributes to the quality of the print. Glossy and matte finishes, for instance, significantly impact the appearance of printed images. Selecting a digital printer that caters to different paper types is a valuable feature, particularly if you deal with varied printing projects.

Armed with these considerations, you can be more confident in selecting a digital printer that meets your business’ specific needs and objectives. Knowing what to look for in terms of volume, frequency, and print quality will help you hone in on the right printer for your company. Remember, a firm understanding of your business printing needs is the first step towards making an informed choice.

The Different Types of Digital Printers

Choosing a digital printer compatible with business demands requires an understanding of the various types available in the market. Let’s delve into some of the commonly used types:

Inkjet Printers for Business Use

Inkjet printers offer versatility for business use. They support a wide range of media formats, including the standard A4, envelopes, cards, and glossy photo paper. Among the distinct benefits of inkjet printers, the capacity for high-resolution output stands out. They can reach resolutions of up to 4800 by 1200 dots per inch, presenting exceptionally sharp images. For instance, businesses in advertising or graphic design greatly benefit from the Inkjet printer’s ability to produce vibrant color prints and detailed graphics.

Laser Printers and Efficiency

Laser printers, on the other hand, are the ideal choice for businesses that prioritize speed and efficiency over everything else. They’re renowned for fast printing speeds, often exceeding 100 pages per minute. Concurrently, they maintain impressive print quality, offering up to 2400 x 600 dots per inch. Large corporations, particularly those with high print volumes, find Laser printers to be an optimal choice. They also prove beneficial for businesses that primarily rely on text documents, given their high text quality.

Specialty Printers and Their Uses

Specialty printers encompass a range of printers designed for specific tasks. For instance, Label printers, used predominantly in shipping and packaging industries, excel in printing adhesive-backed labels. Similarly, Receipt printers, often found in retail locations, are adept at printing out sales receipts. Check printers, as the name suggests, sport the unique function of producing legal checks from blank check stock. By evaluating the specific printing needs of a business, one might find a specialty printer to be the most effective solution, ensuring focused results and efficient operation.

In choosing a digital printer, a business must consider its specific needs, print volume, and quality requirement. Thus, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of Inkjet printers, Laser printers, and Specialty printers can guide the decision-making process effectively.

Key Features to Consider When Choosing a Printer

Before investing in a digital printer, it’s imperative to consider these significant features to ensure it matches the business’s specific needs.

Resolution and Color Reproduction

This feature isn’t merely about aesthetics, instead, it affects readability, brand representation, and over-all communication effectiveness. Printers with high resolution, quantifiable in dots per inch (DPI), produce sharp, clear images and texts. A printer with a resolution of 1200 DPI, for example, generates excellent print quality suitable for professional print pieces.

Take into consideration the color reproduction ability of the printer. Models with a broader color spectrum can reproduce colors more accurately, crucial for businesses with color-sensitive branding elements.

Print Speed and Duty Cycle

Print speed, illustrated in pages per minute (PPM), is a fundamental aspect affecting the workflow of a business. A higher PPM signifies faster processing of printing tasks. Businesses with large print volume needs may find a printer with higher PPM more efficient, like a laser printer that can print 20 PPM.

Also, the duty cycle defines the maximum number of pages a printer can handle in a month without depreciation. A high duty cycle rating ensures a long lifespan even with heavy usage.

Connectivity and Network Capabilities

In this digital era, the printer’s connectivity features gain prominence. Opt for printers that aid wireless connectivity, offering the flexibility to print from anywhere in the office. Printers featuring integrated Ethernet serve this purpose efficiently.

Look out for printers enabling network capabilities, advantageous for businesses with numerous users. Network-ready printers, like a model with embedded Wi-Fi Direct, can connect multiple devices without a router, simplifying the printing process.

Paper Handling and Media Support

Inspect the printer’s paper handling potential and its compatibility with different media types. Printers equipped with high-capacity paper trays minimize the frequency of refilling, thereby saving businesses time. For instance, printers supporting up to 500-sheet capacity trays can be beneficial for high-volume printing needs.

Check for the printer’s ability to handle various media types, including envelopes, labels, and card stock. Specialized businesses might opt for printers that support specific media, like a specialty printer ideal for label or check printing. This ensures all printing needs are effectively dealt with at a single point.

Cost Factors in Digital Printing

When selecting a digital printer for a business, it’s not just about the features and printing capabilities; one must also consider the cost factors associated with the printer. These cost factors can be categorized broadly under initial investment, operational costs like toner and ink expenses, and maintenance and repair considerations.

Initial Investment vs. Long-Term Costs

A pivotal criterion when opting for a digital printer is the balance between the initial investment and long-term costs. At times, a printer with a high initial cost offers lower per-page printing expenses, resulting in a less significant total cost of ownership (TCO). For example, laser printers may have a steeper upfront price, but their toner cartridges can print more pages than inkjet printer cartridges, rendering them cost-effective in the long run. Businesses must evaluate these costs accurately, aligning a printer’s TCO with budget constraints.

Toner and Ink Expenses

Frequent expenses for digital printing include toner for laser printers and ink for inkjet printers. Although it’s evident that high-volume printing demands more toner or ink, one mustn’t underestimate the impact of print quality settings on these costs. For instance, printing predominantly in high resolution or color increases the rate of ink or toner consumption, affecting operational expenses. Hence, balancing the desired print quality, volume, and corresponding ink or toner costs is essential for budget management.

Maintenance and Repair Considerations

Lastly, the inevitability of printer maintenance and repair requires attention. Regular servicing, part replacements, and unforeseen repairs contribute to a printer’s lifecycle costs. For example, laser printers, despite their high initial cost, offer robust built and longevity which reduces frequent maintenance or part replacement needs. Conversely, despite lower upfront costs, some inkjet printers may demand regular replacements of certain components. I suggest choosing a printer with a known reputation for durability and low maintenance demands to manage these costs efficiently.

Leading Brands and Models in the Market

Based on our earlier discussion about aligning a digital printer with business needs, let’s now delve headfirst into the leading brands and models in the digital printing market.

Reviews of Top Contenders

In the digital printing arena, a few brands stand tall above the rest. These include Brother, HP, Epson, and Canon.

  • Brother has a reputation for sturdy, versatile digital printers. Take the Brother MFC-L8900CDW, for instance; it’s known for impressive print speeds of 33 pages per minute and exceptional color accuracy.
  • HP is another frontrunner, excelling in user-friendly features. The HP LaserJet Pro M454dw, with its quick print speed and robust security features, exemplifies HP’s commitment to efficient, secure printing solutions.
  • Epson, known for its superior photo printing capabilities, offers models like the Epson SureColor P800. This printer boasts an advanced PrecisionCore® technology that ensures unmatched color fidelity and detail.
  • Canon stands out for their solid build and reliable performance, with models like the Canon ImageCLASS MF743Cdw. This multi-function printer highlights Canon’s prowess in high-quality color printing and seamless connectivity features.

Comparing Price and Performance

Cost-efficiency isn’t just about the initial purchase price. It’s equally vital to consider factors like print speed, duty cycle, and ink or toner efficiency.

  • For instance, the Brother MFC-L8900CDW may seem expensive upfront, its high print speed and solid duty cycle make it a justifiable investment for businesses with high-volume printing needs.
  • Conversely, the HP LaserJet Pro M454dw, while cost-effective initially, may accrue additional toner expenses with heavy-duty use.
  • The Epson SureColor P800, while higher on the pricing scale, excels in high resolution and color-accurate prints, making it a worthy investment for businesses requiring high-quality image prints.
  • The Canon ImageCLASS MF743Cdw, despite higher initial cost, features strong performance and maintenance ease over its lifespan.

Balancing the equation of price and performance plays a crucial role in the choice of the right digital printer for your business’s specific needs.

The Role of Sustainability in Printer Selection

As we shift focus to ecological consciousness today, sustainability influences nearly every business decision, including printer selection for your company.

Energy Efficiency of Digital Printers

Energy efficiency stands as one paramount aspect to consider. It doesn’t merely align with environmentally-friendly business practices, but also offers cost-saving benefits. Several printers operate in low-energy modes when not in use, thereby conserving power. For instance, the Canon PIXMA Tr8520 and Epson EcoTank ET-2720 are recognized for their efficient power usage, reducing not only the carbon footprint, but also saving on your utility bills.

Eco-Friendly Features and Certifications

In addition, eco-friendly features and certifications validate a printer’s environmental impact. Most printers come with automatic two-sided printing, leading to significant paper savings. Products certified by reputable entities like ENERGY STAR and EPEAT verify that your printer adheres to environmental regulations. Several brands, like the Brother HL-L2395DW, have these important certifications, assuring you’re making a sustainable choice.

Remember, sustainability in printer selection doesn’t simply help the environment. It’s also advantageous for your business, cutting operation costs while fostering a cleaner, more accountable reputation.

Making the Decision: New or Used Printers?

Navigating the decision between new or used printers can be challenging. To guide this process, let’s examine the potential benefits and drawbacks of each option.

Pros and Cons of Buying New

There’s value in investing in a brand-new printer. The ones fresh off the assembly line often boast the latest technology, offering superior performance, advanced features, and energy-efficient functions. Examples include the Canon ImageCLASS MF743Cdw and HP LaserJet Pro M454dw, which have high print speeds, vibrant color reproduction, and sophisticated connectivity options.

Buying new also brings peace of mind due to the manufacturer’s warranty, which typically covers the device for at least a year. It assures that, if problems arise, these would be addressed promptly by the manufacturer.

The prime drawback of opting for new is the cost – the latest models often command higher price tags. But knowing that you possess a problem-free equipment, fresh with its newest features and with after-sales support, can outweigh the initial hefty investment.

The Viability of Refurbished Printers for Business

On the other side of the spectrum, you’ll find used or refurbished printers. Reconditioned by the manufacturers themselves or certified third-parties, refurbished items can be excellent alternatives to new printers.

The Epson SureColor P800 and Brother MFC-L8900CDW, for example, provide commendable performance despite being used units. Further, refurbished printers cost substantially less than their brand-new counterparts, enabling businesses to save money.

However, there are potential pitfalls. The lifespan of a used printer can be shorter than that of a brand-new model. Warranties, if offered, might also be significantly shorter. Additionally, they may not include the latest technology or features found in new models.

Suppose you’re considering refurbished printers. In that case, it’s essential to purchase from reputable sources, ensuring the item has been thoroughly inspected and is certified to work properly. This is to help avoid potential problems down the road.

Both new and used printers have their pros and cons. It’s up to you to evaluate your business’s needs, budget, and goals to determine which option makes the most sense.


Choosing the right digital printer for your business isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. It’s about finding the perfect balance between your business objectives, budget, and printing needs. Whether it’s a brand new Canon ImageCLASS MF743Cdw with advanced technology and warranty or a refurbished Epson SureColor P800 offering significant savings, the choice ultimately hinges on what’s best for your business. Don’t forget the role of sustainability – energy-efficient and eco-friendly features are more important than ever. So, take a step back, evaluate your needs and goals, and make a choice that’ll serve your business well. After all, the right digital printer can be a game-changer for your business operations.