Printers are the backbone of many large offices, and getting one that meets every department’s needs can be a challenge. A good office printer has to balance cost and quality while providing a range of functions. If employees’ needs aren’t being met, you may end up having to outsource some print jobs.
There are dozens of great printer models on the market in 2019, but there isn’t a clear best option for all offices. For larger budgets, multi-function color inkjet printers are the clear winner, especially since some models can print large borderless photos. Very small budgets require a laser printer for black-and-white documents, a basic inkjet printer for color prints, or a combination of both.
You’ll also want to consider the layout of your office space. Agile environments offer a lot of flexibility but also require compact printers that can be transported on a mobile cart to any workspace. Conversely, in a more traditional office environment, there may be more space allocated for larger printer-copier combinations.
Of course, cost and space aren’t everything, but it’s one of several starting points. Here are the key criteria for how to choose a printer.
Cost: $100, $1,000, or More
Color inkjet printers can be as cheap as $100, but these budget models generally won’t be fast enough for a large office. Models in the $400-$600 range are better for office use. Replacement ink cartridges vary in cost but can be much cheaper when buying your printer ink in bulk.
When considering the cost of a new printer, remember that some printers which have cheap ink or toner costs may have higher up-front costs. For example, laser printers tend to be much more expensive than inkjet printers despite toner cartridges lasting longer and usually costing a reasonable amount.
Factor in outside professional print jobs when considering the pros and cons of buying a more expensive printer. Getting a slightly more expensive office printer with more functions could allow you to do more types of print jobs in-house, saving you more money than you initially planned.
Speed: 20 Pages per Minute or More
For high volume printing, speed is essential. A busy office should be able to print large quantities of paper without having to outsource a professional printer. Many laser printers can print 30 pages per minute (ppm) or more at top speed, while inkjet printers typically print closer to 20 ppm.
Avoid printers that print more slowly than this, as they can quickly become a problem for large offices. While 15 ppm may sound reasonable, a printer that prints just 15 ppm will take 20 minutes to print 20 copies of a 15-page report.
Consider investing in multiple printers if you need an inkjet printer for high-resolution images to adapt to the slower printing jobs of inkjets. This can also reduce the amount of time between jobs that are queued in the printer from multiple employees.
Functionality: Copying, Scanning, and More
Budget laser and inkjet printers don’t usually include copying or scanning functionality. Multifunction printers with a scanning and copying surface are a great investment for large offices, especially if your office frequently receives printed materials from clients. Some machines even still have fax capabilities, allowing you to stay connected with offices that use this technology.
Most copy-scanner combinations also have email capabilities directly from the machine. You can scan printed materials and send them directly to clients or other employees. This also makes things handy for storing multiple pages of documents in one easy-to-access PDF file.
Also, look for printers that can handle duplex printing, stapling, and other printing tasks. While your office may not use these features daily, they can come in handy when it’s time to prepare a large report.
Security: Keep Your Documents and Intellectual Property Safe
In an increasingly digital world, more information is conveyed over different access points, including printers. When you are handling sensitive client information or classified company intellectual property, the last thing you want to worry about is your printer being attacked by malware and all the data being compromised.
According to Business Tech, 23% of IT professionals leave data exposed on their printing networks because they don’t view the printer security as having the same importance as computer and Wi-Fi devices. This is exactly the entrance that hackers are looking for.
Most printer companies build security software into their printers, which constantly receive security updates. If your printer is connected to a device that accesses the internet, you need to put security at the top of your list of factors to consider.
Paper Type and Size
While many printers can print tabloid-size or larger documents, some printers only print standard letter-size paper on standard printer paper. For businesses that regularly print on cardstock, envelopes, or other special kinds of paper, it’s important to read the details of any printer before purchasing.
If in doubt, ask managers and other department leaders if they regularly print large or thick papers. Their input can help you decide if you should invest in a one-size-fits-all printer or specialized printers for their departments.
High-Capacity Ink, Toner, and Paper Trays
Having to replace ink and paper can be a hassle. Printer manufacturers have begun accounting for the needs of large offices by increasing the capacity in printer paper trays, as well as in their ink and toner cartridges. The result is that print jobs get interrupted less often, and employees don’t have to scramble to replace paper and ink as often.
Ease of Use and Dependability
Busy offices need a dependable printer that doesn’t jam or show error messages in the middle of an important print job. Though paper jams aren’t as common as they used to be, laser printers, in particular, sometimes jam when trying to print quickly. Fortunately, online user reviews often mention if a printer frequently jams.
Large offices also need printers that are easy to connect to, as visitors and employees working from home may need to print without hassle. Printers with wireless or cloud printing capabilities are absolutely essential to most modern offices.
If you operate an office space with an open and collaborative floor plan, your employees should be able to connect to your printer from anywhere in the building as long as they are connected to the Wi-Fi.
Many brands, including HP, Brother, Canon, and Epson, all have their own apps. Your printer should also be compatible with most generic iOS and Android printing apps such as Breezy, Google Cloud Print, Samsung Mobile Print, and StarPrint.
A printer with an unintuitive interface or setup program can result in a lot of trouble for your IT department, too. Check the reviews of any printer you want to purchase to make sure it’s worth your money.
Inkjet vs. Laser
Laser printers are usually faster than inkjet printers, and their high-volume printing ability makes them a standard fixture in large offices. They also print black text more cleanly than inkjets can. However, inkjet printers produce higher-quality color printing, which is especially important for presentations, client mock-ups, and other documents with photos.
To balance quality and speed considerations, most large offices may find it useful to have at least one of each type of printer. Employees can use the laser printer for large black-and-white print jobs and use the inkjet for documents that require crisp color images.
Top Printers to Watch in 2020
Printers have improved significantly in the past five years, so, if you haven’t shopped for a new printer in a while, try to keep an open mind. Printers that were top-of-the-line five years ago are now much more affordable. Here are the top picks among laser and inkjet printers to consider for your office in 2020.
Canon Color ImageCLASS LBP712Cdn
This printer is one of the best laser printers of 2019. It prints up to 40 ppm and is fully compatible with all your Cloud printing programs, along with a USB input for flash drive printing. For offices looking to save on energy costs, this powerful machine only uses 2.2 watts or less. Maintenance and replacement of the toner and drum are also easier since they come as one unit.
If your office needs a printer for high-volume without sacrificing on quality, the Canon Color ImageCLASS can improve the efficiency and output of all your important documents.
Xerox VersaLink BB610
As always, the Xerox brand delivers great results at a reasonable price point. This compact black-and-white printer prints an average of 10,300 pages with just one toner cartridge and up to 65 ppm.
It holds 700 sheets of paper so you can get through several print jobs in one day and has a duty cycle of up to 300,000 images per month. This printer works best for large work clusters of 15-20 people, which makes it ideal for open layout and agile workspace environments or small departments.
The Xerox VersaLink comes with ConnectKey® technology, which provides your workplace with a smart assistant for all your printing jobs and added security for the data your employees may be transmitting wirelessly. The BB610 won the BLI Winter 2018 Pick Award for Outstanding Printer for Large Workgroups.
HP LaserJet Pro MFP M227fdw
This is the best all-in-one laser printer for businesses that need precise black-and-white prints delivered quickly. The HP LaserJet Pro MFP prints, copies, scans, and faxes, and it has full wireless printing capabilities for your workspace. It prints up to 30ppm and features a 250-sheet tray. The highly intuitive smart screen makes it easy to customize your print jobs and find the features you need. It also provides added layers of security to protect your documents against attacks and keeps unwanted guests out of the printer’s secure server.
HP also makes it easy to print without a network connection using NFC touch-to-print and Wi-Fi Direct® technology via Google Cloud Print. The images produced by HP printers are always sharp and optimal. High-yield toner cartridges can print up to 3,500 pages before needing a replacement.
Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C8690
Epson’s WorkForce Pro series is excellent, and this particular all-in-one inkjet printer is a must-have for offices with frequent color printing needs. It can print and scan 13”x19” super-tabloid prints, and its easy-to-use touchscreen allows you to access Dropbox and other cloud services directly.
This model is more expensive than most basic inkjet printers and is even more expensive than some laser printers. However, it’s well worth the cost for offices with frequent color printing needs. It’s also the perfect color printer for sensitive environments since it allows users to lock print jobs using a PIN.
Epson WorkForce Pro WF-M5299 Monochrome
While most inkjet printers print in color, this one only uses black ink and achieves an interesting blend of the strengths of both laser and inkjet printing. Despite its low price point, it provides a lower cost-per-page than comparable inkjet printers, while delivering sharper text than most. It prints at 24ppm, which makes it faster than most inkjet printers. The M02 Black Yield cartridges can print up to 5,000 pages before they need to be changed.
It doesn’t scan, which could be a downside for some offices. However, if your office mostly works digitally and only needs black-and-white printing, this is one of the best options. For IT purposes, this printer is easy to connect and administer on the office network. PCMag awarded the Epson WorkForce Pro Monochrome with the Best Printers of 2019 Award.
This inkjet printer can print 22 pages per minute, making it just as fast as low-end laser printers despite its small size. It’s a budget-friendly option for larger offices that don’t do very much color printing but still need occasional large pages printed or scanned. It features the patented INKvestment Tank Ink System, which is designed to hold more ink than other inkjet printers. The high-yield inks can print up to 1,500 pages per ink cartridge, and the price of new cartridges is extremely reasonable.
Brother printers and ink are known for their dependability, so you can rely on this machine for years to come. Plus, its scanning and copying capabilities are easy to use, thanks to its Wi-Fi and smartphone connectivity.
When it comes to choosing the right printer for your large office, there is a variety of factors to consider, from cost to speed to technological and security capabilities. We are ready to help you find the right ink and toner for whichever printer you choose for your workspace. Browse through our large inventory of ink supplies or call us at (888)-745-4316 for assistance.