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How to select the right printer for your small business

According to a report by ICM on behalf of Canon, one in every five business owners spends most of their time on administrative tasks and almost a third regard paperwork and admin as key challenges.

 Business inkjet printers are designed to offer brilliant quality colour output at speeds competitive with leading laser printers

Business inkjet printers are designed to offer brilliant quality colour output at speeds competitive with leading laser printers

Running a business is not easy, and owners are often under pressure to be more agile and to do more with less. In order to be profitable, an organisation must be productive – and that means having the right printer to help cope with the never-ending flow of paperwork.

Given the varied needs of small and micro-businesses – and the variety of print devices on the market – choosing the right printers for your business can be confusing. So where should you start?

This article will provide clear guidance on the top three things to consider when making an informed decision.

1. What type of documents do you print?

Office printers today are capable of printing a wide variety of documents, from high quality colour marketing material to crisp black and white text.

So start by asking two fundamental questions: ‘What type of documents do I need to print?’ and ‘Will I need to print in colour or black and white?’.

Black and white – if your business relies on a printer to produce purely black and white text documents, then you’re definitely better off with a black and white laser printer.

Colour and black and white – if you print a mix of colour and black and white documents, then you have a choice to make.

Business inkjet printers are designed to offer brilliant quality colour output at speeds competitive with leading laser printers, often at a cheaper entry price-point. That said, if you’re printing colour documents in high volumes, laser is best placed to deliver the speed and reliability you’re after.

2. How much do you currently print?

Print volume, often measured by the number of pages printed per month, gives a good indication of how robust your printer needs to be. A quick indicator is the number of reams of paper you get through in a month, with a typical pack holding 500 sheets. So ask yourself, do you print:

Fewer than 100 pages each month – in which case, look for an entry-level business printer;

Up to 500 pages per month – consider a mid-range business inkjet or laser printer;

Up to roughly 1,500 pages per month – choose a higher-end business inkjet device or mid-range laser; or

Over 1,500 pages per month – opt for a laser printer designed to process up to 2,500 /3,000 per month. As a guide, our research indicated that 34% of SMBs print up to 200 pages per month, with 22% printing up to 400 pages per month.

3. What level of connectivity do you need?

The level of connectivity you need depends entirely on how you plan to use your printer. If it’s to be shared by multiple users in an office, then it will need Wi-Fi connectivity and perhaps the ability to connect over a network. Half of SMBs surveyed by ICM already use wireless connectivity for printing, with 17% printing from tablets and 13% from mobile phones.

Factors to consider include:

Printing from tablets or smartphones. Look for MOPRIA-certified devices and compatibility with Canon’s Printing Solutions or Mobile Printing apps, as well as Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print;

Cloud connectivity. If your business keeps important documents on cloud storage sites, such as DropBox or Evernote, look for printers that are compatible with cloud services; and

Access Point Mode. This allows users to print wirelessly from a Wi-Fi enabled device and makes it easy for guests to use a printer without having to log onto a network.

Now it’s your turn

Answering these questions will help you find the right device for current needs. But remember, 12% of the SMBs we polled are increasing in size and are looking to update their printer because they’ve outgrown their current model. If you have projections for your business that involve significant growth or an increase in your workforce, you should bear these in mind when making tech purchasing decisions.

For more SMB advice, follow @CanonBusinessUK

3-year warranty

Canon is offering free 3-year warranties on 29 of its most popular scanners and printers, instead of the usual 12-month guarantee.

The special promotion, which runs until August 31, is available for select MAXIFY, i-SENSYS and imageRUNNER printers, as well as for imageFORMULA scanners.

Depending on the model concerned, warranty extensions cover either:

on-site repair by a Canon authorised technician;

on-site exchange, with a replacement machine delivered by courier; or

return-to-base, with the device being repaired at a Canon-approved repair facility before being shipped back to the customer.

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