When looking for the best small business printers, you need to weigh up what’s most important for your business.
Cost, efficiency and longevity are all considerations, and it’s often difficult to find a printer that does everything without shelling out a fair bit of cash. Make sure you know exactly what you need so you’re not paying for unnecessary features.
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Inkjet or laser printer for small business?
While some think that inkjet printers are only for personal use, and businesses should always use laser printers, an inkjet will suffice for many small businesses.
To work out which one is more likely to suit your needs, you first need to understand the difference between the two.
What’s the difference between laser and inkjet printers?
The most obvious difference between laser and inkjet printers is how they print - inkjet printers use ink, while laser printers use toner.
The ink in printers works exactly like ink in a pen, which means they take time to dry, can blur on low quality paper, and might smudge or bleed. Toner, by contrast, is bonded to the paper by the printer, so doesn’t have drying time and won’t smudge, even if it gets wet.
However, laser printers are a lot bigger and bulkier than inkjet printers and tend to cost more - both to buy and to run.
Should I buy an inkjet or a laser printer for my business?
The first question to ask when making this decision is how much you’ll be printing. If it’s likely to be more than a few pages a day, then it may be worth investing in a laser printer. They’re much faster than inkjet printers and hold far more sheets of paper, so you won’t be forever refilling it.
If it’s important you print high quality, colour images, you may want to consider an inkjet. They’re much better at printing images than laser printers, and print in colour as standard.
Read on to find our suggestions for the best laser printer for small business, as well as some inkjets that might take your fancy.
Do I need an all-in-one printer for my small business?
Much like deciding whether to buy an inkjet or laser printer, when you’re thinking about an all-in-one, consider the needs of your business. If you’re only after certain functions, you may not need an all-in-one printer. If you do want an all-in-one, though, it’s best to find one that only has the features you need.
What is an all-in-one printer?
All-in-one printers, despite the name, don’t always include every feature under the sun. As well as printing, copying and scanning usually come as standard with an all-in-one printer, but they can also have functions such as:
- hole punching
- photo organisation software
- optical character recognition (OCR) software
Should I buy an all-in-one printer?
If one or more of these features is going to be useful for your business, it’s probably worth buying an all-in-one printer instead of separate units. Many printers these days have the basic all-in-one features, but if others will make a big difference to your business, consider splashing out on one that has those.
As part of our roundup, we’ve included some suggestions for the best all-in-one printer for small business.
Top 5 printers for small businesses
We’ve taken a look at some of the best business printers from 2018 and brought you ones you should take a look at when considering which to buy.
1. HP LaserJet Pro M281FDW
The HP LaserJet Pro M281FDW has been heralded as the best small business laser printer for home offices. As a laser printer, it’s a little on the large side, especially as it’s an all-in-one that can print, scan, copy and fax (all in colour).
You can also print wirelessly or direct from a USB device, using the colour touchscreen.
- Automated document feeder
- Fast print speed
- Will only scan one side of multiple sheets
- Set up can be complicated
2. Brother HL-3170CDW
Digital trends called Brother HL-3170CDW the best colour printer for small business earlier this year. It has a large paper capacity and fast print speeds, but also has very good print quality. It prints in both black and white and colour, and has low running costs.
- Great print quality
- Fast print speeds
- Large and heavy
- No scanner
3. Epson WorkForce WF-7110DTW
The Epson WorkForce WF-7110DTW is a great business inkjet printer, particularly if you need to create A3 size prints. It’s an all-in-one that gives you the option to buy large capacity cartridges capable of printing over 2,000 sheets each.
While it’s not nearly as fast as any of the laser printers on this list, it’s one of the fastest inkjets around, and boasts high quality colour image prints.
- XXL cartridge option
- Expandable paper trays
- Small display and fiddly controls
- Particularly tall
4. Ricoh SG-2100N
If you’re operating on a budget, the Ricoh SG-2100N could be a good choice. The SG-2100N combines the best of inkjet and laser, giving both good print resolution and a decent speed.
Though this printer uses a particular brand of insoluble ink, it’s consumables aren’t as exorbitant as they could be, but it can’t take high capacity cartridges.
- Great price
- Decent print quality
- No high capacity colour cartridges
- Can be quite loud
5. Samsung Xpress M2835DW
If you don’t need colour printing, the Samsung Xpress M2835DW could be the one for you. It’s affordable, and one of the fastest on the list. The design is intuitive and easy to get to grips with, and you can print wirelessly from any operating system - even your smartphone.
If you’re looking to keep running costs down, you can use the printer’s eco mode to control the amount of both power and ink uses while printing.
- Great print quality
- Black and white only
- No scan or copy function
Which printer should I buy for my small business?
Before jumping in and buying a printer, there are three things you should keep in mind:
- Think about what your business needs and skip unnecessary features
- Consider maintenance and running costs
- Think about the long term - will your printing needs change in the next few years, and will the printer you buy continue to meet them? – Do you always need to print? There might be things you can do electronically to reduce waste
Once you’ve considered those, you should have a much better idea of which printer is the right one for your business.
Which printer did you pick and why? Let us know in the comments.