Have you have thought about or have purchased a car before? If the answer is yes, was your strategy for buying the car “Hmm I’ll just buy whatever is cheapest?” Probably not, right? Wait, wait, wait…I thought this blog was about buying a printer? It is!

My point is – buying a printer or copier is actually very similar to buying a car, or at least it should be. When buying a car, while your budget and price may be a factor in which cars you are considering and influence your ultimate decision, you’re going to choose a car based on how it rates amongst the important features on your purchasing checklist — safety rating of course is probably a major one as is reliability. Other features that may factor into your decision could be average gas mileage, all-wheel or 4-wheel drive, heated or cooled seats, etc. When weighing the cost, you’re also going to compare the cars you’re considering against similar car; you’re not going to compare the cost of a compact car to a family SUV.

All in all, you’re going to choose your car based on if it includes the features you need, if it includes the features you want, and how its priced based on its features and other cars with similar features.

how buying a printer is like buying a car

Buying a Printer Should Be Approached the Like Buying a Car

Many people look at buying a printer or copier similar to buying other office supplies such as printer paper, pens, staplers, — you don’t really give it much thought other than, “Does this do what I need it to do? Yes, ok great. What’s the lowest priced option?”

However, just like you wouldn’t want to buy a car just cause it’s cheap (no one wants to get stuck with a lemon), you don’t just want to buy a printer because of its low-price tag. Usually, these printers don’t last very long and the cost of their supplies are more expensive.

You really should be looking at buying a printer the same way as buying a car – an investment. And there are great options to fit every need and every budget.

Top Features to Consider When Buying a Printer or Copier

Let’s take a look at some of the top features you should be considering when in the market for buying a printer.

  1. Functionality

Do you need just a printer or do you need additional functionality such as the ability to scan documents, make copies, or send/receive faxes? Do you need to be able to print in color? It’s also worth considering if there’s more advanced functionality you need such as automatic finishing capabilities (like stapling, hole-punching, or booklet-making), wireless connectivity, the ability to install and use printer apps (like touchless access), or features that can be utilized by mobile or remote workers in hybrid workplaces.

  1. Printer Speed and Size

Printers and copiers come in all different speed bans. Is it important to you that your printer or copier be able to make prints, copies, or scans faster than 30, 40, or 50 pages per minute? Printing speed can very much impact the productivity of your business and if you’re constantly printing or scanning documents in high-volumes, you’ll probably want a faster printer.

Additionally, you’ll want to think about what size prints your printer needs to be capable of producing. The most common paper size is 8.5” x 11” (also known as A4) and if your office doesn’t need to print anything larger than this, you probably don’t need a larger copier. However, if you have the need to produce larger prints such as 11” x 17” (also known as A3) then you’ll need to make sure the printers you’re considering have this capability.

  1. Printing Quality

Are you a company that needs to print high-quality documents that will be shared with customers, or will your printer be used primarily for internal documents? Depending on your target market, your image quality requirements may differ, which will impact which type of printer you should be looking at.

  1. Media Handling

What type of paper are you using? Do you have the need to print on any kind of specialty media such as cardstock, envelopes, or labels? You’ll want to make sure any printer your considering can handle your media requirements.

  1. Security

In today’s world of data breaches and cyber-attacks, you’ll want to make sure your printer has at the very least benchmark security features such as intrusion prevention, device detection, and document and data protection. However, if the nature of your business includes dealing with PII (Personally Identifiable Information) data, you many want to consider looking at printers with more advanced security features and even adding print management software onto your device.

  1. Support

If your print goes down completely, how will that impact your business? Usually, a very much overlooked but important feature of buying a printer is the support and service that comes with it. While it may be a little bit cheaper to purchase a printer from Staples, Office Depot, or directly from a manufacturer, what happens to you if your printer begins to have issues?

The level of personalized, customer service you experience with a local printer dealer cannot be beat. Small, local businesses that are partnered with different manufacturers have lean teams that can really afford to personalize your experience, ensure that your needs are addressed, and respond quickly when you need to troubleshoot a printer issue or need a printer repair.

  1. Cost

Of course, cost is a factor that should be considered in every purchase. You’ll want to consider how much the printer itself costs upfront, but weigh the costs of other printer-related operating costs such as supplies, parts, and service. Typically, printers that are less expensive to purchase are actually more expensive to run and maintain. In fact, for lower-end printers, it could actually more expensive to repair the printer than it would be to just replace it.

While a printer from a major retailer like Staples can be cheaper, the prices they charge for toner cartridges can sometimes be as much as five times more expensive than local dealers. You can also talk to local dealers about managed print services contracts they offer, which can help you save significantly on supplies and service costs of your printer.

You’ll also want to think of the long-term investment of your purchase. For example, Printer A costs $200 and Printer B costs $800. Printer B will last you at least 5 years, and has no service issues. Printer A, on the other hand, is constantly jamming and breaks after a year. If you have to buy a new $200 printer every year, that’s now more expensive than just having bought the $800 printer.

Let Parmetech Help You with Your Next Printer or Copier Purchase

When it’s time to buy your next printer, let us help you find the best one for your needs! As a local, multi-branded printer dealer with over 30 years of industry experience and expertise, we can help you determine the printer that best fits your budget and your needs. Give us a call at (800) 727-6383 or submit an website request to start the conversation!