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What features to look for in a business printer

Once you've decided whether you want to go for a standalone printer or multifunction product (MFP), and plumped for an inkjet or laser model in colour or mono, there are a number features you need to look for in your chosen printer.

Print speed is a measure of how quickly a printer outputs documents, but a number of factors affect this figure - and it isn't always apparent from the manufacturer's specifications. Take into account the time taken by the printer takes to output its first page, and remember that final speed can be affected by the complexity of text and graphics on your pages.

If your printer will be used to create marketing documents, graphics and other documents that will be circulated to clients, print quality should be a consideration.

How good a printer's output looks is often related to its print resolution, measured in dots per inch (dpi). Generally, the higher the resolution in dpi, the better - but remember that the higher a printer's resolution is, the slower its output is likely to be. And don't forget other factors that affect the quality of a printer's final output, including the type of paper stock you use.

It's also important to choose a printer that's capable of handling the volume of printing you intend to do. This is also known as a printer's 'duty cycle'.

There's no sense wasting money on a printer designed for high volumes if you only intend to use it for the occasional letter. But if try to print too much on a model that's designed for lower volumes, you may find you incur greater maintenance costs. That budget buy may end up costing you more in downtime and support costs than you would have spent if you'd opted for a higher-specified printer in the first place.

You'll also need to bear in mind the types of document you want to print. Due to the technology they use, laser printers are only capable of printing on standard copier paper.

If you've chosen an inkjet with the intention of printing unusual types and sizes of documents such envelopes or CD labels, make sure the model you've chosen is capable of handling the types and sizes of document you require. If you have other requirements, such as multi-page sorting, make sure your chosen printer has the paper-handling facilities you need.

This article was brought to you as part of THINQ's Business Printing Hub in association with HP.