When you consider the technology that your particular business needs to thrive, what springs into your mind? Cloud storage? Contact-management software? Social media pages? Tablets and smartphones for your salespeople and other staffers? What about printers? You might think that printers are becoming obsolete, going the way of fax machines before them. But you’d be wrong. Sure, we are all looking forward to the time when business goes completely paperless. With e-mail, cloud storage systems, social networking sites and tablets that are as powerful as miniature computers, we’re closing in on that day. But we aren’t there yet.

Can’t turn away business

As writer Paul Mah with Small Business Computing.com says, business owners will routinely run into potential clients who demand real paper trails of their transactions. These clients are either unable or unwilling to move toward a paperless business model. Small business owners today are rarely in the position of turning away any customers, even those who won’t adjust to new technology. It’s important, then, for business owners to invest in the appropriate printer. Fortunately, Mah provides some choices.

All-in-one?

First, you should determine whether you need a multi-function printer. Such printers, as their name suggests, do more than simply print. Additionally they scan, photocopy and fax. Such printers make sense for businesses that perform these other functions. However, these printers, because of their many functions, are usually more expensive. If your company rarely faxes or makes photocopies, a machine dedicated solely to printing might make more sense.

Laser vs. Inkjet

Next, you need to decide whether an inkjet printer or laser printer is the better choice for your small business. Inkjet printers tend to be cheaper than laser printers. As Mah writes, you can often get a solid inkjet printer in the $100 range. Moreover, inkjet technologies have improved. Today’s top inkjet printers create clear and crisp documents. On the downside, if your business does a lot of printing, you’ll be replacing those inkjet heads often. That can boost the price of one of these printers. Inkjet printers can be messy; their printheads tend to clog if they’re not used often enough. As Mah writes, laser printers are usually considered to be of higher quality. It’s true that these printers create documents that look especially neat and vibrant. The downside? Laser printers are not cheap. You will also need to take a detailed look at the type of printing that your business does. Will you be printing lots of documents? You very well may want to invest in a printer that’s sturdier. Are you looking to print in color? Then you’ll need a printer that either uses several cartridges or a single-cartridge system to produce both black and color ink.

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