Your printer is one of your most efficient office assistants. It copies, scans, prints and if it’s really fancy, faxes too.

But lately, your office assistant hasn’t been acting like its normal self. There have been problems with paper jams, insufficient speed and one too many visits to get serviced.

But you paid a pretty penny for it years ago and wouldn’t want to jump the gun on getting a replacement.

So how do you know when it’s time to replace your printer and where do you start?

You’re in luck. We’ve got the goods on what to look for and how to get the best bang for your buck

Let’s dive in.

If your printer is experiencing any one of these mechanical problems, chances are it’s time for an upgrade.

Poor Printing Quality and Speed

Once upon a time, you got crisp and clear pages. If you’re noticing things like uneven distribution of ink, your printer is trying to tell you something. Because the mechanical part of your printer is shutting down, the delivery of exact ink to paper is interrupted.

You may also begin to experience more paper jams and slower printing times.

Normally, it would take your printer a couple of minutes to spew out 30 clear pages. Now, you’re spending double the time getting pages out and your productivity slows in the process.

It may be time for a new printer my friend.

Cost of Supplies

If you are constantly increasing your budget for purchasing ink, you have a problem. Today, printers are becoming more efficient with less ink so if you find yourself working backward and spending more on ink, it’s time to pay attention.

Chances are, your printer is outdated and you’re in desperate need of an upgrade.

Older printers usually use up more ink because of their accompanying low capacity ink cartridges. In the long run, they’re not the most cost-efficient ad you’re better off with a laser printer or a highly-rated inkjet printer. Both options save on ink and toner purchases on a month to month basis and even while they may seem pricey at first, it’s a sure steal in the long run.

Check out our post on How Long Your Ink Should Last to find out what to expect from your ink.

How To Find Your Perfect Printer

It’s hard to pinpoint where to start in your search for a reliable printer. There are a few features you should consider.

Inkjet or Laser?

The more common choices for home and small office use are inkjet printers. They are more affordable, suitable for low volume printing and becoming more efficient than they have been in the past.

Laser printers are normally the number one choice for best printers that save money. A little pricier than the inkjet printers, they use toner instead of ink and they’re suitable for large volumes of printing – usually done in an office. For a list of our best office laser jest, check out our round up.

Supply Costs

Sometimes printer companies will sell you a budget-friendly printer only to milk you for more money with supplies.

Save yourself some money and spend some time doing your research to estimate what kind of budget you will need to cover an ongoing need of supplies. If your use of printed material is demanding, perhaps the smarter choice would be to invest in the pricier printers with cheaper supply costs.

When searching for toner, keep in mind there are some things to look out for. Which toner is right for your printer?  

You can choose between OEM cartridges that are produced by the toner manufacturer, compatible toner or remanufactured toner cartridges.

Wi-fi

Connecting your printer to multiple devices in your office or home has never gotten easier. Wi-fi is becoming more of a norm in printers and some even come with a one button wireless setup – making for smoother connections.

Wifi-direct is a feature that lets you connect your printer to your laptops without the need to connect to a network. This can be especially handy if you tend to experience network interruptions.

PictBridge + Memory Card slots

If you will be using the printer for photos, consider one with built-in memory slots for easy use. You can just pop your card out of your camera and into your printer for easy printing. All without transferring them to a computer first.

PictBridge is also a great feature that allows users to connect their enabled camera to the printer via a USB cable.

Paper Handling

Every standard printer can handle a stack of 8.5×11 paper. But what about envelopes, index cards, glossary stock – how should your printer be adaptable to your printing needs.

Take a look at the stacking tray. Smaller trays tend to need more refills while larger ones can be filled as little as once or twice a month.

Speed and Resolution

Don’t get confused by printer jargon. PPM is page per minute, CPM are copies per minute and IPM refers to images per minute.

The higher the number of pages should reflect the speed of the printer.

Dpi refers to dots per inch and is how the resolution of your printer is measured. The average is 300 although photo quality images start at 1200dpi. Talk to your printer supplier to find out what might be he best fit for you.

It’s a tough job finding a printer. You’re finding a new assistant to build a lasting relationship so spend some time figuring out what options work best for you. Besides, everyone wants to be a happy printer.