All For One, One For All

How To Choose?

Speed, operating costs and available features are three factors to consider when making your purchase. Since laser printers are all based on the same imaging technology, speed--not quality--sets them apart. Naturally, the faster the printer, the higher the price.

How can you decide whether to buy a low-end or a high-end laser? First, determine how many pages per month your network group normally prints. Then determine how quickly your group will need them. Most networking groups consisting of five or six people work well with 17 to 24 ppm. A standard workgroup laser printer producing 17 ppm averages between $1,000 and $1,500. Add the cost of replacing toner cartridges to the equation, and you get a good idea of the total cost of ownership.

Next, figure out what features are most important to your business. Do you often print on both sides of single sheets of paper? If so, duplexing should be on your list of required features. How many reams of paper does your business use in a day? If you're networking several PCs to one printer and you print long documents, you'll want extra paper cassettes. While most printers come with at least one paper tray, optional trays are available, provided there are additional slots to hold them. Extra paper trays prevent the tedium of having to continually refill the cassettes.

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This article was originally published in the March 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: All For One, One For All.

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