Selecting a Color Printer


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So you’ve made the decision to add color to your printing capabilities. Now you need to decide whether a personal color printer will do the job, or whether you need network capability. Certainly, your budget will help determine the answer, but the key decision criterion should be maximizing the return on your investment.

A network color printer makes perfect sense for offices in which a number of individuals will be using it for occasional spot color. I f most of your printing is black text, consider a network-capable machine. Whether you chose an inkjet or a color laser printer is another question that bears considering.

Network printer offer a lower cost per page than personal printers, and color lasers print more economical then color inkjets. In addition, color lasers tend to exceed inkjets for speed and text quality. But a three times the price of a high-quality network inkjet, the color laser requires enough users and print volume to justify the expense. Take a survey of your office to determine your print output level, then rely on the printers’ duty-cycle ratings as a guideline to determine whether a color laser is right for your office’s need.

If your office has one or more individuals who will be printing more-complex, four-color jobs frequently, they’ll each need the dedication of a personal inkjet. You don’t want their jobs monopolizing a network printer that everyone relies on.

For personal color, you’re firmly in inkjet territory, where you’ll find some very capable and inexpensive choices. Pay attention to the machine’s print speed for both text and color graphics, and make sure you examine a print of both to find out whether they meet your quality standards.

Consider whether you’ll need to use special papers for the kind of color you require – driving up the cost per page. And check out the printer’s paper-handling features – especially in terms of paper size and weight.