Picking the right printer is an important decision, whether you are a large business or an everyday user.
There are various variables to consider – including which features and printing technologies best suit your needs.
To find out more, MyBroadband spoke to Timothy Thomas, national sales manager at Epson South Africa, about what customers should consider when purchasing a printer.
Thomas said that for businesses, the first step in the printer purchasing process should be to look at the nature of your business to ensure the printer meets your demands.
“For offices with more than a handful of employees needing open access to the printer, it is crucial to find network-equipped models that allow multiple users to connect at the same time,” said Thomas.
“Determine what each user’s requirements will be before you choose your printer.”
Thomas added that your average printing volume should factor into your decision.
“High-volume printing inevitably means more ink replacements and higher printing costs over time,” he explained.
He said that while laser printers may appear to be the obvious solution to this, businesses that require high-quality printing require a more advanced printer capable of high-resolution prints.
“It’s important to ensure that the printer you choose doesn’t compromise on quality for the sake of printing large volumes.”
Thomas said that your business should calculate the long-term costs that it will incur over the lifetime of each printer you are considering.
“Make your purchase decision on the long-term cost, rather than making an impulse purchase that you may later regret,” he said.
Other important considerations include printing speeds, first page out speeds, and the warranty offered.
Thomas said that the primary consideration for most home users is the number of pages they plan on printing per month.
“The average monthly printing volume usually sets the tone for the discussion and this will drive the cost per page point,” said Thomas.
“From there, customers will have a choice between ink cartridge and ink tank printers.”
Buyers should not simply look at the initial price of the printer, though, as the running costs can mean that a cheap printer can cost you more in the long term.
“We know that Epson’s latest Generation EcoTank printers cut printing costs by up to 90%, making them a useful and affordable solution for students or families on a tight budget,” said Thomas.
Another consideration that potential buyers should consider is whether the printer supports Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi direct, as these technologies are popular among consumers.
Printing industry trends
Thomas went on to identify two current trends in the South African printing market.
Firstly, he noted that consumers tend to favour laser printers over inkjet printers.
However, he said, this is because of misconceptions regarding the cost and productivity of these printer types.
“Businesses are becoming more aware of the long-term value of inkjet printing over laser and are increasingly making the switch to modern inkjet models in the office,” said Thomas.
Secondly, said Thomas, ink tank technology is being adopted at a rapid rate.
Thomas cited a GFK study which claimed the Continuous Ink Supply System (CISS) and Ink Tank Solutions (ITS) segment grew by 166% in volume and 162% in value over the 2017/18 financial period.
In South Africa, Thomas said the market has grown from monthly sales of less than 1,000 units to over 5,000 units in just 18 months.
“The ink tank industry continues to exceed expectations as the shackles of high-cost printing are being lifted and more users start to realise the benefits of switching over to a greener and more cost-efficient way to print,” said Thomas.