Controlling printing costs in the office is not impossible, but it does require an understanding of the daily volume of tasks and the types of documents that are being printed. For instance, if your office generates 300-400 standard text documents, using a color inkjet printer is a waste of time and money. There are various types of machines on the market and containing costs is as simple as choosing the right printer or printers.
One Printer vs Multiple Printers
Depending on the type of business that your office is conducting, you need to determine if each person needs a printer on his or her desk or if a central printer will be sufficient. Clearly it will be more expensive upfront to purchase numerous printers, but often cartridges and maintenance costs are more for one large-office device than 20 small inkjet printers.
Saving on Consumables
Another thing to be vigilant about is the cost of consumables overall. How much is a replacement ink or toner cartridge? Are there compatible or remanufactured versions available? Does the cartridge have the capacity to last for a while or will it be burned through in a week?
For example, if the office generates light daily volumes, each employee could have their own inkjet printer that costs less than $100 with cartridges that cost about $20, such as the Epson Stylus NX430. It may cost more upfront than purchasing a single machine to be shared, but replacement cartridges for network office printers can cost over $150, like the HP Q6470A toner cartridge.
Laser vs. Inkjet
Inkjet printers typically print at slower speeds, produce higher color quality and have lower yielding cartridges than laser printers. Laser printers generally produce a low cost per page, more efficient office performance and high-capacity cartridges. Be sure to get a machine that is appropriate for the kind of tasks that are required in your work space or home. For a more in depth look at the differences between these two types of printers, see Laser Printer vs. Inkjet Printer.
Documents are often printed in full color unnecessarily because there is only one printer available. This is an ink and toner guzzler and will increase costs significantly over time. You can get a monochrome laser printer for printing black-and-white text documents or graphics. For inkjet printers, which almost all have color capabilities, you can set the mode to grayscale. This mode uses only black printer ink rather than using composite black, which is the creation of black using the various colors of ink.
Another cost-saving option is the Eco mode (also known as Toner Save mode or draft mode), which reduces the amount of ink or toner used per print. These modes are best used when printing basic text documents, like everyday memos, but may not be the best choice for presenting to clients, as the quality is reduced. Duplex printing is another cost-effective feature because it prints on both sides of the paper, potentially reducing paper costs by up to half.
Hopefully these will be helpful tips to ensuring that you make the most economical decision to handle your printing needs. It starts with determining how many printers are needed, pinpointing what kind of printer(s) makes the most sense, and using it in the most cost-effective way possible.