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Printing technology has advanced rapidly in recent years, and today commercial printers are readily available in literally all sizes and various capabilities. With an array of choices, the biggest question many print shop owners are faced with is what to look for in a commercial printer, and the tips below will ease your buying decision. Before getting started, it is only right to understand the difference between a desktop printer and commercial printer.

Desktop printers are just that lightweight and compact enough to fit on a desk. This range of machines include dot matrix printers, laser printers and inkjet printers and are able to connect to a computer or network to print on paper, transparencies or other materials. Commercial printers possess all the capabilities of desktop printers, and are large floor models that are engineered to print a file using one or more methods and at most times along with a printing press. The printing processes for this range of machines usually require specific file preparation or prepress tasks.

Know your requirements – before investing in a commercial type printer, it is important to define your requirements. Are you going to be using the printer to print high quality business cards, invitations, brochures, etc? Or is the printer going to be used for basic everyday tasks such as printing, faxing and email jobs?

Understanding the Total Cost of Ownership – when evaluating costs of a commercial grade printer, it is important to consider the cost/value and the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). There are several factors to consider including cost of compatible material and supplies and the cost of maintenance. A commercial printer can prove to be a useful asset to your company, and improve management of resources in your print shop when chosen wisely.

Read Reviews – just like buying any business machine, it is important to read manufacturer specs and compare them with real customer reviews. Pay special attention to reviews from individuals in the printing business to get a clear insight into the pros and cons of a specific printer model.

Ease of Use and Connectivity – buying a commercial printer that’s easy to use will increase productivity, and require minimal training as well. Also check for support options including coverage and if it is easily accessible. With regards to connectivity, check the commercial printer to see how easily it connects to an existing network, and ease of deployment.

Software Solutions – most if not all commercial grade printers come with their exclusive software to power the machine. Check the software to know if it is appropriate for your business tasks and the frequency at which it is updated.

What to Look for in a Commercial Printer?