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If you are setting up a new office, whether it's a new location for your larger company, a brand new venture, or even just your own home office, you are likely to need to have some kind of printing facilities. There are actually surprisingly few types of printer most offices furnish themselves with, though as with all technology, these vary from cheap and cheerful to super expensive hi-tech models which offer faster results and better print quality. If you are feeling a bit bewildered by the printers on the market and are wondering what you actually need to meet your requirements, here is a brief guide to the main kinds of printers you can get:

Ink or Bubble Jet Printers

Ink and bubble jet printers are the most commonly used printers in offices, because they produce decent quality prints and are relatively fast. They are not as fast or as high quality as laser printers, but they are far cheaper to buy. Most people buy printers that can produce color prints, but because toner can be expensive, it is generally best to have a policy whereby people only print in color when strictly necessary – this will save a lot of money. Inkjets work by, as the name suggests, shooting the ink onto the paper, and have replaced the 'dot matrix' printers of old as the standard in everyday printing.

Multi Function Printers

Multi function printers, or MFPs, are usually used as home or home office printers. This is because they offer a few additional features beyond printing that can make them extremely useful in a place where you aren't likely to want to buy a commercial photocopier. MFPs are usually inkjet printers, which can be in color or black and white, and which are able to produce printouts or photocopies at a reasonable speed for when you just want a single copy of a document or to print out a few pages. They are not great for major print runs, but if you need a whole load of copies of something you have produced, for example a newsletter or brochure, it is usually more economical to use a commercial printing company anyway, so a good MFP is generally ideal for your home or very small office.

Laser Printers

Laser printers are the fastest regular office printers, but they cost a lot more than ink or bubble jets, and are really only advisable if you do a lot of high yield printing and need this kind of speed and quality. Some larger offices that have a need for a laser printer buy one, but also use regular ink jet printers for most of their everyday work, reserving the laser printer for the big jobs. Again, if you have the occasional need for a large print run or rapid printing of large documents, it is usually more cost effective to have a professional print company do them for you than to invest in this kind of hardware, but it is down to you to analyze your general printing costs and determine what the best solution is.

David Volt, the author of this article, is employed with, Modern Litho and Brown Printing, a leading commercial printing service provider, based in Jefferson City. He loves animals and supports various organisations fighting for their protection.