Understand the distinct characteristics and uses that differentiate desktop printers from commercial printers. By learning about each type of business printer, you will be able to make an informed decision on the type that best suits your needs. Keep reading to explore important factors such as the printer’s quality, capabilities, pricing, volume, maintenance, and lifespan.
Desktop printers, sometimes called office printers, are small format printers designed for personal or light-duty office use. They take up minimal space and are meant for lower-volume printing jobs.
Commercial printers refer to high-volume printers built for frequent, heavy-duty use. They can handle large print jobs for businesses and print service providers.
When deciding between desktop and commercial printers, three key factors to consider are pricing, printing volume capabilities, and maintenance requirements. Understanding the differences in these areas will help small businesses, busy work teams, and demanding teams in home offices select the right printer to meet their needs without sacrificing features or exceeding their budget.
Desktop printers almost always carry a lower upfront purchase price compared to commercial printers. An inkjet or basic monochrome laser desktop printer can cost between $100 – $300, while more advanced color laser printers range from $300 – $1,000. Commercial printers start around $1,000 and can cost over $10,000 for advanced multifunction models.
However, the higher initial investment in a commercial printer is justified by a much lower cost per print over the lifetime of the device. Commercial printers utilize high-yield toner cartridges and drums that need replacing less frequently. The cost per print for a commercial printer can be as low as 1 – 3 cents, while desktop printers average 5 – 15 cents per page.
Additionally, commercial printers come with more robust duty cycles of up to 275,000 pages per month, allowing them to withstand high print volumes without frequent repairs. Desktop printers have duty cycles of less than 10,000 pages per month, requiring replacement much sooner with sustained high usage.
If your business printing needs are under 500 – 1,000 pages per month, a desktop printer should suit you fine. Desktop printers work well for small workgroups of one to five people printing occasional documents, photos, or other media.
For departments or workgroups with 5 – 15 users printing 1,000+ pages per month, a commercial printer is a better fit. Their faster print speeds (often over 55ppm) make it feasible to produce high print volumes in busy office environments. Accessories like finishers, high-capacity trays, and mailboxes help streamline workflow.
When monthly printing exceeds 5,000 pages across an enterprise, commercial printers become a requirement. Their durable components allow sustained usage of well over 100,000 pages per month. Scalable accessories, exceptional image quality, embedded workflow apps, and security features keep productivity high while providing the efficiency and cost-savings vital for such intense print volumes.
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Maintenance needs differ greatly between desktop and commercial printers due to differences in duty cycle and lifespan. Desktop printers are designed for light usage, utilizing components that need frequent replacing after just 3 – 5 years.
Alternatively, commercial printers utilize heavy-duty parts designed to last 5 – 7 years or longer. Items like fuser units, transfer belts, and rollers can last up to 720,000 pages before needing replacement. Consequently, commercial printers require less frequent maintenance visits.
Multi-year, next business day onsite warranties provide additional peace of mind with commercial printers, ensuring maximum uptime and no hidden costs down the road. Desktop printers typically come with 90-day warranties only, meaning you’ll be paying out of pocket for repairs soon after purchase.
Choosing between printers depends entirely on your business needs. Based on the three key differentiators between desktop and commercial printing, start your search with the following steps:
1. Examine your budget constraints and the initial cost of the printer.
Desktop printers are generally more affordable upfront, making them an attractive option for small businesses with limited resources. On the other hand, commercial printers may have a higher initial investment, but they often offer lower per-page printing costs, making them more cost-effective in the long run for businesses with high printing volumes.
2. Assess your business’s printing volume to determine the appropriate type of printer.
If your business has a relatively low print demand, a desktop printer might suffice. These printers are suitable for small-scale printing tasks and occasional use.
However, if your business involves large-scale printing, such as producing marketing materials or handling a high volume of paperwork, investing in a commercial printer with faster printing speeds and higher capacity may be a wiser choice.
3. Consider the lifespan of the printer and its long-term durability.
Commercial printers are typically built to withstand heavy usage over extended periods, offering a longer lifespan compared to desktop printers. Factor in the expected lifespan of the printer when making your decision, as a more durable option may provide better value for businesses with sustained printing needs.
In conclusion, by carefully evaluating the printer’s price, volume capabilities, and lifespan, businesses can make an informed decision on whether a desktop or commercial printer aligns best with their operational requirements and financial considerations.
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