Blog — Tips and Tricks from the Mac Zen Team

Buying a printer - Other considerations

When purchasing a new printer, often the focus is on the specs and features of a given model, but there are other considerations that can be overlooked. Often these aspects of owning and using a printer or multi-function device can be nearly as important as the actual device itself.

Some key consideration are:

Where will the printer be located in your home or office?

If multiple users will be writing to it, should be located in a communal place so that any one individual isn’t being disturbed by printing and print pick-up?

Is there enough space in the potential location to open all trays, feeds doors and ports to access the printer in all ways required?

A printer may have a great feature or useful connection option, but if you are not able to easily access a given paper feed or port the feature will not be very useful for you. Make sure that wherever you plan to locate the printer allows you to access all of its options. This includes being able to lift the scanner/copier cover properly if you are planning on purchasing a multi-function device. In addition, some printers appear to have a small footprint in marketing images, but actually require more space around it when paper feeds, trays and chutes are extended for regular use.

What kinds of prints might you like to make with the printer - Should it be able to handle any kinds of “specialty” papers?

Specialty papers include those that are thicker-than-standard, coated, textured or unique sizes. If you will be printing photos, drawings, charts or any kinds of ink-heavy graphics, using a specialty paper can make for impressive results. If your potential printer can accommodate such papers, make sure that its location will allow you to access the feed slots for these kinds of papers.

Where will you be storing the paper that you will be using with this printer?

Having a nearby location for all of the papers that the printer will use is sometimes overlooked. Keeping papers handy will mean they get used.

How will you remember what kind of paper is in the paper tray(s)?

Make sure that you can keep track of which kind of paper is loaded in the paper tray, so you can re-load the tray correctly and so you can re-order papers properly. This becomes especially important when you have multiple paper trays.

What are the costs of buying new inks?

If applicable, find out the cost and availability of replacement inks. Some people opt for third party inks and cartridges, but not all makes and models will allow for that options. If you can get inks third party inks, it would be advisable to assess their quality before committing any quality-critical prints to them.

I hope this list of other considerations helps in determining how to best accommodate that great new printer into your home or office.