Top 3 Reasons for Workgroup Printers

Output speed, paper capacity, and consummables cost

Since we discussed the Top 3 Reasons for Personal Printers yesterday, let's discuss the reasons to use workgroup printers in place of personal printers. Everyone has their own reasons for disliking personal printers, such as the room they take on a desk or the supplies nightmare created when everyone has a different personal printer. My focus today, however, is the advantages of a workgroup printer for printed page output speed, paper capacity, and consumables savings.

Most companies print most pages in black and white. That situation hits the sweet spot for departmental laser printers. Depending on how many pages your company plans to print each month, you can get networked workgroup laser printers to fit your situation. Printers that support every computer in the company go from around a $100 to print a few dozen pages per day o thousands of dollars for printers that can speedily spit out a stream of paper all day long.

This brings us to the first of my Top 3 reasons for workgroup printers: printed page output speed. Many printer manufacturers print the time to spit out the first page, and those times don't vary too much between good ink jet and good laser printers. But generally, subsequent pages zoom out of a laser printer much faster than from ink jet printers. When you print a 20 page report, those 20 pages will hit your hand faster still slightly warm from the laser jet toner fusing process than from an ink jet. The more pages you print each day, the more the output speed matters.

Which brings us to the second reason: paper capacity. Few ink jet printers have large capacity paper trays, while workgroup laser printers borrow heavily from copier technology and can hold many reams of paper. Need 2000 sheet storage? A workgroup laser printer will offer that capacity, but not an ink jet. The more paper in place ready to print, the fewer disruptions and arguments about who left the paper tray empty. Hint: the same jerk who drinks the last of the coffee and doesn't start a new pot.

Finally, laser printer cartridges print more pages for less money than ink jet cartridges. This includes color laser printers as well. When you figure your printing budget, paper used in laser jets, especially for black and white output, costs less than paper that reproduces color well with ink jets. Add in the lower cost per page of the laser jet cartridges and you'll come out ahead buying in bulk for workgroup printers rather than buying personal printer supplies.

My recommendation to clients is always to lean toward workgroup printers, and allow personal printers as exceptions when needed. This plan gives small companies the best mix of low cost, high performance, and the flexibility to handle all their printing jobs easily and cost effectively.

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