Five Things to Consider When Buying a Wireless Printer

 
 
By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2010-03-24
 
 
 

Five Things to Consider When Buying a Wireless Printer


With a range of wireless printers to choose from, not to mention several vendors and price points, it's important to consider what business needs the appliance will serve. For many cost-conscious businesses, cost might be paramount, but there are a multitude of capabilities and features a company needs to consider before making a commitment, including print speeds, energy usage and degree of Internet connectivity.

Price

It does not necessarily follow that the most expensive ones are the ones that can offer the best quality of printouts. There are products that are more expensive, mainly because the appliance has additional features such as scanning and photocopying features. While these may sound impressive, businesses should consider whether these features are worth paying extra for. There are also some printers with free additional features like a photo editing software, so be on the lookout. Canon offers a wireless Pixma MP560 printer for just $86.99, while HP and Brother also offer budget models.

Energy and Paper Saving Features

Using green technology as a selling point is old news by now, but energy-saving features such as sleep modes can result in real electricity cost savings, and capabilities such as automatic double-sided printing can cut down greatly on a business' paper costs. HP offers optional XL high-capacity cartridges, which use less ink, while inkjet printers generally use less energy overall than laserjet printers do.

Touch Screen Capability

From music players to wireless printers, it seems everything these days has a touch screen. But some companies use it as an excuse to jack up the price without adding much in the way of real value. Make sure the printer's touch screen is well organized and user-friendly, with a variety of one-touch options for common printing capabilities. Size is also an important factor-Epson's Artisan 810 sports a whopping 7.8-in. panel to view and edit photos. If you're working in a photo- or graphics-intensive environment, size may very well matter. 

For a look at 10 must-see wireless printers, please click here.

Internet Connectivity


 

Internet Connectivity

Depending on how strong the WiFi connectivity signal has to be for your business, this factor could be critical. The 802.11 wireless signal standard comes in several varieties, starting with the weakest, 802.11b up to the strongest (and newest), 802.11n. Others include 802.11a, developed around the same time as 802.11b, and 802.11g, which attempts to combine the best of both 802.11a and 802.11b. While 802.11n provides the fastest maximum speed and best signal range and is more resistant to signal interference from outside sources, it costs more than 802.11g and the use of multiple signals may greatly interfere with nearby 802.11b/g based networks. Make sure to check the office environment and the company's existing WiFi networks before committing.

Photo Printing Capability

Most major label wireless printers offer some level of photo printing capability, but these printers may not offer features more in line with high-output productivity, such as flexible paper handling or faster print speeds. On the other hand, some printers come with free photo editing software, adaptable print trays for different sizes of paper and the ability to print smudge-, fade- and water-resistant prints, like the Epson Workforce 610. The Dell V313W, for example, boasts PictBridge technology, which allows users to send photos to the printer from a digital camera wirelessly.  

Rocket Fuel