Though many businesses are slowly moving to cloud-based documents, the need for the humble office printer is very much alive.

For better or worse, the average office worker will run through 10,000 sheets of paper each year—meaning that the office printer needs to keep up! But with so many modern options available, how do you know which features suit your needs?

If you’re in the market for a new printer, we’ve got you covered. Here are nine essential factors to consider in your next device.

1. Print Speed

For home office workers in need of a printer for miscellaneous business needs, a slower printer may not matter. However, if you’re going to be working in a fast-paced business office setting or if you tend to print a large number of documents on a regular basis, print speed makes a difference.

For most uses, you’ll want to look for a print speed of 10 color pages or 20 black-and-white pages per minute, minimum. Otherwise, you may be looking at decreased productivity and increased frustration.

2. Compact Size

This factor may not be as critical for larger office space printers, but it can be a major concern in a smaller space. For home offices especially, users may not want to give up much room for a larger piece of equipment.

Fortunately, it’s possible in today’s market to find smaller home office printers measuring just over a foot in width, meaning that there’s no need to sacrifice valuable real estate in a small home office space.

3. Multifunctional Capabilities

All-in-one units—meaning units that can tackle printing, copying, scanning, and even faxing—are popular options for many businesses. While larger companies may be able to get by with single-use printers for a single dedicated purpose, smaller spaces may require increased functionality within a single unit, like office copiers that perform multiple tasks.

This tip comes with a caveat, however. Low-cost multifunctional units may fall into the “jack of all trades” or “master of none” category. Unless you invest in a machine guaranteed to perform each of its functions at a high level, you may find yourself with mediocre printing, copying, and scanning service in the future.

4. Laser vs. Inkjet

This debate has been ongoing for as long as both types of printing have existed. However, neither laser nor inkjet printing is inherently better than the other. It all depends on your needs. A design company requiring high-quality prints may need a different piece of equipment from a smaller business with fewer day-to-day needs.

Inkjet printers offer cheaper output and can be great for printing photos, though the process can take a little longer to complete.

Laser printers, on the other hand, offer high-volume printing that makes them great for professional print quality and fast service. However, laser toner cartridges can be more expensive than inkjet cartridges, though they often last longer.

5. Running Costs of Cartridge Replacements

As you consider the features you want in your next printer, be sure to consider the entire ecosystem you’re setting up, including the replacement and availability of your cartridges. For some brands, it’s easy to get a subscription service that makes replacement a no-brainer, which can be a must in a fast-paced offer environment.

You’ll also want to consider newer options like refillable cartridges as long as you’re willing to do a little DIY top-up every now and then.

6. Mobile Work Capabilities

The best office printer will come equipped with network connectivity that makes it easier to get the job done without messy cords and cables.

Most printers include wireless options nowadays, as well as connections to mobile apps for workers’ tablets and smartphones. These allow users to scan documents in high resolution, printing them out as needed.

7. Printer Duty Cycle

The duty cycle of a printer is the maximum number of pages it should print per month.

In an office setting, a duty cycle should fall somewhere in the 20,000 to 30,000-page range, though you may need to go higher depending on your business’s printing demands. The best home office printer range, on the other hand, will hit somewhere around 5,000 to 10,000 pages.

8. Paper Format

Not every printer can handle every paper size, which can be an issue if your company needs to print on legal-sized paper from time to time. It’s also worth noting the size of a printer’s scanner bed if you’re opting for a multifunctional unit to ensure that it’s large enough for legal documents as well.

If you rarely print documents of atypical size and you’re set on purchasing a more compact all-in-one device, you may be able to get by with one that has a separate scanner feeding tray on top. With many of these types of printers, you can scan multiple separate pages into a single PDF file.

9. Sustainability

If your company is one of many businesses making the commitment to go green, you’ll want your choice of printers to reflect that decision.

Green printing technologies include eco-friendly settings, low-temperature fusing toner, and sensors that help reduce paper waste and energy consumption. Don’t forget to also consider opting for a more expensive, high-quality printer that can stand high-volume printing and won’t need replacement soon and, thus, won’t contribute to waste.

Find the Best Office Printer for Your Business

Whether you’re looking for the best home office printer, scanner, and copier or a single-purpose laser printer to meet your company’s heavy-duty requirements, these factors are critical to keep in mind. Though there’s a huge range of options available in today’s market, a little consideration and planning can help you narrow down your options to find the perfect model for your needs.

Ready for more tips to keep your business thriving? Check out our other posts for helpful insights!