A Few Questions

You have mentioned a few times that when purchasing equipment, it’s important to think about the long term. But what if you don’t know the kinds of things you are supposed to look for? For example, if I need to purchase a printer, what questions should I be asking?
— Anonymous, Via the Internet

If you’re not sure what you need, you should arm yourself with a set of questions to ask that will help determine the product that is best for you. For printers, consider the following:

  1. Do I need a laser printer (uses a toner cartridge; best when you need high-quality printing) or ink-jet (uses inks in separate color cartons; best for small office jobs, day-to-day printing)? Color or monochrome? Should I opt for a multifunction device instead (copy, scan, fax, print)?
  2. What are DPIs and why do I need to know this? DPI (dots per inch) refers to the resolution and measures the dots in an inch of paper — the higher the number, the better the image quality.
  3. How many pages per minute does it print?
  4. How much should I expect to pay, and how about the cost of consumables (paper, toner, ink)?

Many tech companies are getting better at helping consumers and entrepreneurs in the process. For example, HP’s Printing and Imaging Expertise Center on the company’s Small and Medium Business Website (www.hp.com/sbso) takes you through the process of determining which one of their products is right for you.