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I am working on a process for choosing and purchasing a printer for a small office. Has anyone got advice on how to weigh criteria? We've already got two devices that meet some needs, and are open to several different new machines if that's best.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Buy the cheapest HP LaserJet available that supports PostScript and PCL 6.

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Exactly what I'd recommend. I'm here on a campus with Macs and Windows boxes and we're pretty much satisfied with the work HP has done to integrate their products with Mac OS X. We have dozens of (big) Canon and other products too but generally most HP printers seem to be very well supported by our Apple hardware. I'm talking about the out of the box experience. – pfo Jan 14 '10 at 18:44
HP is the gold standard, and the TCO is about the same as the other Tier 1 brands (Lexmark/Xerox). You can save upfront dollars by buying some Brother or NEC printer, but those are usually junk and have expensive or hard to get toner. The only exception that I would make is Xerox for high-end color... the wax-based printers probably have lower TCO and very good print quality. – duffbeer703 Jan 15 '10 at 3:32
Sounds like good advice. To tip my hand a bit more, we also currently have a window print server, but it's as often a source of problems as it is a solution, in my experience, so I'd be glad for something that handles its own network capacity. We bought an HP MFP 8500 which I like a lot, but it's an inkjet, and as a result (I think?) too slow for the volume of work we send to it. So I'm passing that on to a smaller office and I'll look at Networked HP Laser MFPs. Many thanks. – Jamie Jan 19 '10 at 16:44

"Working on a process for choosing"? A small office is less than 10 people. Imho people print less than 10 pages a day on average. 100 Sheets a day, 200 workdays or so per person. That makes a maximum of 20.000 pages a year.

Are you sure any savings will be worth more than your work you put into the process for choosing?

Decide on the paper size (A4 / A3), duplex or simplex, color or black & white. Search the cheapest model that has Mac and Windows drivers and network access and reasonable printing costs.

The cheapest color, A3, duplex, network printers start around 250 Euros. You may want to go up to 1000 Euro or so.

We had an offer for a SAMSUNG CLP-660ND, 259 Euros.

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250 seems a bit low for those specs, but otherwise, spot on. – Bernd Haug Jan 14 '10 at 18:47

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