Comparing printers

I’m on the lookout for a MFP for a small business but I realize comparing quality isn’t that simple. Laser printers all have a dpi resolution but my experience is that one printer with 600 dpi is vastly superior to another with the same resolution.

Is there a good metric or resource that can be used to compare quality or would asking for print samples be the only real way to go about making such a comparison?

Since this is posted under Enterprise, my recommendation (what I would do,) go with whichever one has the most reasonable onsite service contract available. My enterprise leases all our MFPs from Xerox through a local agency. Contract includes all the consumables (including black toner but not color,) and onsite maintenance.

If you’re looking at low end printer scanner copier units, it doesn’t matter, just be prepared to throw it away WHEN it malfunctions.

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None of the companies I’ve worked at ever gave a second though to printout quality. The cheapest color laser will do fine for pie charts, spread-sheets, and passable images. And laser printers all output absolutely perfect, flawless text no matter the resolution. Just what kind of small business is it, that needs lots of high quality photo printing?

This printer could be operating for a decade. Things you should really be prioritizing:

Long-term compatibility. Make sure it speaks Postscript, PDF, or at least PCL. Look for Open Source drivers that can initiate and read document scans also. You don’t want to be entirely dependent on the manufacturer’s drivers, which may have bugs, may not ever get updates, and may not work on newer platforms at all.

Supplies (toner, drums, fusers, rollers, trays, etc) are cheap and widely available. Sticking with a common model helps a lot, long-term. Economical operation is very important for the high volumes of printing a business is likely to do.

Reviews on the long-term reliability of the unit, and/or length of manufacturer warranty.


Corporate finance (~20 employees) and there have been some requests for higher print quality for pictures used in presentations. The current printer is a Bizhub C3850 on a contract that’s up for renewal. Possibly this already gets close to some practical quality ceiling that can be expected for color lasers but it’s considerably better than a $400-ish Brother I have at home.

When it’s not their own money, employees make lots of silly requests. Is this an actual priority, worth the added expense to ownership?

You may do better to get an economical laser for most tasks, and have a second photo printer with ink or dye sublimation. Far more expensive to operate than the laser, but presumably only a small fraction of your printouts will need that kind of quality. If you need a larger volume, you can contract out the job to a proper printing firm.

To answer your initial question, independent 3rd party reviews are necessary. Print samples are easily manipulated to carefully show the best face of the printer, and there is no standard measurement for “looks good”. Resolution is certainly not relevant to quality except where it is extremely low, either in laser or inkjet printers.

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You may ask to your nearby printer repair centre. I also seek help from my nearby printer repair Dubai . They helped me a lot.

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