Depending on your business needs, printer speed can be either a major consideration, or a minor one. Either way, it’s important to understand the ramifications of printer speeds when you are looking to upgrade your current print environment.

“Speed” means different things. It could mean the time needed to send a print job to the printer, and it could also mean the time it takes to actually hold the print in your hand.

There are several factors to consider when gauging a printer’s speed performance. If your business requirements include a continuous flow of documents, throughput speed is most important. If the printer is only used intermittently, then a short first print out time is most desirable.

Here are some of the other mitigating factors to consider:

• Processing time: Once you press the “print” button, the printer must first process the files. There are huge differences in processing capabilities in printers on the market today. Usually, the size of the internal memory is a key indication of processing time abilities, though you should run test prints with your large files if possible.

• Warm-up time: You are probably familiar with office devices that, when not used for a while, will automatically return to sleep-mode. In most cases, you should expect the printer to start printing as soon as you push the print button. In some cases, however, it might take a printer several minutes to be ready to print. This is especially true for large format devices.

• Speed vs. print quality mode: When using black and white (monochrome) printers, print speed is usually consistent. When you’re using color printers, however, speeds will vary depending on the quality settings you choose. The print speed will vary depending on whether you select a draft mode – the lowest quality of print – or a higher quality presentation mode. Again, this is most drastic in large format devices where the time difference can be up to, or even exceeding, 10 minutes.

• Throughput: If you have a continuous or excessively large flow of prints, make sure that the printer is able to process new files while printing previous ones – also known as concurrent processing. Don’t forget to consider other issues that can affect throughput time such as print drying time (on ink jet prints), paper roll changes, unexpected maintenance during print jobs, such as calibration and print head cleaning.

For more information on how print speeds vary and the optimal devices for your business, please contact us.