Shopping for a wide format printer for your business while also considering the budget might have you thinking that one of the best ways you can save money upfront is by purchasing a used printer. Although the lower cost can be attractive at first, if you’re not careful, the early savings may lead to headaches and future expenses for the business later down the road. Before buying a used wide format printer, consider these common situations that might be better, in the long run, to avoid:
Refurbished vs. Used Printers
Before we dive into some mistakes that people commonly make when buying a used wide format printer, let’s differentiate between the terms “refurbished” and “used” as they are often mistakenly used interchangeably:
Refurbished Printers: When a buyer returns a printer to a supplier, store, or manufacturer, and it is repaired or reconditioned for resale, it is generally considered “refurbished.” Common reasons for returns include out-of-the-box functionality issues, minor packaging damage, or the printer was traded in from an un-purchased lease. Refurbished printers are usually tested for electronic or technical defects and repaired before they are sold again, and suppliers are not permitted to resell these products as new. Refurbished printers generally include a similar warranty as when it was considered “new”.
Used Printers: The term “used” generally refers to a printer that has had a previous owner and been used for a period of time before returning, basically having higher-mileage than a refurbished printer. As a result, the printer may have accumulated a bit more wear-and-tear. Generally, used printers are inspected to ensure they are workable and properly functional but may not include a warranty.
As an additional note, it might be worth understanding how a demo printer might be differentiated between “refurbished” and “used” as well:
Demo Printers: Demonstration (demo) printer models are used for display in print reseller showrooms, used at trade shows and displayed on the floors of other areas where consumers may see, check and test specific or new printer models before purchasing. Demo printers generally have had very little use and few print outs performed. Typically demo printers will have a warranty included as part of their sale.
Things to Avoid When Shopping for a Used Wide Format Printer
Here are some tips to help ensure you get the best possible wide format printer possible:
1. Don’t buy a wide format printer with an outdated operating system.
When purchasing a wide format printer, it is typically recommended that the unit runs at least Windows 7. Older operating systems won’t be compatible with the security requirements of modern information technology such as removable hard drives, user authentication, or the option to overwrite deleted files. In other words, a current operating system may be critical to ensure your printer is secure on your company’s network. If your wide format printer is older, find out if there’s an upgrade available to update your system.
2. Don’t buy a slow wide format printer.
While this tip might seem obvious, it’s important to remember that a crucial feature of a printer’s capability is its network speed. Whereas older models connect to networks between 10 megabits per second (Mbps) and 100 Mbps, modern printers can connect at 1,000 Mbps. What does this mean for you? When we break down the math, a 10 Mbps printer is 100 times slower than one operating at 1,000 Mbps, and this slower connectivity makes it difficult for the printer to handle multi-page, large files that are common today.
3. Don’t buy a wide format printer that uses too much energy.
In a world that’s increasingly taking steps to become greener, a printer’s energy efficiency is often easily overlooked in companies of all shapes and sizes. While older wide format printers use as much as 1,000 watts of electricity in standby mode, newer models run as little as 39 watts. Depending on your usage, you could save a significant amount of money in energy costs by upgrading to a modern unit.
4. Don’t buy a wide format printer without tech support.
When you purchase a used wide format printer, stick to authorized resellers or manufacturers. If you shop with any other source, you might run into trouble when it comes time to repair or troubleshoot the device. If the printer is outdated, parts may be expensive or even unavailable, leaving your business screeching to a halt as you scramble to find a comparable unit. For this reason, we recommend that you only purchase a used wide format printer from a reputable reseller and supplier who can comprehensively answer any questions or issues you might run into in terms of printer service, parts, and support. Also keep in mind that since the printer business seems to constantly have newer, improved, updated models, used units might become a discontinued or obsolete issue.
● Availability: Note that many suppliers of demo and used printers do so on a “when available” basis. In other words, there may not be any used printers for purchase today, but suppliers could receive several models tomorrow. It’s always best to call and speak to someone regarding your needs and your budget. In many cases, printer suppliers will make note of your request and keep in touch if one becomes available.
● Rentals: If you need a printer for one or two events or for a specific period of time for one project, contact a supplier who offers rental printers instead of buying one outright. In most cases, there are no long-term commitments, so you can try a model before you make the investment.
At FotoClub Inc., we understand that every business has different printing needs. For some companies, print jobs are handled internally, but if you regularly print jobs that are more than two feet wide, a wide format printer may be the most economical and budget-smart investment you can make for your business. Do you have a certain budget and you feel like used is the only way you can afford a printer? Let us help you to determine whether another brand might serve your purpose just as well.
If you’d like to learn more about refurbished, demo or used wide format printers or you’d like to see whether we have any new wide format printers in stock that would meet your needs and your budget, please call us for more information. If we don’t have any professional printers ready to go, we will keep our eyes open and make every attempt to find one for you. Ready to get started? Contact us today!
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