Managed Print Services, Printers and Copiers, Printing Costs

When is the Best Time to Buy Printers?

July 25, 2022
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If you have a fleet of laser printers, there is a lot of thinking in the marketplace about when is the best time to buy printers. Some manufacturers will say about every 3 to 4 years, the industry seems to say about every 5 years, but we would normally argue for even a bit longer product lifecycle. We would shoot for 7 to 8 years for most printers if we had most printer fleets. 

If you are wondering, we have over 10,000 printers under contract and over a decade of service history to pull from. You would be shocked to see how well some of the older printers perform in the field for so long.

So the question has to be asked, why are such short product cycles generally suggested in the industry?

Cash Is King

The most logical reason is if you have 400 laser printers and all of them average $1,000 each for the printers, you are looking at a fleet with an acquisition cost of nearly half a million dollars.  If one more product turn can happen, it helps the revenue of the dealer or manufacturer who sells the deal. This one change can cost your company a lot more money if you blindly accept it.

Another way to approach it is to see if the fleet is actually breaking more often. If the printers are always breaking, then yes, you should do something about it. The labor costs are not worth the savings you are trying to gain once a print fleet really begins to fail.


The next objection deals with security. The manufacturer may go into details about how many copiers or printers in the fleet have old firmware, or maybe there is concern about a port having network access or a backdoor which is a known exploit.

The only issue with this logic is that in each of these cases, manufacturers provide updated firmware and instructions on how to protect themselves.  Can this be an issue, for sure. If your managed print company is paying attention to the old printer in the support logs, then there should be nothing to worry about.

Print Quality

For black and white units, this is almost a laughable reason. For color printers, there is a fair amount of truth on this one. The color technology can improve, but this one depends on more than just the printer. It is also related to paper quality and what print driver you are using to print color. An old printer may print just as nicely as a new printer, if you are using OEM toner cartridges and pay attention to the print drivers.

Print Speed

This is another one that falls more flat to us than it did 20 years ago. 4 years ago printers were about 35 pages per minute on average. Now they are 45 to 50 pages a minute. Does going 10 to 15 pages a minute mean anything to you?  If you print 2 page print jobs, who cares?  There would not be any noticeable difference. If you are printing pages many at a time, then yes, that would make a real difference.

Ink Cost

If ink costs are high on the old printer, then, yes, it is probably wise to upgrade. If the difference is between $.011 per black and white print (1.1 cents) and .0114 (1.14 cents per print), then it isnt worth getting a new printer over the small difference in per print costs.

Multifunction Printer Option

Now, if your team needs a lot more scanning, this is one of the most legitimate and valid reasons to upgrade. We have seen some companies get the multifunction device and then keep the laser printers, so then they have 2 devices rather than just one.  This is one thing you want to make sure if you do, you do it on purpose for a reason.

Google Cloud Print

Sometimes, especially if you switched to Chromebooks, you may want the Cloud Print option.  If this is your reason, there are other ways to print, but this is nice when it is embedded.  We would understand this if you were trying to avoid 3rd party solutions.

If you are curious if it is time to buy printers, this should help you determine what are good reasons, and what are simply sales pitches from other managed print or manufacturers. 

Best Time to Buy?

Really, the best time to buy new printers is when you are ready. Not when you are being pressured to by someone not in your company every day. Any of the reasons above could be a good reason to switch, but only when that reason matters to you.

We are here to help you get printers or support the ones you already have!