If you run a small business or are just starting out, it’s tempting to choose those low-cost consumer-grade computers over business-grade. But while they may look similar on the outside, what’s on the inside is usually completely different in quality, performance, and longevity.
The same can be said for consumer vs business routers. One is designed to secure a home network and the other comes with security features made for business networks. Choosing the wrong one, can leave your business open to a data breach or ransomware attack.
43% of all cyberattacks target small businesses.
Why do business owners go for consumer-grade equipment? There are a few different reasons:
- It’s cheap
- It’s easy to find in places like Walmart or Best Buy
- They don’t realize there’s a difference between consumer vs business tech
- They’re not planning for the long-term
- They don’t look carefully at performance specifications
While you think you’re saving money by buying a budget consumer-grade PC or router, it’s much more likely that you’ll be spending more in the long run by buying equipment that’s not designed for business use.
Consumer vs Business Equipment: What’s the Difference?
There are several differences in how consumer-grade equipment and business-grade tech equipment are made. While some small business owners might think they’re just paying extra for the “business” label on the model, that’s not the case at all, what you’re paying for is quality and performance.
Here are some of the key differences between consumer and business technology products.
The security is especially true of routers, which are at the heart of any wireless business network. A consumer-grade router is going to only have basic security protections, but a business-grade router or multi-access point system is going to have additional security features designed for the threats that business networks face and give you more flexibility in the security settings you use.
If you have to comply with PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), or another data privacy regulation, then you will definitely want to be using network equipment designed for business use.
Consumer PCs are cheaper than business PCs because they have lower specifications and aren’t built for the same performance 8 hours per day, 5 days per week.
You’ll often find lower priced consumer computers – especially those purchased during a Black Friday or other sale – lacking in the memory and processor areas. Meaning they aren’t designed to handle memory intensive business applications and can slow your employees down while they’re waiting the computer to respond.
Employees lose a full week of work each year from waiting on slow computers.
Lost productivity due to purchasing consumer-grade equipment, when you need something more powerful can quickly cost you more in lost productivity than the initial equipment price savings.
Ability to Upgrade
Business-grade computers are designed to have the ability to upgrade to help extend their usable lifespan and allow them to be scalable to a company’s needs.
What this means is having the ability to add memory, upgrade the hard drive, add a new graphics card, and other performance enhancements that can add value to your original purchase without adding much more cost.
On the other hand, consumer-grade PCs at budget prices often don’t have this same flexibility. You’re often stuck with low memory and no way to upgrade it or to add other features to improve performance.
Quality of the Parts
When you pay a little more for a business-grade PC, you’re also getting higher quality parts that are designed to last longer and work efficiently for longer periods of time than that parts used in cheaper consumer-grade PCs.
This is also true of the casing when it comes to laptops. A budget consumer laptop can have keyboards and screens that easily break and need repair in just a year or two, while business-grade PCs are designed to be more durable and take more physical abuse from being put in laptop cases and taken on trips regularly.
With most consumer PCs, you’re going to get a limited 1-year warranty. So, if anything goes wrong after that, you’re on your own when it comes to repair costs.
Business-grade PCs often have warranties that are 3 years, giving you the protection that you need from additional costs for a longer period of time.
Why can manufacturer’s offer longer warranties on business PCs than on consumer PCs? Because they’re built better and are designed to give you more longevity.
Compare this: Purchasing a consumer-grade PC for $450 that you have to replace after 2 years vs purchasing a business grade PC for $1,000 that lasts at least 6 years.
While the initial price tag may look attractive on the consumer PC, if it needs replacement three times in the same time span you’re using the business PC, then you’re actually paying $350 more, not including the loss of productivity and any needed additional repair costs for the cheaper PC.
Get Help Choosing the Right Equipment for Your Business
Need help choosing affordable business-grade technology that you can count on? Cris’s Tech Repair has years of expertise and can help you navigate the various system specifications to match your distinct needs to give you the best value.
Contact us today for a free technology consultation. Call 561-985-4961 or contact us online.