Choosing a Photocopier
Purchasing a new photocopier can be a significant investment, especially for a small business. You can spend a lot of time browsing suppliers’ websites or visiting local shops, but how do you really know you’re getting the best deal for your money?
1. The most important thing is to clearly understand what YOUR needs are.
This may seem obvious, but it's important to keep in mind that simply buying the latest model with the widest host of features is rarely the best solution. An expensive multifunctional machine may end up serving you worse than a cheaper copier that can only output black & white pages, but is very good at doing it quickly.
2. After having a clear picture of your requirements, you should compare the available offers and pick the best one.
We're here to make this easy for you. If you already have a good understanding of what you need, you’re welcome to fill the quote request form on the right. We’ll match you with several suitable suppliers, and you will quickly receive their best offers. You’ll be under no obligation to accept any of them – but it may well be a better deal than you’re likely to find anywhere else.
Of course, office equipment specifications can get a bit overwhelming, and it can be hard to tell which numbers and features really matter. We’ve prepared a quick guide on this page to familiarise you with a few things that you need to know when selecting a copier, and a few more that are good to know to make an informed decision.
So, if you need some help with determining your desired copier specifications, read on!
What to Consider When Choosing a Photocopier
1) Standalone copier or multifunctional device (MFD)
Your first big choice is between a standalone photocopier and a multifunctional device (MFD). MFDs incorporate the functions of a printer, scanner, fax and copy machines all in one device.
Standalone equipment tends to be more robust and better suited for high-volume operation. However, a multifunctional device can be a good choice for a smaller office, not the least for its space-saving benefits. Maintenance is also simplified, as there is only one set of consumables to order and keep track of.
2) Colour or black & white
When selecting a printer, you have a choice between inkjet (ink cartridges) and laser (toner cartridges). On the other hand, there are virtually no standalone business copiers that use liquid ink (although “inkjet copiers” can be found integrated in some multifuncional devices).
Monochrome photocopiers use black toner, while colour machines require four individual cartridges: black, cyan, yellow, and magenta. Remember that toner cartridges are the most expensive copier consumable. In general, colour copiers tend to be 20–30 percent more expensive than monochrome machines. Therefore you want to seriously consider whether you need to copy in colour frequently enough to justify the additional investment.
Speed is one of the factors that most affect the price of a copy machine. The manufacturers’ quoted pages per minute (PPM) range from 20 PPM in basic models to 100 PPM and more at the high end.
Remember that high speed equals high cost. If you do not need to routinely copy large volumes very quickly, then instead of PPM you should focus on the first-page-out time.
First-page-out, also called the warm-up time, is the interval between when the copier wakes from standby and when it can begin the first job. This is particularly important if you tend to print a few pages at a time, rather than printing large volumes frequently. In that case, this metric is more important than pages per minute. Making a client hang around for a minute while the machine warms up? Awkward. A quicker copier leaves a more professional impression.
It is very important to select a machine designed for the right volume. A high-volume copier will cost more. However, if you do need to copy a lot, it can be a costly mistake to purchase a cheaper copier that is not made to handle hefty volume. In the long run, you will overspend on consumables like toner. You will also end up taking the copier to a service center sooner and more frequently than you might expect.
And there you have it! Once you assess your business's needs as accurately as possible based on these four simple factors, you will be well on your way to finding a reliable copier that works great for YOU, at a good price. Enter your requirements in the quote request form, and we'll soon get back to you with tailored offers from suitable suppliers.
It is also a good idea to note any special requirements you have. Some of the most common ones are:
Duplex copying: simply put, this feature enables printing on both sides of the page. It is usually possible to copy two separate pages on one 2-sided page, or one 2-sided page on another 2-sided page.
Automatic document feeder (ADF): this lets you put a stack of sheets into machine and have them all copied automatically, without having to manually place each page one by one.
ADF and duplex copying can also be combined:
- Reversing automatic document feeders (RADF) scan one side of the page, then flip it over to scan the other side. While convenient, this can sometimes lead to jamming problems.
- For more reliable operation, choose a copier with a duplexing automatic document feeder (DADF), which can scan both sides in a single pass. Since the page is not flipped, thicker and damaged documents can be handled, and the chance of document jams is much lower.
Sorting: this useful feature eases the organisation of your copied materials, potentially saving a lot of time. The copied pages are collected in a set of horizontal bins in the order that they emerge from the machine. If your copier does not originally come with a sorter, you may be able to install a sorting unit later as an add-on. Some sorters, called sorter/staplers, can also automatically staple the collated sets of documents.
Besides duplexing, automatic document feeding, sorting and stapling, also consider:
- Do you require wireless connectivity?
- Do you require a built-in hard drive?
- Will you need to copy onto transparencies?
- Any other special requirements (such as whether quiet operation is important)
The more specific you are about your needs, the easier it will be to find your perfect copy machine. However, if any of this seems a bit complicated, don't worry. We are committed to helping you find the best solution possible. Fill out the quote request form, and we'll quickly get back to you if any additional information is needed to offer a great deal to you!