Buying a photocopier

The five big choices for the photocopier buyer

Choosing your next photocopier can be tricky, whether you are furnishing a brand new company with its first system or replacing an existing model in an established workplace. The modern copier market is jam-packed with devices of all shapes and sizes. Every single one will come with a long-list of specifications and features, all of which will look highly impressive and absolutely essential on paper. This makes zeroing in on the exact model that will best suit your network and processes a tough task.

Photocopier buyer

In truth, however, you can narrow the whole shopping process down to five major choices. As long as you can make these correctly, you should be able to find the right MFP for your business without much difficulty.

Colour or monochrome?

colour printing inksThese days, colour copying and printing is accessible to a company on any budget. Even a compact, low priced desktop MFP can handle full colour documents without trouble. This begs the question: why would you bother buying a black and white system, if you can get a colour equivalent for the same price?

The answer is that the running costs of a colour MFP will run up higher costs due to the price of toner. So, if you have no real need for colour documents, then adding one to your office’s network will represent an unnecessary expense. If all you will be printing is office memos and in-house text documents, then a mono device may be the smart choice.

How fast do you need to go?

Though it is generally the first specification you look at when you pick up a photocopier’s brochure, the speed with which is delivers its pages is not always the most important thing. While you might assume that, when it comes to copiers, the faster the better, in reality you only need a model that is pacey enough to deal with the volume of pages you go through every month in good time.

The following table will show you, roughly, how monthly volume relates to print speeds.

Photocopier print speeds and monthly volumes

How big do you need your documents to be?

As with speed, you might assume that the larger the document size capabilities of a MFP,the better for your business. In reality, however, most small companies rarely print anything larger than A4. Then again, in some industries, regular A3, A2 or even A1 printing may be required.

And A3 model is, on average, 30% more expensive than its closest A4 equivalent – a price worth paying if you regularly need large documents, though totally unnecessary if you don’t. Take a look at how paper size is measured on the table below, and ensure you get the right type of machine for your company.

Photocopier paper sizes

Buy or lease?

Though, traditionally, it is thought that buying hardware is always the best option, more and more UK companies are now leasing their copiers. As well as a profound short term saving and tax efficiency, leasing gives you greater flexibility when you need to make an upgrade due to growth and development in your business.

Lease a photocopier

Over the long term, however, purchasing will be cheaper and, once you make that initial, larger payment, the machine is yours to do with what you wish. So, for a start-up that is on a restricted budget, but intends to have more cash flexibility in the future, leasing might be the better option, while a more established company may wish to simply get all payments out of the way by purchasing. The decision can only really be based upon how your budget is planned out.

Need optional extras?

Like most digital hardware, the modern photocopier offers its buyer a long list of optional extras from which to choose, all of which will add to the price. This could be anything from greater paper capacity to finishing options that makes the handling of high quality brochures and booklets possible. The only way to decide if adding a particular option is worthwhile is to consider how relevant it is to your document handling. 

Printing finishing

If you can answer these five questions clearly, you are well on your way to getting the right device for your office. This information will colour your browsing, ensuing you end up with the best possible system.