Small Business Copiers: A Buyer’s Guide
April 15, 2020
Small Business Copier: A Buyer’s Guide
A small copy machine is the demigod of your small office. It copies documents with a passion and flips them out onto your desk. Not only that, it cuts down on downtime and helps speed up the workplace. A standalone copier can take the sting out of printing bills and economize paper usage.
Small businesses have limited printing needs. But every company is different. A small business copier should be able to withstand the demands of a growing enterprise. If you are planning to buy a small office copy machine here’s a short guide to help you get started.
There are four main factor that determine your choice of copier: 1) Print Volume, 2) Copier Features, 3) Copier Quality & 4) Price. Let’s look at each factor in detail.
1. Print Volume
How much do you print? Small businesses will copy about five hundred pages in a month. That includes both black and white and color prints of documents and photos.
A small office copier can easily take care of this load. If your copying need runs into thousands, a basic copier will not cut it.
The size of the copy machine and its features depend on usage. If its print capacity matches your print needs, it is most likely the right fit. For personal uses, home copiers make more sense. Copying needs would be fewer.
2. Printer/Copier Features
Do you want just a copier? Limited-use, personal copier without computer works for small projects. They are compact, occupy small spaces and are pocket-friendly. If you want to invest in a desktop copy machine, check if it comes with multiple functions.
Today, even home copiers come saddled with scanning and faxing programs. They can email using the Wi-Fi and even add watermarks.
Some printers come with all the bells and whistles like sorting multiple copies of multiple documents, double-sided printing, stapling, folding and hole-punching.
A few even come with different trays according to paper sizes. Automatic feeders are in. They can hold more than 200 pages at once. And a big, fat memory.
Printer-copiers now come with large storages to the tune of 2B to 2 TB. Anything fancier? You have touchscreens and code-locked systems that protect your data. Consider what you need for home copying machines.
Another thing that makes a reliable copier is the printing speed. You don’t want to grow shiny grey hair just waiting for it to flick out 5 pages. A small business copier usually gives up to 30 pages per minute. If you have a higher printing need, check out printers that can give you up to 50 pages.
Some copiers take time to get working. Not all will spring to action. Usually, the first print is slower than the rest. So, what you gain in speed, you lose in time. It’s best to ask the sales assistant if the machine takes more than a few seconds to break in.
Before splurging on a smart machine, ask yourself, “What do I want the copier to do?”
3. Print/Copier Quality
Everything comes to naught with a dismal print feature. Pale, grainy prints are a wastage of ink and paper. A printer’s resolution also affects the final product.
While you can get away with less-than-stellar impressions for documents, image clarity is something else. Standard dpi and RGB/CMYK modes are things to look at. Whether home or office, you will need to print photos and graphics from time to time. It’s useful to get a machine that gives high resolution, color-rich, sharp copies.
Print quality also changes with the mode of a desktop copier and printer. Before getting caught up in the great debate of inkjet versus laser, let us take a quick look at what each one does.
Inkjet printers use ink tanks or cartridges. They are the go-to machines for businesses that work with photos and graphics. Images are best reproduced through these.
Laser printers are famous for document printing. They are reliable, no-fuss devices that give crisp copies. They are also faster than inkjets and less expensive. However, if you compare print standards, they are nice copies that finish second.
What is your budget? Are you keen on investing big? Or do you want a cheap copy machine?
Anything multifunctional, loaded with the right specs can set you back by a few hundred dollars. Yet there are copiers meant especially for small businesses that pack in everything you need.
More expensive ones, coming at four or five thousand a piece, may turn more economical with time.
Laser printers, for example, have a higher upfront cost but are cheaper per copy than an inkjet. Similarly, budget machines, like inkjets, need refilling of their toners. The number of refills is also restricted. Factor in all these requirements before you place the order.
Cost Saving Tip
There is a growing trend of copier leasing as opposed to buying. Both have their good and not-so-good sides. So, whatever works for you is good enough. You can further add to your savings by taking care of your copier and adhering to product manuals. It makes sense sticking to recommended paper sizes and thicknesses. Also, proofing the copier glass against dust and scratches prolongs its life. Certain parts and functions are covered under product warranty. Terms and conditions are often contradictory from one brand to another and so the safe game would be to contact the service provider if you have doubts. Another tip would be to get it serviced by company technicians, even if it is a standalone copier.
All in all, a small business copier is an indispensable piece of equipment. To boost efficiency, copiers are designed to scan, fax and print as well.
A home office copier streamlines your work so you have more time to do the real thing. It is not difficult to find reputed copier brands today. While some focus on copiers alone, others offer fabric printing to embossing.
You can find entry-level home copiers to grand, professional-grade machines for large-scale copy-print needs. As a buyer, you would want to look for both quality and cost-effectiveness. Just do a little research and you are good to go.