How to Choose a Photocopier?
Photocopiers are an essential part of the modern office equipment, responsible for efficient and speedy document management. Nowadays, however, these machines have become so multifunctional that it might be overwhelming to go through dozens of offers trying to figure out which has more bounce for the ounce.
We have outlined some of the main cost drivers for photocopiers, providing a clear overview of what it is that determines their high or low overall price.
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What Are Your Copying Needs?
As with any buying process, first comes the need recognition. It is important to assess your business’s needs in order to narrow down the otherwise vast selection of photocopiers out there. Once you have an idea of what you need in terms of speed, volume, paper handling, additional features etc., you can start asking “How much does a photocopier cost?”.
Factors Affecting the Purchase Price of a Photocopier
The overall price of a photocopier is comprised of the purchase price of the machine and the running costs of supplies, maintenance and repairs.
It is generally known that a cheap copier has expensive consumables (primarily toner) while a more expensive machine saves money on those, is more durable and requires less maintenance.
Monochrome or colour
A main cost driver, the ability to print in colour is great to have because of the undeniable impact it has on visual materials. However, keep in mind that a colour photocopier generally costs more and the cartridges can reach up to 6-7 times the price of simple black toner. This means that a colour copier is probably not affordable for companies with strict limited budget, trying to cut costs or fighting for survival.
Print volume (monthly duty cycle)
This is an estimation of how many copies a month the machine can handle. Do not try to match your monthly printing volume to this number, as it is there to show how durable the machine is and should be around 10 times more than your actual output if you want to keep the copier in optimal shape and elongate its life.
For some businesses it may be very important to have a speedy machine that can take on project after project swiftly (at 50 copier per minute) and without much downtime. Other businesses, typically with lower volume printing needs, would be satisfied with the average 30 copies per minute, which also influences the purchase price.
Typically, office copiers can handle A4 and A3 page sizes with ease. If your business has special requirements for large size printing, you must consider only browsing for machines that can accommodate that.
It has become customary for photocopiers to have functionalities that used to be considered luxurious. These machines incorporate the ability to scan, copy, print, e-mail and fax documents all in one while also providing options like stapling, binding and three-hole punching for a great finish of your materials. As with everything there are basic models and advanced models which is reflected in their price tag, but you do not have to spend as much nowadays to get your hands on such garden variety functionality.
These can really inflate the purchase price of a photocopier. Add-ons such as automatic document feeder, duplex (double-sided) printing, a document editor etc., can be very convenient, but luxury comes with a price. Nevertheless, it is only a one-time price and will not affect the long-term running costs of the machine, so have this in mind when considering whether to get a model with all the bells and whistles.
Buy, lease or rent
These options depend on your company’s spending ability and plans for the photocopier.
A photocopier rental agreement is for companies whose needs cannot be covered by a model they can afford to buy or simply do not want to tie up capital in such an investment; typically small or medium size enterprises that would rather not own the machine and all the responsibility that comes with it.
Buying a photocopier is for those who want to own the machine and have the means to purchase it outright. Those are medium to big size companies that prefer to not get chained to one company that has to provide them with replenishment of supplies, maintenance and repair services, and also consider the machine an asset that belongs to the business.
New vs. used
Buying a used photocopier is a fair option to consider. However, with today’s advancements in technology and price drops it is easy to afford a new unit with good capabilities. Furthermore, that makes finding parts for older models that much harder on top of the fact that their warranties would have expired by the time of re-purchase, further increasing their obsolescence. Unless your business is in dire need of a machine, but without the budget to afford a new one; or if you just need it to copy something every once in a while, buying a used photocopier may cost you extra in the long run.
Factors Affecting the Running Costs of a Photocopier
The running costs that come hand in hand with owning a photocopier are mostly tied to replenishing the supplies such as toner, paper, staples etc. and to a lesser extent, but equally important to consider, repairs, maintenance and replacement of parts (such as toner drum, rollers etc.).
As mentioned, the running cost you will encounter most often is replenishing the supplies, particularly the toner. In order to exemplify how much this may cost, we have chosen to compare three photocopiers by leading UK brands, each in a different copy volume category.
The low volume copier (Lexmark X364DN)
Purchase price: £550
Black cartridge capacity: 9,000 pages
Black cartridge cost: £76
Colour cartridge capacity: 6,000 pages
Colour cartridge price: £365
The mid volume copier (Sharp MX M264N)
Purchase price: £2,340
Black cartridge capacity: 18,000 pages
Black cartridge cost: £38
Colour cartridge capacity: 15,000 pages
Colour cartridge price: £243
The high volume copier (Ricoh Aficio MP C4502AD)
Purchase price: £6,116
Black cartridge capacity: 31,000 pages
Black cartridge price: £69
Colour cartridge capacity: 22,500 pages
Colour cartridge price: £405
This example shows that a cheap low volume printer can get very expensive over time if used by a company with moderately high copying needs. Keep in mind that surveys show that office employees print on average 36 pages a day, which means roughly 800 pages a month or 9,600 pages a year.
With this in mind, you can easily calculate your running costs based on the toner yield of the machines you choose to compare. Dividing the price of toner by the number of pages yielded and then multiplying that by your monthly number of pages printed will give you an estimate of the amount of money you need to budget for toner expenses.
Other running costs are harder to calculate and depend on the particular model photocopier. Be sure to talk to the supplier about the warranty coverage of the machine and get information from them on the prices of the different components that need changing over time.
For a quick and easy comparison, fill out the non-binding photocopier quotes request form, free of charge. We can aid you in the process of making a well informed decision that fits your business needs.