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The Art Of Buying A Copier Machine

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Copiers are essential devices at many businesses and organizations. It's hard, however, to differentiate one from another, so take a look at the art of buying one.

Expected Costs

Presuming you're shelling out for a commercial system, the average cost for a machine ought to be around $1,500 to $1,600. If you want to get into bigger and badder systems with more features, you can easily get into the tens of thousands of dollars. Leasing options are available for many models, though.

How Colorful Is Your Life?

Unsurprisingly, the total cost of ownership for systems that only use back and white printing tends to be lower. If you just need copying to handle archiving and reports, such as those you might see at a used car dealership, that'll more than do the job. Conversely, folks who require higher production quality, such as detailed and colorful pictures, may want to explore color systems.

Advanced Features

The big ramp-up in price occurs when you start automating human tasks at scale. Stapling, for example, is a complex process that can be automated, but for a price. Other advanced features include scanning, faxing, and two-sided printing. Some systems offer extremely fine image quality, an excellent option for organizations that require presentation-ready documents. Companies are also starting to offer internet-connected features, such as scanning directly to cloud storage systems.

Simple Features

The first question most folks will have for a copier supplier is how many pages per minute a machine can kick out. A commercial-grade unit should be able to produce nearly one copy per second, but you should expect to spend at least $13,000 for it. For reference, a commercial-grade unit is usually rated as one that'll produce between 8,000 and 40,000 copies per month. Once you go north of that, you're basically running your own printing company and should consider moving into industrial-grade equipment.

Virtually all systems can be networked for printing with the computers in an office. This includes both Windows and Mac machines, although it's wise to always check compatibility.


Another unsurprising fact is that bigger and faster units tend to take up some serious real estate. Measure the space where you plan to place your copier to get a sense of what can fit there. Bigger systems meant for typical offices can be wider and deeper than three feet, and unit sizes just keep going up as you approach the industrial scale.