HOW TO BUY A COPIER

How to Buy a Copier
Every office needs a copier, and often spends a good chunk of change acquiring one. Conduct thorough research, and read the lease and service agreements carefully before you sign. The more expensive or even high-quality copier is not necessarily the best choice for your office.

Part One of Two:
Choosing a Model

1
Purchase a desktop model for home offices. If you are buying a copier for home use, or for a business that makes fewer than 700 copies per month, purchase a desktop model. These are much cheaper and simpler than a large, standing device. The rest of the information in this article focuses on the needs of larger offices.
A laser copier/printer/scanner typically costs between $150 USD (black and white only) and $500 USD (fast, quality color).[1]
Inkjet copiers can cost as little as $60, even for color copiers. However, they can cost two or three times as much to operate as laser copiers. Expect to pay 20 cents per black and white page.

2
Know the basics. While there are still a few copier types on the market, most businesses won’t have trouble choosing which option they need:
Laser copiers are faster and cheaper to operate in the long run. Inkjet copiers are not recommended for businesses.[2]
Digital copiers are by far more convenient and common than old, analog copiers.
Color copiers are significantly more expensive and malfunction more often than black and white copiers. If you only need the occasional color document, consider a cheaper hybrid copier.

3
Consider a multifunction device. Almost every modern copier is also a printer, and some can scan or fax documents as well. Weigh the pros and cons of a single “multifunction device” versus a simple copier and additional machines:
A single device is typically cheaper than separate machines, assuming you need every function.
Using several machines reduces the impact of a malfunction.
Large offices should use multiple machines, to avoid waiting times for a single machine.
4
Estimate a generous monthly copy volume. Matching the copier to your needs will save money, avoid delays, and even reduce the frequency of malfunctions. Complete this vital step as follows:
Refer to your copying records, preferably for the last 6–12 months. If you don’t have any, ask the current copier servicer for copies of past invoices. These should include the number of copies made.
Find the average number of copies made per month.
Multiply this by 1.2 to be safe, or by up to 1.5 if your estimate is uncertain. This provides a buffer against surges in use, and against misleading advertisements. Look for a copier with a monthly volume slightly higher than the figure you calculated.
5
Look at copier speed. Examine the speed of printing — but don’t assume that faster is better. Copiers that sit for a long time between jobs tend to have more malfunctions. Strike a balance between waiting times and copier health with these rough industry guidelines:[3]
11–20 pages per minute (“Segment 1”): Recommended for home offices or very small offices.
21–30 ppm (S2): Most small offices with 6,000 copies a month or less. Keep in mind this “slow” speed is still one page every two or three seconds.
31–44 ppm (S3): Small to mid-sized offices (up to 12,000 copies a month). Use this segment or higher if you need to hook the copier up to the office network.
45–69 ppm (S4): Mid-sized to large offices. Usually only necessary for law firms, accountancy firms, and other offices with high copying peaks and constant, heavy use.
70–90 ppm (S5): Offices with extreme copy requirements, or who need a temporary rental for a print run.
6
Research finisher information. Most office copiers automatically sort multi-page documents. Additional features may come with the copier or in an add-on “finisher” unit. Investigate the following:
Number of bins (how many different documents can it sort at once)
Capacity of each bin (how many finished pages can it store)
Can it automatically staple or hole-punch documents? This may be vital for offices with high print runs of multi-page documents.
7
Finish your research. Before you make your final decision, check up on the following:
Does the copier support duplexing (the ability to print on both sides of a page)?
How much can the copier reduce or enlarge a document?
If you use non-standard paper sizes, does the copier support them?
Most high-quality color copiers come with a built-in Raster Image Processor (RIP).[4] If yours doesn’t, you may need to purchase an external RIP.
What’s the first copy time (the amount of time to print the first copy)? If your office commonly makes just a single copy, this is an important statistic.
Part Two of Two:
Purchasing and Service Agreements
1
Rent a copier for short-term use. Rental agreements are straightforward: you pay a certain amount each month, then return the copier when finished. This is the worst value for your money, so it’s typically reserved for companies with a sudden surge in copy requirements.
Avoid complex rental agreements with additional charges. You should be able to find a service with a flat fee and no complications.
2
Buy the copier outright if affordable. This requires the most money at time-of-purchase. You should be confident that you’ll use this copier for more than a couple years. If you have the funds, there are two main advantages to this tactic:
You might be able to write off the expense in one tax year, which could give you a short-term financial advantage.[5] Consult a local tax lawyer.
You won’t be stuck under a lease agreement, which may save you a little money if you do end up changing copiers later.
3
Consider buying a used copier. A used copier usually goes for about 1/5th the price of a new one. If you’re starting a new business and don’t know what your copy volume will be, this is the lowest risk investment. Ask for the copier’s “copy count,” or number-of-copies printed. A high-quality printer with speeds of 45+ pages per minute may be good for 15 or 20 million copies. A slower, older, or lower quality printer may decline after 1–5 million.
4
Read lease agreements carefully. Leasing is a common middle ground between buying and renting. You pay a monthly fee to use the copier for one to five years. At the end of this time, you have the option to purchase it permanently. Leases are very difficult to escape once signed, so read them thoroughly.[6]
Fair Market Value (FMV) leases usually cost $100 USD to $650 USD each month, depending on copier quality. Once it’s over, the bank sets a price for the copier based on current market value.
$1 Out leases let you buy the copier for US $1 at the end of the lease. This is essentially a purchase in installments, with higher monthly fees.
If you’re a new business, the owner may need to sign a personal guarantee. This means the owner will have to pay the lease fees out of pocket if the business cannot.
5
Get a separate servicing agreement. To save money, stay away from packaged lease + service deals. Instead, hire a different company to keep your copier stocked and repaired. Review the service agreement for the following information:
Find the cost of service per copy. Multiply this by your monthly copy volume to find the monthly fee.
Look for a minimum monthly fee. During slow months, you may end up paying this fee instead of the service per copy. Estimate the additional cost based on the last twelve months of copy volume.
Ideally, look for a four hour maximum response time for emergency repairs.
If your office operates outside of normal business hours, make sure emergency repairs are covered during those times.
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Community Q&A
What copier is the best for 1080p gaming? Answered by wikiHow Contributor
I have personally found that the Xerox Workcentre 3655 Laser Multi-function Printer works best for me on Runescape and the original Fallout games. But if that’s too much for you, I suggest another Xerox or Canon copier.
Tips
Purchase from well established and trusted companies. Look up testimonials and reviews from third parties if possible.
Ask the IT staff to secure the printer’s network connection and block unauthorized access.[7]
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About This Article
Co-authors: 17
Updated: June 27, 2017
Views: 34,308
Article Rating: 83% – 6 votes
Categories: Buying Consumer Electronics | Business Purchasing and Stock
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