What Should You Know When Looking for an Office Printer/Copier?

By: Marco
October 28, 2022

Purchasing a new printer or copier for your office is no small task. In addition to your budget, you should take into account your short and long-term printing needs, including what you print, how often you print, and how quickly you might need to produce lengthy documents. 

In this blog, I’ll explore everything you should consider before making a purchase so you can shop with confidence. But first, let’s not overlook perhaps the most important decision…

To Buy or Not to Buy?

The first choice you have is whether to purchase or lease your printing equipment. Just like most significant investments, purchasing new equipment can save you money over time, but you are accepting more risk. Your budget should be able to absorb the upfront costs of a purchase, and include some room for maintenance and repairs down the road. 

Leasing can obviously be easier on the budget in the short term and can help you avoid unpleasant surprises. However, leasing may also make it easier for you to keep your technology up to date. In the past, that may have been a smaller benefit, but now this perk deserves more consideration.

For the longest time, keeping printing equipment up to date mostly meant access to more convenient features. If you could get by with older equipment that was still performing reliably, there wasn’t much harm in doing so. But nowadays, old equipment may end up costing you more than it’s worth in terms of energy use, supplies, and potential security risks. 

Is New or Used Equipment the Smarter Buy?

Buying used equipment can help you reduce upfront costs of purchasing equipment. You’ll still be accepting more risk when the equipment is yours, but every now and then a dealer may have equipment that’s still in pristine condition. It may be worth your while to make a few calls to see if you can get — for all intents and purposes — new equipment at a used price. 

Here’s an insider tip: before you buy a used device, find out when the model was introduced. It’s a good way to estimate how much longer the manufacturer will support firmware updates. Don’t buy something that you suspect will soon be unsupported by the manufacturer, as it can leave you and your business’ network vulnerable to hackers. 

What to Look for in a Business Printer/Copier

Once you’ve made your decision on whether to lease or buy, it’s time to figure out what type of equipment to look for. You’ve definitely got plenty of options…maybe too many. 

Consider these factors to help you focus your search:

  • Print speed
  • Document quality
  • Paper size
  • Efficiency and waste reduction
  • Finishing options
  • Supply costs and type
  • Functionality
  • Equipment size

Let’s examine each of these in more detail.

Print Speed

If you need to produce long documents often, and you’re sharing equipment throughout your office, a slower machine might lead to a backlog in the copy room and a frustrating experience for your staff. Check out a printer’s Pages Per Minute (PPM) if speed will be a factor in your decision. 

Document Quality

If you need to produce high-quality images often (too often to outsource those jobs), you’ll need to consider quality. Between great quality, great speed, and a great price, you typically get to pick two. 

Paper Size

Do you need to just print out documents on 8.5”x11” or 8.5”x14” paper? If so, you might narrow your search down to an A4 device. They’re typically cheaper and smaller, and they can also be speedy, depending on the model. If you need to produce 11”x17” documents fairly often, you’ll probably want to consider an A3. You can read more about the differences between A3 and A4 machines here.

Efficiency and Waste Reduction

Most companies don’t track their print costs, but wasted supplies and paper add up to between 1 – 3% of your total revenue. Some “inexpensive” machines can use more energy and burn through ink or toner cartridges faster. 

If you’re noticing that print jobs often accumulate in the output tray and end up being thrown away, print software might be something to consider. Other money-saving features like duplex printing and color defaults can further reduce your printing costs when they’re properly set up. 

Finishing Options

Stapling, three-hole punching, binding…this may be a job for a staff member working under a tight deadline, or it could be done quickly and automatically by your printing equipment. Not every organization needs advanced finishing options often, but if you do, finding a machine that can accomplish the task can be a game-changer.

Supply Costs and Type

Some machines burn through cartridges faster, and some cartridges and paper can come at a premium. There are several components that drive your overall print costs, and while doing the match can be a chore, it’s worth it. 

If you’re debating getting a laser printer or an inkjet, you’ll need to explore other factors to select the right one. Generally speaking, inkjet printers produce better quality images, but their ink tends to dry out if you don’t use them often. Laser printers are usually faster and can save you money over time. However, they can be finicky and require special paper.


Do you want a printer/copier that can also scan and fax? If you don’t already have those capabilities or you’re short on space, getting one machine that can serve all of these functions can be a tremendous help. Of course, if it goes down, you could lose your ability to do all of these things at once. 

Equipment size

Devices that are faster, have more features, and can print on larger paper tend to be much bigger. Remember to leave some space for paper trays and a bit more for refilling supplies.  Bigger devices also tend to need more power, so if you’re thinking big, make sure that your area also has the right kind of power and outlet for your device. 

How to Choose the Right Office Printer for My Business

By now, you might be asking if there isn’t an easier way to find the best copier/printer for your business. There is, and we made it! We’ve created a 2-minute questionnaire to narrow your options. 

We’ll help you cut it down, but we can do even better than that. Thanks to our strategic partnerships with the top manufacturers, when you’re ready, we can also help you get the best price.

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Topics: Copiers & Printers