Most companies only need black and white photocopiers, in general for internal use. In some cases, however, more elaborate machines which can also process colour documents are necessary. Printing and copying flyers, brochures and marketing material call for the use of colour copiers. These units are usually more expensive, so choosing the right technology and finding the best price are essential.
Features and functionalities
Modern photocopiers are most of the time multi-function printers (MFPs) which can scan and print documents as well as copy them. Two technologies exist: inkjet or laser. Laser units are at the higher-end of the price range, but the toner they use is considerably cheaper than ink cartridges. Depending on the size of your business or the volume and quality of work that needs to be done, the choice of your colour copier is crucial.
Standalone or desktop?
Desktop copiers are perfect for home users, or small offices. They fit on any desk or counter, can scan, print and copy in black and white or colour, and are simple to operate from a computer. They’re also cheap, and toner or ink refills are affordable. However, ink-jet cartridges tend to run out quickly, some colours more than others. They’re appropriate for small volumes of average-quality colour prints. Standalone MFPs are heavier and more cumbersome, and of course more expensive. They mostly use laser technology. They’re suitable for larger companies processing important volumes of documents, and some high-end machines are totally appropriate for copy professionals thanks to their high resolution and elaborate features.
Speed and volume
While entry-level MFPs are able to process between 20 and 30 pages per minute, a mid-range freestanding unit will have a 40-50 page-per-minute output, which is enough for most uses. Professional photocopiers can process 100 pages per minute, but they cost a lot and must be reserved for specific companies. In addition to speed, the paper tray volume is another important point. As a matter of fact, frequent paper refills will take time and impair your staff’s workflow. Connecting a photocopier to the company’s network generally increases volume by 20-30%, so it’s better to overestimate your needs than the contrary.
If you intend to use your colour copier for such jobs as printing brochures or promotional material, finishing tools such as staplers or document folders might be necessary. Likewise, built-in fax machines and internet connectivity are appreciated features. All these options obviously have an impact on the overall cost, as they’re rarely available on entry-level models.
Finding your colour copier at the right price
You really need to pinpoint your needs before purchasing a colour copier. If it’s too small and slow, it will not fulfil its role properly. On the contrary, if it’s too complicated or equipped with unnecessary features, staff may need a long and costly training period, which is a waste of time and money. However, other options than outright purchase exist, reducing prices and improving services.
Renting and leasing
By paying for your copier in monthly or quarterly instalments, the financial impact will be greatly reduced. For example, a £1,000 MFP paid for through a 5-year lease purchase contract will only cost you around £20 per month, and you will own it when the contract expires. Renting is perfect for occasional uses. In general, service and maintenance are included in rental or lease fees.
Indicative colour copier prices
Desktop models start at £150 or so, but refurbished second-hand units will be even cheaper. In general, standalone MFPs cost between £2,500 and £4,500, and are versatile suitable for most companies. High-end professional machines start at around £20,000, and can reach above £100,000.