In spite of the move towards digital media and digital communications, the humble photocopier is still an essential piece of equipment in most offices. Getting the right photocopier for your company's present and future needs is vital to administrative success.
To help you make the right choice, we’ve detailed the 15 key questions you’ll need to ask yourself when trying to choose the right photocopier.
Choosing a Photocopier – The 15 Key Questions To Ask
Here are 15 questions to ask when looking for a quote:
1. Standalone or Networked?
Back in the good old days, standalone photocopiers were the only option. To use them, staff had to physically walk over to the photocopier with the document they wanted to copy and make their printing choices directly on the photocopier itself. Then, photocopiers were enhanced with
networking capabilities, which meant they could be used as giant office printers, accepting printing instructions directly from people's computers.
While this may be an attractive option for many companies, keep in mind that the easier it is for people to print, the more they may be tempted to print out unnecessary documents.
It is essential to assess the volume of copying that you require each month, as this is a major pricing factor. Your photocopier must be able to withstand all your copying needs in order to keep up with the pace of your business. However, power comes at a price so avoid buying a machine that is significantly more powerful than required.
Where space and budget allows, it may be better to have two lower specification photocopiers to share the work, so that there is less likelihood of being left without any photocopier at all if one malfunctions.
A professional photocopier can drastically increase the efficiency for your company. The more advanced models have plenty of nifty features that will save you time and therefore also money.
In the case-study below we speak to a Postal Manager, Eleanor, who explains the benefits she saw when her company upgraded to a more advanced, high volume photocopier.
Speed is closely related to volume in the sense that the more documents need to be printed, the quicker the photocopier needs to work in order to avoid queues building up for the machine.
4. Colour or Mono?
While colour photocopiers only carry a small upfront cost compared to black and white ones, there is a significant difference in the price of the ink. It may be tempting to choose a colour photocopier to be on the safe side, but if the bulk of your printing requirements relate to standard typed office documents, then it may be more economical to choose a black and white copier and deal with occasional colour requirements by outsourcing.
5. Paper Size?
If printing requirements often extend to the use of larger paper sizes (A3 upwards), then there are photocopiers that can manage this. If, on the other hand, the majority of the printing is done on A4, then an A4 only photocopier may be a more affordable choice.
▶ Read more: Cost of hiring an A3 laser printer
Photocopiers are essentially combined scanners and printers. Some photocopiers, like those with networking capabilities, can be used as high volume scanners. This can be very useful for companies that receive a lot of paper documentation, which they need to convert to digital form.
Like the cheque, the fax is a system which ought to have disappeared but hasn't. Given that they are still required for occasional use in many offices, it may be useful to choose a photocopier with inbuilt fax capabilities instead of giving up space to a separate fax machine.
On a similar note, old fashioned overhead projectors are still a feature of many academic institutions, as well as some offices, and they are still perfectly capable of making information visible to a crowd without the need for laptops or computing equipment being installed. Equally, there are still old transparencies (see-through acetate upon which content can be written) lurking in the archives of various institutions, which will have to be transferred to a modern format while they are still legible. If you fall into this category, check with your supplier about this feature.
9. Paper Trays?
The more paper trays a photocopier has, the less often it needs to be refilled. The downside of this is that the trays add bulk to the photocopier, which may make it harder to find a space for it.
10. Automatic Document Feeder?
Automatic document feeders (ADFs) allow users to leave a stack of paper on top of the photocopier and come back to a pile of photocopied documents. While this may seem attractive, it should be noted that staff need to put paper on the photocopier the right way for this to work. Otherwise they'll come back either to a pile of blank sheets, which can be recycled for further copying, or sheets with the wrong information on them.
11. Double Sided Printing?
This can be a great way of saving money. Photocopiers with this option can often take documents printed on one side and create copies where the printing is on both sides. This feature is becoming increasingly common and is an effective way of cutting the cost of paper and increasing environmental consciousness in the office.
This is a useful feature for people who need to print out booklets on a regular basis. The sort function means that the photocopier will automatically arrange its output so that it can be picked up and read straight away without having to be reorganised. In other words, if 10 copies of a 5 page document are requested, the photocopier will output pages 1 to 5 ten times, rather than creating 10 copies of page 1, followed by 10 copies of page 2 and so on.
This is a common feature of photocopiers that support sorting, and is usually found in higher volume models. Stapling is a great time saving feature that helps to produce ready-made documents.
14. Hole Punching?
If your business creates significant amounts of documents for ring binders, then hole punching can be a substantial time saving option to have in your photocopier. While this may increase the upfront cost, it will encourage people to put their documents straight into binders, rather than leaving them about the office or piled into unorganized stacks.
15. After Sales Support?
As well as choosing the right photocopier with the right features, it is important to ensure that there will be support available if there is ever any problem with it. In particular, you should understand how to report faults to your maintenance supplier and the process by which they will solve them. This usually requires a monthly maintenance fee, so check to make sure how much you will pay, and how quickly they can be available.
▶ Read more: Cost of a copier service agreement
If you are interested in hearing about photocopier prices or buying or leasing one for your business, then fill out the form at the top of this page and Expert Market will match you with a select group of excellent suppliers. Or you can read our photocopier rental guide for more information about leasing a copier.