Choosing a Home Office Copier

If you already have a home office printer, you may not need a copier at all. You simply print a few extra pages and you are done. However, for larger volumes, and in particular for copying documents that you did not create, a photocopier is indispensable. However, with so many types and brands on the market, choosing a home office copier can prove a difficult task.

Cost is a constraint for every business. For a plain black-and-white desktop copier you might outlay as little as fifty dollars. Larger color models may be as high as a few thousand dollars. However, be sure to consider the long-term costs, not just the initial purchase price. Lack of reliability increases downtime and repair costs that may have to be paid for.

Home Office Copier and PrinterBefore you can even think about the price, though, you have to decide which type of home office copier best suits your needs. To that end, there are three basic choices of desktop, stand-alone or multi-function.

Desktop Copiers

A desktop copier is about the size of a personal printer. Some personal printers have the facility to copy as well. Depending on the model, it may be single sheet feed or have a capacity of only a few pages. How much time do you want to spend feeding the copier? That depends on whether you copy a page occasionally, or feed the machine often. You will generally pay more for a larger capacity.

Desktop copiers also have a smaller output capacity, in terms of both speed and expected life span. In other words, they take longer to make an individual copy and they wear out sooner than larger models. That may suit you fine if your needs are small.

Stand-alone Copiers

A larger or stand-alone copier often has a moving platen. That means that the copier does not simply scan the page where you placed it and spit out the copy. It moves the original through the machine. More parts that are moving can lead to more repairs, depending on the reliability of the machine.

Nevertheless, the risk of increased repairs is offset to some extent by the greatly expanded feature set of larger copier models.

They can typically copy much faster. A desktop copier may take as long as half a minute to copy a single page whereas a larger model might do the same job in a fraction of the time.

In addition, larger models are able to produce many more copies more conveniently. A desktop copier will typically make no more than thirty copies or so before it has to be either filled with paper or emptied. A larger model will hold several hundred sheets and output almost as many before it requires attendance.

Check the monthly duty cycle and compare the rated outputs. This number is the expected maximum number of copies made per month. It is related to the odds of the machine breaking down or wearing out sooner. Exceeding the rated output ups the odds of the copier requiring maintenance or replacement sooner rather than later.

Other features can be important, as well, depending on the type of copying required.

Is the ability to collate important

That allows the copier to output multiple sets in the proper order when fed a multiple-page document.

Is duplexing needed

That is the ability to copy both sides in one pass without manually moving the input page or turning over the copied pages in the hopper.

How important is it to be able to use different sizes or types of paper

You may need to copy legal-sized documents, photos at high quality or more.

In the end, consider also the hassle factor. The annoyance, not to mention lost productivity, of having an unreliable home office copier often far outweighs the money spent. Think ahead about which one to get, so you can get one you do not have to think about afterwards.

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