These days, so many machines on the market have multiple purposes that it is rare to find someone solely looking for a copier. But if you are in need of a copy machine for the office, it is important to understand what features you should be looking for to determine the best device for your needs. Here are a few of the primary characteristics:
First, you need to have a grasp of the approximate daily volume of tasks and the pace in which the duplicates need to be made. Based on that information, find a machine that holds an appropriate amount of paper so it won’t have to be restocked multiple times each day. Some small copy machines have a paper capacity of a few hundred sheets while heavy-duty copiers can hold thousands of sheets at one time. Choose wisely – too much is a waste of money but too little is a waste of time.
Many multipurpose machines can print in duplex mode, but many units cannot duplex copy. The difference is, when making copies of two-sided documents, the unit must support duplex scanning as well. Typically a copier with a flatbed scanner will also include an automatic document feeder for duplex copying.
How busy is your office? Do you have customers waiting for copies to be made or deadlines that need to be met daily? Copy speed is essential in time-sensitive environments, especially. Speed is affected by the size of the memory and processor, complexity of documents, paper path (single-pass or multi-pass), and the mode that is set. Inkjet copiers will typically be slower than laser copiers. Be sure you purchase a copy machine that meets your needs in terms of speed – after all, time is money.
Just like with the paper capacity, you have to understand how many copies are made each day and each week. Machines are comprised of many components that will get worn down and require maintenance after so many duplicates. This is reflected in the maximum duty cycle, which is the maximum number of copies that can be made per month, per the manufacturer, without negatively affecting the copier. You want to get a device that has a duty cycle slightly beyond your needs, as the recommended duty cycle is usually much less than the maximum.
Expandability, versatility, affordability. These three things vary in importance depending on your office. If you are a small company with a tight budget, the price tag and cost of maintenance needs to be seriously considered before any choices are made. You may even have to sacrifice some other elements to keep the expense to a minimum. If your office is small but growing, expandability is essential because you can start with a basic model and add features to it, such as memory and paper trays. Versatility encompasses a number of things – functions, finishing options, supported media types, and connections. Do you need a wireless copier? Do you need a copier that can serve as a printer and fax machine also? Do you need to make copies on envelopes and labels as well as standard paper? Do you need a copier that offers stacking, collating or stapling capabilities?
Copy machines are essential to many offices, so be sure you are paying attention to as many factors as possible to ensure you are happy with the device you choose. By being aware of your copying demands and budget, you can make a more informed decision.