If you're looking for the best digital copiers, then you've come to the right place, as on this page we've ranked the best photocopiers money can buy.
There are plenty of reasons why you'd want the best digital copier your budget will allow. Modern offices will find plenty of reasons to use a fast and dependable photocopier. On this page, we'll list the best standalone digital copiers, as well as affordable and convenient multifunction printers (MFPs), which combine printing and scanning functionality in one device and slash the cost of producing printouts using inkjet or laser technologies.
In the past, MFPS had a bit of a bad reputation as a 'jack of all trades', but they have made significant improvements both in terms of quality, value for money and onboard features.
From usage tracking to improve security, auto duplex, mobile and wireless printing or digital touchscreen display, there's now a flurry of options available on the market, for the occasional printout and mailing to digital agencies.
As a staple of most small businesses and offices around the country, multifunction copiers (MFC) have helped companies send, receive, print and duplicate documents for decades. Since these machines take up important real estate in your office, it's important to consider not just its size and weight. Still, how proficient the copier is at its job when it comes to print speeds, copy and print resolutions, and overall usability. After considering products from 10 of the world's top MFC manufacturers, we compared each device's functionality, price and ease of use to determine our best picks.
Frequently Asked Questions
A process somewhat similar to that used in xerography is electrostatic copying. Light striking the copy paper removes negative charges placed by the charged bar, leaving charged sections that correspond to the absence of light, that is, the dark places on the original document.
Sometimes copiers can produce false error codes. Reset the machine by simply turning it off and then back on using the main power switch usually located inside the front door in the lower left-hand corner.
Photocopiers work on the principle that 'opposites attract'. Toner is a powder that is used to create the printed text and images on paper. ... The toner is melted and bonded to the paper using heat and pressure rollers. Then, finally, your photocopied document comes out of the copier.
How It Works
Xerox machines work with the process of xerography which is based on the principle that certain material can retain an electrostatic imprint of a brightly lit image.
When one uses it, an original document is placed above the glass which is then scanned and drained in bright light. Many particles of which bounce off the paper through a lens onto a coated cylindrical drum.
The coating of the drum gets electro-statically charged when the mirror image of the document falls on it. Then the drum rotates, and the fine black ink particles called toner to get attracted to the charged area of the drum.
This charged area gets printed on the paper when a heat roller fuses the toner from the drum onto the paper reproducing the original image.
Things to Consider
As with every product, educating yourself on the topic and knowing what to look out for saves money and makes sure that you get something that suits your needs best. It's the same with photocopy machines, and the only difference is that you'll be choosing what's best for your office and business.
There are several things to look out for, some are more important than the others, but generally, we'll mention the five that usually have the highest priority. Since other people will use the machine, it's also a good idea to check if the photocopy machine is easy and simple to use with controls that everyone can understand easily.
Also, check out the size as well because depending on your office, the photocopy machine could be too big. At any rate, here's what you should look out for.
One of the most important things, copy speed, determines how fast the photocopy machine will finish copying a page. It's "measured" by pages per minute, and generally, mid-range photocopiers for small businesses have a copy speed of around 30 pages per minute.
Naturally, the higher, the better, but if you don't have that many people that will use the machine, you might save some money by picking a slower copying machine.
Copy or print volume is something you should take special attention to since this is entirely dependent on your office space and workforce. You see, photocopy machines are designed around how many pages can they print per month, before toner changes and the like.
So, it's important to know how much use the machine will have in a month, and according to that number, you should pick a machine that can process that much.
Different machines have different scanner features, so it's a good idea to check what abilities the scanner has. For instance, if the photocopier has a network capability, it can scan directly to your desktop. As mentioned, scanner features vary, so check out what those are to see if they are relevant to you, as some can improve your workforce.
Features and functions
Modern photocopy machines come with various functions besides the actual photocopying. They can fax, print, copy, scan, and can even have network capability, which speeds up the workforce productivity.
These are more basic features and are practically an integral part of majority photocopy machines, but it's still a good idea to check what they have.
As small businesses can't afford to spend too much, the cost of a photocopy machine might be the most important part when purchasing. Still, there are decent photocopiers you can buy that are affordable, and it will depend on your business needs, but the truth is, it all comes down to your budget so plan accordingly.
You should look out for all of these things with special consideration, but checking the reviews and getting more details is always a good idea too.
What is the price of a digital copier?
The cost of acquiring a printer can be dwarfed by the cost of purchasing the consumables - the toner or ink, but also the paper, the drum, transfer/fuser kit - and the cost of the warranty plans or after-sale services. And because you are likely to have one copier embedded within a group in an office or a business, downtime can prove costly and counterproductive.
Enlisting the help of a managed print service provider (MPS) can simplify the technicalities associated with operating a copier, especially in bigger businesses, as they take care of the lifecycle of the printer including its disposal at the end of life. Like a car lease, you will usually not own the printer after the lease ends (up to five years) and can usually pay a fixed fee for the printer plus an agreed cost per page.
The best digital copiers
Below are the top digital copiers that target small and midsized businesses and generally enterprises below 1,000 employees based on the manufacturer specifications sheet and the suggested retail price at the time of writing.
Xerox VersaLink C405
The Xerox Versalink C405 is our pick as the best multifunction copier for small businesses. With a highly dependable track record, speedy job times, and affordable price point at just under $700, this nimble all-in-one device can simultaneously work in the cloud while remaining a secure endpoint in your business infrastructure.
Built specifically for workgroups of up to 10 users, the Xerox VersaLink C405 is currently available for $699, making it one of the most affordable copiers we examined. As a result of its relatively affordable price tag, Xerox does not offer leasing. The machine comes with a one-year service warranty (with annual onsite service) and is eligible for free service coverage with Xerox eConcierge. Additional extended warranties are available from Xerox.
Brother MFC-J6545DW INKvestment Tank
The Brother MFC-J6545DW INKvestment Tank multifunction copier is a supremely affordable machine that can handle pages up to 11 x 17 inches and offer high-resolution prints in a compact unit. Coupled with how easy it is to use and its high-yield ink cartridges, this copier from Brother is an easy choice for small businesses looking to add a copier to the mix without breaking the bank.
As far as business copiers go, prices can start modest and end up skyrocketing into the tens of thousands of dollars depending on your needs. With an MSRP of $279.99, the Brother MFC-J6545DW is by far the most affordable multifunction copier on our list. Due to the remarkably low cost of this device, Brother does not offer a leasing option, though considering its cost per page comes to pennies on the dollar, that shouldn't be a problem. The MFC comes with a two-year limited warranty with free Brother-At-Your-Side support for the life of the device.
As tech companies continue to ensure that as wide a range of consumers can use their products as possible, features found on the Sharp MX-C304W, like the hands-free functionality and possible Braille kit add-on for the touch screen, allow all workers to handle various day-to-day tasks.
As part of Sharp's Advanced Series, the MX-C304W is a desktop colour document system that can be customized to suit your business's needs and the needs of your workers. Due to its highly customizable nature, you'll need to obtain a price quote from one of Sharp's authorized agents. After speaking with a company rep, Sharp estimated that the machine would cost $5,375, though additional add-ons could increase that price. If that initial price tag comes as a shock, Sharp offers a lease through their dealers. The manufacturer also offers a 90-day warranty to the customer.
If your small business relies on the fast and consistent flow of documents, a high-duty MFC is likely a worthwhile investment. After considering several models that fit the high-duty mould, we found that the Toshiba e-STUDIO8518A offered the highest output among its competitors, and had a feature set and price tag to match.
At first glance, the 8515A is instantly recognizable as a business-grade MFC. Coming in at 38 x 29 x 48 inches and weighing 430 lbs., this machine is one of the larger models within its group. And with a price tag of $46,680, it's also one of the most expensive machines we considered. Businesses looking to purchase the 8515A can abate the sticker shock by leasing it.
When it comes to pricing out a copier for your office, you need to consider what features you need. Though most MFCs function the same, there are many product lines with varying degrees of functionality. That level of stratification within the copier market means that prices can vary wildly from one machine to another. It's also important to keep in mind other, ongoing costs, including extended service and warranty plans.
Through our information-gathering efforts, we found models that cost as low as $300 for the more budget offerings, while the more high-end machines ran as high as $50,000. While the machines on the higher end had significantly more complex feature sets with a focus on serving niche businesses, many manufacturers offer a lease option to ease the sticker shock.
Ink, Toner and Paper Will Add to Operating Costs
It makes sense that the initial cost of a copier is what commands your attention, but you also need to consider the overall operating costs. As a business owner, you will need to maintain paper and ink supplies regardless of whether the device uses inkjet cartridges or toner.
Replacement ink cartridges come with high price tags, so replacing them on a scale will cost you. Toner tends to last longer but is largely used for monochrome printing only. Some copiers have built-in ink reservoirs that manufacturers say reduce ink costs since you only need to buy bottles of ink rather than replacement cartridges, and the ink lasts longer. Whether that's a feature you need will depend largely on how often you and your employees rely on the machine.
Remember the Additional Costs
Along with traditional operating costs associated with MFCs, consider the extra costs that come with operating such a machine. Sunk costs that come from poorly constructed or prohibitively slow machines take a toll on a business. It's for that reason that you want to avoid purchasing the cheapest machine; rather, go for the one that fits your budget and can provide the best functionality.
Low-cost machines that seem inexpensive and appear like a benefit can cause problems later. Similarly, factors like copy speed can help or hinder worker productivity and collaboration from an operational perspective. Memory capacity is another factor since higher memory means the machine will be faster at processing each job.
It's just practical business sense to conduct a cost-benefit analysis before committing to a specific copier. For a copier that will serve as the workhorse for many employees, speed may be the top deciding factor. For design-centric businesses, such as ad agencies or architectural firms, ink cost and image quality are more important. Or perhaps a colour copier won't fulfil your needs, in which case, you might need a wide-format printer.
Contracts and Customer Service
While you can buy a copier for your business outright, some models have rather large price tags. In those instances, it may be best to lease the machine and add its monthly cost as an operating expense. Known as "managed print" in the printing world, leasing has become a more popular option, since newer models with more advanced features frequently enter the market, pushing even modern machines closer to obsolescence.
Capital leases allow you to claim the machine a business asset, and operating leases permit you to mark the machine as an operating expense. Managed print services generally bundle things like ink or toner, paper and maintenance, into a monthly cost. Most leasing agreements last between three and five years, which is just enough time to consider upgrading to a new machine if you need to.
While leasing may be an attractive option, it comes with some downsides. You may not need to make a large down payment on the copier, but you will pay interest on it, which increases your overall costs.
Conversely, you can keep the copier for as long as you want if you buy it outright, potentially resulting in overall savings, if you own it for a long time and don't feel the need to upgrade every few years. Buying outright also means you're not tied down to a multiyear contract, allowing you some more flexibility in your decision-making.
The decision to purchase or lease a copier depends on your cash flow situation and which option benefits you the most in terms of maintenance and service, features, accessories, and supplies.
Depending on how you obtain the machine, you may not have to worry about repair and maintenance costs at all. Most leases include some regular maintenance within their terms. In some cases, however, an additional extended warranty or service agreement will be offered for an added cost. What's covered under those plans can vary from one manufacturer to another, so you may be left holding the bag for any repair costs that fall outside of the agreement's terms.
Types of Digital Copiers
Monochrome digital copier
These are one of the most inexpensive types of copiers available in the market that provide black and white prints. They provide basic copying, faxing and scanning function without any advanced graphics-editing capabilities. Mono-digital copiers are best suited for small-scale businesses.
Digital Color Copier
Digital colour copiers can reproduce high-resolution copies of a wide range of materials. These copiers are suitable for creating multicolour brochures, pamphlets and presentations and have resolution range from 600 x 600 dpi to 2,400 x 600 dpi, the average speed of 40 to 90 ppm and a paper capacity of 1000 sheets in the tray and 500 to 1500 sheets in a backup cassette.
These are sleek and lightweight desktop models that are suitable for small businesses and home offices. These copiers have basic functionalities such as print, scan and fax and have a resolution from 300 x 300 dpi to 1,200 x 600 dpi and output speeds of 19 to 30 ppm.
This is one of the most popular models today that is widely used by businesses that eliminate unnecessary types of equipment. These models include print, scan and fax function and have a wide range of communication options.
Xerox/photocopy machines are really useful devices. And it is probably a mandatory thing in any office or business outlet. With home offices on the rise, one can use it at home with ease thanks to the convenience it offers. It is perfect for day to day use and capable of doing multiple jobs at the same time. So, if you are looking for one, you should be aware of its features, quality, price, operating cost and usability.