Printers vs. Copiers: Am I the Only One?

Malachi Crane Author: Malachi Crane Read Time: 3 min

A commonality in the print and copy industry is a misunderstanding of the difference between a printer and copier. You may ask yourself: “Which do I need? What are the differences? How do I know what machine will best suit my needs? Am I the only one with these questions?” Fear not. We’re here to answer your questions about the subtle and major differences between the everyday printer and multifunction device, as well as alleviating your worries of which may be right for you.

Your Everyday Printer

Generally, when someone talks about a printer, they are referring to a desktop device with the primary purpose of printing. These devices solely print pages with black and white or occasional colored ink; they don’t scan, make copies or staple. People often receive a printer with the purchase of a computer or purchase one at the store when their current device is outdated. They’re generally easy to purchase and use. The biggest downside with these store-bought, consumer-grade printers is they are generally meant to be disposable which is why the cost of replacement toner is often more expensive than a new printer.

These devices can vary in quality, making consideration of what you will be printing extremely important. If you’re planning to print detailed images, you’ll want to ensure the device will print at a desired quality. These basic printers often cost less than the devices that offer more functionality or less than a commercial grade printer that you can purchase and have professionally serviced by a managed print provider.

Copiers & Multifunction Devices

A number of industries that we work with require a higher range of capabilities. Examples include those with high printing volumes or the need to print documents larger than 8.5” x 11” paper. Additionally, some companies need faster printing speed with options such as stapling and three-hole punching. The devices that meet these needs are considered copiers. While they generally have a higher price tag, they offer a variety of added benefits.

Here’s where the topic can become a bit confusing; copiers are not always free-standing, as many would think. These units can often occupy space on a desk top, saving floor space if the needed machine is small enough to do so. In the print and copy industry, these desktop machines are typically referred to as multi-function devices (MFDs). They are functional, compact and a great fit for many organizations’ needs. The key difference between these smaller MFDs and a larger traditional copier is the need for 11” x 17” paper and/or high volume needs.

How to Choose What’s Best for You

Companies often think they have the right machines to accomplish the work set before them. However, what we often find is that people have been sold larger machines than they need or alternatively have only a few desktop printers and could benefit from a multifunction device.

Finding the perfect machines for your own business may seem like a daunting task. The best way to determine what your organization needs is by connecting with a Managed Print provider that has the ability to assess your existing print environment and discuss potential need fulfillment. This can ensure that you have the proper equipment both today and for future growth in your business.

If you’re interested in a free print assessment, we would gladly meet with you to discuss the environment and needs that your business has and determine the appropriate solution. Reach out to the print experts today.

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