We might live in the digital era, but many offices still rely on printed documents to run their businesses daily. If you’re a budding business, you must get the proper equipment to meet your documentation needs; but do you need a printer, a copier, or both? Keep reading to learn the differences between copiers and business printers in Anchorage, AK, and whether or not you need to have both in your office.
Obviously, printers and copiers are intended to do different things—and their intended functions are right there in their names. A printer will create a physical copy of a digital document that’s on your computer. At the same time, a copier takes an existing physical copy, scans an image of it, and reproduces that image as many times as needed. While a printer can obviously print off multiple copies of a single digital document, it can’t reproduce an existing physical document. As you can imagine, both of these functions can be quite useful in an office, and which functions you need will determine which of these you need to get for your business.
It’s worth noting that printers and copiers tend to have different stats regarding their speed. Printers can print off over 40 pages per minute, while copiers tend to max out at 35. This is simply because a copier performs two tasks: capturing an image and creating a replica. A printer has the instructions for the document it’s creating sent directly to it by your computer so that it can send those pages out a bit more quickly. While speed generally won’t impact which of these machines you need most, it’s still something to be aware of and important to remember when comparing the two options.
Generally speaking, a standalone copy machine is actually quite large. It’s not usually intended to be an at-home piece of equipment but rather is designed for use in an office setting. These large machines are often dedicated to an entire room, where businesses will keep copy supplies on hand alongside the machine itself. Printers, on the other hand, can vary in size. While very large, multifunction printers are available (we’ll discuss those in a moment), most standalone printers are much smaller. They’re designed to be set on a desktop or nearby shelf, providing easy access to the printed documents while taking up a minimum amount of space.
If the space in your office is severely limited, this might be a consideration for you when you’re choosing between a printer and a copier. For businesses that don’t anticipate needing to make copies regularly and don’t have the room to accommodate a large copier, a couple of small desktop printers might be all you need to keep your office running smoothly.
Initially, copiers were created as an alternative to printers, which (at the time) were very expensive and very slow to produce the pages you needed. Copier provided a cheaper, faster way to create duplicates of an existing document. Now, however, modern technology has made printers highly affordable—so much so that virtually every homeowner in America could probably afford one for their home if they wanted one. Copiers, on the other hand, typically remain an office-based device. Their larger size tends to make them more expensive than standalone printers.
As we’ve established, a copier creates an image of an existing document and replicates it on paper. Because those functions are entirely internal for the copier, it doesn’t necessarily require a connection to a computer. Printers, on the other hand, receive their instructions from a computer, and so they must have a connection to communicate with one. This can be done with a cord, as is common with desktop home printers, or it can be achieved through a Wi-Fi connection. Many modern office printers can now be connected to Wi-Fi, which allows them to communicate with multiple computers within the office, rather than just a single computer, as would be the case with a wired connection.
Now that we’ve thoroughly discussed the differences between copiers and printers, let's talk about the type of machine that’s much more common in the modern office: multifunction devices. As the name implies, multifunction devices (sometimes referred to as MFDs) perform multiple functions; they can do the job of a printer and a copier, as well as the job of a scanner. Many MFDs can also have other functions built into them to make them even more efficient as a piece of office equipment.
Multifunction devices exist in both small desktop versions and large, industrial versions. The smaller models are typically slower at all three primary functions (printing, copying, and scanning) than the larger models. They’re also usually limited by how many devices they can connect to. If you want an MFD that serves your entire office, you should look for a large one that you can set up in a central location for all employees to use. Make sure you have an efficient model, as you don’t want employees left standing in line to use the machine, wasting company time.
The truth is, most modern offices will need all 3 of these functions (and sometimes more) in order to manage all of their documents properly. Printers allow you to provide physical contracts to clients who don’t want digital versions. Copiers let you create duplicates of signed contracts for all parties to keep. Scanners allow you to digitize physical documents to store them in a digital format, making it easier to manage your documents. All these are essential, so most businesses won’t just need a business printer for a business in Anchorage, AK—they’ll need a multifunction device to help them get the job done. Contact Arctic Office Products today to learn more about the machines we have in stock.