Digital Copier Comparison: How to choose the best equipment for you


digital copier comparisonOne of the best ways to purchase a copier is to do a digital copier comparison. But how do you know what to compare? Truth is, most customers don’t know what are the most important things to look for in a copier, which can lead to them purchasing one that doesn’t suit their needs.

I want to help you prevent that from happening by giving you a run down of the top specs you should be looking at when doing a digital copier comparison. From there, you’ll have the information you need to select the machine that’s right for you.

What to Look For in a Digital Copier Comparison

Maintenance Cycles

When comparing copiers, one of the first things you want to look at is how long the consumable items are rated to last. Consumable items include the drum, roller, fuser, and other parts that wear out over time. How long these items are built to last is important because it determines how long you can go between maintenance cycles.

When consumable items wear you you’ll start to experience problems like jamming, lines on the page, and all manner of things that will cause you to call a service provider to get it fixed. Every copier is rated based on how many copies it can produce before needing maintenance. Obviously that means a copier rated for 10,000 copies is going to have a longer maintenance cycle than one rated for 5,000 copies.

A lower maintenance cycle comes with a number of benefits, including:

  • Cost of maintenance: Longer cycles means less money spent on maintenance calls.
  • Cost of service contract: Since less maintenance is required on machines rated for a large number of copies, service contracts can be offered at a lower cost.
  • Less downtime: High volume users will experience less downtime on a machine longer maintenance cycles, which means minimal interruptions in productivity.

However, more isn’t always better. Like everything else, it depends on the individual user. If you’re a low volume user with a machine rated for 5,000 copies, you could go just as long between maintenance cycles as a high volume user with a machine rated for 10,000 copies. So don’t always go for the highest numbers, consider what makes the most economical sense based on how you will be using the machine.

Speed (Copies per Minute)

Speed is the next most important factor to consider when doing a digital copier comparison. A machine that can produce 50 copies per minute is going to get work done faster than a machine that can produce 30 copies per minute. It bears mentioning again that the more copies you produce in a given day has a lot to do with how much this spec will matter to you.

If you produce an average of 10 copies or so per day, speed really isn’t much of a concern for you. If you’re a high volume user then you can get machines that will help you fly through your workload. Some of the highest speed copiers have 150 sheet scanners with double-sided feeders that will go through a stack of copies in no time.

Something to be careful of when doing a digital copier comparison based on speed is how fast the machine can process a new job after being sent from a computer to the copier. Copiers with more RAM and faster processors can start a job in mere seconds, while others may take up 30 seconds before the first copy comes out. Copies per minute is negligible if the machine in question takes longer to get a job started.

For more details about speed, please see our article on how to find the fastest printer.


A digital copier comparison all comes down to maintenance and speed. A machine with longer maintenance cycles will ultimately cost you less money, result in less downtime, and have a longer lifespan. The next most important thing is speed, but in addition to copies per minute also pay attention to specs like RAM and processing speed.  

That’s what I recommend to all my customers when conducting a digital copier comparison, and I trust it will help you as well. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

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