Purchasing the Right Copy Machine for Your Business

Many years back, there was a major difference between copiers and printers. Today, most office printers here in Singapore are multifunctional. A single machine can copy, scan, print, download, fax and even email documents. Other units also offer more advanced features that improves productivity, such as image editing, wireless connectivity, WiFi ready and built-in security features like biometric authentication.

With so much variety of printers and copiers found in the market, shopping for the right printer in Singapore can become daunting. These tips will help you purchase a copier machine by providing you details about the types of copier commonly available and giving you a glimpse of the key features.

Types of Printers
One of the first things you should do is to decide whether to have a back-and-white or colour printer. Once you have decided, start comparing specifications of different copiers, while keeping in mind your needs, budget and office space.

Type of Office
Copiers and printers meant for small offices or home offices are usually in desktop sizes to minimize space consumption. You can find a laser printer for a home office for as low as S$60, but we recommend getting a more reliable one for around S$300. Low-quality ones are meant only for occasional printing and is less likely able to meet your small office’s printing needs.

Large Offices
Office printers are usually table-top size or are freestanding types and are intended for multi-person usage. An office printer like this has the ability to connect to a network and include special features for more efficient scanning, printing, photocopying and faxing documents, as well as an option to print on various paper sizes. Prices of a good office printer from Singapore usually start at S$600 and can go up as high as S$5000.

Production
For a business that performs high-volume printing on a daily basis and requires advanced-level graphic quality, a production printer or a graphic art printer will best suit your operational needs. Production printers vary in prices depending on the specifications, but an entry level graphic art printer in Singapore usually starts at S$6000 and may go above S$30,000 for higher level models.

Printing Volume and Speed
Printing speed is one of the important specs to check out before buying a laser printer. Look for ppm (pages per minute) info in the spec sheet. We recommend to buy printer with a minimum of 50 ppm for small companies.
Scanning

Almost all printers today have built in scanners, but not all have duplex scanning feature or automatic feeder. Automatic feeding on a copier is important if you regularly scan large volumes of documents. Similarly, duplex scanning is important for back-to-back scanning of documents. You may also want to consider the optical resolution of the scanner if you think you will be scanning word documents and images.

Paper Capacity
This is often listed on the spec sheet as ‘cassette’ or ‘tray.’ Make sure to check this feature out to know whether the sizes of paper that the machine can support meet your needs.

Ink
It is advisable to keep in mind how much the ink will cost you over time. Before you buy printer, know first how many sheets you can print out of every cartridge and how much every replacement would cost you. Also, find out if it is possible to use ink refills purchased from a third-party provider.

Memory
Usually, a digital copier has some sort of memory in it, allowing it to retain some scans and documents. A copier’s internal memory is just similar to any computer’s hard drive. Depending on how heavy-duty a copier machine is, the built-in memory can range from 256MB to 1.5GB.

Servicing and Maintenance
Typically, service agreements for copier machines include, drums, toner and maintenance and repair of all parts. This set up ensures to free up employees and office staff from tackling printer’s toner level and maintaining printer’s functionality in the long run. Cleaning blades, rollers and other parts of the copier machine that wear out easily are usually covered.

Common Mistakes When Buying a Printer-Copier

1. Avoiding colour printer because it’s expensive
Many companies and businesses in Singapore avoid buying a copier simply because it is a lot expensive than monochrome machines. When you try to check the price of a monochrome copier and the coloured one side-by-side, the black-and-white one is cheaper. But are you outsourcing colour printer? How often do you need to print coloured documents? If your answer to the first question is yes and you need coloured printing every day, purchasing a colour printer will save you significant amount of money in the long run.

2. Under- or over-buying
Under- or over-buying is a common issue encountered when buying office equipment. How do you ensure you bought a copier machine that’s just right for your business? Do you really need a laser printer or will a carbon printer do? Ask yourself these two questions while you’re on the hunt: “Is it fast enough?” and “Does it have all the functions I need?” If yes, then most certainly it will suit you.

3. Buying a pre-owned unit
For a cheaper option, many establishments buy pre-owned printer. Sure, it can save you money upfront, but think about how it will save you more in the future. The equipment is already used (and probably abused) and may only last you a few years, requiring you to repair or replace with a new one sooner than expected. It can also be hard to find supplies and parts for older printer models. Your best bet for better savings, purchase a brand new one with the features you need.

Shopping for copiers and printers is somewhat like shopping for a new car. Know every car’s key features and find out whether it caters to all your needs.