How Much Does a Copier Cost?

copier-costIt's the one question asked most often by nearly every customer looking to purchase a new copier.  How much does a copier cost?  It's what we all ask when we're making a large purchase.  And then you hear those two dreaded depends.

"Seriously?", you think.  "I'm sure they're just saying that to make me pay more.  They probably have a price book right there in their briefcase or on their phone or iPad!  Why can't they just tell me?!"

To be honest, we do have price books.  But that price book isn't nearly has helpful right off the bat.  Hear me out.  I promise, we'll share some numbers here for you.

Have You Ever Bought a Car? 

Now I'm sure you're thinking "of course I have!  But what does THAT have to do with buying a copier?"

Let's compare the buying experience.  When you're looking at purchasing a car, you start off by doing your research.  You have a budget in mind and a general idea of what you want.  With that in mind, do you expect to know the exact price before you start looking?

First you have to decide what you're going to use this vehicle for.

  • Are you a contractor who has to transport lots of building materials and tools every day?  A truck or van of some form is likely your target.
  • Are you looking for a car to make an hour long commute each day to work?  You're likely looking for something that's comfortable, reliable, good on gas and maybe has a good sound system.
  • Is it the driving experience you're concerned about?  You likely have something sporty that handles curves like a dream.

Obviously no one vehicle can meet all these needs.  Each one of these options has a different price.  Then come the accessories - sunroof, heated seats, bluetooth, navigation, etc.

Copiers also come in different models and sizes and from different manufacturers.  Some are built to run prints and copies all day long.  Others are ideal for occasional printing and copy requirements.  And what else does it need to do?  Staple?  Print envelopes?  Add covers?  Print on several types of paper?  Bind prints into books or fold them into brochures?  What about sensitive information?  Security is key for many, so do you need a card reader to release your printing or will entering a PIN code be enough?

As you can see, copiers meet different business needs, just like your car.  There are slews of options at various price points.  Defining specifically what you are looking for and what you NEED vs. what you WANT is key to the cost of your device.

You promised some numbers!  Here they come.

With all of this in mind, here's a breakdown of what you can expect a range of color and monochrome (black and white) copiers to cost.  Moving forward, you'll see MFD - that's multifunction device, because now most copiers also print, fax, scan and a whole lot more.  PPM is another acronym - that's pages per minute.  This is the fastest print speed for the device.  We will look at printers and MFDs based on function.

Monochrome and Color Printers (note: just printing - no copies, faxing, etc.) - $300 to $2,500

The size of the printer in this category is generally for individuals or small workgroups.  These monochrome printers can come in a variety of speeds from 30 PPM up to 70 PPM.  Obviously the higher the speed, the higher the cost.  For color printers, the speed range is usually between 30 PPM and 60 PPM.

Black and White MFD/Copier for the Desktop - $400 - $3,500

If you're looking for one device to copy, print, fax and scan with a small footprint, there are many options in this category at a reasonable price.  These devices are good for individuals or small workgroups who have print low volumes.

Color Desktop MFD/Copier - $800 - $4,000

Again, this is a low volume device for an individual or small workgroup.  Color speeds can range upwards to 37 PPM and offer great quality on color prints at a reasonable price.

Office Class MFD/Copier - $3,000 - $15,000

This class of devices are the type that you find in 95% of offices.  They are considered the workhorse of the business and carry the largest volume of copies and prints.  These MFDs are also the scanning mechanism that businesses use to put documents into a variety of applications the business uses everyday.  Many of these MFDs can also perform functions with business apps including scanning to the cloud or email, printing from mobile devices, pull printing and so forth.  Here are some price ranges on popular speeds:

  • Monochrome MFP - 50 PPM:  $3,000 - $8,000
  • Monochrome MFP - 80 PPM:  $7,000 - $12,000
  • Color MFP - 40 PPM:  $4,000 - $9,000
  • Color MFP - 70 PPM:  $8,000 - $15,000

High-Volume MFD/Copier - $20,000+

As businesses grow, more functionality, speed and quality of output grows.  And as such, price grows.  Depending upon your office environment and volume needs, a high-volume MFD may be a solution that suits you.

Adding the Options

Many of the MFDs you look at come standard with some bells and whistles.  But just like with that car you're looking at, there are always add-ons including:

  • Data security - Most MFDs come standard with hard drives.  These hard drives can be a HUGE source of insecurity, because the documents you print, copy, scan and fax are stored on this hard drive.  Some devices have simple security measures standard, but for true protection, data security kits allow you to keep your documents safe with data encryption and hard drive overwrite.
  • Card readers - MFDs hold many sensitive and confidential documents that you don't want in just anyone's hands.  With card readers, many companies incorporate badges they use for building access or time management into their MFD fleet.  The badge and card reader provide a simple method of authentication that allows sensitive and confidential information to stay inside the device until authorized users are ready to print.
  • Application integration - MFDs can integrate with many of the applications you use to help streamline your business' workflow, manage your documents and keep your office secure.
  • Paper trays - MFDs come standard with a few paper inputs, but more often than not, you'll want to add additional paper options to increase paper capacity and allow longer interrupted operation.
  • Finishing options - Most MFDs do not come with finishing options standard.  So if you plan to staple, make booklets, fold or trim your output, you'll have to budget for these add-ons.
  • Output trays - Most MFDs come with one output tray, and that can suffice for many.  But larger output trays allow you to walk away while you run a large print job.

So now what?!  Buying Considerations

So now you're equipped with a whole lot of information on MFDs and printers, so what's the bottom line?  The answer is still "it depends".  But the information below:

  • Total employees - how many employees does your business have, where are they located and what are their responsibilities
  • Total impression volume - basically, how much does your business print and copy
  • Level of scanning - does your business even scan documents?  If so, what is the volume of documents?  Do you do ad hoc scanning or lots of bulk scanning?
  • Applications - what applications are you currently using or plan to use that you will need to work seamlessly with your MFDs?
  • Integration of your current infrastructure - will adding new equipment work seamlessly (with minimal downtime) with what you currently are using to print and copy?  How hard will the ongoing management of the print drivers be with your current IT infrastructure?
  • Workflow and document management needs - ensure your equipment will operate with the software you are currently using or plan to implement
  • Configurations - what add-ons and options will you need to function optimally?

Finally, you have to consider the support and maintenance of your MFDs.  Will your in-house IT staff troubleshoot your MFDs and printers, or will that waste their valuable time they could be using to build and support your business' IT infrastructure and security?  Do you want to have a regular maintenance contract?  Do you want to buy or lease equipment?

Large purchases, whether it be MFDs or cars are never as simple as typing something into Google.  And as with any technology purchase for your business, your MFDs and printers are integral business tools.  Careful consideration needs to be made as to what you wish to accomplish with them.  Once you know the answers to these questions, you're ready to start looking for MFDs that will help your business run efficiently and boost your productivity to optimal levels.

If you're ready to look at options, speaking with one of our Account Executives is your next logical step.  Email us at and we'll get the ball rolling.