Copy machine options for home offices

A copy machine is more of a requirement than a luxury for today's home office, especially since advancing technology has resulted in decreasing costs for copiers. Whether the device is a dedicated photocopier or a multifunction machine that includes fax, print and scan capabilities, copiers have a positive impact on home office productivity.

Types of Photocopiers

There are a number of different photocopier categories that can serve in a home office environment, including:

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  • Desktop copiers, also known as a personal copiers, which are generally small and made for light use
  • Business-grade copiers, which are sturdier and more expensive than desktop copiers
  • Commercial-grade copiers, which are often used in workplaces with heavy copying requirements; these are high-end and generally quite expensive copiers.
  • Inkjet copiers, which are inexpensive to purchase and use ink to produce copies
  • Laser copiers, which use toner to make copiers and print faster than inkjet copiers
  • Color copiers, which can produce colored output rather than just black-and-white and are pricier than a black-and-white copier
  • Analog copiers, which are generally less expensive than digital copiers
  • Digital copiers, which can reproduce graphics more clearly than analog copiers and are generally quieter to operate

How to Select the Right Photocopier

There are several factors to evaluate when selecting the right copier for your home office. The first decision is whether to purchase just a copier or a multifunction device, which can serve as a copier, printer, scanner and fax machine all in one unit. While a multifunction device saves space in the office, the downside to owning one is that if it breaks, you lose access to copying, printing, faxing and scanning while it is being repaired.

Other considerations when shopping for a home office copier include:

  • Capacity: Estimate how many copies you make each month, and make sure the copier selected can handle that load.
  • Speed: If you frequently have large print jobs, a copier with a faster speed (measured in copies per minute, or CPM) is advantageous.
  • Consumables: Inkjet cartridges, over time, are pricier than laser toner cartridges, so weigh the initial cost versus the long-term costs when deciding on the right copier.
  • Automatic Document Feeder (ADF): This feature can save time when you are copying documents with multiple pages.
  • Paper Sources: If your business copying requires the use of different types of paper, a copier with multiple paper trays can be a timesaver.

Other Copying Devices

Depending on the nature of the home business, additional copying requirements can dictate the need for a CD copier or DVD copier. Often, these copying abilities are available on higher-end computers, so a separate device is not required. However, external CD/DVD copiers can provide greater speed and capacity, so if you do a lot of copying, you may want to invest in one.