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Learn More About Copiers

What kind of copier do you need?

Personal copier


Ideal for: Home, home office, or small business use. Ideal for people who need to make copies (at moderate speeds) of personal and business records, memos and letters, student papers, and other important documents.

Key features:

  • Copying speeds range from 4 to up to 18 copies per minute (CPM). The more copying you plan to do, the more important CPM speed becomes. Models also vary in first copy out speed — taking anywhere from 9 to up to 22 seconds to produce the first copy.
  • The number of copies that can be made at one time (called multiple copy quantity as a specification) ranges from 1 to 9 for low–end models, to 1–50 for mid–range models, and 1–99 or 100 for high–end models.
  • Cartridge yield starts at approximately 1600 copies per cartridge and moves to 3000, 4000, and as high as 5000. Higher–end models have higher cartridge yields, which equates to a lower cost per page. If you plan to make several copies, opting for a higher yield can save money in the long run.
  • Depending on the model, the method of copying is either electrostatic transfer, or digital. Digital copiers have fewer parts and may require less maintenance and repair.
  • Most models come with an Auto Document Feeder (ADF), which holds and feeds as many as 30 pages at once. Without an ADF, pages must be hand–fed one at a time.
  • Most models can reduce/enlarge copies, either at preset (70%–141%; 50%–200%; 25%–400%) or incremental settings. Reducing a copied image can save on paper by fitting more text onto a page. Enlarging can save on ink or toner by reducing black margins.
  • Paper tray capacity is, depending on the model, 50, 150, 200, 250, 500 or 550. Higher capacities reduce the hassle of refilling the paper tray.
  • Paper handling describes the kinds of copies that can be produced on a personal copier. Depending on the model, this can include only business cards and letters (8.5"x11"), or any one of the following: labels, envelopes, legal–sized (8.5"x14") and executive (11"x17")
  • Copiers that can hold legal–sized paper will list "Original Maximum: 8.5x14 inches" among its specifications.
  • Some models have a bypass tray, which allows copies to be made without lifting the top lid of the copier.
  • Higher–end models may have a collating (sorting), but not a duplexing (two–sided copying) feature. Only some high–end business copiers are capable of duplexing, which saves on copy paper.
Tip: To help prevent copier jams, use copy paper with moisture and curl control.


Business copier


Ideal for: Home office and small to mid–sized business use. Ideal for handling a moderate to heavy load of copying official papers, presentations, reports, and other important documents.

Key features:

  • Offers faster copying speeds than personal copiers, ranging from 13 to up to 20 pages per minute for letter–sized copies, and up to 10 per minute for legal–sized copies. Models also vary in first copy out speed — taking anywhere from 9.6–12 seconds to produce the first copy.
  • The number of copies that can be made at one time (called multiple copy quantity as a specification) is 100.
  • Cartridge yield starts at around 4000 copier per cartridge, and, for the high–end models, as high as 50,000. This is a big distinction between personal and business copiers. If you plan to make several copies, opting for a high–yield business copier can save money over time.
  • Depending on the model, the method of copying is either electrostatic transfer, or digital. Digital copiers have fewer parts and may require less maintenance and repair.
  • Opt for a model with an Auto Document Feeder (ADF), which holds and feeds as many as 30 pages at once. Without an ADF, pages must be hand–fed one at a time.
  • All models can reduce/enlarge copies, either at preset (70%–141%; 50%–200%; 25%–400%) or incremental settings. Reducing a copied image can save on paper by fitting more text onto a page. Enlarging can save on ink or toner by reducing black margins.
  • Paper tray capacity is either 250, 500, 550, or 600. Higher capacities reduce the hassle of refilling the paper tray.
  • Paper handling describes the sizes of copies that can be produced on a business copier. Depending on the model, this can include only business cards and letters (8.5"x11"), or any one of the following: labels, envelopes, legal–sized (8.5"x14") and executive (11"x17")
  • Copiers that can hold legal–sized paper will list "Original Maximum: 8.5x14 inches" among its specifications.
  • Opt for a model with a bypass tray, which allows copies to be made without lifting the top lid of the copier.
  • Some models have a collating (sorting) feature, but only a few have a duplexing (two–sided copying) feature. Duplexing adds to the cost of the copier, but, with high copying volumes, it can save money (and reduce waste) on copying paper.
  • Generally larger and heavier than personal copiers. The largest model weighs 111 pounds and stands around 2–and–a–half feet tall.
Tip: To help prevent copier jams, use copy paper with moisture and curl control.


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