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How Much Copier Speed Do You Need?

How Much Copier Speed Do You Need?

by Obi Nwaneri - December 28, 2021

Businesses need to consider copy speed when deciding which copier, or multifunction printer (MFP), to lease or buy. Measured by Pages Per Minute (PPM) or Copies Per Minute (CPM), copy speed must be heavily factored into the purchasing process to ensure businesses select a suitable device that copies fast enough to keep business-critical workflows running smoothly.

Much like an automobile’s horsepower, max copier speed is not always utilized, but it’s nice to have it when needed. On the other hand, do you really need to lease a Corvette when most of your driving occurs within a radius of 10 miles or less on city streets?

Before reviewing other essential factors to consider when selecting and purchasing an MFP or high-quality copier, let’s discuss copy speed guidelines.

Copier Speed Guidelines

At the low end of the spectrum — maxing out between 25 and 35 pages per minute (ppm) — there are quite a few high-quality copiers and multifunction printers that can do much of what their higher-speed counterparts can. They have options available such as automatic document feeders, finishers, and duplex printing. But their relatively low ppm speed is a drawback if your enterprise prints moderately high volumes of copies say more than 8,000–10,000 per month.

From 10,000 to about 30,000 copies per month, businesses should focus on MFPs that deliver at least 40 ppm and as high as 50–75 ppm. This copy speed range gives companies a lot of flexibility if their production volume needs fluctuate significantly.

>> From cost savings to convenience, discover the benefits of implementing  in-house printing for your enterprise.

If a business regularly prints more than 40,000 copies a month, 60 ppm should be sufficient. Even if large print jobs only occur occasionally, it is still good to have the capacity available when you need it. Not only will running a large print job on a low-speed machine take longer, but it will also put more wear and tear on the machine.

Again, these are just basic guidelines. Many factors go into building an optimized and secure print environment for your office's document output needs. So how do you know how much copier speed you really need?

Here are a few questions businesses can ask service providers when comparing copier machines for purchase or lease:

  • Can the machine meet our average copies per minute?
  • Does the copier have various finishing capabilities such as stapling, hole punching, and folding?
  • What is our average monthly volume, and is it higher than the recommended volume for this machine?
  • To meet demand, do I need a device capable of copying a high quantity of pages per minute or multiple devices with slower speeds?
  • Can the speed of the machine handle the peak volume times associated with our business?

Is Faster Copying Always Better?

The ideal copy speed will vary depending on the organization’s needs. Many different copy speeds are available, ranging from about 25 ppm on the low side to over 75 ppm on the high side.

For example, if your organization needs to copy 20,000 documents in a week to meet demand in a timely fashion, then a high-speed copier ranging from 40-75 PPM is recommended. If your organization needs to generate copies at a steady pace of 3,000 per day, then a low-speed MFP with a copy speed ranging from 25-35 PPM is recommended.

>> Need help accessing your print requirements? Request a consultation with an  experienced print specialist. 

3 Additional Factors to Consider When Buying a Multifunction Printer or High-Quality Copier

An MFP or high-quality copier can be a significant investment. However, if chosen correctly, these crucial devices will facilitate a more productive work environment and enable you to keep up with printing demands no matter the volume or intensity of the job at hand.

In addition to copy speed, here are the essential factors to consider during the purchasing process.

1. Cost

Budget is one of the primary considerations when deciding on an MFP. If an organization doesn’t require high-speed copying, then a costly high-performing MFP may not be worth the investment. However, an under-performing MFP with a low CPM can cost even more money in the long run, as running a large print job on a low-speed machine will put more wear and tear on the device, resulting in frequent maintenance and repairs.

2. Quality

Analyzing the print quality requirements of your business is essential and will help narrow down the options when buying or leasing an MFP or copier. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Do you print booklets?
  • Are your enterprise needs mainly rough draft copies for in-house distribution?
  • Will the majority of your prints be one-sided or two?
  • What do you need most, color or black-and-white?

3. Monthly Volume

Your workflow may vary from day to day, even week to week. You may need to produce, say, 30,000 copies per month. But are they needed at a steady pace of 3,000 per day, or about 7,500 per week? Or does your business require a high volume of copies during the last week or even the last day of each month? A low-speed MFP would have no problem with 3,000 copies a day, but it would take a lot longer for the same device to print 20,000 copies compared to a higher-speed MFP.

Businesses need to know their typical monthly print volume to select the appropriate multifunction printer type with the proper duty cycle. A printer’s duty cycle is the absolute number of pages that can be printed or copied per month without breaking down. Misalignment between your typical monthly print volume and a printer’s duty cycle will lead to degraded print quality and a shortened product life span.

>> Use these free DIY tools to calculate your monthly print volume and assess  current printing costs.

Buy or Lease a High-Quality Copier to Satisfy Your Print Needs

High-quality equipment with appropriate copy speed enables businesses to boost productivity and quickly meet demand. Companies interested in increasing the speed of their machines should partner with experienced managed print service providers to implement a top-of-the-line MFP or copier that best fits their printing needs.

Print specialists will start with an assessment of your entire print environment. This assessment will objectively weigh all factors in recommending the best print solution for your business.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on December 8, 2015, and has been updated for accuracy and current best practices.

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