At EBS, we are often asked “how much does a printer cost”? The quick answer is anywhere between $50 and $10,000. But that doesn’t tell the whole story.

Printers are the mainstays of offices: enterprise, large, small and home. In this article we are discussing the smaller “desktop” printing devices, also called A4 size printers based on the European letter paper size. They can be a single-function printer or a Multi-Functional Printer (MFP) which can print, scan, copy, and FAX. This article addresses the costs of printers and MFP’s and the features that change the costs.

This is a guide to what the costs would be depending on speed, color, and the number of accessories you add and the brand. If you are looking for information on larger printers, please see the What Does a Copier Cost article.

  • Black & White Desktop MFP $2000 – $3000   
  • Color Desktop MFP $2000 – $4000
Printer Cost

So, in order to get the right printer at the right price, you will need to answer these questions:

Paper

How much do you print in a day, week or month?

Printer

What else would you like your printer to do?

Color

Do you need/want your output in color?

Business

Is this for a large organization, small business or small office/home office (SOHO)?

Money

How will you be paying for this?

How much do you print?

How fast do you want to print? How many people will be using the Printer? We recommend the speed of the device based on the Average Monthly Print Volume or AMPV. This is an actual measurement of your past printing volumes- the more you print the faster a device you will want. Do you have one device for many people (centralized) or many devices for many people (decentralized)? A small office/home office (SOHO) device will cost you less than a printer that can handle multiple users.

Because most office equipment leases range from thirty-six to sixty months, you want to be confident that the desktop printer you select will last the contract term. If you buy your equipment instead of lease, you may keep it even longer. Less volume means you can use a slower, smaller device. Les wear and tear combined with fewer users also means a lower cost.

What else would you like your printer to do?

Just the Fax Please. Do you still fax? There are some industries which require it (medical) and others that have it as part of their legacy workflow (government). FAX is still here and you would rather have it built into your MFP than keep the that old standalone FAX which requires unique power, supplies and support/maintenance agreement. FAX options for MFPs are a relatively cheap desktop printer accessory and ensure you can continue to communicate with customers, constituents, suppliers and those who still use this technology. The cost of a FAX kit for an A4 printer ranges from $200 to about $300.

Makin’ Copies. Do you need to copy or scan)? If so, you will want a Multi-Functional Printer- this is a printer that does a bunch of things like copy/scan/print. The scanner and document feeder will increase the cost of the printer. Scanning and copying is usually not an option but a completely different desktop printer model.

Paper Capacity. Do you like to load paper? Most people don’t. Have you ever noticed that people in an office will avoid going near the device if it needs paper, waiting for someone else to load it? All A4 printers come standard with a nominal paper capacity. So how much paper capacity will you need to minimize fill-ups?  Do you need different sizes and paper types on demand? Paper handling has improved over the years and printers can print on many different stocks, media, envelopes, etc. Be sure you get a device that has the appropriate paper capacity you so you aren’t letting jobs sit while you reload paper or have to manually change paper types for different print jobs. This option can cost anywhere between $200 and $500 depending on capacity.

Printer Bases- Stand Up! Do you plan on placing the printer on a desktop or do you need a stand? Stands are not expensive and can accommodate additional paper inputs.

Do you need/want your output in color or black and white?

Do you see things in black and white? Do you prefer reading color or black and white? Color will affect the acquisition cost of a printer, but the difference between color and black & white is shrinking. Color is more popular nowadays and the lower operating cost makes A4 color printers very attractive. If you are producing printed materials for employees and customers, color improves retention. You can also limit the number of color images printed with a color device. Internal software controls can achieve this at no additional cost. A color desktop printer costs between $200-$500 more than a monochrome printer.

Payment

How would you care to pay for this?

Financing or Buying? Once you have selected your printer and options, you need to decide how you will pay for it. You can pay cash or you can lease. Most people pay cash for desktop printers that cost less than $3000. From a cost perspective, cash is always best as it will cost you less if you don’t have to finance or lease.  Some folks prefer leasing as it saves cash, leverages low interest rates, and eliminates obsolescence. Both methods also have tax advantages.

What factors increase the cost of a coper?

Many things can drive up the cost of an A4 desktop printer:

Speed!

Speed!

The higher the speed, the more expensive the printer. Calculate how fast you need to print and choose the right desktop printer.

Color adds cost

Color adds cost

A desktop printer that prints in color will almost always cost more than an equivalent black and white device. A color A4 printer will have a slightly higher purchase cost, AND a higher cost of operation. Operational costs include repair service, maintenance, toner, and power.

Paper

Paper handling

To operate efficiently, a desktop printer should be able to output reams of paper without end user intervention. More paper capacity means a higher price.

Finishing options

Finishing options

There are a few finishing options available for business class desktop printers. Staple finishers will bind a set of documents in the upper left corner or two on the long or short side of a document.

There are a wide range of costs for desktop printer finishers. A basic office-class stapler can cost around $200.

What Drives the Cost of a Desktop Printer Down?

There are several circumstances where a business needs to pay as little as possible for a device: startup, high growth mode, non-profit, etc. Let’s consider a few of the ways to reduce the cost of an office-class printer.

Used Printers

Another option is a used printer. Many companies offer cheap printers that were traded in or were upgraded and are coming off a lease. This option can save 50% or more vs a new desktop printer; however, keep the following in mind if considering acquiring a cheap used desktop printer:

Technology

When buying a used printer, you may be getting a desktop printer that is at least three years old. Manufacturers change models about every three years so you will not be getting the latest features. While some features may not seem important, they often deal with improved security, lower power consumption, and enhanced functionality which can save a lot of money.

Meter

Like most cars, printers have meters that function like odometers. Used A4 printers with high meters have less value than ones with low meters. Reputable desktop printer dealers will not remarket extremely high meter devices as they generate more service calls.

Higher operating costs

While a used device will cost less, it will most certainly be more expensive to maintain. So your cheap desktop printer may not really be cheap. Newer business class printers operate more efficiently and have fewer service calls than older devices. You can expect to pay around 25% more for a maintenance agreement for a used business class printer versus a new one. You should always put a used desktop printer under a maintenance agreement. This ensures your device will experience maximum uptime and you can more easily control your operating costs.

Higher financing costs

Leases on new equipment are always less than used equipment. Leasing companies assign a residual value to office printers at the end of the lease term and this is how they calculate the lease rate factor. Used printers will be worth less at the end of a lease than a new device- anywhere from 15%-30% less.

Why are Some Printer Dealers More Expensive?

Why are Some Printer Dealers More Expensive

As you research A4 printer costs, you may realize there are substantial cost and price differences between dealers, even for the exact same desktop printer. You may ask yourself why. Here are some possible explanations:

  • Some printer dealers are more expensive because skilled technicians earn higher salaries which equates to higher cost. This will benefit you as a customer in the long run, as a cheap desktop printer will cost you more if it is broken all the time.
  • Many local printer dealerships charge more because of the brand of device they represent. Much like automobiles, some brands command a higher price. An Audi will cost more than a VW. A similarly featured Konica Minolta desktop printer may cost more than a Ricoh. Understand and communicate your device requirements when discussing printer costs with your office equipment dealer.

Why are Some Desktop Printer Dealers Less Expensive?

Why are Some Desktop Printer Dealers Less Expensive?

Much like the question about why some A4 printer dealers are MORE expensive than others, consider this:

  • Some business-class printer dealerships have high turnover of their service technicians so they may have less experienced techs on staff. Less experienced techs can mean they are paid less and may have lower service overhead costs. This is a bad thing for customers, as they may suffer more printer downtime as the less experienced technicians get on the job training. Having a competent local printer repair service is critical.
  • Some office technology dealerships may represent less expensive brands of business class printers. Others may be high volume sellers of printers which means they may have more experience and the efficiency they have developed allows them to charge a lower price.
  • Some less honest printer dealers may be selling a cheap desktop printer as a new device, but it may be refurbished or may be a loaner unit with many prints already on it. Ask your sales rep to tell you about the history of any A4 printer you are proposing to buy.

Choosing the Right Desktop Printer for YOU

While many companies offer quality products, it often comes down to who you buy them from and who will support them. To learn more about how much a printer will cost your organization, fill out the form below and we can provide a no obligation quote so you will know exactly what your office printer will cost.

What happens when you give us your information? Buying an office printer doesn’t have to be a dreaded task, this is an opportunity to improve productivity, security, processes and enjoy a savings. No hassle, no tedious process, no painful negotiating, our team can assist you in person or remotely.

Where does Edwards Business Systems Fit?

We like to think that Edwards Business Systems is a trustworthy dealership. Not too cheap, not too expensive, but just right. We employ experienced, skilled technicians and we pay them a salary that matches their abilities. We provide a quality printer service. We also sell a consistently high volume of desktop printer systems, so we understand our processes and can sell and provide printer repair services very efficiently. We also have some used printers in our inventory and showrooms that are available as more cost-effective options for your printing requirements.

So, if you are interested in learning more about business class desktop printers, please contact us and an experienced member of our team will contact you.

To learn more about how much a printer will cost your organization, fill out the form below and we can provide a no obligation quote. Buying a professional A4 printer need not be a dreaded task, this is an opportunity to improve productivity, security, processes and enjoy a savings.

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