There are many questions to ask when purchasing a small office copier for your business and the most relevant one isn't always, "How much does it cost?"
Copiers can go through ink cartridges rather quickly. Checking the capacity and cost of replacement ink cartridges is a key piece of information to have before making a purchase. Some business supply stores have started to offer generic versions of ink, but by and large many models still require proprietary cartridges that can ultimately add to the bottom line.
Another line of questioning is how fast a unit can print -- i.e. how many pages per minute. The answers can sometimes make a $1,000 laser printer worth the extra money if it can print more rapidly than a $250 ink-jet model.
The added functionality of many of today's copiers also increases their office value. With a fax, scanner and copier typically included, the following units can usually solve a number of issues at once:
Canon Pixma MP780 - $249
Fax, copier, printer, scanner, 25 pages per minute, ink-jet, 300 paper sheet capacity. What's cool: It's small, easy to use, has fast page per-minute stats, and good capacity for a small office.
Samsung SCX 4521 - $299
Fax, copier, printer, scanner, 20 ppm laser, 150 sheet capacity. What's cool: It's small, easy to use, has fast page per-minute stats, and good capacity for a small office.
Canon MultiPASS MP 730 - $349
Fax, copier, printer, scanner 22 ppm ink jet; capacity 150 sheets. Good copy speed. What's cool: The Canon “Think Tank System" claims that it combines individual ink tanks with ink management for lower printing costs.
HP Photosmart 3310 All-in-One - $399
Fax, copier, printer, scanner 32 ppm, ink jet, 120 sheet capacity. Fast copier for the money, good for a midsized office. What's cool: Prints from cameras and memory cards. Scans 35-mm slides and film.
HP OfficeJet 7410 All-in-One - $499
Print, copy, and scan from digital-media cards and PictBridge slots, faxes through your PC's software. What's cool: Prints on both sides of a page, makes legal-size scans and copies, connects to a wired or wireless network, and accepts a stack of pages to copy through its automatic document feeder (ADF).
Brother MFC 8840 DN Multifunction - $599
Fax, copier, printer, scanner, 21 ppm, laser, 550 sheets. Nice capacity, midsized office unit. The laser makes it attractive, albeit a bit slower than the HP. What's cool: Laser print with speedy page per minute stats.
Sharp AL 1661 Multifunction - $599
Fax, copier, printer, scanner, 16 ppm, laser, 250 sheets. What's cool: Electronic Sorting automatically sorts multi-paged documents by scanning them into the copier's memory and then copying them in order.
Brother MFC 9420 - $699
Fax, copier, printer, scanner, 31 ppm, laser, 780 sheets.What's cool: Built-in networking, multiple users can share it for printing, PC Fax sending and scanning over the network, including walk-up copying and faxing.
Panasonic Panafax UF 7000 - $999
Fax Fax, copier, printer, scanner, 15 ppm , laser, 800 sheets. Nice capacity for a midsized office. What's cool: Super fast scanning at less than a second per page and a transmission time of 2.7 seconds.
Xerox Pro 412 Digital Laser - $2,000
Manufacturer's recommend monthly volume is 4,000 pages per month, resolution -- 600 dpi, warm up time -- 10 sec., zoom printable documents from 25-400%, standard/maximum copier memory 16MB. Standard paper capacity 550. What's cool: It's also a fax/printer/copier machine.