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What to Expect for Copy Machine Prices in 2021

Patrick Ritchie

When making a major purchase, the first question most people want to know is, how much will it cost?

If you’re looking to buy an office printer, you can expect to spend anywhere from $500 for a small printer to $100,000+ for a production machine with all the bells and whistles.

I get it… that is not very helpful.

To narrow down the price of printer and copiers in 2021, the real question is not how much a printer costs, but to find out what you’re printing, how much you’re printing and why you’re printing. It also matters whether you will lease or buy, how much you print/copy, which accessories you need, whether you need a service contract and whether toner costs are included in your contract.


Figuring out the total cost of ownership for printing technology is straightforward, but there are several important questions to consider. Here is how to calculate the cost of a printer, copier or MFD.

For a baseline, you can calculate how much you should expect to spend per employee:

  • A typical office worker prints 10,000 sheets of paper per year
  • If you have a partner providing service and managing your print environment, you might pay .015 for each page of black and white or .065 for color prints.

If you are under a managed print program, you can expect to pay roughly $30 per employee per month when you factor in paper costs. Assuming an average employee is printing 70% black and white and 30% color prints.

However, calculating direct printing costs is just one part of the question. The average employee costs approximately $150 annually just for ink and toner. On top of those costs, a common desktop laser printer produces 100 pounds of waste per year. (A recent study by Lexmark found that 17% of everything printed is waste.)

Also, we have found that many of our new customers have way too many devices. Typically, they have a ratio of 4 employees to 1 device. With modern multifunction devices, we can often deliver a ratio closer to 12 to 1 or even better. This is in part because 80% of employees print to a local desktop printer instead of an enterprise workgroup machine, unaware that their desktop printers are up to 12 times more costly.

Leasing a typical office MFP today can cost $10,000 to $15,000, which might sound expensive. But controlling the hidden costs of owning a printer is what will save money in the long run. They can also support many more people and deliver more cost-effective service. By offering more efficient workflows and eliminating redundant machines, managed print can deliver financial savings of up to 30% over buying and maintaining a fleet of printers yourself.


One thing many companies have not considered is that printing technology has become much more powerful and sophisticated in recent years. If your marketing team sends out samples for printing, you might not be aware that it is possible to bring more high-resolution printing jobs in-house.

The good news is that color devices today can deliver production-quality prints without advanced digital printing software, like Fiery controllers.

Color Controllers or other advanced graphics software. The power of devices has increased so much that you don’t need Fiery for many complex jobs. For example, the imagePRESS Lite C165 can deliver high-resolution color images in the form of an office multifunction device. There are even entry level production machines, like the Ricoh C7200X Series, that offer a 5th color which can print Clear, White, Neon Yellow, Neon Pink and Invisible Red Toner.

Another important set of questions is whether you need stapling, punching, folding, or other finishing tools. We find that many organizations buy printers and never know if the machine has capacity for internal or external finishers. You should always ask:

  • Do you need your device to copy, print, scan and/or fax?
  • What add-on accessories will you need? Staple? Hole punch? Security built-in? Booklet folding?
  • Can it handle envelopes? Print on special paper? Make tri-folds?
  • If you need scanning capabilities, what scanning volume do you anticipate? Will scanning be done ad hoc or in bulk? Where is it being scanned to, and what do you do with it from there?
  • Do you need to scan to email, OneDrive, Google Drive or another cloud service?

One exciting new feature of Canon, Ricoh and Lexmark printers in 2021 is that the machines often have built-in cloud printing or offer a cloud printing app which can let users print documents and capture scanned data directly from your mobile device. You should also be able to use your favorite cloud storage services (Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, Google Drive etc.) to access or store scanned documents.


Before buying print technology this year, try to calculate how much each employee prints, what type of prints they need to make and how much you are spending on supplies, recycling services and repair. It might also be useful to find out how much time your IT team is spending on printer issues. Also, find out if your company is sending out print jobs that could be done for less in-house. I wouldn’t be surprised if you found that consolidating on new MFP technology would save you money, time and IT resources.

A managed print program will continuously monitor your devices and alert your MPS provider when a piece of equipment is nearing the end of its life or is in need of repair. In addition to knowing the status of the equipment, you’ll be able to monitor the status of your ink and toner and have it automatically order supplies. Your machines will see reduced downtime and will free up your IT team to focus on more important, in-house projects that are critical to your business.

I hope this has been helpful. We understand that each business has unique printing needs, but if you’re interested in a free, no-obligation consultation on how you can improve your print hardware for a reasonable price, contact us today.

Intro to Managed Print Services Guide CTA

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