Adding a photocopier to your office setup can drastically change the way you view printing, as it means you no longer need to rely on outside copying services for multiple copies of documents.

In terms of technology, digital machines have replaced older analogue copiers, bringing with them advances in multi-functionality, so you'll now find that it not only copies, but also acts as a printer, scanner and fax machine. As with any other technology, the big names in photocopiers are common enough, with Ricoh, Canon, Toshiba and Samsung being the leading names in the market.

When it comes to choosing a copier, start by assessing your average monthly output, look at the volume of copies produced in-house and outsourced, the number of copier users in the office and the cost of maintenance and copy contracts. You can produce anything from A4 and A5 stapled, saddle-stitched booklets to hole-punched, stapled 50-sheet presentations. Some copiers can print documents on a mixture of paper formats, such as heavier stock for covers and dividing sheets, or coloured paper for specific sections.

Your needs will depend on your current usage. The basic office copier can produce single-sided copies at speed – ideal for copying invoices, contracts and letters. If your staff print a large number of reports then consider a duplex facility, which means printing both sides.

Features your business photocopier needs

Copy speed
Just like anything else in business, time is money – so opting for a photocopier that delivers fast copies is vital. Copy Speed is often represented in pages per minute (ppm). With a networked copier shared you should be looking for a device that can easily handle 20 – 40 pages per minute.

Network functions
Your new photocopier is a major investment so needs to be accessed by as many people as possible, which means having it attached to the company network. Once your copier is networked to your business’ internal IT system, they immediately open up a cost-effective alternative to standalone printers, faxes and scanners.

Most modern copiers now also act as a printer too, saving on space and additional expense. In order to make this a reality your copier will need to be set up on the company network and employees given usage privileges.

Security is another feature that you pay for: models can now clean their own hard drive on a daily basis, or more frequently, so that there is no record or data on confidential documents that have been copied.

Scanning and faxing
As the latest breed of photocopiers for business now offer additional functionality, you should be considering using it as a scanner and fax machine. The benefits here are huge, as scanned documents can be emailed to clients, eliminating the need for fax.

Paper capacity
There is no point having an office-shared copier if it is always running out of paper, so choose a machine that suits your business. Low volume offices can get by with a unit that comes with a paper draw that holds up to 500 pages but we recommend opting for a 1,000-sheet paper capacity machine. It's also worth considering whether your business needs multiple paper sizes, so opting for a multi-drawer copier. 

Top five photocopiers for business

Ricoh Aficio MP C2551AD
Offering excellent value for money, the Ricoh Aficio is productive, flexible and highly compact, and also happens to be customisable to grow with your business needs.
Price: £3595
Copy Speed: 20ppm
Resolution: 600dpi
Paper Size: A6 – A3
Paper Input: 2 x 250 sheets 
Network: Yes
Dimensions: 587 x 655 x 845mm
Contact: Ricoh UK

Ricoh Aficio MP C5501
With a host of features, including single pass duplex, high-speed colour printing at up to 55 pages per minute and a short warm-up time, the MP C5501 can significantly enhance your workflow.
Price: £6285
Copy Speed: 55ppm
Resolution: 600dpi
Paper Size: A6 – A3
Paper Input: 2 x 550
Network: Yes
Dimensions: 670 x 677 x 760mm
Contact: Ricoh UK

Canon iR6570
Providing the ideal blend of high volume productivity and walk-up operability, the iR6570 gives users the ability to capture, create and communicate critical information at network speed.
Price: £4475
Copy Speed: 55ppm
Resolution: 600dpi
Paper Size: A6 – A3
Paper Input: 2 x 1550
Network: Yes
Dimensions: 643 x 743 x 1192 mm
Contact: Canon UK

Samsung CLX 8380ND
The Samsung CLX 8380ND comes loaded with productivity features like an 80GB hard drive and an intuitive 7-inch colour touchscreen control panel.
Price: £2885
Copy Speed: 38ppm
Resolution: 600di
Paper Size: A6 – A4
Paper Input: 520 sheet
Network: Yes
Dimensions: 607 x 575 x 816mm
Contact: Samsung UK

Toshiba eSTUDIO 4520C PRO
The Toshiba eSTUDIO 4520c PRO is a multifunction machine that can copy, print, scan and fax. It also offers up networking, Duplex and ADF (Automatic Document feeder) as standard.
Price: £7644
Copy Speed: 45ppm
Resolution: 600dpi
Paper Size: A6 – A3
Paper Input: 2 x 550 sheets
Network: Yes
Dimensions: 699 x 774 x 759 mm
Contact: Toshiba Photocopiers

*All prices are approximate and will vary – they were correct at time of writing and include VAT.