Does It Make Sense to Buy a Home Photocopier in 2014?


Small photocopiers used to be a standard item in many home offices just a decade or two ago. Before everything was digitized, keeping a personal record of a paper trail meant making a copy of everything that you signed and filing it away in a huge metal filing cabinet.

If you needed to print out a ton of flyers or even just informational packets for a small seminar, it made more sense to print out one copy from a printer and copy the rest, rather than spend money in printer ink and risk a printer jam. But today’s printers are much more efficient less likely to jam. With paper memos all but completely replaced by email, does it make sense to own a home office photocopier in this day and age?


The answer depends on how you use documents in your home office. If your home office functions more like a print shop, churning out hundreds of copies of flyers and posters, a standalone photocopier might make sense. But if you do any amount of work with digital documents (like all of us do these days) it is probably wise to look into a multi-function printer alongside photocopiers when you’re shopping.

In general, people are printing more and copying less today in offices. Your home office isn’t probably much different. What might have been sent out as a hard copy memo at one time is just simply emailed to a distribution list. Even the traditional “lost dog” flyer would likely get more traction by being posted to social media outlets and shared than by being taped to a telephone pole.

A multi-function printer combines a scanner, copier, printer, and usually a fax machine all into one unit. So with one machine, you could scan a photo of your missing pet, add text to it in Word or Photoshop, and then send it out electronically to the neighborhood. You could even print out a few copies to hang up just in case you’re not Facebook friends with all of your neighbors.

It’s true that a photocopier would likely churn out copies of Fido’s face more quickly than a multifunction printer would, as photocopiers usually have a higher page-per-minute rate. But, keep in mind that photocopiers designed for home office use are generally not built for long-term high-volume copying.

You might end up burning out the copier or going through cartridges too quickly for it to be a worthy investment. If you truly need high-volume printing of that level, you might be better off using a local print shop or leasing a mid-range photocopier, which would likely have multifunctional capabilities anyways.

But if you need a printer and scanner anyways and rarely print more than 50 pages at a time, a multifunction printer will save you space, time, and money over the years. A multifunction printer generally has less moving parts than a photocopier, too, meaning they’re less likely to break over time.


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