It is a common myth in the printer/copier war here in Denver that “copiers are cheaper than laser printers.” This is often true, and it is often false. When computing a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), it is imperative to include as many componets as you are able for the most accurate number. Some things to consider, cost per print, maintenance costs, power costs, and of course… the copier or printer itself. The problem most people have when they believe this myth is they do not add in the cost of the copier… they look at cost per print vs cost per print. It is illogical to address the TCO this way. An example would be looking at a car which got 34mpg and comparing it to one that got 28mpg and then declaring cars that get 34mpg are cheaper to use than cars that get 28mpg. Maybe, but maybe not. What if the car that got 28mpg was $15,000 cheaper? What if it required less visits to the shop?
Another reason this cannot possibly be true is that almost all copiers have a “printer version.” For example a Kyocera 5035(copier) and a Kyocera 9520 (printer) both use the Falcon series engine. There are minor modifications made at the factory so you can’t interchange toners, etc… but the cost per print are the same on the two and, guess what? The Kyocera 9520 (printer) is about 1/2 the price to purchase AND easier to maintain as there isn’t fax boards and scanner glass to fix on it.
With that being said, many times a copier IS cheaper to run because people choose inefficient desktop laser printers. If comparing an application where a Kyocera 4050 had to go against a Dell 1700 printer doing 15,000 pages a month… the Kyocera Copier would be about 1/2 the cost as the laser printer.
So, which is cheaper, printers or copiers? The answer is … it depends.