How To Calculate Your Monthly Print Volume 

Submitted by Karla Metzler on Fri, 11/04/2022 - 09:00
Person at a desk typing on a calculator

What is the most important thing to consider when buying a new printer/copier? 

It actually has nothing to do with the look of the machine, the feel of it or how fast it prints. The answer lies in how much it can safely print per month, or its recommended monthly print volume.  

The recommended monthly print volume of a machine is the essential indicator you need to pay close attention to before buying a new office machine. 

But the question becomes: How do you figure out your current, or estimated, monthly print volume so that you can buy a machine that can rightly accommodate it? 

That question is what we will use our almost 40 years of expertise to answer today because it is perhaps the most significant question to answer before purchasing a printer. 

Not considering your print volume before purchasing can lead to increased service issues, which means increased service costs, that can disrupt daily operations. We know from our experience with customers that this can cause mass frustration and result in an inefficient work environment. 

Most of it could’ve been avoided had they bought a machine that is capable of handling how much they print or copy in a given month. 

This blog will give you the three main ways to calculate or estimate your current monthly print volume, so you don’t have to pay for it later. 

Before getting into how to check your current volume, let’s briefly touch on what print volume is and why it’s important. 

For a look at all of the factors you need to consider before buying, download your free copy of our Complete Guide to Purchasing or Leasing a Printer for Your Business. 

What Is Print Volume? 

Print volume refers to the number of prints or copies an organization produces regularly, and it’s typically measured in monthly increments. 

When searching for a new machine, you will likely see two ways of measuring print volume. One is a printer’s maximum monthly duty cycle and the other is a machine’s recommended monthly print volume.   

A machine’s monthly duty cycle is set by the manufacturer of the product and is meant to represent how powerful the machine is. However, it is not meant to be followed every month. 

While you could technically print at a machine’s maximum monthly duty cycle, you should always follow its recommended monthly print volume because that will signify the number of prints you can safely make in a month. 

Recommended monthly print volume is usually around 10% of a machine’s monthly duty cycle. It is not always listed on the product pages of printers but dividing the monthly duty cycle by 10% should get you in the ballpark of its recommended monthly print volume.  

Understanding the difference between a printer’s duty cycle and recommended monthly print volume is imperative to avoiding service issues down the road. Read our blog on the differences between duty cycle vs. recommended monthly print volume to learn more about the key distinctions between the two.  

Why Is Print Volume Important? 

It was previously stated that print volume is the essential factor to consider before purchasing a new printer, but let’s expand on that point a little bit more. 

Printers are like vehicles for your office---they serve an essential role and must be treated as such. 

If you needed a car to travel in for your job, you wouldn’t buy the used 2006 Nissan Versa with over 150,000 miles on it, right? You would want something that can handle the number of miles you will be driving. 

The same logic applies to printers: If your office routinely prints around 70,000 pages per month, but you decided to buy a machine that can only safely handle 10,000 pages per month, what do you think the result would be? 

Service issues upon service issues, resulting in the disruption of daily document processes, until the machine eventually becomes inoperative sooner than you ever expected. 

This may seem like a far-fetched, doomsday scenario, but if you don’t consider your monthly print volume, it can happen to you. 

It’s precisely why this blog is being written. So that you can avoid an unfortunate and frustrating situation later on. 

Read our blog on the importance of print volume to see a more detailed explanation of why volume is crucial to getting the right printer.  

3 Ways to Calculate Your Monthly Print Volume 

As mentioned previously, there are three main ways to figure out what your current monthly print volume is.  

Let’s go over each of them in detail so you can figure out which one would be best for you: 

1. Check Your Current Printing Bill  

The first and best way to measure your current monthly print volume is by looking at your current printing bill.    

Checking your current printer/copier invoice will serve as the most accurate form of examining your monthly print volume, and if utilizing a maintenance plan for your current machine, your invoice will likely tell you exactly how much you print or copy each month.     

This is only an option for businesses that have a device that is billed monthly for printing costs. If you are getting a new office printer for the first time, you will not be able to use this method. 

2. Check the Meter Reads on Your Printer  

The second way to assess your current monthly print volume is to check the meter reads on your machine.   

Meter reads tell you how many impressions, or total prints and copies, you have made, and it is usually found in the machine’s settings or on a printed report.     

Take the meter reading you discovered and divide it by the number of months you’ve owned that machine. This would provide a close calculation of your monthly print volume, especially if you purchased your current machine new since the meter would’ve started at or near zero.    

This step, just like the first one, requires you to already have a machine in place that collects your printing data.  

3. Check How Much Paper You Use Each Month   

The third primary option you can use to check your print volume is the simplest, but also least accurate, way of evaluating volume.    

If the previous two options aren’t possible for you to complete, you can gauge how much paper or paper reams you go through each month to give you a rough estimate to work with as you search for a machine that can safely handle your monthly print volume.   

There are typically 500 pages in a paper ream, so if you went through 10 paper reams a month, you would have an estimated monthly print volume of around 5,000 pages per month.    

What Else Needs to Be Considered Before Buying a Printer? 

Checking your current printing bill, the meter reads on your existing machine or how much paper you use in a month will give you the estimated number that you need to follow as you search for a new printer. 

Use your current print volume as the primary gauge to narrow down your options. 

If you look at a machine’s recommended monthly print volume and find that it doesn’t closely align with your current volume, move on to the next one. Find the one that will be able to safely handle your volume.  

This will ensure that your machine lasts the amount of time it’s supposed to last and won’t be out of operation with constant service issues. It will also make certain that you don’t overspend on a machine that’s volume is too high for what you need.  

Our almost four decades of experience in the printer/copier industry have taught us that print volume is the most critical factor to consider before purchasing. But it is far from the only one. 

There are further considerations like: 

  • How much does it cost and how will you pay for it? 

  • How many people will be using the machine? 

  • What accessories do you require? 

  • Where will you put the machine?  

  • What do you do about maintenance and supplies? 

All of that, and more, go into ultimately finding the machine that will not only act as your office’s central hub of operations but also provide you with the greatest return on your investment. 

If you would like to see all the factors that you need to consider in one place, download your free copy of our Complete Guide to Purchasing or Leasing a Printer for Your Business and use it as a resource before buying your next machine.