Printer/Copier Size vs. Space Requirements (Differences) 

Submitted by Joel Metzler on Wed, 10/05/2022 - 09:00
A picture of a printer next to the text "Printer Size vs. Space Requirements: What's the Difference?"

One of the major things you need to consider before purchasing an office printer/copier is where you’re going to place it. 

Printers, especially large multifunction printers (MFPs), can take up a lot of space. 

If you don’t have enough space to accommodate your office printer, then you run the risk of damaging your machine—which can lead to an increase in service issues. 

As a print vendor for almost 40 years now, we’ve unfortunately seen this issue come to fruition for too many customers, and the impact can be substantial. 

The best thing you can do to make sure your next printer fits seamlessly into your workplace is to check its size and space requirements. However, both differ in very important ways, and one takes precedence over the other in terms of what you should follow.  

In this blog, we will be discussing the differences between a printer’s size and its space requirements, because understanding the difference between the two will go a long way toward determining how much room you need to make for your next office machine.   

Need a printer/copier? Download your free copy of the Complete Guide to Purchasing or Leasing a Printer for Your Business to make sure you get the right machine in place the first time.

What Is Printer Size? 

A printer’s size is exactly what you think it is: It’s how tall, wide and heavy the machine is. It refers to the exact dimensions and weight of the machine.  

The size of the machine can vary drastically depending on the type of printer you get. A personal or desktop printer will be smaller and likely won’t require you to think hard about its size and where you’re going to place it. 

For instance, a small personal printer, like the HP DeskJet 3755, has base model dimensions of 15.86” x 6.97” x 5.55” and weighs only five pounds.   

Floor standing units are the type of printers where size comes into play. Machines like the Xerox AltaLink C8170, an advanced multifunction model (print, copy, scan and fax), has base dimensions of 24.4” x 31.2” x 46” and weighs 352 pounds.  

This obviously makes it more difficult to fit into crowded office areas and requires extra attention before purchasing.  

See the graphic below for the base configuration of the AltaLink C8170: 

What Are Printer Space Requirements?  

A printer’s space requirements are the necessary amount of space the machine needs to operate to its full capacity and perform its basic functions. 

The size of the printer encompasses its exact dimensions and weight, whereas a printer’s space requirements are the room the machine needs to perform tasks, like: 

  • Changing supplies, such as toner cartridges. 

  • Replacing parts that may need to be replaced.  

  • General maintenance jobs, like cleaning the machine. 

  • Opening paper trays or the document feeder. 

  • Using any additional accessories you purchased, such as finishers like stapling and hole punch. 

To see how space requirements differ from a printer’s size graphically, here are the space requirements for the Xerox AltaLink C8170 machine, which we used as an example in the previous section:  

Which One Should You Follow? 

As mentioned in the introduction, a printer’s size and space requirements differ dramatically from each other, and if you’ve read through the descriptions of each, you probably know which one you should pay attention to.  

But to clear up any confusion, you should always use a printer’s space requirements as the appropriate metric to follow. 

A printer’s exact dimensions and weight will give you a feel for how much room you will need to make in your office for the machine, but it does not account for the tasks we mentioned above, like changing supplies or conducting general maintenance. 

That’s why if you’re in the market for a larger, floor-standing unit, you should pay close attention to its space requirements because that will give you a more accurate gauge of how much room you need to make in your office for the new machine. 

Watch the video below to find out more about the importance of space requirements, and also electrical requirements, which is another important factor to consider before purchasing: 

What Happens If You Don’t Follow a Printer’s Space Requirements? 

We touched on this briefly in the introduction, but not following a printer’s space requirements can lead to a myriad of service issues ranging from: 

  • The overheating of your machine because it’s in too small of a space.  

  • Poor print quality. 

  • More frequent part replacements or repair work. 

  • Service delays because the service technician doesn’t have enough room to work. 

  • A delay in delivery time for your machine. 

If you put your machine in a place where it can’t function properly, it can lead to some of these problems, which may need to be repaired by a service technician. 

Being that service technicians can charge upwards of $100 an hour if you’re not under some type of maintenance agreement with a vendor, this is a cost that can add up quickly. 

That last bullet point should not be ignored either. There’s almost nothing more frustrating than expecting a package to come in on a certain date, only for it to be delayed because of some type of issue. 

If the delivery day arrives for your printer, and you don’t have enough room in your office to house it, the company providing you with the machine may not be able to deliver it until you make enough room for it.  

At the very least, this can lead to a prolonged delivery process, and might even lead to a delay in the delivery of your new machine.  

You might think these issues are the worst-case scenario and can’t happen to you. The best thing you can do is avoid any chance of this happening and ensure ahead of time that the new machine you paid good money for can neatly fit into your office.  

Because if you don’t, one of these consequences could happen to you. (Trust us, we’ve seen it too many times.)  

How Do You Find a Printer’s Space Requirements? 

“Okay, so I understand now that I need to follow space requirements instead of size, but how do I actually find a printer’s space requirements?” 

Good question, because finding the space requirements for a printer can be more difficult to detect with online research. 

You can usually find the dimensions and weight of a printer model with online research, but space requirements aren’t usually spelled out on the product pages of websites.  

This is where you need to work with a company that sells printers if you have any concerns about fitting the machine into your office. 

A print vendor can provide you with the space requirements for the machine you’re interested in before you decide to purchase your machine.  

If you have serious questions about whether a machine will fit into your office, this is the best route to take, because finding space requirements for a printer on your own will not be easy.  

What Else Should You Consider Before Buying a Printer? 

Don’t take the amount of space you need for your new machine for granted.  

If you’re buying a large machine, you should pay close attention to the space requirements of the machine before purchasing it, so you don’t have to deal with the consequences of ignoring them later.  

Ignoring a printer’s space requirements can lead to financial risk or logistical headaches, something that we know from experience can be a huge burden for customers who just want to get their new machine in place as soon as possible.  

Many consumers don’t realize all the factors that go into purchasing an office printer. The same number of people likely don’t realize the cost of not considering these factors before buying their next machine, either. 

Doing your research ahead of time will help you avoid costly circumstances later. 

Download our free Complete Guide to Purchasing or Leasing a Printer for Your Business to learn all of the things you need to know before buying your next office machine.