Printer/Copier Size vs. Space Requirements (Differences) 

Submitted by Joel Metzler on Wed, 03/13/2024 - 09:00
A printer with a graphic overlay of a measuring tape


One of the top things you need to determine before purchasing an office printer/copier is where you'll set it up in your office, home, living room, business, etc. You need to consider not only the printer's size but also its placement so that you can properly access it when needed.

Printers today come in all shapes and sizes, catering to diverse needs and spaces. There's a printer for every scenario, from compact, desktop-friendly models to large, multifunction machines. 

While powerful and feature-rich, large multifunction printers (MFPs) often lean towards bulkier designs that can take up a lot of space in your business or workspace.

If you don't have enough space to accommodate your office printer, you risk damaging your machine, leading to increased service issues.

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

The key to ensuring your next printer fits seamlessly into your workplace is to check its size and space requirements, which differ significantly.

In this blog, we will discuss the differences between a printer's size and its space requirements. Understanding the difference between the two will help you determine 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 ensure you get the right machine in place the first time.

What Is Printer Size? 

A printer's size is straightforward: It's how tall, wide, and heavy the machine is. Typically measured in centimeters or inches, it refers to the exact dimensions and weight of the machine. 

The size of a printer may differ depending on the type you choose to purchase. A personal or desktop printer will be smaller and lighter, so you won't have to spend much time thinking about its size or where to put it.

For example, a small personal printer, such as the HP DeskJet 3755, is 15.86" x 6.97" x 5.55" and weighs only five pounds.  

Floor-standing units are printers where size plays a more significant role. These include machines like the Xerox AltaLink C8170. This multifunction model has base dimensions of 24.4" x 31.2" x 46" and weighs 352 pounds.  

Large printers are more challenging to fit into crowded office areas and require extra attention before purchasing. 

See the graphic below for the base configuration of the AltaLink C8170 and the dimensions of optional accessories: 

(Online) SS Dimensions and Weight for Xerox AltaLink C8170-3.png

What Are Printer Space Requirements?  

A printer's space requirements are the amount of space the machine needs to operate at full capacity and perform its basic functions. Also referred to as the service space envelope, these dimensions are absolute minimums.

Printer size encompasses exact dimensions and weight. A printer's space requirements are the printer size + the room the machine needs to perform tasks. These include: 

  • Change supplies like toner cartridges. 

  • Replace worn-out or faulty parts.  

  • General maintenance jobs, like cleaning the machine. 

  • Open paper trays or the document feeder. 

  • Use additional accessories, such as stapling and hole-punching finishers. 

Following the written space requirements for your printer makes it easier for you or a service technician to access the machine. It also provides a safer workplace for service technicians, as their employers must abide by OSHA standards.  

To see how space requirements differ from a printer’s size graphically, here are the space requirements for the Xerox AltaLink C8170 machine: 


Space requirements and base configuration for the Xerox AltaLink B8170

Space requirements and base configuration for the Xerox AltaLink B8170 + booklet finisher


As you can see, the amount of space a printer needs inside a room extends beyond its own size. The space requirements also change when you add an accessory like a booklet finisher, as shown in the second picture.

Which One Should You Follow? 

As the introduction mentions, a printer's size and space requirements differ dramatically. If you've read through the descriptions of each, you probably know which one you should pay attention to. 

However, to clear up any confusion, you should always use a printer's space requirements for the best printer setup.

Knowing a printer's exact measurements and weight can help determine whether it fits into your workspace. However, it's crucial to remember that these measurements don’t account for tasks such as replacing supplies or performing maintenance, which require extra space and thought.

If you're in the market for a printer, you should pay close attention to its space requirements. These will give you a more accurate gauge of how much room you’ll need for your printer and where to best position it.

Before purchasing a printer, it's vital to consider factors such as space and electrical requirements. Watch the video below to learn more.

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 many service issues and even printer hazards. These range 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. 

  • Increased service time because the service technician doesn’t have enough room to work. 

  • A delay in delivery time for your machine. 

If you place your printer in an unsuitable location, such as a closet, it can overheat and become a safety hazard. It may also cause functional issues and require service technician assistance.

Service technicians can charge upwards of $150 an hour if you're not under a maintenance agreement with a vendor. Printer repairs can quickly add up to a significant cost.

Printer delivery delays are also a bummer. There's almost nothing more frustrating than eagerly anticipating the arrival of a package, only for it to be delayed due to some unexpected issue. 

If you don't have enough space in your office on the day your printer is scheduled to be delivered, the delivery company may not be able to install it until you make enough room for it. This can cause a delay in the delivery process.

You might think these issues are the worst-case scenario and can't happen to you. The best thing you can do to avoid problems is to ensure 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, I understand now that I need to follow space requirements instead of size, but how do I find a printer's space requirements?"

The truth is that it can be challenging to find space requirements for a printer online. 

You can typically find a printer model's size (dimensions and weight) through a quick online search. However, space requirements don't usually appear on product pages.

If you have serious questions about whether a machine will fit into your office, contact your print vendor. 

A print vendor can provide you with the space requirements for the machine you're interested in before deciding to buy it. Otherwise, finding the space requirements independently will be challenging and time-consuming.

What Else Should You Consider Before Buying a Printer? 

It's essential to consider the space required for your new machine carefully and not take it for granted.

If you're buying a large machine, you should pay close attention to the space requirements before purchasing it. This way, you won't face the consequences of ignoring them later.  

Ignoring a printer's space needs can lead to financial risk or logistical headaches. From experience, these problems 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 in purchasing an office printer. The same number 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 everything you need to know before buying your next office machine. 

If you’re interested in configuring your own printer, check out our “Shop Now” tab or click on the image below to access our product configurator. You can easily find printers by searching for a specific model or selecting desired features. Once you find the printer you’re interested in, you can check its dimensions and weight.