If you’ve ever shopped for a copier/printer, or are currently searching, you’ve likely realized there are hundreds to pick from.
Copiers/printers come in all different shapes and sizes. You can choose a small desk printer or a massive production unit that can print high-resolution marketing material for your business.
These machines are split into two categories, A3 and A4. To ensure a smooth buying process, it’s beneficial to understand the difference between them.
After reading this article, you’ll know the differences between an A3 and an A4 machine, and how to choose which one is right for your printing needs.
What is an A3 copier/printer?
A3 multifunction printers are larger units that can not only print the standard letter/legal but specialty media as well, such as tabloid (11X17 in) or glossy paper. You’ll also have access to advanced features such as:
Apps and other solutions to increase productivity
Larger tablet-like interface for enhanced user experience
Ability to connect and print from any device
Features such as hole punch, staples, envelope, and booklet making
On top of the advanced features and tools, A3 machines have high-capacity and high-volume capabilities. They are more than a copier; they are a true workplace assistant.
What is an A4 copier/printer?
A4 machines are smaller, often desktop styled, printers. While they still have multifunction abilities (print, copy, scan, fax), they only print letter/legal-size paper (8 1/2 X 11 or 8 1/2 X14in).
Depending on what you are looking for, many A4 units have app capabilities, such as the Versalink C405. The C405 is a perfect printer for home office use or small business teams.
If you’re looking for a machine more for personal use and don’t need additional features such as productivity apps, the Phaser 3260 may be a better fit.
Related reading: Top 3 Printers for Home Use
There may be fewer features on an A4 unit, but when purchased from a copier vendor, not a retail giant like Wal-Mart or Amazon, the machine will still produce high-quality materials.
Do not buy A4 machines from retail giants for business needs
A4 machines from retail giants like Walmart or Staples are built to be replaced, not fixed, costing you more time and money in the long run.
Retail bought copiers/printers break down fast. If you’re utilizing a printer for business needs, you’ll either have to shell out money on repeat service issues or buy a new machine altogether.
Purchasing from a retail giant also comes with many inconveniences, such as buying toner on your own. Purchasing toner on your own gets expensive and leads to opting for the cheaper options. Cheap toner can damage your machine and produce low-quality prints.
The bottom line is printers from these stores are inexpensive to buy but costly to own for business needs.
Commercial machines, from Copier vendors, are reliable and built to last. You can also choose to add a maintenance plan that provides quality toner automatically shipped to your door and access to highly tenured service techs, ensuring you always have a working machine.
Should you buy an A3 or A4 machine?
While you’ll need to get with a business consultant to determine which machine is right for you, it doesn’t hurt to understand which category (A3 or A4) you will be browsing before you contact a copier vendor. Discovering whether you should be looking at A3 machines or A4 machines is relatively simple.
Ask yourself these three questions, and you’ll have a good idea of what category is right for you.
What’s your print volume?
If you are printing less than 5,000 prints/copies per month, we’ll likely point you towards one of the many A4 units available.
If your print volume is 5,000+ per month, we will be looking at A3 machines.
How many employees do you have?
If you only have a few employees and don’t have advanced needs such as hole punch, staples, etc., we’ll be looking at A4 machines. Typically, for companies with more than several employees, we’ll be looking at an A3.
What are your business needs?
Even if you only have a few employees, you may need features that only an A3 machine offers, such as tabloid, or specialty paper.
Other needs could include staples, hole-punch, productivity apps, or even booklet making.
Which copier/printer is right for you?
After answering the questions above, you should understand whether you'll be looking at A3 or A4 machines.
However, there are many A3 and A4 machines to choose from, each with unique features designed for specific business needs.
Your business consultant will listen to your wants and needs and find the perfect copier for you.