The number of configuration options and optional accessories you can choose for your printer has increased dramatically over the years.
One of the main ways you can tailor your machine to match your printing requirements is by adding a print finisher.
Being in the printer industry for over 35 years has taught us how important print finishers are in building your ideal machine. The thing is many people don’t know all of what print finishing options entail.
What is a print finisher? How much do they cost? Should you include one with your machine?
These are the questions that will be addressed in this article, because print finishers are commonplace and essential to businesses of many kinds, from schools to law firms, and everything in-between.
And as a consumer, you need to know exactly what you’re getting into when you include a finisher because spoiler alert: they cost money, and you don’t want to waste your money on a finisher you don’t need.
Since we sell Xerox products specifically, we will be using their machines and finishers as examples throughout the article but finishing options are universal throughout the printer industry, and the logic from this article applies to other brands, as well.
With that being said, let’s get into the world of print finishers, starting with the basic premise of what they are.
What Are Print Finishers?
Print finishers are mostly optional accessories you can add that execute the final part of the printing process, such as staple and hole-punch, and are chosen based on what you require in a printer.
Finishers are usually only included on larger, floor-standing units, and are not for smaller, desktop printers.
For example, in Xerox’s product catalog, most VersaLink machines, which are basic single-function and multifunction printers (MFPs), won’t have the ability to add a finishing option—although there are a few exceptions.
Once you get to the AltaLink (advanced MFPs) and PrimeLink (entry-level production printers) Series, though, finishing options are incredibly common and the number of finishers increases once you get to the production units.
A lot of industries, including most larger companies, must include a finisher because of their need to staple or hole-punch documents, which is something we will go over more in the next section.
Depending on the finishers you choose, the weight and dimensions of the printer will vary and can change your machine’s space requirements, which are crucial to comprehend before purchasing.
For a visual representation of how adding finishers can change the required space to properly house a printer, see the graphics below of the AltaLink C8170 model:
Adding a finisher also means you might have to place the machine in an area where there are multiple electrical outlets since finishers sometimes need their own electrical outlet to plug into.
Read our blog on why a printer’s space and electrical requirements are important things to consider before purchasing to learn more.
3 Common Print Finishing Options
To give you a better understanding of print finishers, here are the three most common print finishers seen in the printer industry:
Everybody knows what stapling is and has likely done it at one point in their life.
What some may not know, though, is it is not a function that comes standard with most printers and must be added on as a finishing option if you want your machine to be able to automatically staple documents.
In Xerox’s lingo, the simple staple-finishing option is called the Convivence Stapler, which sits at the side of your machine for you to manually staple documents, but there are also more advanced stapling options, such as the Business Ready Finisher.
Another print finisher many consumers opt to include is hole-punching, and there are multiple options in Xerox’s catalog.
Maybe the most popular finishing option from Xerox is the Business Ready Finisher, which includes both stapling and hole-punch and is exclusively for AltaLink and PrimeLink models.
There are also advanced hole-punch options that are better for production-style units, like the GBC FusionPunch II, GBC AdvancedPunch, and GBC AdvancedPunch Pro for further automated hole-punching abilities.
One of the key office jobs finishers can execute is making items such as booklets, pamphlets or brochures, along with other specialty media types.
Booklet-making is particularly popular among print customers, and there are multiple finishing options for booklet making, including:
Business Ready Booklet Maker Finisher, which creates 64-page saddle-stitched booklets (2 to 16 sheets)—best for AltaLink machines.
Xerox Production Ready Booklet Maker Finisher, which produces booklets of up to 200 pages and includes a 500-sheet top tray and 3,000-sheet stack tray—best for production machines.
Plockmatic Pro 50/35 Booklet Maker, which can also produce booklets of up to 200 pages while doing face trimming, square fold, rotate crease, bleed trim and hand-feeding for sizes up to 12.6 x 9 in— it’s only available for large production machines.
In addition to the finishers discussed above, collating, trimming, cutting and tape binding are other options that can be included as finishing options, among others.
Some of the finishing options in the AltaLink Series:
Some of the finishing options in the PrimeLink Series:
How Much Do Print Finishers Cost?
As mentioned in the introduction, print finishers cost money, and the price largely depends on the machine you’re adding a finisher too, and how many you’re adding.
Most consumers that purchase an advanced multifunction device will add just one finisher, but that can vary depending on your goals.
Production machines, as evidenced by the PrimeLink picture above, can include multiple finishers---which will drive up the price of the machine.
To keep things simple, let’s use a Basic Office Finisher addition for the machines in the VersaLink family that can include a finisher.
The Basic Office Finisher, which collates and staples, on a VersaLink machine will increase the printer’s price by about $600 more than its base model price.
For the AltaLink Series, let’s use the Business Ready Finisher as an example since it’s a common choice for customers that opt to include a finisher on their AltaLink machine.
The Business Ready Finisher on an AltaLink machine would increase the base model price by around $1,600.
For the PrimeLink production machines, let’s use the Business Ready Finisher as the finishing option to accurately depict the price with a finisher added.
Because machines in the PrimeLink Series are entry-level production printers, the price of adding a simple print finisher will be more, with a price of around $3,850 for the Business Ready Booklet Maker.
The more finishers you add to your machine—and the more advanced they are—the higher the total cost will be.
Cost should not prohibit you from adding a finisher if you truly need it to accomplish your daily business tasks.
The total cost of a printer can be broken down into monthly payments by leasing the machine instead of purchasing it outright, which is a popular option among consumers that are buying an advanced multifunction device or production uni