There are many things to consider when purchasing a printer.
Some are obvious, like print volume and cost, and some are more inconspicuous, like space and electrical requirements, which is what we will be covering today.
As a long-time local print vendor, we’ve seen numerous cases of customers that purchased a printer and thought they had everything in order, only to realize on delivery day that the machine they bought doesn’t fit in their office or doesn’t have the correct electrical outlet.
Space and electrical capacity are not issues that affect a lot of customers, but it’s one that can lead to multiple consequences, which makes them an essential factor to examine before purchasing a new machine.
To ensure you are informed on the issue, we’ll be going over what space and electrical requirements are before discussing why they are important to contemplate as you search for your ideal machine.
What Are Printer Space Requirements?
A printer’s space requirements, sometimes referred to as space envelope, are the necessary amount of space the machine needs to operate to its full capacity and perform basic functions.
Space requirements account for the ability to conduct tasks like changing toner cartridges, opening the machine’s paper trays or executing general maintenance jobs.
A printer’s space requirements are not the same as its actual dimensions. Let’s go over that point in more detail:
Printer Size vs. Space Requirements
A printer’s size refers to its exact dimensions and weight, but the machine’s base dimensions are not what you should chiefly consider when deciding whether it will adequately fit into your office.
This is especially the case if you want to add finishing options that can more than double the size of your machine and simultaneously accentuate your need for more office space.
For example, here is the base configuration for the AltaLink C8170:
Now, here is a visual representation of the AltaLink C8170 with a Business Ready Booklet Finisher:
Notice the difference? The space requirements for the machine increased because the inclusion of a finishing option added to the overall size of the machine, exemplifying the need for more space to properly house the machine.
Even if a finisher is not included, the base configuration of the AltaLink C8170 (first graphic) demonstrates that the machine needs more room to operate efficiently than its dimensions would otherwise indicate.
It’s why paying attention to the machine’s space requirements, or space envelope, is more important than basing the size of the machine purely on its dimensions.
What Are Printer Electrical Requirements?
Electrical requirements are the required electrical capacity needed to appropriately hook up the machine in its desired place.
Typically, electrical requirements don’t cause as many issues as space requirements, but it’s still an essential element to check off during your printer-research process.
The thing to remember about electrical requirements is that once you get to a certain size, the more electrical capacity it will require, which means a hardier outlet will likely be mandatory to meet those requirements.
For example, let’s look at the electrical requirements in the AltaLink C8100 Series:
See how the AltaLink C8170 has slightly higher frequency requirements than the other five models in the Series?
It’s because the AltaLink C8170 is a bigger machine, requiring more electrical capacity to operate than its predecessors in the Series.
You can also see from the example above that adding a finisher to your printer will result in the need to have another available electrical outlet by the machine to plug into.
2 Consequences for Disregarding Printer Space and Electrical Requirements
Now that you understand what space and electrical requirements are, let’s get into the consequences of not considering both before purchasing a printer:
Longer Installation and Delivery Time
The most consequential consequence of ignoring space and electrical requirements is it can lead to a long installation and delivery time for your printer.
If you don’t have the required space for the machine or have the correct electrical outlet for the printer you purchased, it can result in a longer installation and delivery time, and even a delay in delivery in some cases.
If it gets to delivery day, and there is no room to install the machine in the correct manner, finding extra space for the printer can be difficult, especially in compacted workplaces, which can lead to an elongated delivery time.
The same principle applies if you have an insufficient electrical outlet. Updating an electrical outlet is usually a simple and inexpensive process, but you will need to make arrangements for an electrician to update or add additional plugs prior to delivery.
Paying attention to space and electrical requirements before purchasing means you are proactively warding off potential delivery day issues, which improves your chances of a smooth installation process.
Shorter Product Lifespan
Another consequence of disregarding space as a fundamental factor in buying a printer is that it can shorten the lifespan of your printer considerably and may result in more service issues.
This is due to a myriad of factors, but some of the common problems caused by an inadequately spaced printer include overheating, poor print quality and service issues that could require repair work.
Most of the time, you’ll want to find an area that has plenty of space to accommodate a decent-sized printer and be sure to keep in mind the additional accessories you include because this will add to the machine’s space requirements, as well.
Making sure your printer has enough space to function is crucial. If you don’t, it could decrease your machine’s lifespan and cause service issues.
Understand Your Space and Electrical Requirements Before Purchasing
The two major consequences of overlooking space and electrical requirements in the printer-research process personify why it’s critical to assess your office space and electrical outlet before making a purchase.
If you’ve found a machine you’re interested in, make sure it can adequately fit into your workplace, and that you have an electrical outlet capable of handling the printer you want to invest in.
In most cases, a printer’s space and electrical requirements will be provided to you by your sales representative shortly after you purchase your machine.
However, if you need more information on space and electrical requirements prior to purchasing a machine, you should ask your print provider to inform you of the space and electrical requirements for the machine you’re interested in.
Having the right space and electrical capacity to accommodate a machine, especially one that is large in size, is essential to ensuring a seamless delivery process and long product lifespan to make sure you’re getting the most out of your printer investment.
Know What Else to Consider When Researching for the Right Printer?
Space and electrical requirements are far from the only thing to ponder as you search for the right machine for your situation.
More prevalent factors, such as budget, workgroup size and volume, sometimes overshadow the subtle factors, like the ones discussed here today, that can make or break your printer investment.
At STPT, we know how strenuous the research process can be, especially when you’re in the market for a printer that’s price can range into the high thousands.
Figuring out every component on your own is a demanding feat, considering many people don’t have the time to do an extensive deep dive into the world of printers.
If you need another resource to guide you as you vet out your options, read our blog on the six things you need to consider before purchasing a printer to learn more about the factors that go into finding the right machine for you.