​Why Is Print Volume Important for a Printer? (How to Check It) 

Submitted by Magye Swenson on Wed, 08/24/2022 - 09:07

Print volume is one of the most important factors to consider when shopping for a new printer but why? What does it even mean? 

The significance of print volume cannot be overstated because, besides cost, it is arguably the most crucial factor in deciding which printer/copier to purchase. 

As a local print vendor that has helped businesses of all kinds find their ideal machine, we’ve learned all too well the consequences of ignoring print volume when purchasing a printer and we don’t want you to have to deal with them. 

Because completely neglecting how much you print or copy in a month could lead to overusing the machine past its capacity, which could lead to an increase in service issues, and ultimately, a complete breakdown of the machine. 

The result is wasted money and an inefficient printing environment, most of which could’ve been avoided if you knew your print volume and purchased a machine that could rightly accommodate it.  

We’re going to make sure you’re equipped with all the information you need so that the next time you purchase an office printer, it will be one that can meet your print volume and last for a long time. 

So, let’s get into the article, starting with what print volume means before discussing its importance and how to check your current volume. 

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 Does Print Volume Mean? 

Print volume refers to the number of prints or copies an organization produces regularly, and it’s typically measured in monthly increments, also known as prints per month.   

When searching for a new machine, you will likely see two ways of measuring print volume. One is a printer’s maximum monthly duty cycle and the other is a machine’s recommended monthly print volume.  

A machine’s monthly duty cycle is set by the manufacturer of the product and is meant to represent how powerful the machine is. While you could technically print at a machine’s maximum monthly duty cycle, you should always follow its recommended monthly print volume. 

Recommended monthly print volume is usually around 10% of a machine’s monthly duty cycle and is what manufacturers set as the standard you should follow on a monthly basis. 

Read our blog on duty cycle vs. recommended monthly print volume to learn more about the differences between the two.  

Why Is Print Volume Important? 

As mentioned in the introduction, print volume is one of the most important factors to consider before purchasing a printer. 

If not considered, it can lead to multiple consequences, and it’s not just from purchasing a machine that can’t adequately handle your print volume.  

You might also purchase a machine that is larger than you need, and as a result, end up paying way more for a machine than you need to.  

Both of these two scenarios, overutilizing and underutilizing your machine, can lead to financial and daily operational consequences. Let’s break them down in more detail: 

Printing Over Your Recommended Print Volume 

Companies that make the mistake of buying a printer unequipped for their print volume typically do so because they don’t want to pay more for a machine with a higher print volume. 

It’s understandable why businesses wouldn’t want to pay top dollar for an office printer, but the problem with buying the cheap option is it can lead to heftier long-term costs.  

Service calls, repair work and the need for new parts can all increase the more you use a printer that can’t handle your print volume, and the cost can add up, especially if you’re not under a maintenance contract. 

Service technicians can charge upwards of $100 an hour, and if the issue with your machine is complex, it can lead to a high service bill that likely wasn’t budgeted for. 

Increased service work is an annoyance, but the gravest consequence of printing over your recommended print volume is overusing the machine to the point that it’s no longer operational. 

If you purchased an expensive machine that you hoped would last you for a decade, but instead only lasted five years because of overuse, you would have to go out and buy another machine to take its place.  

No matter how big of a company you are, having to dole out thousands of dollars that you weren’t prepared to spend is a detriment to your budget, and one that could’ve been avoided had you bought a machine that could handle your print volume in the first place. 

Printing Under Your Recommended Print Volume 

The next scenario is not as common as the last one, but there have been instances when a company buys a machine that is larger than they needed, and thus, spends more money than they should’ve on a printer. 

It’s better to overcompensate your print volume than undercompensate it, but you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars more on a machine when you don’t have to. 

This reiterates the point that getting a machine that is aligned with your print volume is critical to ensuring that you don’t overspend—or underspend—on your office printer.     

The question then becomes: How do you check or estimate your current print volume so that you know which machine to look for?  

How Do I Figure Out My Current Print Volume? 

There are three main ways to figure out what your current monthly print volume is. They are:  

1. Check Your Current Printing Bill 

The first way you can check your monthly print volume is by looking at your current printing bill.   

Checking your current printer/copier invoice will serve as the most accurate form of examining your monthly print volume, and if utilizing a maintenance plan for your current machine, your invoice will likely tell you exactly how much you print or copy each month.    

2. Check the Meter Reads on Your Printer 

The second way to assess your current monthly print volume is to check the meter reads on your machine.  

Meter reads tell you how many impressions, or total prints and copies, you have made, and it is usually found in the machine’s settings or on a printed report.   

Take the meter reading you discovered and divide it by the number of months you’ve owned that machine. This would provide a close calculation of your monthly print volume, especially if you purchased your current machine new since the meter would’ve started at or near zero.   

3. Check How Much Paper You Use Each Month  

The third main option you can use to check your print volume is the simplest, but also least accurate, way of evaluating volume.   

If the previous two options aren’t possible for you to complete, you can gauge how much paper or paper reams you go through each month to give you a rough estimate to work with as you search for a machine that can safely handle your monthly print volume.  

For an example of how to calculate volume with paper, let’s say you go through two paper reams a month. To estimate your current print volume, you would simply multiply two times the total number of pages in a ream (typically 500) to approximate how many prints you make in a month.   

What Other Factors Go Into Buying a Printer? 

When it comes to purchasing the right printer for your organization, there won’t be many factors more important to consider than print volume.  

Knowing your print volume before you dive into research for a new machine will set you up to find a printer that can sufficiently handle your print volume and help you avoid the unexpected costs that can arise with an inadequate printer.  

Use the steps discussed in this article to check your current print volume and use that as a statistical measure to narrow down your search for your next machine. 

Because we’ve been in the printer/copier industry for over 35 years, we’ve learned all the things you need to consider before buying an office printer.  

Print volume is one of the most pertinent, but there are plenty of other factors that you need to go over before pressing “Buy” on your next printer.  

Download our free Guide to Purchasing or Leasing a Printer to learn about all the factors you need to take into account before purchasing your office’s next machine.