Why is Print Volume Important When Choosing a Printer?

Submitted by Magye Swenson on Fri, 11/12/2021 - 09:07

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

For a lot of customers who haven’t worked with a print vendor before, understanding their monthly print volume just isn’t as much of a priority, especially when buying from retail giants like Walmart and Amazon.  

Unfortunately, they don’t realize that they’re putting their organization at risk for printing malfunctions, and pretty soon when the service calls start adding up, they’ll just go buy another printer and start the cycle again.  

That’s where a print vendor comes in. We work with different businesses, schools, religious organizations, and more to find out exactly how much they’re printing per month, so that they can get a machine designed to work with them, not against them.  

We’ve written a little explanation on print volume, and why it’s arguably the most important thing that needs to be considered when shopping for a new copier or printer.  

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 shopping for a new copier or printer, one of the most important factors you need to consider is your current print volume. Each machine that you look at will have a “recommended monthly print volume” for you to adhere to, so that you’re not overusing your machine.  

You’ll also see a number labeled “Duty Cycle” which represents the absolute maximum number of prints that a machine can produce in a month. The duty cycle is measured to display how powerful a machine is, but you’re not actually meant to print that much. Instead, the recommended print volume, which is typically around 10% of the duty cycle, is the maximum amount you should be printing.  

How Do I Figure Out What I’m Currently Printing Monthly?

There are three main ways to figure out what your current monthly print volume is and having an accurate number will keep your organization informed on exactly how your machine is being utilized.  

1. Check Your Current Bill

This is the easiest and most accurate way to see how much you’re printing monthly, but it’ll really only work if you’re already working with a print vendor and on a service agreement. The exact number will be listed on your invoice.  

2. Check the Meter Reads on Your Printer

On a Xerox device, the steps are to check your meter reads are:  

  1. Press the home button on the printer control panel 

  1. Select “Device”, and then “Billing/Usage”. There you’ll find the number of “impressions”, which is another way to say prints.  

Black impressions represent the number of pages printed with no color specified, color impressions stand for the number of pages printing specifically in color, and total impressions represent the total number of color and black/white impressions.  

The meter reads list how many impressions/prints your machine has produced in its entire lifespan, so to find the monthly number you need to divide the impressions by the number of months you’ve had the machine. This way you’ll get a close estimate of your monthly print volume.  

3. Check Your Paper Usage 

The third way to find out your monthly print volume is the least accurate but might be the only option you have if you don’t know your starting meter number, or you’re without a service agreement or a print vendor.  

All you have to do is calculate how many paper reams you go through each month. For example, if you go through two reams a month, then you would multiply 2x the total number of pages in a ream (typically 500).  

What Makes Print Volume Important?

The bottom line when it comes to print volume is that you need a machine that can support your workload. It’s a pretty similar concept to a lot of other technology, like electric cars for example.  

If you wanted to buy a Tesla, but you typically travel long distances and don’t have time to stop often and charge, then it would make significantly more sense for you to buy one of the “long-range” models, instead of a “performance” model, because it suits your needs better and you don’t want to risk your car dying in the middle of nowhere.   

Printing Over Your Recommended Print Volume

This is one of the most common reasons that organizations are faced with endless broken printers and service calls. Your recommended print volume is there for a reason because your machine isn’t built to print more than that number.  

Pushing your printer hard just to get a job done will burn it out fast, and you’ll spend significantly more money on service calls, repairs, parts, and time lost than you will on a printer that can actually support your workload. 

Printing Under Your Recommended Print Volume

Now, this isn’t as big of an issue as printing over your recommended print volume, but if your organization has a big A3 multifunction printer, and you’re only printing 100 prints per month, then you’re overpaying for your print services- by a lot. 

You’d be better suited with a smaller printer that takes up less space, costs you less money, and still has the same productivity capabilities (like apps) as a larger device.  

Know Your Print Volume!

The importance of monthly print volume is something that can’t be overstated. Being aware of your organization’s print volume, and how it coincides with your device’s print volume, will prevent you from wasting money, time, and effort on maintaining a printer that’s simply not designed to keep up with how much you’re printing.  

Experienced print vendors are the best way for you to make sure you have the right machine for not only your print volume, but your budgeting needs too. They can help you find out how much you’re printing, what kind of features/accessories/upgrades you need to be added, and whether you’d be better-suited leasing or purchasing.  

If you’d like additional information on print volume, as well as the other steps that need to be taken when purchasing a copier or printer, you can click below to download a free copy of our comprehensive Buyer’s Guide, which goes through each important point in the buying process. 

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