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The Best Copiers of 2020

Andrew Martins, Writer
Updated: May 22, 2020

Update: We updated our review section to describe COVID-19 relief efforts being undertaken by Xerox.

While printers and copiers have largely been relegated to the past in the public mind, these devices still play an important role in office life. There are many times in the business world when digital files just won't do, and many professionals still prefer paper copies of their documents to digital files. This makes it important to have a reliable and effective printer and copier in the office to deliver high-quality paper documents whenever needed.

Modern copiers are often called multifunction printers (MFP) or copiers (MFC) because of their advanced features. Not only do they tend to cover all your document needs – printing, copying, scanning and faxing – but they also boast Wi-Fi connections that allow users to print digital files directly from their mobile devices in a wide range of formats. The copier industry has also been reactive to the movement for greener business environments, helping to reduce ink, paper and energy waste by notifying administrators when excessive usage occurs.

If you're looking for a printer or copier in 2020, your choices are more advanced than you might realize. This guide contains everything you need to know about choosing a copier, as well as reviews of some of the best MFPs and MFCs on the market.

Best Picks

To help you find the right copier for your small business, we researched multiple machines. Here's a roundup of our recommendations and an explanation of why we chose them.

Best Budget Color Copier

Best Budget Color Copier
Brother MFC-J6945DW INKvestment Tank; Price: $349.99

Best Color Copier for Small Businesses

Best Color Copier for Small Businesses
Xerox WorkCentre 6515; Price: $549

Most Accessible Color Copier for Small Businesses

Most Accessible Color Copier for Small Businesses
Sharp MX-4071; Price: 12,925-$22,825

Copier with the Highest Duty Cycle

Copier with the Highest Duty Cycle
HP Color LaserJet MFP E87660z; Price: Contact HP for a price quote.

Editor's note: Are you looking for a copier for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

What to Expect in 2020

The copier industry is well established. In 2020, expect many recognizable names to remain prominent, including Canon, Kyocera, Toshiba, Xerox, Samsung, Epson, HP, Konica Minolta, Brother International and Dell. While these market leaders are unlikely to change much in the future, the new devices they release continue to add modern functionality to remain competitive.

For example, cloud-based technology is a mainstay in modern business. Modern copiers have adapted to this change, offering internet connectivity. This allows users to connect to MFPs via their mobile devices and print or copy files in various formats. This feature is a must in the copier industry today and will continue being a key element of the best copiers on the market.

Many copiers also have built-in functions that reduce waste in the office, cutting costs and moving more businesses closer to green operations. Expect more copier manufacturers to incorporate innovations that prioritize energy efficiency and the use of recycled materials to reduce their environmental impact in 2020 and beyond.

February 2020: The copier industry could also see a major shift this year, as Xerox pushes forward with an attempt to acquire HP. Since last November, Xerox has been actively seeking to obtain a main stake in HP, offering to do so with a $33.5 billion offer in cash and stocks. HP's board rejected the proposal, accusing Xerox of lowballing the company's valuation.

Since then, Xerox has threatened a hostile takeover, securing $24 billion in funding from major banks and raising its offer to $24 per share. Still, HP's board has gone on record stating it will adopt a "poison pill" response, opting to discount its shares to all shareholders outside Xerox's group of shareholders to dilute the company's ownership. Whether or not that tactic works remains to be seen.

March 2020: Xerox's efforts to roll HP into its company were ultimately put on hold this month thanks to the ongoing global crisis surrounding COVID-19. In a press release, John Visentin, Xerox vice chairman and CEO, said the company needs to "prioritize the health and safety of its employees, customers, partners and affiliates" over other considerations.

"We believe it is prudent to postpone releases of additional presentations, interviews with media and meetings with HP shareholders so we can focus our time and resources on protecting Xerox's various stakeholders from the pandemic," he said.

March has been a tumultuous month for many industries, largely due to the one-two punch of COVID-19 shutdowns and a rapidly declining stock market. With those issues in mind, Xerox said the state of the stock market would have little impact on the company's effort to acquire HP.

"For the avoidance of doubt, Xerox does not consider the market decline since the date of its offer or the temporary suspension of trading in HP shares that occurred on March 10, 2020 and March 12, 2020 as a result of market-wide circuit breakers procedures to constitute a failure of any condition to its offer to acquire HP," the company stated. "Xerox will take the same view on any future temporary trading halts, unless otherwise stated in advance."

April 2020: As communities everywhere struggle to fight the coronavirus pandemic, Xerox has partnered with Vortran Medical Technology to build and distribute disposable ventilators. The move came weeks after Xerox paused its merger attempt with HP.

"Our smartest minds met (virtually) with Vortran's smartest minds and figured out how to mass produce this critical technology," said Visentin in a press release. "We want to help make sure doctors, nurses and paramedics on the frontlines have the resources they need to help the rising number of patients with COVID-19."

The two companies said they expected to get production from 40,000 in April to between 150,000 to 200,000 ventilators by June. Over the coming months, the collaboration could result in the manufacture of "as many as 1 million" new FDA-approved, APM-Plus devices, if supplies and parts last.

According to the partnership, Xerox will do its part at its Rochester, New York, facility, while Vortran will do its part at its Sacramento, California, location.

"The partnership with Xerox has one clear goal – to help save as many lives as possible," said Vortran co-founder and CEO Gordon A. Wong, MD. "With Vortran's proven technology and Xerox's ability to hyperscale manufacturing, we believe we can supply healthcare providers as many as 1 million ventilators in the coming months. For all of us, this will be the most important thing we ever do."

May 2020: Companies around the world continue to work toward addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, and copier manufacturers are no different.

Continuing from their previous effort to manufacture new ventilators, Xerox recently revealed plans to produce "approximately 140,000 gallons of hand sanitizer by June 2020." The company announced in a press release that their hospital-grade sanitizer would be produced at Xerox's Toronto and Rochester, New York, facilities, with the first distributions taking place at the end of April. Only resellers approved to sell directly to healthcare organizations will get the product.

Konica Minolta announced they would help local communities and business customers "maintain business continuity" during the pandemic through various measures.

According to the manufacturer's press release, Konica Minolta Business Solutions USA Inc. and its IT services division, All Covered, has offered several ways of addressing various COVID-19 related issues. Among some of the company's solutions are offering training to educate teachers on how to use G Suite and Office 365 to help with remote learning, reprogramming their Dremel 3D40 printer to "create and print air-filtering masks," tesing Mobotix Thermal TR cameras at a New York hospital to assess patient symptoms, and using Double 2 Telepresence Robots to "enable remote telehealth sessions between doctors and patients."

Brother MFC-J6945DW INKvestment Tank

Best Budget Color Copier

Summary

The Brother MFC-J6945DW INKvestment Tank is our pick for the best budget color copier because it's a solid all-in-one copier that can help small businesses lower their printing costs. Each machine comes with approximately one year of ink and the Brother Page Gauge to track how much ink has been used and how much is left. Couple that with the fact that it's easy to operate and maintain, and this machine is a great choice for small businesses on a budget.

November 2019: Since we last reviewed the MFC-J6945DW, Brother has expanded its line of INKvestment Tank copiers with newer models. The new Brother MFC-J805DW XL has many of the same features that its predecessor does, but with a smaller price tag. The new model comes with two years' worth of ink and touts a printing speed of up to 12 black-and-white pages and six full-color pages per minute. It can interface wirelessly with Google Cloud Print, AirPrint, Mopria and Brother iPrint&Scan.
Read our full review of Brother MFC-J6945DW INKvestment Tank

Xerox WorkCentre 6515

Best Color Copier for Small Businesses

Summary

Xerox's WorkCentre 6515 is the best overall color copier for small businesses because of its ability to produce quality prints. Xerox's machine produces sharp colors that place this model above others in its class. Its small size, printing speed, simple user interface, cloud-connected apps and capability of handling 50,000 images per month make it a strong candidate for any small business.
Read our full review of Xerox WorkCentre 6515

Sharp MX-4071

Most Accessible Color Copier for Small Businesses

Summary

With a 10.1-inch integrated touchscreen display and easy-to-follow user guides, the Sharp MX-4071 is our pick as the most accessible color copier for small businesses. This model can interface with a range of cloud-based applications and utilize voice controls through Amazon's Alexa, giving users the ability to change aspects of their print jobs without ever having to push a button.
Read our full review of Sharp MX-4071

HP Color LaserJet MFP E87660z

Copier with the Highest Duty Cycle

Summary

The HP Color LaserJet MFP E87660z is the best copier with the highest duty cycle. Businesses that need a heavy duty copier that can easily churn out a large volume each month should seriously consider this machine. The MFP E87660z can print upward of 300,000 sheets per month; it also has all the features you expect from a modern machine, including access to Google Drive, Apple AirPrint and other cloud-based services.
Read our full review of HP Color LaserJet MFP E87660z

Pricing

The price of today's copiers varies widely due to the range of features and accessories that come included, as well as any additional supplies needed to operate them. Additionally, service and warranty plans increase the price. Depending on the type of copier you need, you may have to lease the machine, bringing on an additional, yet manageable monthly cost.

Along with the normal upfront costs associated with purchasing a new piece of hardware, a new copier comes with its own set of regular costs. Once you purchase a copier, you have to establish a regular budget for toner or inkjet ink. Generally, most copiers and printers use CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) ink cartridges rather than the RGB (red, green, blue) color scheme that technology uses.

Printers use the wider color palette to create more accurate colors for printed materials. If you're planning to use the copier for important documents, such as producing marketing collateral materials or presentations, you need a copier that will provide the most accurate and consistent results.

While you can find a lot of reasonably priced copiers, you get what you pay for. Cheap ink cartridges run the risk of leaking or causing mechanical problems that slow your machine down, effectively hampering whatever productivity boost the machine was supposed to provide. A faster copying speed and increased memory capacity increase the cost of a copier, but they also impact productivity.

Since prices vary widely between copiers, you'll want to conduct a cost-benefit analysis to make absolutely sure such an investment is right for your company. Pore over the spec sheets to find a printer that fits your needs. For example, if you plan to have all of your employees use the copier, go for a copier with a higher duty cycle. If you need to print highly accurate design documents, focus on a machine that specializes in image quality. You may learn during your research that a wide-format printer is what you need.

Consider your needs and the functions that will serve those needs. Learning about your business's monthly printing needs, the types of projects the copier will regularly handle and who will use the machine the most should inform your decision.

Color Copier Features

In today's market, there are countless copier models that come with varying feature sets. When choosing your business's next copy machine, it's important to look for the features that best fit your needs. These features include

  • Speed: In previous decades, a copier's speed was one of its most important features, with machines rated on a scale of printed pages per minute. Today, it doesn't matter what kind of printer you have, the speeds are generally standardized across the board. The most important aspect of speed now is how fast a printer can go from standby mode to ready to print the first page. It shouldn't take more than a few moments to print a document after the copier has been in sleep or standby mode.

  • Autoduplexing: Autoduplexing means your printer can print on both sides of a sheet of paper. Rather than having to manually flip a page to print on the back, copiers with this feature save time and money by handling this task.

  • Paper capacity and duty cycle: The amount of paper a copier can handle, as well as the sheer volume of pages it can print, are heavily based on your business's needs. If your organization prints a ton of materials regularly, you would do well to consider a high-duty printer. A cycle with a lower figure of 25,000 pages might be just fine for a small office with four or five employees, but if you need to print upward of 150,000 pages each month with a lower duty model, you risk overheating and damaging the unit.

  • Ease of use: Avoid copiers a complex set up – plug and play functionality is key. From initial training and setup to using the machine and refilling the paper, toner, and ink, it's important that you and your employees can easily handle the machine and troubleshoot issues.

  • Size and weight: Where will you place the machine? Will it be in a central location? Is it easily accessible by everyone? If you can't accommodate a large, heavy printer, then rule those models out at the outset of your decision-making process.

  • Connectivity: We live in a digital world. While USB connectivity is still considered standard among printers, wireless connectivity is becoming more common. Being able to print from anywhere, and from any device, is a convenient feature that often relies on cloud storage services like Dropbox.

  • Security: There have been numerous reports highlighting the need to secure every endpoint, especially in the internet of things age. For many businesses, placing printer security as a top priority may be a stretch. However, secure printing is critical for businesses like financial organizations, law offices and doctor's offices. If your business handles personal and/or sensitive information, focus on printers that offer built-in security features.

Additional Reviews

Below are several printers and copiers that didn't make the cut as a best pick for Business News Daily or business.com. Still, these machines are alternative options if you're looking to compare them to the best picks:

HP PageWide Enterprise Color Flow MFP 586z Review

Canon ImageRunner Advance C5535i II Review

Lexmark CX725de Review

Xerox AltaLink C8035 Review

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Review

Toshiba e-STUDIO 3515 AC Review

Ricoh IM C4500 MFP Review

Konica Minolta Bizhub I-Series Review

Ricoh MP C4504ex Review

Xerox WorkCentre 7535 Review

Best Picks

Services

Xerox WorkCentre 6515

The Xerox WorkCentre 6515 is an inexpensive, all-in-one printer ideal for small businesses with creative teams. Its small dimensions, printing speed and duty cycle of 50,000 images per month, as well as its sharp, crisp colors, separate this model from others in its class.

Sharp MX-4071

Sharp's MX-4071 is equipped to increase productivity and accessibility for small business users. The 10.1-inch touchscreen display is integrated with easy-to-follow user guides, access to cloud-service applications and voice control via Amazon's Alexa. It also features a walk-up motion sensor that wakes the printer up when a user approaches the unit.

HP Color LaserJet MFP E87660z

The HP Color LaserJet Managed Flow MFP E87660z offers a high-duty cycle for offices with lots of printing and copying needs. It is equipped to operate through cloud-based services such as Google Drive and Apple AirPrint, and ensures data is secure with HP Sure Start software.

Brother MFC-J6945DW INKvestment Tank

The Brother MFC-J6945DW INKvestment Tank is a wireless multifunction color copier (MFC) that can help small businesses reduce their supply costs while increasing productivity. It offers about one year's worth of ink in each Ultra High-Yield cartridge and is equipped with the Brother Page Gauge to keep track of how much ink it has used and how much remains.

Editor's note: Are you looking for a copier for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

Andrew Martins
Andrew Martins, Writer

Andrew Martins is an award-winning journalist with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Ramapo College of New Jersey. Before joining business.com and Business News Daily, he wrote for a regional publication and served as the managing editor for six weekly papers that spanned four counties. Currently, he is responsible for reviewing tax software and online fax services. He is a New Jersey native and a first-generation Portuguese American, and he has a penchant for the nerdy.