The Best Copiers of 2020

Andrew Martins, Writer
November 20, 2019

Update: We've revised this page to include that Brother has added new models to its INKvestment Tank line.

Despite a wave of digitalization and content management tools taking over today's workplace, many businesses have yet to go completely paperless. As a result, many small businesses still find value in copiers, since in-house printing can often save time and money while acting as a failsafe in case your digital options fail.

For small businesses that want a color copier that can also print, fax and scan documents, there is a litany of multifunction printers (MFPs) and copiers (MFCs) that can handle most of your needs. Many modern machines track usage statistics, giving you the essential tools to reduce the costs associated with unnecessary printing and copying.

To help you make the right choice for your small business, we examined multiple brands and the latest models. You can find our recommendations below, but if you would like some more general information on copiers, read our Digital Copier Buying Guide on our sister site business.com.

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
Price: $349.99

Best Color Copier for Small Businesses

Best Color Copier for Small Businesses
Price: $549

Most Accessible Color Copier for Small Businesses

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

Copier with the Highest Duty Cycle

Copier with the Highest Duty Cycle
Price: Available for lease only; 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.

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.