Even if you’ve been working in an office environment for a long time, the terms “photocopier” and “laser printer” might sound pretty interchangeable to you. 

But if you’re ever in the position to call for repairs on your office’s current machine, or purchase a new one, it’s important to understand the difference between the two! 

Having a good understanding of each separate machine’s functions might also make your daily life a little easier.

What is a photocopier?

A photocopier’s main purpose is to create– you guessed it!– multiple copies. You just have to place an original document on the scanner glass and determine how many copies you’d like, and the machine makes it happen.

One of the most helpful things about a photocopier is its capacity to handle very large volumes of pages at once. 

They’re designed to work quickly and efficiently, allowing you to distribute important documents in a reasonable amount of time.

Even the most basic photocopiers also offer multiple super-convenient perks– for example, folding and stapling booklets, or collating pages.

Having access to a photocopier means that a job that may once have been labor-intensive (folding pages by hand and stapling everything) gets done for you without any extra effort on your part at all.

Basic photocopiers use xerography to copy an image, and toner to reproduce it on a new page. You have the option to choose black-and-white imagery, or color printing, depending on the capabilities of the machine that your office uses.

What is a laser printer?

A laser printer is used for printing documents directly from a computer.

Your printer’s functionality will vary, depending on the model you have, but most laser printers need to be connected to a computer via Ethernet or Wi-Fi to print documents.

Laser printers actually use a fairly similar process to photocopiers to create an image, involving electrically charged toner that’s fused to the paper to create the desired image or text. 

The main difference is that laser printers are always able to print in vivid color.

Typically, a laser printer is designed for much smaller volumes of work, although higher-capacity models exist for larger workforce environments with greater demands.

What’s the difference between a laser printer and a photocopier?

Both are used in an office environment to produce images on paper. However, photocopiers are used primarily to reproduce images, while printers are used to create originals.

It always depends on the model, but photocopiers are designed to handle a lot of pages at once, and often have extra functions that allow you to collate, staple, and fold pages. The average laser printer doesn’t have this same functionality.

In general, a laser printer is better-suited for a small business environment where not a lot of documents are needed at any given time. A photocopier is perfect for a business where a lot of document reproduction is needed in a short amount of time.

Should I buy a laser printer or a photocopier?

If you’re not sure which one would be best for your business, just give us a call. At Central Business Equipment, we’d be happy to discuss your printing and copying needs to determine which type of machine would be perfect for you!