Why Is Print Volume Important for a Printer – Duty Cycle & Recommended Volume

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Print Volume

Discovering the perfect printer for your office can be a game-changer, but navigating the bundle of options can feel overwhelming. Among the many factors to consider, print volume stands out as an important one. But what exactly does print volume should have your printer, and why is it so vital in selecting the right printer or copier?

As seasoned print vendors who’ve witnessed the repercussions of overlooking print volume, we’re here to explain its significance. From avoiding costly breakdowns to fostering an efficient printing environment, understanding your print volume is key to making informed purchasing decisions. In this article, we’ll delve into what print volume means, its importance, and how you can determine your current volume. Let’s dive in and ensure your next printer purchase aligns perfectly with your needs.

What Does Print Volume Mean?

Understanding the print volume is crucial when purchasing your office’s next machine. Print volume refers to the quantity of prints or copies an organization regularly generates, typically measured in prints per month. This metric is essential for evaluating a printer’s capacity and performance.

When exploring printers, you’ll encounter two key terms related to print volume: duty cycle and recommended monthly print volume. The duty cycle represents a machine’s maximum print capacity, while the recommended monthly print volume suggests the volume you should maintain for optimal performance.

What Does Print Volume Mean

It’s important to note the difference between a printer’s duty cycle and its recommended print volume. The duty cycle is the machine’s maximum monthly capacity, which you can technically reach but should avoid for prolonged periods. On the other hand, the recommended print volume is around 10% of the duty cycle, set by manufacturers as the standard for consistent and efficient printing.

By understanding these terms and their implications, you can make informed decisions when purchasing your office’s next machine, ensuring it aligns perfectly with your printing needs while maximizing longevity and performance.

Why Is Print Volume Important?

Print volume is important when selecting a printer for your business, particularly in the realm of managed print services. Printers are often categorized based on their capacity as low-volume or high-volume machines. This categorization directly impacts factors such as print quality, speed, and cost efficiency.

High-volume printers boast the ability to handle larger quantities of documents or images with faster print speeds. While they may come with a higher initial cost, their cost-per-page tends to be lower, making them ideal for businesses with significant printing needs.

Conversely, low-volume printers are suited for smaller print requirements. Investing in a high-volume machine when your print volume is low can lead to unnecessary expenses and underutilization of the machine’s capabilities.

Moreover, overlooking your print volume can result in suboptimal printer performance and output quality. A printer operating beyond its recommended volume may experience more frequent breakdowns and maintenance issues, disrupting daily operations and incurring additional costs.

On the other hand, choosing a printer with a lower build volume than your actual requirements can lead to inefficiencies and increased printing costs over time. It’s essential to strike a balance by accurately assessing your print volume and selecting a printer that aligns with your business’s needs, ensuring optimal performance, cost-effectiveness, and print quality.

Over Printing than Recommended Print Volume

Choosing a printer suitable for your company’s print volume is crucial to avoid potential long-term costs and operational disruptions. Many businesses prioritize the initial purchase price when selecting a printer, opting for lower-volume models with lower recommended monthly print volumes due to their lower upfront costs.

However, this approach can backfire for companies with high-volume printing needs. Using a printer beyond its recommended capacity can lead to frequent service calls, repairs, and the need for new parts. This strain on the device can shorten its lifespan, ultimately resulting in unexpected expenses for replacements or repairs.

Service technicians typically charge around $100 an hour, and complex printer issues can incur significant service bills. Moreover, overusing a printer can render it inoperable, necessitating the purchase of a new machine sooner than anticipated.

To avoid these pitfalls, it’s crucial to select a printer that can handle your print volume from the beginning. Our complete guide to purchasing printers offers valuable insights, including tips for increasing printer lifespan and understanding the difference between various printer models. You can also download our free guide to purchasing printers for a comprehensive resource on choosing the right machine for your business’s needs.

Meter reads provide an accurate way to examine your printer’s usage, indicating the total prints made and allowing you to assess whether your current printer meets your requirements. By considering factors such as duplex printing, product configurator settings, and document management capabilities, you can make an informed decision and avoid costly mistakes when purchasing a new printer.

For expert guidance and a close look at your printing needs, click on the image to download our free guide and ensure you choose the right printer for your business.

Always Print Under Recommended Volume

While it’s less common, some companies end up purchasing a printer that exceeds their actual printing needs. This can result in unnecessary spending on a machine larger than required. Although it’s generally safer to overestimate rather than underestimate your print volume, spending excessively on a printer isn’t ideal either.

Always Print Under Recommended Volume

Aligning your printer with your actual print volume is crucial to avoid overspending or underspending. If your print volume is low or if you print infrequently for convenience, opting for a low-volume printer makes more financial sense.

The key question then arises: How do you accurately assess your current print volume to determine the right machine for your needs?

How Do I Figure Out My Current Print Volume?

There are several ways to determine your current monthly print volume accurately:

  1. Check Your Printing Bill: Reviewing your printer or copier invoice is the most precise method. If you’re on a maintenance plan, your invoice should detail your monthly print and copy volume accurately.
  2. Meter Reads: Check the meter reads on your printer, which indicate the total number of prints and copies made. This information is usually accessible in the machine’s settings or through a printed report. Divide the total meter reading by the number of months you’ve owned the machine for a close estimate of your monthly print volume.
  3. Paper Usage: Although less accurate, you can estimate your volume by tracking how much paper or paper reams you use each month. For instance, if you use two paper reams (typically 500 pages each) per month, you can multiply this by the number of pages in a ream to approximate your monthly print volume.

By utilizing these methods, you can gauge your current print volume accurately and make informed decisions when choosing a printer that aligns with your needs.

What Other Factors to Consider When Buying a Printer?

Understanding your print volume is indeed crucial when purchasing or leasing a printer, as it ensures you select a machine that can handle your workload without incurring unexpected costs. Utilizing the steps outlined in this article to calculate your print volume will guide you in finding the right printer for your organization.

While print volume is a significant consideration, there are numerous other factors to weigh before making your purchase. With years of experience in the printer/copier industry, we’ve gained insights into these crucial factors to help you make an informed decision:

  1. Print Quality: Consider the level of print quality required for your documents or images, especially if you deal with graphics or marketing materials.
  2. Speed: Evaluate the printer’s speed in terms of pages per minute (PPM), ensuring it aligns with your workflow requirements.
  3. Duplex Printing: Determine if duplex printing (printing on both sides of the paper) is necessary for your office to save on paper costs.
  4. Connectivity: Check for connectivity options such as Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or mobile printing capabilities to enhance accessibility and workflow efficiency.
  5. Paper Handling: Assess the printer’s paper handling capabilities, including tray capacity, supported paper sizes, and types to accommodate your diverse printing needs.
  6. Toner/Ink Costs: Consider the ongoing costs of toner or ink cartridges and choose a printer with affordable consumables suitable for your budget.
  7. Reliability and Durability: Research the brand’s reputation for reliability and durability to ensure long-term performance and minimal downtime.
  8. Warranty and Support: Look for printers with comprehensive warranties and reliable customer support for troubleshooting and maintenance needs.

By taking these factors into account alongside your print volume, you can make a well-rounded decision when purchasing your next office printer.


In conclusion, understanding your print volume is fundamental when buying a printer, ensuring you select a machine that meets your workload and budget. By following the steps outlined to calculate your print volume, you can confidently narrow down your search for the perfect printer.

While print volume is paramount, several other factors require consideration before purchasing a printer. These include print quality, speed, duplex printing capabilities, connectivity options, paper handling, ongoing toner/ink costs, reliability, and warranty support.

With years of experience in the printer/copier industry, we emphasize the importance of assessing these factors comprehensively to make an informed decision. By doing so, you’ll not only avoid unexpected costs but also acquire a printer that enhances productivity and efficiency in your office environment.

For more information and services you can contact us for a free quote and estimation.

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