Multifunction Copier vs Desktop Printer: Which is Best for Your Clients?

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When shopping for printing hardware, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the market’s wide variety of options. This decision can completely transform an organization's efficiency for your MSP’s clients that rely heavily on their printers and copiers.

When considering print needs, the first and most important question is whether an office requires simple desktop printers or an all-in-one multifunction copier.

Print Partner works with over 250 MSPs across the United States, managing your clients’ print needs so you can focus on the IT solutions in which you specialize. After performing in-depth print audits for countless businesses, we know what machines suit what businesses.

Desktop printers and copiers each have pros and cons, and in this article, we’re going to break them down and help you identify which is ideal for your clients’ workplace.

Scale and Complexity

Start by answering the simple question: how big is your client’s company? 

For a small office of 10-15 employees that only copies and prints a few documents daily, buying a few desktop printers may be appropriate for your client’s printing needs. If they need to print 11x17 pages, however, they are likely going to need to get a copier.

For a larger company, a high-volume desktop printer or a multifunction copier is better equipped for keeping up with printing a high volume of documents than simple desktop printers.

Multifunction copiers are entirely different beasts from their desktop counterparts. Modern-day copiers can print and copy at a much faster rate while also offering a vast suite of applications and functions. 

They also are typically the only print devices that are capable of printing on 11x17 or larger media, with few exceptions.

Honestly, today’s copiers probably have more in common with smartphones than traditional printers. For example, Xerox copiers include ConnectKey software, which offers a large selection of apps that significantly increase its functionality.

“It’s today’s smart workplace assistant that doesn’t just copy, scan, fax, or print, but also translates, shares, and creates electronic documents with just a few easy taps on the screen,” reads Xerox’s website.

If you’d like to learn more about Xerox products and services, read: 5 Reasons Xerox is a Top Choice for National Accounts.

Because of their complexity, multifunction copiers are often more labor-intensive to set up and require training classes for the employees who use them. So make sure your client knows what they’re getting into. For a large enough company with a large print volume, the value that the copier brings is worth the extra work.

But size isn’t everything. When assessing a client’s print needs, you’ll also want to consider their industry.

Specific fields of business require extensive documentation and a robust print support system. Examples include law firms, hospitals, auto dealerships, insurance agencies, etc.

You can make a solid starting point for your client’s print journey based on size and complexity.

Multifunction Copier


  • More functionality
  • Able to handle larger print loads


  • Longer installation time
  • Require employee training

Desktop Printer 


  • Easy installation
  • Little training required


  • Limited uses beyond printing
  • Low print volume

Cost and Efficiency

Generally, desktop printers are much more affordable upfront than copiers, as they are smaller and simpler machines. But over time, printer costs can add up if you consider buying original equipment manufacturer (OEM) ink.

Copiers make up for their initial investment cost over time, as they are generally much more cost-effective when printing per page than desktop printers. This is because laser printing is more affordable than ink printing and eliminates the need to replace ink cartridges.

Copiers sell with automatic toner replenishment, which saves your clients’ from the headache of replacing their supplies.

Copiers also require less servicing and replacement compared to servicing multiple different desktop printers that can develop their issues over time.

Remember: time is money. The right copier or printer can save your clients countless hours and streamline a business’ entire document workflow.

Multifunction Copier


  • Prints and copies faster
  • Saves money over time


  • Larger upfront cost

Desktop Printer 


  • Cheaper upfront cost


  • Slower printing
  • More expensive over time

Printing Security

If your client’s employees want to print confidential documents and are concerned about others in the office reading them, desktop printers offer this peace of mind.

A personal desktop printer next to a staff member’s desk is a reliable way to keep documents private rather than printing on an office-shared copier.

Guaranteed privacy can be especially relevant for high-level executives, who often have personal desktop printers while the rest of the office shares copiers.

If handled correctly, modern copiers can be secure machines. Xerox’s ConnectKey packages a sophisticated security system that protects the device from malware and hacking.

If you'd like to learn more about ConnectKey's security, watch the video below:


Multifunction copiers also come with internal security risks. If an employee prints a document that is not meant to be seen by others and forgets to pick it up from the copier, confidential information can find its way into the wrong hands.

To combat internal security concerns, many copiers offer secure pull printing. The copier waits to print documents until the user stands at the machine and approves the print. Incorporating a print management solution such as PaperCut really can improve a company’s information security.

Still, the guaranteed security of desktop printers cannot be underestimated, which is why many large organizations with copiers also have a few desktop printers for high-level executives to print confidential documents privately.

Multifunction Copier


  • Secure pull printing
  • Anti-hacking software


  • If used improperly, confidential documents can be leaked

Desktop Printer 


  • Personal printers prevent the accidental printing of confidential documents on a shared printer
  • Less likely to be targetted by hacking


  • Less sophisticated anti-hacking measures

Print Partner’s Value

If your client’s business has simple, low-volume printing needs with an emphasis on privacy and security, personal desktop printers may be sufficient. 

But once a business grows large enough to require a high volume of printing, copying, faxing, and scanning, the multifunction copier is often the superior choice in terms of functionality and long-term costs.

Here at Print Partner, we strive to give your clients everything they need to have a smooth print experience. When partnering with us, we ensure that your clients’ print is secure, efficient, cost-effective, and suits their needs. 

And we’ll pay you!

When you work with Print Partner, you’ll receive $250 - $500 per qualified referral and $1,000 per copier sold, with recurring revenue of 5% on their annual print allotment for the life of the agreement.

Just make the introduction, and we’ll handle the rest.

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