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Best digital copiers of 2021: top photocopiers for businesses, small and big

Canon i-Sensys MF735Cx
Image credit: Canon
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

If you're looking for the best digital copiers, then you've come to the right place, as on this page we've ranked the best photocopiers money can buy.

In the past, MFPS had a bit of a bad reputation as a 'jack of all trades', but they have made significant improvements both in terms of quality, value for money and onboard features.

What to consider when buying a photocopier?

Below are five points to consider when putting together your checklist

1. Can the photocopier your business is considering handle the capacity needed?

Photocopiers in the shape of multi-function printer come in all shapes and sizes. Many are aimed at the domestic market. Look closely at the stated capacity and match this to your business' workload.

2. How important is quality of scanning and printing?

Many of the latest photocopiers using advanced print technologies that were, up until a short time ago, only found in high-end printers. If possible, look at samples of print and scanned output before making your choice. Many vendors now offer the option of sending samples by post.

3. Is fax capability needed?

Fax is far from a dead communications medium, with many large businesses still needing it. Look at the fax capability of the MFP, which today is likely to use the cloud as well as direct dial to another fax machine.

4. Will your company need to manage sensitive information?

Access to the features of a photocopier should be controlled with PIN numbers or passwords. Also, ensure that the MFP only prints the required copies to ensure data security. And think about whether the USB port should be disabled to mitigate any risk.

5. Does your business require remote printing?

With the rise of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), printing from mobile devices is fast and efficient. Look closely at the apps that will use the photocopier to ensure these connect securely. An MFP can be a cost-effective asset that a business can build its workflow around. 

With digital copiers now coming with a number of configurations, it's critical to assess your business' needs and match them to the right one.

What is the price of a digital copier?

The cost of acquiring a printer can be dwarfed by the cost of purchasing the consumables - the toner or ink, but also the paper, the drum, transfer/fuser kit - and the cost of the warranty plans or after sale services. And because you are likely to have one copier embedded within a group in an office or in a business, downtime can prove costly and counterproductive.

Enlisting the help of a managed print service provider (MPS) can simplify the technicalities associated with operating a copier, especially in bigger businesses, as they take care of the lifecycle of the printer including its disposal at the end of life. Like a car lease, you will usually not own the printer after the lease ends (up to five years) and can usually pay a fixed fee for the printer plus an agreed cost per page.

Best digital copiers at a glance

  1. Brother MFC-J6947DW
  2. Xerox WorkCentre 6515
  3. Lexmark MB2236adw 
  4. Brother MFC-L8690CDW
  5. HP LaserJet Pro MFP M227fdw 
  6. Xerox B215 
  7. Epson EcoTank ET-M2140
  8. Canon imageCLASS MF743Cdw (i-SENSYS MF742Cdw in UK)
  9. Xerox VersaLink C7020 
  10. HP Color Laser MFP 179fnw  

The best digital copiers

Below are the top 10 digital copiers that target small and midsized businesses and generally enterprises below 1,000 employees based on the manufacturer specifications sheet and the suggested retail price at the time of writing.

(Image credit: Future)

1. Brother MFC-J6947DW

Business oriented inkjet makes a fine photocopier

Specifications
Category: All-in-one color inkjet
Print speed: 22ppm (mono)
Paper sizes: up to A3
Paper capacity: 750 sheets
Weight: 27.9kg
Reasons to buy
+Duplex A3 print and scan+Three paper trays
Reasons to avoid
-Muted colors-Slower than a laser printer

The Brother MFC-J6947DW is an inkjet that’s aimed at a role in a busy office more usually filled by a laser printer. Its impressive print speed is only a little slower than the average laser, while offering all the advantages of an inkjet, such as the the ability to print on photo paper and at a higher image resolution. The key feature here though, is its ability to duplex print and duplex scan A3-sized paper making it an ideal photocopier. With a 750-sheet paper capacity and high-yield ink cartridges available that can print up to 6,000 pages, this capable 4-in-one would suit a small business with high print demands.

Read the full review: Brother MFC-J6947DW

(Image credit: Canon)

2. Canon i-Sensys MF735Cx

Fast and fully-featured laser AOI

Specifications
Category: 4-in-1 colour inkjet printer
Print speed: 27ppm
Paper sizes: up to A4
Paper capacity: 250
Weight: 26.5kg
Reasons to buy
+Fast print speed  +Excellent photocopier
Reasons to avoid
-Noisy in operation -Insensitive touchscreen    

Canon is aiming this mid-priced device at the small to medium sized business by loading it with key features and giving it a fast photocopy speed. There’s room for 250 sheets of paper in the main tray, plus 50 more in the multipurpose tray. It makes a fine photocopier with dual-sided scanning and duplex printing and makes it easy to print and scan via the cloud thanks to Canon’s helpful companion app for iOS/Android devices.

Read the full review: Canon i-Sensys MF735Cx

(Image credit: Jim Hill)

3. Lexmark MB2236adw

A scaled down photocopier for the SMB

Specifications
Category: colour laser multifunction device
Print speed: 23ppm
Paper sizes: up to A4
Paper capacity: 251
Weight: 26.8kg
Reasons to buy
+Strong security  +Crisp colours
Reasons to avoid
-Not very fast 

It might look a little top heavy, but this all-in-one A4 photocopier feels well made and offers plenty of features for the footprint that it takes up. Duplex scanning from the ADF and rapid automatic photocopying are performed flawlessly, while the print quality in both colour and mono is excellent. Duplex printing is not the fastest, but a wealth of security features and an easy interface more than makes up for the shortfall.  

Read the full review: Lexmark MB2236adw

(Image credit: Jim Hill)

4. Brother MFC-L8690CDW

Prompt printing and copying in a multitalented MFD

Specifications
Category: 4-in-1 colour laser MFD
Print speed: 31ppm
Paper sizes: up to A4
Paper capacity: 300
Weight: 27.9kg
Reasons to buy
+Fast print speed   +Easy cloud printing
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive -Heavy and bulky

Brother has endowed this hefty laser printer with all the features a small business might need. It can hold 300 sheets of paper and turn out mono or colour pages at the rate of 31 per minute. There’s a fax facility and electronic document feed for automated tasks. It also makes wireless printing from a mobile device, or scanning documents to the cloud very easy using its built in Wi-Fi and a slick iOS/Android companion app. Both Google Cloud Print and AirPrint are covered.

Read the full review: Brother MFC-L8690CDW 

(Image credit: HP)

5. HP LaserJet Pro MFP M227fdw

First class laser printing and photocopying

Specifications
Category: 4-in-1 mono laser printer
Print speed: 28ppm
Paper sizes: up to A4
Paper capacity: 300
Weight: 16.9kg
Reasons to buy
+Crisp print quality +Rapid print speed
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Bulky

If you have the space for it, this multifunction device will serve a small business well thanks to its useful 35-sheet automatic document feeder and automated photocopying skills. This is a mono machine and it’s not the fastest laser on the block, but it’s quicker than any inkjet and offers an attractive blend of features and performance.   

Read the full review: HP LaserJet Pro MFP M227fdw

Xerox B215

(Image credit: Jim Hill)

6. Xerox B215

Affordable photocopying with touchscreen ease

Specifications
Category: mono 4-in-1 laser printer
Print speed: 30ppm
Paper sizes: A4
Paper capacity: 250
Weight: 11.5kg
Reasons to buy
+Compact and affordable +Fast print speed 
Reasons to avoid
-Modest print resolution       -Manual-duplex ADF 

Xerox’s high-end photocopiers are a familiar sight in big offices, but this inexpensive four-in-one device is ideal for the small or home office. It can print, scan, copy and fax just like its big brothers and there’s room in the extending paper tray for 250 sheets of A4, while the automatic document feed can hold another 50 ready for copying. The ADF has a manual duplex mode, which means that if you need to copy both sides of the document, you have to turn it over yourself when prompted. It will auto-duplex when printing, however, and at 30ppm (pages per minute) printing is faster than almost anything at this price. The sophisticated touchscreen interface is another welcome surprise.

Read the full review: Xerox B215

Epson EcoTank ET-M2140

(Image credit: Epson)

7. Epson EcoTank ET-M2140

A refillable ink tank cuts the print cost of this photocopier

Specifications
Category: 3-in-1 mono inkjet printer
Print speed: 20ppm
Paper sizes: up to A4
Paper capacity: 250
Weight: 6.4kg
Reasons to buy
+Economical to run  +Prompt duplex printing
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive to buy-No fax facility

This three-in-one multifunction device might seem expensive for an inkjet, but as with its other cartridge-free solutions, Epson includes a generous amount of ink. The bottle of black ink in the box is good for 11,000 photocopies and Epson recons you’ll make savings of around 90% compared with cartridges. You can fit 250 pages in the main paper tray, scan at high resolution and print crisp duplex pages with a very quick first page out time. The fairly large LCD screen makes it easier to use and the distinctive design picked up a Red Dot award. 

Canon imageCLASS MF743Cdw

(Image credit: Future)

8. Canon imageCLASS MF743Cdw (i-SENSYS MF742Cdw in UK)

Classy and convenient laser copier

Specifications
Category: All-in-one color laser printer
Print speed: 27ppm (mono)
Paper sizes: Up to A4
Paper capacity: 250 + 50 sheets
Weight: 26.7kg
Reasons to buy
+Great touchscreen+Expandable design
Reasons to avoid
-Not the fastest laser-Scanner is not duplex

The crisp design of the Canon imageCLASS MF743Cdw (known as the Canon i-SENSYS MF742Cdw in the UK) would not look out of place in the office or the home office and it comes with all of the features you could need for either situation. There’s duplex printing, a fifty-sheet ADF and a front USB port for walk-up printing printing from a thumb drive. The print speed and print quality are good enough for any small to medium-sized business and the running cost is competitive. You can load 250 sheets of A4 paper in the main tray and add further paper trays if required. The excellent touchscreen interface makes it ideal as the office photocopier.

Read the full review: Canon i-SENSYS MF742Cdw

Xerox VersaLink C7020

(Image credit: Jim Hill)

Top-end A3 printing with tablet-style control

Specifications
Category: 4-in-1 colour laser MFD
Print speed: 20ppm
Paper sizes: up to A3
Paper capacity: 620
Weight: 92kg
Reasons to buy
+Fully featured  +High duty cycle
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive  -Wi-Fi not included 

This is a serious multifunction device built to take care of heavy print loads in the small to medium-sized office. It can hold 620 sheets of paper and there are upgrades available to expand this. It prints quickly in duplex mode and can copy a stack of 110 sheets in its automatic document feeder. It’s a big machine and you can load up the drawer with A3 paper as well as A4. It is also built to last and the sophisticated touchscreen makes it very easy and secure for workers to operate it at the machine. 

Read the full review: Xerox VersaLink C7020

HP Color Laser MFP 179fnw

(Image credit: Jim Hill)

10. HP Color Laser MFP 179fnw

The smallest laser copier has a small price to match

Specifications
Category: colour 4-in-1 laser printer
Print speed: 18ppm
Paper sizes: A4
Paper capacity: 150
Weight: 14.1kg
Reasons to buy
+Compact +Affordable 
Reasons to avoid
-Single-side printing      -Single-side scanning    

HP has managed to shrink a four-in-one laser copier slightly further than anyone else. In fact you have to extend the man paper tray to load your A4 paper. Perhaps more significantly, it has managed to keep the price at rock bottom without loosing any features. It can print, scan copy and fax with Wi-Fi and a USB port for connectivity. The automatic document feeder (ADF) can hold another 40 sheets of A4 for scheduled photocopying. There’s no auto duplex mode, sadly and no duplex scanning either, but it prints quite quickly at 18ppm and it’s not only cheap to buy, but pretty economical to run too.

Read the full review: HP Color Laser MFP 179fnw