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New vs. Remanufactured vs. Refurbished vs. Used Copiers & Printer Devices

woman using copier

"After realizing 'I need a new copier,' you've selected a copier model that suits your company's needs. Would you like to buy one that is new, remanufactured, refurbished, or used?" 

Um, what? 

Just when you thought shopping for printers, copiers, or multifunction devices (MFDs) for your company couldn't get any more complicated, in walks the "condition" question for these models. There's no need to worry. In this piece, we're going to break down the differences between these conditions and determine which may be the right fit for your company. 

New Copiers & Printer Devices

This definition is likely the easiest to explain. Simply put, new means new—a top-shelf copier or printer device that has never had to have its meter reset, no parts replaced, and aside from factory testing, hasn't tasted any paper. The screens probably still have plastic protectors without a single fingerprint to find. Perfection!

The Ideal Buyer of a New Copier or MFD

“Nothing but the best!” The ideal buyer of a new printer or copier is likely a company that values having the very latest technology above all else—either in the form of superior image quality, performance, software features, or data security. Having the newest tech and components likely even supersede price. 

Pros of Buying a New Device

In addition to that new machine smell and top-shelf warranties, new copiers, printers, or MFDs also tend to have lower maintenance costs. Low wear. Low errors. Low cares.  You can choose the machine features & components you need for your business applications.

Cons of Buying a New Device

Obviously, new machines will likely have the highest upfront price of any other condition of their specific model. Many of the latest models may still contain certain bugs and glitches yet to be discovered. New devices may also have delayed deployment and ordering schedules.

Remanufactured Copiers & Printer Devices

From least confusing to most confusing, we arrive upon remanufactured copier or printer devices.

Remanufactured vs. New Copiers & Printers

Breaking down the term, "remanufactured" usually means that a manufacturer—not a third party—has built a new copier or printer using many "like new" certified parts from other machines. These parts are sourced either from returning devices or through other means. In most instances, remanufactured machines meet the manufacturers' same performance specifications for new devices. These copiers and printer devices simply can't be sold as "new" due to the source of their parts or other technicalities. Despite this, these machines almost always share the same "new" model guarantees, warranties, and even signature attributes—such as new paint jobs, and other truly "new" features. 

The Ideal Buyer of a Remanufactured Copier or MFD

“Give me the best...for less.” The target market for remanufactured machines is very similar to that of the new printer or copier models, though willing to forgo the truly "new" status in return for a bit of cost savings.

Pros of Buying a Remanufactured Device

Remanufactured copiers or printers usually contain all of the same features and performance specifications as "new" model devices, only with a smaller price tag. Also, in some instances, some remanufactured models may have some of the bugs worked out that plagued new models. Despite the lowered price tag, remanufactured devices almost always share any guarantees or warranties enjoyed by their "new" model counterparts.

Cons of Buying a Remanufactured Device

The primary disadvantage of remanufactured machines has more to do with a buyer's philosophy regarding purchasing technology—these machines aren't officially "new" through and through. Another disadvantage involves the availability of these devices, as they're likely not immediately ready for sale at the same time as their "new" version counterparts. For those with their eye on a specific model, but with a very limited buying window, this may be an issue. 

Refurbished Copiers & Printer Devices

"What is the difference between refurbished and remanufactured copiers and printers?"

"Is refurbished better than used?"

These are some of the most frequently asked questions among office equipment buyers, and for good reason—there are many similarities. Both machines aren't "new," but not sold as "used" and both likely contain parts from other devices.

Refurbished Copiers Defined

Where they differ is typically the most significant disconnect—who is doing the work and what is the true condition of the machine.  Unlike remanufactured machines that are treated just like new machines by manufacturers and dealers short of their price tag, refurbished printers are restored used office printers or copier models. These restorations are usually not performed by manufacturers, but instead by a dealership service department. The quality of these devices is still quite high, as most of these devices have only been maintained from the dealership's service department before refurbishment.

The Ideal Buyer of a Refurbished Copier or MFD

“The demand is high, but the volume is low.”  A refurbished printer or copier is an excellent purchase for a company looking for a reliable machine at an affordable price. These devices are especially popular among companies or departments with a lower overall copier imaging volume—such as a warehouse or office space somewhat removed from the main office with needs not exceeding 2,000 images a month. These may also be popular among smaller companies with imaging volumes that surpass the recommended imaging levels of a consumer-level printer, but don't justify new or remanufactured device prices. 

Pros of Buying a Refurbished Device

Refurbished printers, copiers, or MFDs present tremendous cost savings while providing a reasonably reliable machine. Utilizing a restored device may also have an environmental benefit for such customers that value sustainability as part of their corporate culture.  

Cons of Buying a Refurbished Device

The cost to maintain refurbished copier models will almost certainly be higher than that of new or remanufactured models due to their age, wear, and parts availability.

Used Copiers & Printer Devices

"What is the difference between refurbished and used copiers or printers?"

Used copiers, printers, and MFDs will likely be the most affordable tier of such commercial office devices. Just as the name implies, these devices have been used in various capacities, possibly by multiple owners. Before sold by a dealership or third-party company, they are inspected carefully to ensure adequate functionality. Though some repairs may be necessary, such repairs would not be considered a refurbishment.

The Ideal Buyer of a Used Copier or MFD

“That’ll do.” A company purchasing a used copier or MFD is price-conscious, first and foremost. While their copying or printer needs exceed the functionality of a consumer-grade device in terms of hardware or system functions, they do not justify the cost of much more. These customers print or copy an immensely low number of images and likely do not have high data security requirements.

Pros of Buying a Used Device

The upfront cost of a used copier or printer device may be a fraction of the price of a new or even remanufactured model—all the while possessing the functionality of a reasonably modern machine. 

Cons of Buying a Used Device

Not only will used machines be much less reliable than the other device classifications mentioned in this piece, but they may also come with much higher maintenance costs. Parts for these devices will likely be less available, and consumables (ink and toner cartridges, etc.) may be trickier to come by, depending on the device age of the model. 

"You must choose, but choose wisely." - the old guy at the end of Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade. 

When considering which copier or printer device is right for your company, there's a lot to consider. One of the biggest mistakes many companies make is going by the initial sticker price of the machine alone. It's also essential to take into consideration the price of consumables (ink, toner cartridges, etc.), maintenance, parts, and its eventual replacement. Even though all of these aspects of the buying process lay before you, we hope that you have a better understanding of the difference between new, remanufactured, refurbished, and used model copiers, printers, or MFDs.

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