The Definitive Guide: Copiers and Duplicators

Every office, whether it is big or small, is going to have a copy machine or a similar machine, to help get everyone through the workday. Copiers, even in this day and age where the use of paper is becoming less and less, is a must because it is a machine that is capable of doing so much more than just making copies.

Modern copiers can scan, print and, if you really need to, they can even send a fax. As a multifunctional machine, they are more than capable of becoming your main office appliance, which will save you both time and money.

But in order to get the most out of the system you buy, you need to make sure that the one you choose is the one that will provide you with the type of features you need.


And while shopping around you are likely to come across two types of these office machines; the copier and the duplicator. Below we will explain the difference between copiers and duplicators.

What is the difference between copiers and duplicators?


Photocopiers are one of the oldest types of office machinery on the market, and even though they have evolved to include a variety of other helpful features, the primary purpose of any copier is to make copies.

The different types of copiers allow you greater control when it comes to the number of copies you need in a day and you will have the option of buying a system that can create just a handful of quality prints or one that has a high output, allowing you to print your own brochures, for instance.

Duplicators, while they might sound like they are just another copier, are actually quite a different type of machine. While its basic function is to make a copy of whatever it is that you need a copy of, the duplicator can only copy a single page at a time and it will usually only be able to print in one colour.

The way in which the duplicating machine is put together is also going to be quite different. Duplicators, for instance, don’t use ink or toner. Instead, they are designed to use a stencil and thermal imagining, to bring the copy to life. And that is the big difference between a duplicating machine and a photocopying machine.


What are the benefits and uses of a duplicating machine?


So, just based on the description above, you are probably thinking that such a machine really has no purpose in your office. And while that might be true, depending on what your needs are, you could find that instead of having a copier, all you really need is a duplicating machine.

Duplicators come with numerous advantages. They are considered to be incredibly fast and they are actually a lot cheaper than a copy machine, even though the duplicator sounds like it should be the type of thing that costs more than a copy machine. But even though a duplicating machine can seem like a rather specialist type of machine, it is really just a simplified copier.

These systems can copy at a rate of 180 pages a minute, and since they don’t use ink or toner, the prints can be done at a fraction of what it would cost if you were to be using a photocopier.

And when would be the ideal time to have a duplicator? If you are printing your own high volumes of newsletters or posters, then a duplicator might be exactly what you need. Remember, duplicators are quite perfect for printing the same thing over and over again.

Duplicators are very easy to operate. Unlike the photocopier, which can have loads of buttons or even a complicated touch screen, a duplicator is a fairly straightforward device and even if you have never used a printer or copier before, you will quite easily be able to get to grips with a duplicator.

A duplicator can also allow you to make alterations and fix mistakes. Unlike a copier, which is just going to repeat the mistake with each copy, the duplicator allows you to use a correcting fluid which means mistakes can be fixed before they end up on every copy.

Finally, since the machine is using a stencil to make the copy, you can reuse whichever stencils you have without the stencil losing quality. This means you will have the perfect print every time you use the machine.


What is an ink duplicator?


An ink duplicator makes use of a stencil to create and recreate the print that you are copying. Ink is pasted onto the machine’s cylinder surface and the cylinder is then rolled onto the paper. The ink used in these machines is a lot more cost-effective than the ink and toner used in a copier and the ink duplicator is also far more simplistic in its design, allowing you to get more hands-on with your printing process and to jump in should you find a mistake.


How does a duplicator work?


While each machine might differ from the next, as companies who make these machines put their own touch on the duplicator they manufacture, all machines basically work the same way:

  • To start, the document you are duplicating is placed onto the glass scanning area with its text facing down.
  • The duplicating machine will then scan the print and make a digital copy of what it is that it sees.
  • The copy is then transferred onto a wax-based master copy, using tiny dots. The dots represent the resolution of the print, and some machines, those that are of higher quality, will offer a higher resolution than others.
  • This master copy is then wrapped around the ink drum.
  • After that the ink-filled drum will squeeze the ink out of the holes it has created and as the drum rotates, it will roll over the paper and create the image.
  • The paper will then leave the machine and the next paper can go in, should you wish to make more copies.


Both most certainly have their place in offices of all kinds. All you need to do is make sure that you know what your needs are before you buy either of these systems.