A printer’s monthly duty cycle is a specification that many people overlook or don’t know what it means.
However, you must be aware about what duty cycle means before buying a printer, especially if you’re going to use it for printing a huge amount of documents.
In this article, we’re going to explain what duty cycle is and why it matters to you, so stick around.
What Is Duty Cycle & Why It Matters
The monthly duty cycle of a printer is a very important metric that can mirror its ability to handle high workloads.
Printing large sums of documents using a printer that’s not designed for heavy duty will usually result in breakdowns and unexpected problems. Some printers may have a monthly duty cycle of 1,000 sheets/month, while other printers may go as high as 100,000 sheets/month.
A printer’s duty cycle is used as a comparative specification that allows you to compare between printers when it comes to the amount of documents each printer can print per month. It also gives you a better idea about the printer’s durability and reliability.
When a printer has a low monthly duty cycle, this means that it’s good for casual use, like at home. On the other hand, printers that are made for business use or for large offices usually have much higher monthly duty cycles.
Do I Need a Printer with a High Monthly Duty Cycle?
A high monthly duty cycle is good to have, but not everyone needs it. It depends on how you’re going to use the printer, how many documents you need to print per month, and the type of documents or images you need to print.
For example, if you need a printer for stickers, then a high monthly duty cycle is preferable. On the other hand, if you occasionally need to print some personal documents every now and then, it’d be better to opt for a printer with a lower monthly duty cycle since they’re usually cheaper.
Printer Duty Cycle vs. Recommended Monthly Volume
The monthly duty cycle isn’t the only number that matters when you need to determine a printer’s capability. In fact, it’s more of a nominal number than an actual, real-life one. The recommended monthly volume gives you the actual number of documents you can print without causing your printer to malfunction prematurely.
For example, if a manufacturer claims that a printer can deliver 50,000 sheets/month, that doesn’t likely mean your printer will maintain its optimal condition when exposed to such a high workload for several months.
Therefore, the recommended monthly volume is more realistic if you want your printer to have a long lifespan, and it’s usually much less than the monthly duty cycle.
The Relationship Between Ink Costs & Duty Cycle
If you do decide to get a printer with a high monthly duty cycle, make sure that you’ll be able to handle its running costs. As a general rule of thumb, laser printers usually have lower running costs than inkjet printers.
You can still find some inkjet printers that have low ink costs, like Epson’s EcoTank series. It’s recommended that you do your research about each printer’s ink costs before buying it.
It’d also be nice if the printer is compatible with some form of long term ink supply plan that offer ink cartridges at discounted prices, like Amazon Dash Replenishment and HP Instant Ink services. These services provide you with ink cartridges when your current ones are almost empty at a fraction of the original price.
Now that you have a better understanding of a printer’s duty cycle and recommended monthly volume, you can make a better decision when buying a new printer.
Remember, a printer is a long term investment, which is why you need to ensure that your printer can handle all of your printing needs.