In the past all offices had copiers, fax machines and printers. Copiers were for making copies. Printers were for printing and fax machines sent and received faxes. Today digital technology has changed all that. Copiers are no longer solely copiers, but machines that can do it all. They copy, print, scan, fax, email and much more.
If you have been researching information about new copiers, printers or MFPs you have come across the terms A4 and A3. These terms refer to the paper sizes the machine is designed to handle. An A3 printer, copier, or MFP is designed to handle both letter (8 ½” x 11”), legal (8 ½” x 14”), ledger (11” x 17”) and smaller sizes like postcards and envelopes. An A4 printer, copier, or MFP is smaller and more compact. It is designed to handle letter (8 ½” x 11”), legal (8 ½” x 14”), but NOT ledger (11” x 17”). An A4 machine will also typically handle some smaller sizes like postcards and envelopes.
Which ones is the right size for your office? A3 or A4? This depends mainly on the paper sizes you will be printing, copying and scanning. However there are a few other things you should be aware of before you make a decision. Ledger (11” x 17”) paper only represents 5% of all office paper sold in the United States in which most of that is used in the production environments.
In the average general office environment, only about 3% of all pages printed are on 11” x 17” paper. Both the A4 and A3 machines have the same capabilities (except for 11” x 17” paper), optional accessories and functionalities. The larger designed A3 machine will cost more in terms of equipment cost and take up a much large footprint while the A4 machine has a much smaller footprint and cost less in terms of equipment cost.
Most offices are best served with a mix of both A4 and A3 devices.