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Is a Duplex Printing Unit Right for me?

Oct 6

Duplex printing has several advantages over traditional one-sided printing, mostly in the form of savings and efficiency.

The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper annually. This is the equivalent to two boxes of paper each year. Duplex printing (two-sided printing) can literally cut this number in half. A ream of paper costs approximately $5 depending on the grade and recycled content of the paper. Duplex printing saves resources as well. Producing paper requires numerous resources including water, trees, and energy. Using only half of the paper means that half of the resources are being used. According to the EPA, paper accounts for approximately 40% of the waste found in landfills. Reducing the amount of paper that is used would drastically decrease the amount of trash going into landfills.

With nearly all printers, you’re able to do two-sided printing, but it’s not the easiest process and can be time consuming if you print a lot. This is known as manual duplexing. To do this, you will have to enable the option in your printer’s settings and then manually feed the paper back into the printer after it has finished printing on one side. This process is not very efficient and is very susceptible to errors if you don’t feed the paper back into the printer properly.

A duplex printing unit provides your existing printer with automatic duplexing capabilities. Most units are installed by simply replacing the back panel on the printer. Others have a more complex installation procedure. After installing the printer duplexer, you will have to find the correct printer drivers to enable communication between the computer and the duplex printing unit. These are usually available for download from the printer manufacturer’s website and can be found by simply entering in the model number of the duplexer unit.

Types of Printer Duplexer Units

There are two types of printer duplexers. Single-engine duplexers, which are the most common, print on one side of the paper first and then “flip” the paper and reverse direction to print on the other side of the paper. Double-engine duplexers allow both sides of the paper to be printed on at the same time. They are generally slightly more efficient than single-engine duplexers but also carry a higher price tag. Both varieties are still a huge improvement over a traditional one-sided printer.


Because of the complex multidirectional nature of duplex printing, the potential for paper jams increases with duplex printing units. It’s generally advisable to not use anything above 28-lb. weight paper. You’re also not able to print on labels, envelopes or vellum. This isn’t too much of a concern since you’re able to easily remove the unit and print on the aforementioned materials.

If you’re interested in increasing your efficiency in the office, decreasing your costs, and saving resources a duplex printing unit is a great addition to your office. Office Link has duplex printing expansion units available for HP, Lexmark, and Dell printers. Contact us if you have any questions about any of our products. 


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