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What is duplex printing and why would you want it?

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If you’ve been looking for a new printer on the market, you’ve probably seen the term “double-sided printing.” A duplex printer makes it quick and easy to print documents on both sides of the printer’s paper.

What is duplex printing?

Simply put, duplex printing is a fancy way of saying “Print on both sides.” But of course it is never as simple as that as each printer tends to approach it from a different direction.

For example, some printers only have manual duplex printing, which often means you have to physically flip the paper and run it again. Now, you might be thinking, “Well, can’t I do that normally?” The answer is both, yes and no; While you can do that with any printer, duplex printers make it easier by automatically skipping every other page in a print job.

So it’s easy to flip the batch of paper and run it through the printer again. On the other hand (pun intended), there are automatic duplexers, and these types of printers do not require any input from you to turn the pages.

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With some older models, the automatic two-sided printing feature sometimes requires an external accessory to turn the paper. However, if you’re shopping for a modern printer, they tend to offer automatic two-sided printing, which handles everything in-house without the need for additional hardware. So if you end up choosing an automatic two-sided printing printer, make sure what type it is before you spend your cash.

Tip: If you want true complete automation when making copies, you should also consider purchasing an automatic two-sided printing scanner. It’s the same concept as the printer, but for scanned paper, so all the same tips apply.

Finally, and we mention it because it is interesting, some industrial level printers will have two print engines and will print on both sides simultaneously. Compare that to consumer automatic two-sided printing, which has a print engine and turns the page internally.

Why you should buy a duplex printer

The main advantage of duplex printing is cost, even if it may not seem like it at face value.

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For starters, there are direct savings in terms of printing on both sides of the paper, rather than having to use twice as much as you would use without double-sided printing. Then of course there’s the issue of eco-awareness and wasted extra paper when printing single-sided. Using less paper also means easier storage and more batch printing with less effort.

As for indirect savings, consider how much you print per month or year and how it can affect double-sided printing. For example, the several seconds of manually flipping each page without doing double-sided printing adds up to that many pages. Similarly, splurging on an automatic two-sided printing unit can reduce the time you need to take care of your printer a bit, allowing you to get other things done.

Of course, with that said, if you’re just using a home printer for the occasional page here and there, then automatic two-sided printing is more of a luxury than a necessity.

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