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As with any kind of asset investment, it is worth it to take the time to consider whether buying or leasing a printer is the best option. This is no different when it comes to buying or leasing an office copier, scanner or other multi-function device. In both cases, you want to understand the advantages and disadvantages of both a lease or purchase agreement.

Buying or Leasing a printer

To help you make a more informed decision when it comes to gaining control of print costs, here is a comprehensive list of pros and cons related to both purchasing and leasing new digital Multi-function Printers (MFP’s).

The Pros and Cons of Leasing an MFP:

1. Leasing will Optimise your Cash Flow:
By leasing your new MFP equipment, you won’t be making as much of a dent in your cash flow, as you won’t be spending a large amount on a capital purchase. In addition to this, lease options offer different payment plans, which allow you to pay a suitable regular amount for the use of the equipment, on a time schedule that suits your financial needs. Should a lease option be taken, it is advisable to run to the end of the lease period and not be influenced into upgrading to a new device before the end of the initial term as there will be a settlement figure built into the new deal. This will result in the replacement device charges being inflated due to the settlement.

  • Be sure to not agree to an annual escalation clause within the lease agreement as this will increase expenses over the term of the lease.
  • Be aware of the notice period required before the end of the initial lease period as this may result in extended lease obligations that were not intended when the initial lease was entered into.

2. Leasing Provides Flexibility:
With leasing, you can opt for more flexible payment plans, which align with your business’ needs.

3. Leasing Offers Long-Term Value:
Once your lease comes to an end with your provider, you will be able to upgrade your equipment to something newer or apply for a reduced rental option and “sweat” the older device for an additional year or two at a reduced rental rate.
4. Leasing Offers Tax Benefits for Depreciating Assets and Deductible Expenses:

With a lease, the entire copier lease payment is deductible immediately and since you don’t actually own the device, it is not considered a depreciating asset.


  1. If you terminate your lease agreement early, there could be expensive penalties, so make sure you clearly understand the end of lease renewal terms. Also, If the lease automatically renews, be sure to understand how long the renewal is for and what costs are associated with it. Remember that with a lease agreement, the MFP is still owned by the dealer or company that issued the lease contract and not by you, the customer.
  2. The lease option is more expensive due to the inclusion of interest within the monthly payment so the total spend on a lease will be greater than the ownership option.

The Pros and Cons of Purchasing a Printer:


1. Purchasing a Printer can be Less Costly in the Long Term:
An outright purchase of a new MFP or printer, especially if there aren’t any interest fees or bank loans, can potentially be less expensive in the long run when compared to a leased piece of equipment.

2. Purchasing also offers Long-Term Value:
Purchased equipment can be written-off for tax purposes in terms of SARS wear and tear allowances, and also become company assets. Usually there is no recoupment of wear and tear allowances on the disposal of devices as a norm they are not disposed of for a profit at the end of their lives.


If you’re making a major purchase, this large payment could affect cash flow that is required for other areas of your business operations. Additionally, it might be more difficult to trade-in or upgrade your purchased equipment at a later stage when technology improves.

When it comes to leasing and purchasing printers and copiers, it is important to choose an option that works best for your business when deciding to lease or purchase your new MFP’s. This article has outlined some of the most important considerations to make, but with rapidly changing technologies, the main thing to consider is how the device will integrate with the workflow of your business and what the MFP or printer will be used for.

Green Office is a leader in Managed Print Services (MPS) and an award company specialising in print reduction solutions. Contact us to find out more about how we can help you lease or purchase a printer/copier device for your business. 

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