By Brandon Emerson,
A duty cycle refers to the maximum number of copies or prints that a device should produce on a monthly basis to avoid equipment malfunctions and breakdowns over times. When you purchase a printer; whether for business or personal use—the device specifications will indicate the duty cycle for your reference.
Duty cycles vary by device. For example, the average personal printer will have a duty cycle ranging from 1,000 and 1,500 pages per month.
Once you start shifting into business printing, you might see duty cycles that exceed 100,000 pages per month.
It is important to note that a duty cycle, on its face, can be a bit misleading. If your printer can handle a maximum of 80,000 pages per month, that does not necessarily mean it should be forced to operate at maximum capacity each month. Consider this—if you had a brand new Aston Martin Vanquish with 565 horsepower that could go a maximum speed of 240 mph, would you drive it at top speed consistently? Not a chance. That would not be sustainable over a long period of time.
The same can be said about a printer's duty cycle. Most print manufacturers, list a recommended monthly page volume (RMPV) for each device that better ensures optimal performance. For example, ranges from 2,000 and 6,000 pages per month, or ranges from 1,000 and 2,500 pages per month.
In short, the duty cycle is a metric used to indicate a printer's durability. The higher the duty cycle, the more durable the device. It is important to remember; however, that duty cycles are just one of many metrics used to determine how well a printer will perform. When choosing a device, make sure you understand the needs of your business to ensure you are selecting the right one.