Canon vs Sharp Copiers | 10 MIN READ
You've narrowed your next multifunction printer decision down to two different copiers: the Canon C5535i III or the Sharp MX-3551. Most likely, you're discussing these decisions with two different local vendors or the manufacturer. Each one is telling you their machine is the best choice, but you still aren't convinced.
That's where Standard Office Systems comes in to help!
We are a Canon and a Sharp copier dealer, so we have no bias over the other comparing the two machines honestly. Even still, we make our recommendations based on research attained from our friends at Buyer's Lab - and independent print device research company.
In this blog, I'll break down the advantages and disadvantages of each machine, as well as a take on the differences between local vendors and manufacturers.
Not a lot of time? Skip to what you need:
Canon imageRUNNER Advance C5535i III Review
Is it better to go with a dealer?
Canon imageRUNNER Advance C5535i III Review
Offering best-in-class reliability, robust security, and notable functionality, imageRUNNER Advance C5535i III is the third (and latest at the time of this article) generation of Canon's impressive line-up of machines.
Designed to increase efficiency in the workplace in a variety of ways, this machine offers an intuitive touchscreen with a high level of customization and the ability to select and perform recent print jobs with the new "Timeline" feature.
Additional efficiency can be leveraged with a robust scan feature to expedite daily scan tasks, as well as the ability to register one-click job presets in the driver and on the control panel.
Excellent security features including Syslog/SIEM and Verify at start-up, in addition to the ability to create role-based access rights and flexible authentication, protects your business' sensitive data and intellectual property better than most.
- Quick recovery from daytime sleep
- Faster-than-average speeds when copying two-sided documents
- Fast first-copy output times when printing in color
- Quickest first-page-out scan speeds for color and fast scan speeds for short-run jobs
- Ease of maintenance created with simple, user toner replacement options
- Below-average standard hard drive storage compared to competitors
- No onscreen editing or page rotation with scan previews
Sharp MX-3551 Review
This is a great choice for small to medium-sized workgroups and an overall good value for the price. While not as reliable (one misfeed during testing with Buyer's Lab) as the Canon, it is still outstanding in terms of reliability.
Maintenance is easy for this model and boasts a very competitive price point for organizations looking for a very good value proposition.
The print output will meet the needs of most general office environments.
Regarding security, the Sharp MX-3551 offers a robust security feature set, including Application Whitelisting, Firmware Attack Prevention and Self Recovery, and Active Directory.
- Two-sided print jobs are largely faster than average
- Among the fastest speeds when scanning two-sided documents
- Faster than average speeds when copying in two-sided modes
- Faster processing and plenty of space for job storage thanks to above-average memory and hard drive capacities
- Slower than average first-print times for Word, Excel and PDF files
- Slower than average first-copy times
- The Help function at the control panel is somewhat limited and the secure print procedure may not be intuitive to some
Copier Dealer or Manufacturer?
Now that you've seen the pros and cons to both models or machine, I'm going to go over the highlights of working with either the copier dealer or manufacturer. If you need a more detailed breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of one over the other, checkout our article:
Copier Dealers vs Manufacturers [3 Myths Busted + More]
It makes complete sense to assume that you will save money "cutting out the middle man" and getting your print devices straight from the manufacturer.
And you will. At least at first.
Manufacturers are in the business of selling copiers, not service. They are publicly traded companies with shareholders and their value as a company depends on their retail sales. Which is why most (if not all) manufacturers are willing to sell their service at a loss. They need the retail sales and they are willing to get it with a loss in the aftermarket.
Local dealers aren't willing to lose money on the service they provide, however, there a few myths about working with manufacturers that the linked article above covers:
- Dealers can't get the same pricing on machines: it is true that a manufacturer has the flexibility to get the best pricing on their machines, but remember, they have a bottom line to protect, so local dealers typically receive the same deals the manufacturer can offer you. The real difference in price typically comes from incomparable machines being proposed as your print solution. Honda and Lexus are two good car manufacturers, but you really can't compare one to the other in terms of value/price.
- Manufacturers can offer better service because they know their machines better: local dealers receive their training from the manufacturers, so the knowledge is the same. The difference, though, comes when a manufacturer reaches its spending limit on parts for the quarter and the manufacturer needs to make sure the bottom line looks good for shareholders. This can make receiving effective and efficient service less reliable.
- Local dealers are too small to service my company's machines: I can't speak for every local dealer, but one of our company's largest clients has over 900 machines located coast-to-coast across the United States. That's because we leverage a network of trusted copier dealers across the country to service machines outside our traditional reach. Manufacturers at times use the same network of dealers because they too have a limit to how many branches are available to them for servicing clients.
At the end of the day, you need to focus on service, not the machine. With the exception of a few very specific features, most comparable machines across manufacturers have similar quality and reliability.
If you choose to go cheap on your service to save a few dollars per month, you're likely to spend much more in downtime costs waiting. Remember, even a reliable machine will break down. A reliable machine with unreliable service makes an otherwise great machine a productivity liability.
If you want to learn more about the differences between Canon and Sharp copiers, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We are happy to help in any way we can to make your purchase worth the investment.
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Posted by Daniel Gray
Daniel has a passion for educating and helping people and has spent over a decade in the education and office technology industries. He has a Bachelor's in Education from the University of West Georgia and an MBA from the University of Georgia. Daniel has been the lead blogger at SOS since 2017 and specializes in managed IT services, copiers and printers, and business phone systems. He lives in Atlanta and has a goofy greyhound named Ticker.