The Difference Between Office Machines and Equipment

Submitted by Bernie Schom on Mon, 12/ 18/ 17 - 12: 00 PM

What is the Difference Between Office Equipment and Machines

If you are like me, you thought office machine and equipment were interchangeable categories. After all, they are both tools and complete office tasks, right? Although this is true, there are some differences that help to understand how to classify each one so that you know how to search for them when your business needs them.

What are office machines?


The Difference Between Office Machines/Equipment is Subtle…

From a mechanical standpoint, equipment has a much wider definition and is often required to create something (such as a machine). Machines are the completed product. In other words, machines are byproducts of the equipment used to create them, but they are not often needed in the same environment.

For instance, you most likely would not need the equipment in your office that helped construct multifunction copiers and printers or other business office machines unless you did significant copier repair work as part of your business.

To help understand how each are categorized, you must think of it in two ways: Office machines are a system of moving parts that can complete a task, although it usually needs some form of human guidance.

Machines also require a power source to operate them. Office equipment is the set of tools used by an employee to complete a task and is typically not powered by anything electric (though they can be).

The chart below illustrates examples of office machines and equipment:


Office Machines Office Equipment
Computer Filing Cabinet
Phone Pen
Copier Stapler
Fax Desk


All Squares are Rectangles

As you can see, there is a subtle difference in the classifications, but the chart above shows a clear distinction between the two. Keep in mind that all machines can be classified as equipment, but not all equipment can be classified as a machine.

Many companies selling office products use these names interchangeably, and although you ultimately find what you are looking for, knowing the difference may save you some time during your search.


Want to Learn More?

Do You Have the Right Mix of Office Equipment?
Should I Lease or Buy A Copier?
How Much Does A Copier Cost? 


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Posted by Bernie Schom


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