What Is a Duplex Printer?

by Faith Davies

Duplex printers are popular printing choices for both homes and offices. Where once they were only practical for commercial use, technological advancements are making duplex printers increasingly affordable for individual users who want to economize on paper.


When applied to a printer, the term duplex refers to the capacity to print automatically on both sides of the paper. Printers that cannot perform this function are typically called simplex or one-sided printers.


By selecting the option to print a document on both sides of the sheet, the user does not have to manually reinsert paper.


A duplex printer features up to three trays for loading paper. Running through a system of rollers, the paper is printed first on one side, then on the other, in consecutive fashion.


Duplex printers are produced by a variety of makers, including Canon, HP and Xerox. Some duplex printers, called multifunction printers, can also produce double-sided scans, copies and faxes. Duplex printers are available in both laser and ink jet models, as well as color and black and white.


By cutting the pages of a document in half, a duplex printer reduces paper costs. It also saves the user time by removing the extra step of manually turning over the pages and feeding them in again. The printer removes the guess work involved in making sure pages are printed consecutively and in the same direction.


As a duplex printer contains more working parts, it is more liable to break down. The warranties often include a clause covering the duplex printing assembly, providing for expedited repairs or full replacement of the printer. A basic duplex printer costs $150, compared to well under $100 for a traditional printer.

About the Author

Faith Davies has been writing professionally since 1996, contributing to various websites. She holds an LAH insurance license in the state of Pennsylvania and has experience as a bank branch manager and lending officer. Davies graduated cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in art history.

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