There are two major types of color copiers you’ll want to consider. If you only occasionally need to make color copies and exact color matches aren’t critical, a hybrid copier will save you money. Hybrids are increasingly common, in particular in higher speed and capacity machines (Segment 3 and above). A hybrid machine allows you to print in black and white for standard copy or print jobs and then select color when needed.
If you regularly make color copies, or need very precise colors, you may want a color-only copier. The more precise you need your colors to be (for pre-press or design work, for example) the more you’re likely to pay. Speed is often less important in color copiers than black & white machines, but more expensive models print in one pass, while less expensive models applying the four base colors one at a time (resulting in a slower copy speed).
Finally, any color copier will require more expensive supplies, which includes the paper (unless you’re content to use regular laser copy paper on a hybrid machine), toner (with four colors instead of just black, each can usually be replaced separately), developer (one for each color usually) and fuser oil. As a rule of thumb, you will usually run out of toner first, then developer and finally the fuser oil. The cost per page for color copying is far more than black and white copying, so it makes sense to limit access to a color copier to those people who really need it.
Buying a color copier entails many of the same considerations as buying a black and white copier: buying vs. leasing, copier speed and volume requirements, and additional features.