Comparing Popular Postage Meter Dealers: Pitney Bowes, Hasler, Neopost and More
Although postage meters are common equipment and offer huge benefits, there are surprisingly few dealers supplying these machines. This is due, in part, to the fact that the dealer doesn't own the machine outright; it shares ownership with the United States Postal Service (USPS). What's more, the USPS doesn't give permission to just any dealer.
When shopping for a postage meter, most buyers look carefully at the features, their own shipping needs, and, of course, cost. What you may not consider is which company offers the best service and support. You should also consider the company's reputation (a clear indication of quality), the breadth of products it offers, and whether it's likely to still be in business a year from now.
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Pitney Bowes is one of the United States' most well-known names when it comes to office equipment, and the leader in postage equipment. Based in Connecticut, the company has been around since 1920 and employs 29,000 people in over 100 countries. In addition, the company posted $3.4 billion in sales in 2016. In other words, this company isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
Of course, all of that means nothing without stellar postage meters. Pitney Bowes takes its reputation seriously and is considered a pioneer in the industry, working to develop newer, faster machines, always with a lookout toward improving productivity. One of the company's more popular innovations is a presort capability that handles a task typically the responsibility of USPS workers. Thanks to this capability, Pitney Bowes negotiates excellent discounts on postage rates for its clients.
The Pitney Bowes Products
Pitney Bowes offers a wide variety of postage meters with capabilities for small offices with low mail volume all the way through to mailrooms moving thousands of items every day.
- Mailstation2: Designed for small businesses and home offices, this unit includes a built-in scale, postage printing directly onto envelopes and labels, prints most classes of mail, and saves customers $0.03 on every stamp. The manual feed takes items up to 1/4" thick.
- DM125: The next step up, though still intended for smaller organizations, this postage meter processes up to 35 letters per minute, meaning that you can still use it for big jobs. It allows you to track postage expenses for different accounts, has a semi-automatic feeder, and is designed to handle 100 to 1,000 pieces per month.
- DM225: The semi-automatic feeder processes up to 45 letters per minute and the unit includes a built-in 5 to 10 lb scale.
- DM300: Includes a semi-automatic feeder capable of processing 65 letters per minute. It also lets you track and report postage expenses for up to 300 accounts.
- DM400: The automatic feeder processes up to 120 pieces per minute and works its way through stacks of mail up to 3" thick. It includes an automatic tape dispenser, with postage tracking and reporting for up to 300 accounts.
- DM475: A mid-volume solution that handles up to 120 letters per minute, and up to 90 pieces per minute if you choose Weigh-on-the-Way capability.
- SendPro P1000: Seals and prints up to 180 letters per minute, handling envelopes up to 5/8" thick. It also allows you to track packages sent via USPS, FedEx, and UPS, as well as fully automate your receiving process.
- DM Infinity: This is your top-line machine designed to handle up to 16,000 pieces per hour (26,000 pieces per hour for the DM26KR), thanks to dual print heads.
Hasler has been one of America's top mail system manufacturers for over 100 years. The company specializes in creating hi-tech, effective postage meters using only the best materials and top, precise engineering. The manufacturer now partners with Neopost USA for distribution of its postage meters, using a national network of direct sales teams and customer support. Through Neopost, customers enjoy a wide range of support services, including maintenance, financing, after sales, and consultancy.
Hasler classifies its postage meters into low, mid, and high volume offerings.
Low Volume Mailing Systems
Hasler offers four models in its low volume class. These machines are meant for smaller offices and those still growing. These units have processing speeds ranging between 18 and 45 pieces per minute. Available desktop models include:
- IM280 iMeter
Low volume systems average between $15 and $25 per month for the basic models.
Medium Volume Mailing Systems
There are three mid-range Hasler models with processing speeds ranging between 65 and 155 pieces per minute. These models are highly versatile, with clean printing and a sleek design. Available models include:
- IN600 HF
- IN600 AF
Medium volume systems ranged between $35 and $250 per month for the basic models.
High Volume Mailing Systems
Hasler's high-volume mailing systems are designed for busy mailrooms and organizations that frequently send mailers and promotional materials. These units offer crisp print and maximum productivity for busy offices, with processing speeds from 175 to 300 pieces per minute, or 15,000 items per hour. Models include:
- WJ PRO
High volume systems average between $200 and $500 per month for the basic system.
Based in France, Neopost is Europe's top mailing system distributor, and second worldwide. The manufacturer offers technologically advanced systems and a full suite of products intended to make life in the mailroom quick and easy, including postage meters, folder inserts, letter openers, address printers, and mail sorters. Neopost USA is the company's distribution arm for US-based businesses.
Neopost USA offers award-winning customer service, after-sales support, and maintenance. It also provides consultants to help you find the best machine for your budget and mailroom needs.
Like Hasler, Neopost classifies its postage meters based on mail volume.
Low Volume Postage Machines
Designed for smaller offices and low-volume mail rooms, these machines offer postal activity monitoring per mail class, operator, and department to help you manage your postage expenses. Processing speed ranges between 15 and 40 letters per minute. Models include:
Mid Volume Postage Meters
Neopost offers three mid volume models:
- The IS-420 processes up to 65 letters per minute, automatically processing everything from envelopes to large packages. Operation is quiet and quick.
- The IS-440 processes up to 110 letters per minute, with an automatic feeder and built-in catch tray. The Smart Start technology ensures the feeder starts as soon as you remove the item from the weighing platform, making processing quick and easy.
- The IN-600 processes up to 75 letters per minute and features a durable keyboard and large screen, while the automatic feeder ensures top productivity.
High Volume Postage Equipment
These units are designed specifically for organizations moving thousands of pieces each week.
- The IS-480 processes and seals up to 150 letters per minute. This unit also sorts your mail for you; there's no need for you to sort by size, thickness, or weight.
- The IN-700 processes up to 175 letters per minute and connects directly to the Internet for automatic postage updates, remote diagnostics, and ink alerts. It includes a high-capacity mixed mail feeder, dynamic scale, and intuitive, full-color touch screen.
- The IS-6000 offers the maximum in efficiency and increased productivity, with an ergonomic workspace, moveable touch screen, full keyboard, and easy navigation. Batch processing speed is up to 300 letters per minute, with dynamic weighing speed of up to 180 letters per minute.
Data Pac is America's newest postage meter company, and the first to receive USPS authorization in over 25 years. The manufacturer offers a wide variety of mailing system products designed for everything from home offices to full mail centers.
Since it's so new, Data Pac is a much smaller company and hasn't had as much time to prove itself as regards technology and support. However, you're likely to find lower prices. Another selling point for many shoppers is Data Pac's designed and assembled in America promise. If you have low- or mid-volume processing needs, it might be an ideal solution thanks to those cost savings. That isn't to say to discount Data Pac for high-volume mailrooms, only that you should compare offerings carefully before signing any contracts.
- EZ-Mailer: This unit has a processing speed of 140 letters per minute and includes a 10" color screen and optional 25- or 70-pound scale. Discount program options include 0.95 cents per piece for priority mail, up to $2.05 for international and e-Certified mail, and up to $1.20 for certified mail.
- Advanced Curve: Offers bulk mail discounts, CASS and MASS certification, MLOCR camera for address verification, and intelligent mail barcode printing. Qualified mail receives a 5.8 cent discount.
- Curve: Includes an intelligent envelope processing system and built-in 70-pound scale, with unlimited reporting for accounting, operator, and presort.
- DP 140W: Processes 140 letters per minute in Weigh-on-the-Fly mode, or 200 letters per minute in batch mode. It includes a mixed thickness feeder and sealer, with a 15" touch screen.
- DIB-200 LPM: Includes a high-speed printer, 15" touch screen, and postage accounting.
- DP 200B: Includes a 15" touch screen PC, mixed thickness feeder, and runs up to 200 letters per minute in batch mode.
- DP 240B: The mixed thickness feeder processes up to 240 letters per minute in batch mode and includes a 3-1/2" flap envelope sealer. It comes with a dual carrier option and postage accounting.
FP USA began life as two separate companies, Francotyp and Postalia, launching in Germany during the 1920s. Forty years later, Postalia received USPS permission to begin marketing within the United States. By 1993, the two companies merged to become FP.
Today, FP Mailing is the fastest growing postal solution vendor in the United States. They offer companies a comprehensive product list, classifying its series as Small Business, Office, and Enterprise.
Small Business Postage Meters
FP offers two postage meters for the small or growing business.
- PostBase mini: This compact unit includes color touch screen, quiet operation, and leases starting at around $20 per month.
- PostBase econ: This unit comes with Wi-Fi connectivity for instant postage and software updates and a full-color touch screen.
Office Postage Meters
FP offers two postage meters for low- to mid-range mail volume offices. These are also ideal for smaller businesses with growth expectations.
- PostBase semi: Includes Wi-Fi postage refill options, color touch screen, and processing speeds of up to 45 letters per minute.
- PostBase auto: Processes up to 95 letters per minute up to 1/4" thick and features a 4.7" color touch screen with intuitive controls.
Enterprise Postage Meters
For high-volume mailrooms, FP offers three postage meters with a variety of options and features, automatic feeders, flexible configurations, and accurate differential weighting.
- PostBase pro: Includes automatic pricing with differential weighting, smart phone technology, and anti-skew rollers.
- PostBase pro DS: The automatic feeder processes up to 110 letters per minute, and up to 90 letters per minute dynamically. The unit includes smart phone technology and intuitive, touch screen controls.
- PostBase ONE: This is the top choice for high-volume mailrooms, with high-capacity letter stacking, postage spend analysis, networking capabilities, and 150 piece per minute processing speeds.
Questions to Consider before Signing
Though machines vary widely between classes and among dealers, the reality is that postage meters within the same volume capability typically have the same basic features and processing speeds. Some manufacturers may include more advanced features as part of the standard package, offer better postage discounts, or a wider variety of machines, but the essentials are pretty much the same across the board. The result? Determining which is the best company often presents a challenge.
In addition to reviewing proposals and contracts carefully, consider the following questions before signing anything:
- Did the sales rep or a consultant take the time to understand your specific needs? If so, how closely did the consultant's advice match that of other providers?
- Does the company employ customer support staff in the event you experience issues with your system?
- Does the contract include common supplies, such as labels and ink?
- Does the contract include maintenance? How often?
- Is the contract both detailed and easy to understand?
- What is the charge for additional equipment, such as scales, sealers, and stackers?
Look for a dealer that fulfills most, if not all, of these criteria.