Franking Machine Costs: Our Price Guide

Pile of white and brown envelopes

Buying a new mid-range franking machine will cost around £2,500 or you could rent one for £50 a month. Depending on your contract, you’ll also have to pay for ink and possibly maintenance as well as supplies like envelope sealer and envelopes.

We know what it’s like when you just want a clear answer and all you can find are teasers and breadcrumbs. If you’d rather hear it straight from the horse’s mouth, simply fill in a few details about your postage needs and we’ll ask trusted suppliers to get in touch with tailored quotes.

In this quick guide we’ve broken down the basic costs of buying, renting and running a franking machine for low, medium or heavy use. At the end we’ve got a chart to show the money you’d save on franked versus stamped post.

Up first, we look at the difference in costs for various types of franking machines in a handy table:

Franking machine costs comparison

Franking machineVolume of mailCost to buyCost to rent
Low volumeUp to 100 letters per day£1,000£20+/month
Mid volumeUp to 250 letters per day£2,500£50+/month
High volumeOver 250 letters per day£5,000+£100+/month

For over ten years, we’ve been helping businesses like yours find the best franking machine prices in the UK, connecting them with trusted suppliers offering free, bespoke quotes.

If you’d like your business to join this cost-cutting cohort, simply tell us what you need by filling in our quick form, and we’ll match you up with franking machine suppliers that best suit your needs. They’ll get in touch with more information their franking machine costs and no-obligation quotes for you to compare.

Low volume franking machine costs

PostBase Mini franking machine
FP Postbase Mini

Low volume franking machines are suitable for small businesses that deal with under 100 letters each day. These machines can only process small amounts of mail on a daily basis, which makes them an effective way to save on franking machine costs if you’re running a small business.

Approximate cost to buy: £1,000

Approximate cost to rent: £20 per month

Approximate cost to buy second-hand: £200

The best cheap franking machines that process low volumes of mail include the FP PostBase Mini, the Pitney Bowes DM60, and the Quadient IS-280c. All three machines come with touchscreens, integrated scales for parcels, and logo-printing features.

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Mid volume franking machine costs

DM300M digital franking machine
Pitney Bowes DM 300M

Standard franking machines, otherwise known as mid-volume machines, are suitable for medium-sized businesses that handle up to 250 letters per day. Typically, these franking machines cost over £2,500 upfront, but come with a wider choice of features than low volume machines – these include automatic letter feeders, and real time reports on your overall franking machine costs.

Approximate cost to buy: £2,500

Approximate cost to rent: £50 per month

Approximate cost to buy second-hand: £1,000

With over a decade’s experience in researching and recommending franking machines, we can confidently state that the best mid-volume machines include the FP PostBase Vision 5S, the FP PostBase Vision 7A, the Pitney Bowes DM220i, and the Pitney Bowes DM300M.

High volume franking machine costs

IN-700 franking machine
Quadient IN-700

Large or growing businesses that send out hundreds of mail items per day need high-volume franking machines to keep up with demand. These franking machines usually cost a few thousand pounds, but come with advanced features, such as dynamic scales that automatically weigh, price, and frank your large volumes of post at high speeds. They also come with optional scales that can weigh packages up to around 30kg, and can typically process hundreds of letters per minute.

Approximate cost to buy: £5,000+

Approximate cost to rent: £100+ per month

Approximate cost to buy second-hand: £1,500+

With over ten years of experience in the franking machine industry, we can confidently state that the best high-volume machines include the Quadient IN-700, the PostBase Vision Ten, and the Pitney Bowes Connect+ 500W.

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Cost of franking machine supplies

You will need to factor in the cost of printing ink, labels and envelopes in amongst your mailroom equipment stocks. Here are the current prices of these:


Honestly, this is a significant cost. You can either buy the genuine ink cartridges from franking machine suppliers, or you can buy own-brand ink from stationers (around 35% cheaper). However, if you’re going to buy off-brand, you should check that these are Royal Mail approved.

Genuine franking machine ink cartridges typically cost:

  • £86-£109 (exc VAT) per 18 or 20ml blue cartridge – low-volume machines
  • £143-£208 (exc VAT) per 45ml blue cartridge  – mid-volume machines
  • £234-£304 (exc VAT) per blue cartridge – high-volume machines

Depending on the volume of letters you get through, you’ll need to replace your ink cartridge every month or so. This means you’re looking at an annual ink cost of at least £1,032.


If you’re sending larger parcels that won’t fit through the 6.5mm envelope slot in your franking machine, you can simply print on a label instead. These usually cost around:

  • £15 exc. VAT for 1,000 labels
  • £61 exc. VAT for 5,000 labels
  • £102 exc. VAT for 10,000 labels


There are some more consumables you should account for when calculating overall franking machine costs:

  • £12 – 1l (35 fl oz) envelope sealing solution
  • £18 – 1000 white self-sealing envelopes
  • £32 – 250 manila low volume posting envelopes
  • £35 – 250 late meter posting franking envelopes

The cost of renting a franking machine

Buying a new franking machine outright can be a significant expense, especially for a small business, but you can offset this by renting a model instead.

Franking machine rental prices start at roughly £20 per month for a machine suitable for small businesses, and around £29 per month for a deal that includes access to onsite repair and replacement ink cartridges when you need them. A mid-range machine costs around £50 to rent and a higher-end model will set you back in the region of £100+ per month.

Renting offers a number of attractive benefits, such as tax deductions, maintenance agreements, and the option to upgrade to a better machine than you would normally be able to afford. You may also appreciate the flexibility of a short-term rental contract if the volumes you’ll be posting are likely to fluctuate throughout the year. Renting means you can avoid the one-off expense of a sophisticated machine that you only end up using for three months.

Can a franking machine save me money?

One of the biggest benefits of using a franking machine is cutting your postal costs. Your overall franking machine cost will be lower than your regular stamp usage cost, because franking machines have much lower postal rates than ordinary Royal Mail stamps.

Use our table below to see how much money you could save by franking your post…

Franked mail vs stamps price comparison

When it comes to working out a budget, it’s very useful to know the franking machine cost per letter compared with normal stamps.

Take a look at this table for more detail:

2023StampsMailmark FrankingYour savings…
1st Class Letters95p78p18%
1st Class Small Parcel£4.45£3.9511%
2nd Class Letters68p51p25%
2nd Class Small Parcel£3.35£2.8515%
Special Delivery Guaranteed
(weight up to 100g)
Special Delivery 9am
(weight up to 100g)

Royal Mail postage prices as of January 2023

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Hidden costs of franking machines

Rental costs and ink cartridges are the franking machine costs we know about. But how about the extra charges? There are more ongoing costs to franking machines that only appear in the small print, so let’s take a closer look.

Franking machine re-credit charges

Franking machine suppliers can charge you for refilling the meter. For example, Pitney Bowes currently charges £6 per refill for PrePay (Payment in Advance) or £9 if payment is by invoice. For Payment in Arrears you’ll be charged a fee of £5.50 for refills between £0 and £100. This fee bumps up to £13 for refills of £101 to £1,300 and any refill values above that are charged a 1% fee.

Postal tariff updates

Royal Mail updates their postage tariffs every so often. This means your franking machine needs updating to correctly calculate the rates. Annoyingly, this charge can get passed on to you, the franking machine user.

Franking machine inspection

It’s a Royal Mail requirement to have your postage meter inspected by an approved agent. Franking machine companies may actually charge you for this. Pitney Bowes charges £90 for this as a standalone service.

Franking machine maintenance and repairs

Franking machine suppliers generally offer a maintenance package as an optional upgrade to the rental price. This can be a helpful way to save on unexpected costs for emergency callouts, repairs and spare parts should your franking machine break down. A higher weekly rental charge will apply – you may pay 20% extra per week, for instance.

When it comes to buying a franking machine, you’d pay a flat price for this repair warranty. This can be in the range of 5-10% of the purchase price. You should check exactly what’s included in this warranty, because companies such as FP may charge extra if they find damage caused “by theft, fire, water, accident, careless or wrongful usage, negligence” – or using off-brand ink cartridges.

You don’t actually have to hire your franking machine supplier for maintenance services; you can hire a third party who is a certified Royal Mail Independent Franking Machine Services Provider.

Next steps

We’ve got over ten years of experience in the franking machines field, and we’ve helped thousands of businesses save on their franking machine costs. Your business could be the next.

The easiest way to save money on your franking machines is to get free quotes from trusted suppliers. To get started, all you need to do is tell us what you need by filling in our form (it only takes a minute), and we’ll match your business with the suppliers that are selling franking machines which best suit your requirements.

They’ll then contact you directly with more information, and with no-obligation quotes for you to compare before spending a penny. Then, once you’re happy with your bespoke quote of choice, the savings can begin.


Is a franking machine cheaper than stamps?
A franking machine may work out cheaper than buying stamps, depending on your individual business. For businesses that send over 500 letters a week, a franking machine will most likely save considerable sums compared with stamps. You’ll save between 2% and 15% per item of post if you use a franking machine rather than a stamp. However, you should factor in the cost of franking machine purchase or hire plus ink and other consumables.
Are franking machines cost effective? Can they save you money?
Yes, franking machines can be a cost effective alternative to sending stamped mail. You automatically pay a reduced rate for postage if you use a franking machine instead of a traditional stamp. In the long run, you can save money so long as you are sending enough items of post to offset the cost of purchase (or hire) of the machine and its running costs (including ink, cleaning and maintenance). There are different types of franking machine available, ranging from lower-priced models to more expensive ones that can handle far greater volumes. You should choose the correct franking machine for the volume of mail that your business sends to avoid paying over the odds.
What does a franking machine cost?
Franking machines vary in price depending on the specific model you go for. If you’re after a high-end machine that can process hundreds of letters a minute and frank parcels weighing up to 30kg, you’re looking at a rental cost of at least £100 per month and a purchase cost of £5000 upwards. If, on the other hand, you need a mid-range franking machine to process up to 250 letters daily, the rental cost is around £50 per month or purchase new for £2,500 (around half that for a second-hand machine). For a very basic model such as the FP PostBase Mini, expect rental costs of roughly £20 per month or retail price of £1,000. If you look on eBay you can find a used machine for closer to £200.

Bear in mind you will have additional monthly costs including ink cartridges which can cost anywhere between £80 and £230 depending on your machine. If you are renting the machine then cleaning, maintenance and repairs are normally included in your contract. Otherwise, you should factor in downtime for ordering spare parts or sending in for repairs (particularly if you bought a second-hand franking machine).

Written by:
Sabrina Dougall
Sabrina is a business journalist whose career began in news reporting. She has a master's in Investigative Journalism from City University London, and her work has appeared in The Times, The Daily Express, Money Saving Expert, Camden New Journal, Global Trade Review, and Computer Business Review. She specializes in writing about SEO (search engine optimization). Having run her own small business, Sabrina knows first-hand how critical digital marketing is to building a client base and local reputation.
Reviewed by:
Heleana Neil, Business Services editor
Heleana Neil specialises in Business Services, managing the strategy and production of content for SMBs, helping businesses with the challenges and opportunities they face today. Covering everything from payroll to payment processing, Heleana uses her expertise to help business owners make better, informed decisions and grow their companies.