Multifunction Printer: Advantages & Disadvantages
What is Multifunction Printers (MFP)
A multifunction printer is a machine that can do the functions of a printer, scanner, copier, and fax machine. This is done by installing different cartridges for different functions.
With this setup, you can print documents using the ink cartridge while scanning or photocopying them with the other cartridge. Some multifunction printers also have fax capabilities, so you can send and receive documents as well. They may also include features that make it easier for users to scan and print documents directly from their phones.
Multifunction printers are becoming more popular because they can replace many other machines in the office. For example, many companies have replaced their fax machines with multifunction printers.
Features of Multifunction Printers
Cloud printing allows you to print from any device, no matter where you are. This means that you’ll never be limited to just one machine.
A multifunction printer comes with built-in advanced security features such as encryption, permissions, and online safety. This is to provide you with a safer and more seamless experience.
Advanced scanning offers immediate distribution by allowing you to send copies directly to your coworkers and friends. This is done with features such as scan to email, scan to desktop, and more.
Automatic Document Feeding
With the help of an Automatic Document Feeder (ADF), a multifunction printer can automatically pick up and feed paper sheets one page at a time. This is especially important for businesses with high-volume document scanning needs.
What to Consider When Buying a Multifunction Printer
Functionality of the MFP
- Document print, scan, copying, fax, photo print
- Some MFPs provide all of the functionalities, while others offer only selected features
- You can reduce the overall cost by removing unnecessary functionality
Print Technology the MFP is Using
Some MFPs use inkjet technology while others use laser technology.
Advantages of Inkjet Printer
- Inkjet replacement cartridges are cheaper
- Inkjet printers support a wider variety of print media
- Inkjet printers are usually smaller in size compared to Laser printers
Advantages of Laser Printer
- Laser printers provide better and more consistent print quality
- Laser printers have a lower average cost per print
- Laser printers produce less noise when printing
- Laser printers are usually larger compared to inkjet printers
Bulk Scanning Support
- If you need to scan a large number of documents regularly, get an all-in-one printer with an automatic document feeder
- It allows you to load several pages into the printer’s document feeding tray instead of feeding each page one-by-one
- This will save you significant time
Print Quality (Resolution) of the MFP
- It’s essential to check the Print Quality settings (Print DPI)
- Higher DPI (dots per inch) numbers mean a sharper print image
- Our recommended minimum print resolution is 600 x 600 DPI
Printing Duty Cycles That Match Your Needs
- A Printer’s duty cycle represents its ability to perform work under “normal conditions continuously”
- In short, it’s the maximum number of pages it can print
Wireless Connectivity Support
- Wireless connectivity is required if you need to print to or receive scans from the multifunction printer
- Allows you to print directly from a variety of devices such as desktop computers, laptops, tablets, or mobile devices
- Make sure to check for WLAN compatibility (802.11b, g, or n)
Size of the MFP
- Multifunction printers come in different sizes, depending on their functionality and add-ons
- Choose the MFP size based on your needs and space availability in your office
- Additional add-ons will require more space as well
Replacement Cartridge Cost & Availability
- Ink cartridge is an ongoing cost and probably the most significant cost you’ll spend through the entire lifespan of your printer
- Thus, check the cost of buying replacement cartridges to ensure its within your budget
- Availability is another crucial factor to ensure you can quickly get a replacement whenever you need it
Multifunction Printer Advantages and Disadvantages
Pros: Improves Document Management
- All-in-one document management in a single device & user interface (print, scan, copy, fax)
- Increase productivity by using a single hub to manage document workflows
Pros: Better Document Control
- Easier access control and document tracking as all printing happens on the same printer
- Improves security while ensuring better privacy compliance throughout the whole company
Pros: Reduce Costs
- Reduce utility cost such as electricity since there’s only ONE device
- Reduce maintenance cost as maintenance work only needs to be done once on a single device
Pros: Reduce Learning Curve
- Reduce learning time because you only need to learn how to operate a single software
- This allows you to get the maximum benefits of your investment in a shorter period of time
Pros: Space Savings
- Multifunction printers require less space than having separate devices
- This is a plus point, especially for offices that have limited space
Cons: Increase Waiting Time
- A multifunction printer can only do one thing at a time
- Thus, all tasks will be put in a queue since there is only one device
- For example, a printing job may have to wait until another scanning job is done
- If there were two separate devices, both jobs would have been able to proceed concurrently
Cons: Expensive Downtime
- Since it’s a single device, when one of its functions fails, all other functions may fail too
- For example, if the ink cartridge is having an issue, all printing, copying, and faxing may be affected
- You will not face this issue when using multiple devices
Cons: Fewer Features Compared to Specialized Devices
- An all-in-one printer may only have basic features compared to a specialized device
- For example, a single-function scanner may offer additional scanning features that you can’t find in a multifunction printer
Multifunction Printers vs. Copier
Copier used to be a single-function device that provides copy functionality.
However, the copier has evolved over the years and it now provides similar functionality as a multifunction printer. A modern copier provides print, copy, scan, and even fax capabilities.
Apart from functionality, here are some of the other differences between multifunction printers and copiers.
Size Difference Between MFP vs. Copier
- A Multifunction Printer is smaller in size compared to a copier
- Some MFP can even fit on a desk and is easy to move the device around
- Copier, on the other hand, is still considered a bulky device that takes a larger space
- Depending on the space availability, this will become a major factor when choosing between an MFP and a copier
Initial Cost Difference Between MFP vs. Copier
- A Multifunction Printer is usually more expensive than a copier
- This is due to its superior quality and smaller size
- If the size is not an issue but you have a budget constraint, choosing a copier may be a better choice
Feature Difference Between MFP vs. Copier
- Both MFP and Copier have similar functionality
- A copier can accommodate different paper sizes using different paper trays. You can even mix different paper sizes in a single job
- A Multifunction Printer, on the other hand, can only support a single paper size
- If your office requires support for multiple paper sizes, a copier will be able to fit your needs
Usage Difference Between MFP vs. Copier
- Copier can print faster than MFP especially when printing a large amount of documents
- Thus, Copier is better for heavy usage which can save you more time
- If you only need to print a small number of documents at a time, you will not notice any time saving
Now that you know more about what is a multifunction printer, its advantages and disadvantages, the next step is to decide if this is the right choice for you and your business.
A multifunction printer is a popular choice compared to single-function devices due to its ease of use and smaller footprint.
However, if you do not need all of the functionality, going for a single-function device that suits your needs may be a wiser choice
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