Often called an all-in-one printer, the multifunction printer has become a God-send to homes and businesses around the world thanks to its convenience, flexibility and relatively low cost. As technology prices have continued to tumble, even a midrange multifunction printer is within the financial reaches of most people looking for a compact and easy to use solution to many home and office applications. However, this has lead to an increase of choice, so before you go buying a new multifunction printer, consider what to look for first.
Before even considering how much to spend, you should first evaluate your needs. Even though they are called multifunction printers, these bits of office kit can handle many tasks, from image scanning and copying, to faxing, operating an answering phone and, of course, printing. Consider what ‘extras’ you need on top of the print facility and then consider what level of printer you will require. Does it have to be colour? Laser or inkjet? Once you have everything narrowed down, then you can start looking at the various price brackets available.
Though the price of multifunction printers has dramatically fallen in recent years, never forget how much money you will potentially be saving by not having to buy the other various office essentials separately. With this in mind, set your budget and don’t just go for the cheapest option available. You will find that certain applications will naturally be more expensive anyway, for example, laser printing generally costs more than inkjet printing.
Likewise make sure that each of the peripheral applications are up to your specifications too, not just the printer.
If you plan to scan a lot of images, consider how high a resolution you may need, or if you send and receive a lot of faxes you might want a particularly fast fax machine. In fact speed can also be an issue in printing too. In a busy office, a quick printer can make the difference between reports being on time and being late, so look at how many copies per minute the printer can produce, including enlargements.
These days, many homes and offices are ‘wireless’, meaning that the PCs and internet connections are run wirelessly. However, you can now buy wireless, or wifi, printers too. This might not sound particularly important, but that depends on where you want to put your new printer. Remember that it should be accessible to everybody using it and it should also ideally have spare stacks of paper nearby, so having a wireless printer will allow you far more flexibility in setting up your printer.
Once you have looked into all of the possibilities, its then finally time to set your budget. There are many prices and brands of multifunction printers, so do your research, ask questions in computing stores and always try and read reliable user reviews online before making your mind up.