The Printer Showcase, Inc., Computers  Supplies & Parts, Marietta, GA
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When to Buy (or not to buy) a Multifunction Printer

It seems reasonable when you think about it. If you are planning to buy a new laser printer anyway, why not make it a copier, scanner, and fax as well? It is logical since the multifunction printers are about the same price and it would be nice to have all that functionality. You know, just in case.

Compare Multifunction Color Laser PrintersHowever, if we scratch a bit below the surface we find that the vast majority of our customers predict that 90% of their overall use will be printing. Occasionally they may want to copy or scan a document but mostly they will be printing documents from their workstation, (it feels like faxing is getting less and less love these days). Now here is why this is important. If you look at the on-going operating costs of the two categories one thing becomes very clear. Single function printers are much more efficient at printing than their comparably priced Swiss army counterparts. In fact, in order to buy a multifunction machine that was as efficient, or as cost effective, or as fast as an average office printer, you would need to spend two to five times more than that printer. If one compared two similarly priced machines for example, one a single function printer and one a multifunction printer, one would find that the MFP would lag behind in almost all printing related categories like supply costs, speed, and paper handling. These are the most important aspects of an office printer. For about $1000 you can purchase a network office printer that will print 31-47 PPM, hold at least 600 sheets of paper, and print a black and white page for about a penny. A similarly priced MFP would print 20-25 PPM, hold about 300 sheets of paper, and print that same black and white page for about 2.5 pennies. The difference for color printing are similar. Over the course of a printer’s life the multifunction printer will potentially cost  thousands of dollars more than the comparably priced office printer. There are some great multifunction machines out there for black and white and color that are efficient and fast. They just sell for about three to four times more than their single function counterpart. Many offices will still need that capability and are prepared to pay for it. If this does not sound like you then this is what we recommend. Get an office printer if you are doing mostly printing. Get a scanner if you are doing mostly scanning. If you need to have an additional machine for occasional scanning, copying, printing, or faxing, you can buy a B&W laser MFP for around $300 and a color laser MFP for around $650.

A multifunction printer does have a place but unless your print volume is very low the comparably priced office printer is still the best way to go.


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