In an office environment that uses conventional copiers, scanners, fax machines and printers, there would be a whole load of cables and wires snaking their way across the workstation surface and along the floor. You’ve probably nearly tripped on one at some point. And possibly wondered why things couldn’t be a lot simpler. Well, that’s how the multifunction printer evolved – to simplify things at the office.
So what exactly is a multifunction printer, you ask? It’s a device that combines the following functions in one piece of equipment:
- Fax machine
It can effectively print your document, fax it to your client, make four copies of it and scan it for your report. The multifunction printer has the functionality of all these different office equipment within just one piece of hardware. It caters to all your office needs without the hassle of having different machines scattered around the office.
Single Function Printer
A single function printer doesn’t have all the functions that a multifunction device boasts of. It just does the regular printing that you’re accustomed to. It doesn’t fax any document and does not have any capability to make copies of anything much less scan them.
It does, however, give you all the conventional requirements of a dedicated printer that can print documents of almost any shape and size within its capabilities and also print in color.
Multifunction Printer Advantages
Save space. A multifunction printer saves you space. Unlike having a regular single function printer, you don’t have to purchase a separate copier, scanner and fax machine if you have this handy device. Therefore you won’t have storage problems especially if you’re working in an office with space constraints.
Cost savings. One of the prime advantages of the multifunction printer vs the regular printer is the cost element. Although it’s priced higher than the single function printer but the fact that you don’t have to buy various other machines brings down your overall cost of investment in office hardware. It’s a wonderful device for the small business owner who has to carefully manage his funds. By not spending extra on several different components, you can save cost on capital expenditure.
Centralized place. There’s the added flexibility of a centralized document management system whereby you can copy, print, scan and fax all from the same device and place in the office. It ensures that you have good control over your document flow.
Power savings. Aside from cost and space saving, the multifunction printer also benefits you by lowering your power charges. Since you don’t have to invest in different equipment, you’re not likely to need excessive power. So your single device will be enough for your office requirements and you can adequately manage your electricity bill.
Disadvantage of the Multifunction Printer
May have lower quality. One somewhat of a disadvantage is the lower quality of the multifunction device vs the regular one. The fact that so many different elements are combined into one machine necessarily reduces both quality and efficiency. It’s not suitable for large businesses that require better quality and very precise output. That is the sole domain of the single function printer.
One function at a time. Another aspect that could be a disadvantage of a multifunction printer is that you can only perform one function at a time. So if you have many people printing, faxing and copying throughout the day then there will be many waiting to use the device.
So multifunction printers have many advantages, hence the popularity of them. There are some disadvantages that one must take into account before deciding to purchase.
However, multifunction printers are a great choice for small businesses, home offices, and individuals that desire to have the convenience of a copier, fax, and printer without taking up a lot of room and using a great deal of electricity.