How to choose the best multifunctional printer

Thinking of buying a new printer for your workplace or home office? Read advice on how to choose the best multifunctional printer for your business needs.

It’s not just mums who are often expected to multitask today – we demand much more from the technology in our lives too. Mobile phones are now used as much for photography and music as they are calls, and the line between TVs and computers is becoming ever more blurred.

So no surprise then that the office printer has evolved over the years to become more purposeful and functional. And today, most are able to multitask and accomplish a variety of activities in the office all. These are known as multifunctional printers, or MFPs.

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A typical office printer can now do much more than just print documents. Multifunctional printers can fax, scan, photocopy and email as well as print. This technology was originally developed for home and small business use, but now has expanded to include large workgroup models that can accommodate the needs of larger office environments.

How to choose the best multifunctional printer

But when it comes to choosing the right piece of equipment for your work needs, what type of considerations should you bear in mind? To help you, here’s some advice on how to choose the best multifunctional printer for your needs.

How much space do you have?

One of the more obvious benefits to using a multifunctional printer is saving space. Just one machine is able to take the place of several, eliminating the need for a separate fax machine, scanner and photocopier.

And not only do most multifunctional printers do the job of several machines, but they are also more compact, with many models taking up very little workspace – ideal for smaller offices and home workers.

That said the size versus capability benefits of multifunctional printers can vary greatly. So when choosing the right model for your needs, think about where you will store your printer, and how much space you can afford to give it.

It’s also worth considering how a printer LOOKS. If it’s going to sit in the corner of your kitchen (if you work from home) then you want something unobtrusive and relatively attractive. So don’t just plump for the cheapest printer you come across online. Take a good look at it, and check its actual dimensions.

How much can you afford to spend?

Another obvious advantage is cost. When you tally the costs of having to buy a fax machine, scanner, printer and photocopier, it is easy to work out that a multifunctional requires much less capital.

Although a multifunctional printer is more expensive than a traditional printer, it’s for good reason – its capabilities are far greater and is still much less costly than buying several machines separately. Maintenance and repair is also more affordable because there is only machine needing to be serviced as opposed to several.

That said, you do need to spend some money when buying your printer, and how much that is will depend partly on your needs and budget. What do you need your printer for? How professional must your print outs look? And how much use will it get?

Some of the more budget printers may seem bargain at first glance, but over time can cost you more thanks to the higher cost of their replacement ink cartridges (one way you may be able to get round this is by refilling your cartridges rather than buying new, branded ones each time).

How environmentally friendly must it be?

As a general rule, multifunctional printers improve your carbon footprint by eliminating the need to buy and stock various ink and toner cartridges for a variety of machines. However, not all printers are equally environmentally friendly.

One of the most obvious waste elements are ink cartridges, which can easily be overcome by refilling. Inkjet printers are also apparently more environmentally friendly than lasers. Some models are also deliberately designed to have less of a detrimental impact on the environment, using less power and high capacity ink cartridges.

If you want to ensure your multifunctional printer is as environmentally friendly as possible, look for Blue Angel or Energy Star certification.

How many functions do you need?

Multifunctional printers are not only capable of functioning as a photocopier, printer, scanner and fax machine, they also can come equipped with software that allows you to complete a wide range of other business-oriented tasks on it.

These functions can include the ability to print directly from a smartphone or tablet, reporting statistics on the machines printing, and even edit and make presentations, handouts and other important business documents and materials.

Top quality ranges such as Ricoh and Sharp multifunctional printers can provide advanced functionality and connect to cloud solutions along with the option to customise according to your needs.

If you’re looking into printing options, a professional company like Midshire can help consider the impact a multi-functional printer could have on your office efficiency and productivity.