Saturday, August 15, 2009

Multi-Function Printer Buying Guide

Multi-Function Machines - MFP

Multifunction machines combine printing, scanning, copying and faxing capability in one integrated unit. They take up less space and are much less expensive than the cost of purchasing a copier, scanner, printer, fax machine, etc. to perform all of these tasks.

There are a number of things to consider before buying a multi-function machine.

How busy is your office? How you answer this determine what the type of multi-function printer you’ll be looking for. Here are our recommendations:

1) Large office with high printer volume – Check out Color Laser Technology Multifunction machines. These machines use color laser technology and deliver both high-resolution business color and monochrome output. They are for offices that mainly print and copy in black and white, and occasionally print high-quality color documents for presentations, proposals and color copies.

2) Medium to large office with variable printer volume - Monochrome Laser Multifunction machines use monochrome laser technology to produce high-quality, high-resolution black and white text and graphics and are a good fit for offices with mid- to high-volume printing and copying needs. These machines run faster than inkjet models and are less expensive than color laser machines. You’ll also find these machines have a lower cost-per-page than other machines.

3) Small to medium office with low printer usage - Color Inkjet Technology Multifunction machines provide the highest quality color reproduction – “photo-quality” in many cases. These machines cost less than most others; however, they have higher cost per page issues. These machines are best suited for offices with lower copying and printing volumes that need true photo-quality color output from time to time.

Will you need fax capabilities in your machine? If so, then you need to check out the modem speed. The higher your fax volume the faster you’ll need your modem to be.

Does your office handle letter or legal size documents? Or both? Many multifunction machines offer adjustable paper trays that accommodate both letter and legal and other sizes, and some also provide multipurpose trays or slots to handle envelopes, card stock and letterhead.

How often do you want to fill the machine with paper? Depending on your answer you’ll need to investigate the paper capacity of the machine. The higher the paper capacity, the less often you have to reload paper; this is especially important if you receive a high volume of faxes after hours and want to avoid out-of-paper situations. If your office is larger and has more printer, copier and fax volume then you’ll want a machine with dual paper trays or have the option of adding a second tray, enabling them to handle higher volume applications or to have letter paper loaded in one tray and legal or photo paper in the other.

Does office use duplexing? This can save on paper and mailing costs—and provide more professional-looking documents—by printing on both sides of a page automatically.

Will you need a network ready mulit-purpose machine so you can print, Some multifunction machines come ready to install directly to your wired or wireless network.

Did you do marketing via fax? Broadcasting enables you to scan a fax into memory just once, and then send it to multiple locations.

Document Security for printing and faxing. If you share a printer/copier with other people in your office and occasionally need to print confidential documents have you considered a password-protected feature on a multifunction machine? Some multifunction machines provide a way to password-protect the printing of confidential faxes and documents so that only the person who is supposed to see them actually does.

Will the machine be used in a PC or Mac workplace – or a combination of both?

Just some things to consider before you go out and buy the cheapest machine.

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