Multi-function printers (MFPs for short) are the Swiss army knives of the office world. They give you the ability to get more done at one station in less time, making your working day more productive and efficient. Small businesses, large corporations, and a variety of enterprises can make use of these versatile tools to organize their offices and expand their business. But like a Swiss army knife, a multi-function printer may contain a bunch of features you don't want and have no idea what to do with, but lack the features you really need. Most multi-function printer models provide printing, scanning, and copying capabilities, but before purchasing just any MFP, you should make sure that you're getting exactly what you want.
Are you a digital photography buff or does your business rely on printing color photos and vivid images? You might want to choose between a color inkjet machine, like the Canon PIXMA MP830 or a color laser model, like the HP Color LaserJet CM1017 All in One. It also helps to have a machine that enables you to connect your camera directly or one that provides memory card and flash drive slots to deliver fast, painless printing without a computer. The Samsung CLX-3160FN accommodates PictBridge enabled digital cameras and phones via USB.
If your office requires use of a fax, you should probably make sure that the MFP you're buying includes this feature. The Epson AcuLaser CX11NE does, along with printing and copying speeds up to 25 ppm and scanning at 9600 x 9600 enhanced dpi. If you need to copy and fax, but already have a printer and don't require any scanning, you could get along nicely with a smaller (and more affordable) MFP, like the Sharp UX B800SE Fax and Copy Machine, which as its title implies offers faxing and copying without other features that you don't need.
Space, cost, connectivity and compatibility are also some buying points that you should consider before deciding on a multi-function model. Does it need to be compatible with both Macs and PCs? Do you want an LCD display or a machine that prints proof sheets? Should it be able to scan film and slides? Does it provide duplex printing (both sides of the paper)? Do you want built-in wireless networking, Bluetooth connectivity or an Ethernet port? These are all important things to take into account when searching for the right MFP for your home or office. However, you shouldn't be intimidated by the specs or options offered by any individual brand or model. Most MFPs arrive ready to use, with enough performance, function and power to support your home or business needs without being unnecessarily complicated. As with most important purchases, it helps to know what you want and what you don't before handing over your money. To view a selection of MFPs, visit our Multifunction Printer page.