As with any business investment, it’s important to make certain considerations before putting your organization’s money into a product or tool. Multi-function printers are no exception, and since they will likely remain in your office for many years before being replaced again, the one you choose does matter.
Any printer should be expected to get frequent usage throughout its run at your office or organization, and a multi-function model would reasonably be expected to experience even more uses each day. That’s why durability and easy maintenance should be the basis for your decision.
Figure Out What You Need
Before you delve into the research and buying process, you first need to figure out which features you need on your multi-function printer.
- Printing: Laser printers will usually be the best choice for most organizations. A laser printer will cost more up-front but it will be cheaper to run in the long-term. On the other hand, an inkjet device is less expensive initially but costs more per-page.
- Scanning: Most multi-function printers offered today come with relatively good scanners, however, don’t be misled by a manufacturer’s claim about “interpolated resolutions” that promise thousands of dots per inch. This number is inaccurately calculated and you should instead look to the scanner’s “optical resolution” when comparing the quality of the scans.
- Faxing: With the prevalence of e-mail, the need to fax documents is becoming less and less comment each year, but many organizations still need the feature in their multi-function printer. If it’s a necessity for your office, you need to choose a multi-function printer with the ability to work both as a standalone fax machine and with your computer’s built-in faxing capability.
The biggest part of any investment is thinking about the long-term. For instance, if your office is planning on upgrading from Windows computers to Mac systems in the next year, it’s worth waiting or looking into a multi-function printer that is known to work well with Mac computers.
Whether or not you’re looking to upgrade, however, you still need to pay close attention to system compatibility. And, checking a box for the Mac icon or Windows icon simply isn’t enough. For this portion, you really have to do some research into the specific model you’re considering and ensuring that it will work properly with the computer systems your office runs. Just because a box label claims it is Windows, Mac, and Linux compatible doesn’t mean it is. In fact, multi-function printers are typically built to work best with one particular system, and this information can be revealed by the manufacturer's manual and/or reviews of the model you’re looking at.
Finally, the last piece of information that’s going to be a determining factor in your multi-function printer purchase is how much you should be expected to pay for repairs, and how often maintenance will be needed. You can look to the manual to get an idea of how efficient the machine may be, and you should also take warranties into account before making your final decision.