Once you dive into the process of choosing the right printer for your business, you might be easily overwhelmed with the myriad of options out there. However, when it comes to the basic decision of single function vs. multi-function, you should be able to work through it pretty easy once you compare the pros and cons of each.

Single Function Printers

A single function printer is basically a one trick pony. Your single function printer will print you as many files as you need, and that’s about it.

The pros:

  • You aren’t paying for features you don’t need. Therefore, the up-front investment will be lower.
  • Your printer is good for one thing only: printing. This can increase uptime and lower maintenance costs.
  • You have two options to consider within the single function printer group: inkjet or laser.

The cons:

  • If you decide you do need some other functions, you will have to make room (and fork over extra money) for additional equipment.
  • Single function only.


Multi-Function Printers

For many offices, you might want more than a basic printing unit. If you need a copier, scanner, printer, and/or fax machine, you could benefit by getting all of these features packed into one unit.

The pros:

  • You’ll save money purchasing a multi-function printer up-front compared to purchasing multiple pieces of equipment. You’ll also save on energy in the long run by plugging one device in instead of three or four.
  • Multi-function printers will also help you save office space, which is perfect for tight areas.
  • Rather than having to set up and connect multiple devices to the network, a multi-function printer will save you some hassle because you will only need to connect one.

The cons:

  • If one part of the unit goes down, it’s all going to go down. This can increase downtime and maintenance costs.
  • The unified structure that gives you all the benefits of a multi-function printer also poses another downfall: if you ever want to upgrade your scanner, you’ll have to upgrade the entire unit, or buy an additional scanner that will take up added space and make your multi-function printer slightly redundant.

Comparing Your Options

As with everything, there are pros and cons to be faced when making a decision on which printer is best for your office. Space and the up-front cost will perhaps be two of the biggest considerations, but you should also factor in long-term convenience and usability. If you need a printer and scanner but you do not foresee your business making frequent use of a copier or fax machine, you might fare better by investing in two separate pieces of equipment.

On the other hand, if you are certain your business will regularly make use of most of the features a multi-function printer has, it might be the right option for you. Again, consider the amount of space you have and the upfront costs. Even with the above factors considered, purchasing a multi-function printer will typically beat out buying separate equipment.