Office equipment: What to consider when buying an office printer The single most important question to ask is whether you need a multifunction printer that prints, scans, copies and faxes or if you'd be better off with several devices dedicated to a single function each. The best way to do this is to know what your business requirements are; like how many users the device will be supporting and how much - and what - you'll be printing every month. Do your employees regularly require different functions, or do they mostly print and only occasionally need to scan and copy? Will a single device cause a queue at the busiest part of the day? Do you need the speed and quality of a laser printer or the versatility of an inkjet? For most small offices, a multifunction device with basic networking capabilities should be a good choice. These devices take up a small amount of office space while providing multiple services, they can be shared among several users and can save the business money over time. But, individual devices have their own set of benefits that they may offer you more value for your money in the long term, especially in larger offices with more employees and higher workloads. Pros and cons of multifunction printers Pros 1. Takes up very little space compared to multiple individual devices 2. Low initial cost plus economical running costs 3. Can perform the duties of multiple machines Cons 1. Their ability to perform more than one task at a time is limited. 2. If there is a technical problem, all functions are unavailable. The drawbacks of running separate machines entail higher initial and running costs and the complexity as compared to the operation of a single device. Benefits of running separate machines include reduced likelihood of productivity bottlenecks. Dedicated devices often print/scan/copy faster than MFPs and a breakdown won't prevent access to other functions. In the end every business has unique needs, therefore it is prudent to look at your specific needs and decide accordingly. If you're certain that a multifunction (MFP) is what you need, it is highly recommended that you buy one with an automatic document feeder as these greatly improve the efficiency of scanning and copying multipage documents.