If you have been in the market for a new printer recently, but aren’t really an expert on all things inkjet, you may be somewhat confused by the modern trend of what are called ‘multi-function printers’, or MFPs for short. Printers that just print things have given way, in the home market at least, to ones that provide all kinds of other imaging services, and they are also available at a reasonably low cost. So is it worth investing in one, or is all you really need a basic printer that can knock out the things you type on a sheet of paper?
Here we take a look at MFPs from a beginner’s perspective, to help you decide if this is something you could benefit from buying as a home computer consumer.
So What Are These Multiple Functions, Then?
The typical features of a multi-function printer are that as well as doing black and white or color print outs, it also has photocopier and scanner facilities.
A scanner allows you to scan a piece of paper and copy what is on it into a file on your computer. There are loads of great things you can do with this. You can scan in all your old photographs so you have digital back ups and are able to post them on things like Facebook or Instagram if you want to. You can scan in signed contracts and other official paperwork to email it off. You can scan in artwork you have done on paper so you can upload it to your website, or manipulate it using imaging software. In fact, the scanner is probably just as useful as the printing services the multi-function printer offers for many home users.
The photocopier essentially uses the same technology as the scanner, but instead of saving the file to your computer, it reproduces it using the printer, so you can make as many copies as you like. While photocopying isn’t something people tend to use in the home a huge amount, if you need to take a copy of a document having an MFP means no trips to shops with photocopiers and being overcharged for a simple copy!
Can They Do Anything Else?
While printing, scanning and copying are the key features, many MFP units also have a fax machine facility. This is becoming less and less of a priority for designer of printers because faxing is becoming very outmoded, but there are still occasions when companies, for example your bank, may want you to fax something over and having the facility to do this at home is always a good bonus to have on your printer.
All in all, for not much more cost a multi-function printer offers a whole range of convenience that a standard printer just doesn’t give you. If you need a new printer, it is definitely worth checking out multi functional models within your budget, and finding one that works for you. You may be surprised at just how often you end up using the extra facilities.
David Volt, the author of this article, is part of the team at, Modern Litho and Brown Printing, a reputable printing company, based in Jefferson City. He is an amateur comedian and enjoys watching comic v-blogs over the internet.