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What is a multifunction printer?

The different types of copiers and printers

Multifunction printerMultifunction printers or “MFPs” put together, in one single machine, the features of a printer, a copier, a scanner, and sometimes also of a fax machine. By definition, MFPs are necessarily connected to a computer by wired or wireless connection but can sometimes be operated directly from their own control panel like standalone copiers.


In 2019, multifunction printers can be:

-        Inkjet multifunction printers, almost always allowing colour printing as well as black-and-white printing,


-        Black-and-white laser multifunction printers,


-        Colour laser multifunction printers,


-        3-in-1 multifunction printers (print-scan-copy) using either inkjet or laser technology, printing either in black-and-white or in colour,


-        4-in-1 multifunction printers (print-scan-copy-fax) – because fax is falling out of favour in the UK, multifunction printers sold on this market now rarely have fax feature.


Note that black-and-white versions can scan images in colour.

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Advantages of these machines include:

-        Convenience in usage compared to separate devices,


-        Much smaller footprint than a combination of all respective devices,


-        Cost savings related to lower electricity consumption.


Discriminating factors which can be looked into to select the best multifunction printer include:

-        Number of functions (with or without fax),


-        Colour printing support,


-        Printing technology (laser is better for fast printing, inkjet better for colour printing),


-        Scanner resolution (if you need high-resolution scanning, check the scanner resolution of the model carefully. Scanner resolutions for multifunction printers are often low),


-        Printing resolution (the standard resolution of 300 dpi will be good enough for most printing, unless you require photo quality),


-        Available connections (wired, wireless, network like Ethernet or Wifi or simply local like USB),


-        Related applications and software, especially for mobile printing,


-        Multitasking capabilities,


-        Total cost of ownership and cost-per-page.


We therefore recommend comparing several quotes in multifunction printer to choose the best device for your business at the right price.

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