An MFP or commonly referred to as a multifunction printer, is a printing device that offers four functionality mainly of a printer, scanner, copier and fax. Although some unit doesn’t offer fax most of the time, the lack of it doesn’t make much difference. Whether it’s a three-in-one or a four-in-one machine, generally they are both classified as multifunction printers.

Nowadays, these devices are becoming more of a common choice for most offices and business. Practically, it’s indeed the best choice if your environment requires all the said functionality that an MFP can provide, yet concern of reducing the cost. But just like a typical laserjet or an inkjet, these multifunction devices may look exactly the same, when in fact they’re not. Thus, when choosing an MFP printer for your office or business, you need to know the questions that you’re suppose to ask to yourself first to make an informed decision.

What do I need from an MFP?

Multifunction printers can do a lot, but try to analyze if you really need all those functionality it could offer. The upfront cost of a four-in-one MFP is of course greater than the price of a three-in-one. Also, consider the factors that maybe in the future you might need a certain functionality which can make your choice considerable. If it’s not too important to get a device that can fax, then get a unit that doesn’t support it. Since it was mentioned that a three-in-one is less expensive, in short you can get savings, and these money that you save can be used to enhance the unit you purchased by adding upgrade components such as paper trays, memory and just about anything useful to add.

How much is the Total Cost of Ownership?

The upfront cost of a printer, regardless if it’s an MFP or not, is just considered as a drop in the bucket. Running or maintaining such device requires a number of factors to consider which includes the cost of supplies. Inkjets are costly to run compared to laserjets and that’s a fact, plus another fact that laser printers are commonly used in offices and businesses than inkjet types.

Perhaps explaining it with figures will give you a clearer view. So let’s use the Color LaserJet CM2320NF MFP as our example, has a price tag of $1,499.99 (Amazon), while the supplies (HP CM2320 toner cartridges) are priced at $389 (Amazon) per set of four cartridges. Let alone the initial cost of the unit, just imagined if you have to purchase the set of supplies it needs like let’s say every month cause you regularly use the device for printing and copying. Approximately, you have to spend more than $4000 annually to maintain the unit. Now you probably have an idea of choosing a multifunction printer that can run with affordable supplies. Let me tell you, that’s a budget-minded choice.

Multifunction printer