Which one is the MFP printer with ADF, duplex, fax, scan and copy for SME and SOHO?

Chetan Sachdev October 12, 2012

Which one is the best MFP printer for SME and SOHO?

  1. rd
    November 15, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    I have the same question but would like to know which small office laser printer with duplex scanning and printing is best for a windows or linux based system?
    Looking at either Windows 7 or 8 and/or Linux (not sure if this info was needed but added for completeness).
    Let me know.
    Can you guys and gals recommend a particular laser printer?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Jim Chambers
    October 18, 2012 at 4:09 am

    Lower priced MFP, ADF units tend to be very finicky and prone to jambing. If you plan to use MFP as a photocopier buy a mid-range mono laser unit (about $800.00) Same is true for duplexing units.

  3. Rob Hindle
    October 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    For other readers it may be helpful to expand your abbreviations:
    MFP = Multi function printer, that usually means combination printer, scanner, photocopier (and maybe FAX)
    SME = Small or medium enterprise. Not a very helpful term in this context as in EU it means up to 250 employeed with a turnover of up to 50M euros.
    SOHO = Small office, Home office. That implies a business working from home or from a small office, typically fewer than 10 employees

    Now: what's the best MFP?

    Firstly under your question it says you're a Mac user, that may limit your choices, do check that cables and software provided with the printer are suitable for your Mac.

    Next look at your requirements. You need to understand a lot more about your requirements - like do you need to print on media other than standard weight A4 - card, A5, A3, labels, envelopes? In particular, do you need colour printing and if so what quality? What is your likely amount of printing (pages per day).
    Do you need an ADF (Automatic Document Feeder) so you can put a whole pile of pages into a hopper to get scanned or photocopied.

    A common reason for wanting an MFP in SOHO is that it takes up less space than separate units - do check for the space needed for sticking-out input/output trays and access to them.

    If you need quality colour then you probably need a colour inkjet (or there are some expensive alternatives if you need really high quality colour).
    If you can compromise on colour quality a bit (graphs, powerpoint presentations, usable photos but less than perfect colour) then a colour laser is a possibility.

    If you need loads of mono print then laser consumables usually work out cheaper in the long run.

    Note that most mono MFPs can scan documents in colour (bear in mind that while MFP scanning capabilities are very good they aren't as good as a dedicated scanner).

    Look for estimates as to the total cost of printing per page, for solid colour on inkjets with special paper it can get quite high. As a rule laser toner costs less than inkjet inks and you don't get the level of wastage with cleaning cycles and possible blockages but laser printers tend to cost more in the first place.
    Laser colour is so inexpensive that you don't really think of the cost.

    Check the price of consumables. It's quite common to find that a new set of inks costs more than a new printer. That's usually because the printer comes with "demonstration" ink/toner that runs out very quickly.
    Beware of combination cartridges with 3 (or 3 + black) colours in one unit, if you run out of one colour what's left of the others is wasted.

    Laser printers with an "ink only" cartridge will have a second consumable (variously called a drum or a fuser unit) that is expensive but in practise may last the life of the printer - mine is good for 50,000 pages, that's 100 reams of paper, about a quarter of a ton. That will have been about 6 trees! I user fewer than 10 reams a year so after 10 years it will probably be time for a new printer anyway.

    Now the good news: for SOHO use inexpensive printers are fine. When you look at the more expensive models you usually find it's because of factors you may not need - like high speed, the ability to print hundreds of thousands of pages a year, the ability to attach things like document collators. If you want a printer that can do everything to a high standard then it's going to be expensive, far better to be realistic about real needs and get something affordable, the best solution may not even be an MFP but a mono laser, a colour inkjet and a good scanner.

    If you need duplex printing (automatic printing on both sides) that's often (but not always) an expensive choice.

    • Adrian Rea
      October 15, 2012 at 9:03 am

      Great reply Rob, you deserve a thanks

  4. Adrian Rea
    October 13, 2012 at 9:49 am

    In my opinion I prefer a laser printer for business and if you want one with all these extras you will be paying a great deal so I prefer a black and white laser up to A3 and a colour inkjet MFP for the rest