The Advantages and Disadvantages of Multi-Function Printers


Multi-function printers, or all-in-one printers, do a lot more than just print. They copy, scan, and fax, too. Pretty cool! Four machines in one! It’s like having an entire imaging station at your fingertips. But what are the advantages and disadvantages of multi-function printers? Let’s take a look.


Space Saving

As you might expect, multi-function printers save a great deal of space. There’s no need to have four separate machines cluttering up your office. 

One multi-function printer enables all of these separate functions and takes up one fourth of the space.

Large corporations can benefit from space-saving all-in-one printers too, especially if they choose a smaller multi-function printer model, like the HP LaserJet Pro M102w or the HP LaserJet Pro M203dw.


What’s better than saving space? Saving money! While MFP printers do have higher initial costs than printers without multi-function capability, the price is well worth it if you would otherwise have to purchase separate machines to scan, copy, and fax.

For example, the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw is priced at $526. The price of buying a separate printer, scanner, copier, and fax machine would be significantly higher than this, likely over $1,000.

Again, when it comes to large corporations or any business that needs to have multiple areas with printing, scanning, copying, and faxing capability, multi-function printers are the more cost-effective option by a wide margin.


Let’s face it, all-in-one is all about convenience. It’s easier to access one machine instead of four separate ones. Save time, save money, save space... that’s what a multi-function printer can do for you.

Energy Saving

MFP’s save energy and save printer owners money on energy bills. They are the more energy-efficient option and the alternative of having separate machines running simultaneously is very wasteful from an energy perspective.

This is especially the case if you choose an energy-efficient all-in-one printer, such as the HP LaserJet Pro MFP M426fdw or the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn.

HP envy 4520 MFP

Small Wonder -- this HP Envy 4520 inkjet in a compact multifunction machine.


User Crowding

Need to print, scan, copy or fax? Get in line, pal! I’ve literally had to wait on line and/or schedule “printer time” when I worked in a school with only one multi-function machine. The workflow backup was real.

In any setting with multiple people using one multi-function printer you’re apt to encounter crowding and wait times. A multi-function printer can save you money... except if you need to purchase two of them to handle the workload.

Low Specialization

Multi-function printers are high in versatility but typically low in specialization. For example, an all-in-one printer will typically not have the same number of scanning features that a top-of-the-line scanner will have.

Nor will an all-in-one printer typically have the same copying features that a top-of-the-line copier will have.

However, many of the top HP all-in-one printers are able to very closely match the features of top scanners, copiers, and fax machines. 

Some of these “uber” all-in-one printers include the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdw, the HP LaserJet Enterprise MFP M527dn, and the HP Color LaserJet Managed MFP M577dn.

HP Color Laser Enterprise M553

A Big Deal -- This HP Color Enterprise M553 is a great color printer but it can't copy, scan and fax, like the much smaller Envy 4520 (above).

What To Do?

Multi-function printers are versatile, effective printers that perform the functions of four separate machines. They have many advantages and a few small disadvantages.

Overall, if a person or a business, office, school, etc. needs to print, scan, copy, and fax or any variation of these four functions, investing in a multi-function printer is most likely the best option rather than buying separate machines in order to save space, money, and energy and add convenience.

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