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Multifunction Printer (MFP) vs. Desktop Printer: Which is better for your office printing needs?

Does your office have only desktop printers, an MFP, or a mix of both devices? While desktop printers are tempting to add to your office due to their low purchasing cost, did you know that these come with a high maintenance cost? Desktop printers tend to be less efficient and require more expensive ink than office multifunctional printers, so you end up paying more in the long-term. However, there are pros and cons for each. Read on to learn more.

The Pros and Cons

Features: An important question to ask is “Do you regularly send and receive faxes, make copies, and scan documents? A multifunction device can meet those needs, but if your office already has a separate fax machine, copier or scanner than a desktop printer may be sufficient.

Initial costs vs. recurring costs: Desktop printers are generally less expensive to purchase, however, unless your business has a very, very low print volume, MFPs generally have a much lower cost per page than desktop printers in the long run.

Both types of devices require servicing every 7,000 to 15,000 pages, therefore an MFP that takes the place of several different machines (printer, scanner, copier, fax) will require less parts and labor for maintenance.

Available space and device footprint: Multifunction devices can save space. One centrally located MFP generally takes up less space than the several devices it replaces. However, the desktop offers the convenience of not having to leave the workstation. This is a main reason why some organizations continue to still have some desktop units available, usually for the higher level executives or those who print extremely sensitive documents.

Digitizing and networking: Today’s MFPs are intelligent network devices with operating systems that better allow for digital document management and networking. The networking capabilities of MFPs also allows for better tracking and cost control than desktops, along with better integration with solutions for cost recovery, mobile printing, scan-to-cloud and more.

Security: Maintaining security inside and outside the organization, must be an integral component of any MFP or desktop unit. Some users prefer printing confidential documents at their workstation, however, security features such as Secure Print Release or FollowMe printing, which prevents printed documents from sitting in output trays, is available on MFPs. The use of individual codes or swipe cards is another feature of MFPs designed to both secure the print process and track usage.

A print assessment should always be the first step in any print strategy decision. An assessment gives you the business intelligence to quantify your average print activity for all your devices. To get started, call us at to schedule your free assessment.

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