Q: I have a small office and a small budget, so I’m looking for a cost-effective printing solution. Is it better to purchase a copier, printer, and fax machine separately or go with a multifunction device?
— Rodney Palmer, Los Angeles
A: Well, that depends on your needs. Having a small office doesn’t necessarily mean that your jobs are small, so you want to take that into account before you make your purchase. For some people, it makes sense to invest in a separate, heavy-duty printer then add a multifunction device later. For others, an all-in-one solution is the best option.
Multifunction devices that include a printer, scanner, fax machine, and copier (or variations) offer a cost-effective solution for small offices. Consider the Canon MultiPass MP390, a printer/scanner/fax/copier ($199.99) that also lets you print photos directly from a compatible digital camera and memory card. Another option is the Epson Stylus Photo CX6400, which offers similar features at roughly the same price ($199). Hewlett-Packard’s PSC2510 ($399.99 direct) also brings value and quality to small offices.
But before you purchase your device, be sure to factor in the cost of consumables: ink cartridges and paper, for example.