The Whole Enchilada

Multifunction machines provide all-in-one capabilities.

All of me (sing it with us!), why not take all of me? Yes, we have a reason to sing: You can have your copier and print documents, too. Assuming your cluttered desk would buckle under the weight of a separate copier, fax machine and scanner, a multifunction machine might be just what you need.

Any of the six all-in-ones we look at here could handle the needs of you and a few employees. If your business is growing like a weed, however, you might want dedicated machines for high-volume duties. Otherwise, all-in-ones use less space and cost less than separate pieces. Before you start, know what you're looking for: a laser all-in-one or a flatbed all-in-one.

The two lasers we included are the Canon L6000 and the Brother MFC-4350. You'll get the cheaper upkeep costs and crispness of a laser printer, but you won't get the lovely color output of an inkjet like the Epson Stylus Scan 2000. The rarer flatbed scanner multifunctions like the Hewlett-Packard are preferable if you plan to scan anything that won't fit through a sheet-fed scanner, such as books, business cards or your face. Sheet-feds are handy because they automatically handle more than one sheet at a time for faxing and copying.

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This article was originally published in the July 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: The Whole Enchilada.

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