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Jack of All Trades Print, scan, copy, fax--laser multifunctions do it all in a jiffy.

By Amanda C. Kooser

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Entrepreneurs multitask, so shouldn't your printer? If you have a small office, home office or workgroup that needs access to printing, scanning, faxing and copying from one compact device, then a multifunction printer is the way to go. In particular, laser MFPs will help you save on ongoing printing costs while delivering sharp output with a reasonable upfront investment.

Here's a basic question to ask before you go shopping: Color or monochrome? Color lasers are more affordable than ever and can add that extra bit of pizzazz to your documents, sales sheets and brochures. Monochrome printers still handle all your everyday printing chores quickly and inexpensively. Besides cost, other color vs. monochrome considerations include the amount of memory needed for large documents and graphics and whether you have special paper handling needs--say, automatic duplexing for two-sided printing. Maybe your network needs both printer types.

If that's the case, the $699 Hewlett-Packard Color LaserJet CM1017 MFP comes with built-in networking and an easy-to-read, flip-up, 2.4-inch color display. You also get memory card slots for fast printing without downloading to a computer first--nice if you plan to print pictures from a digital camera. Compare that with the similarly priced Epson AcuLaser CX11NF, which turns out a respectable 25 ppm in monochrome and 5 ppm in color. If you need more speed, the $799 OKI C3530n hits 16 ppm in color.

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