What Is the Best Multifunction Printer for a Small Business?
Office technology equipment forms part of any small business’ backbone. Daily operations rely on a dependable printer.
However, reducing “machines” to the singular compact printer can bring savings on expenses and space while producing quality print resolution and digital archives. Consolidation brings numerous advantages of multifunction printers, but what is the best multifunction printer for a small business?
The answer depends on your printing needs and business printer price point—although any small business can find a duplex printing model that is not only reliable, but also facilitates faster, more efficient workflows.
So, how exactly does a multifunction printer work? Multifunction printers (MFPs) act as your small business’ digital and physical transformation hub, primarily combining the functionality of a printer, scanner, and copier. Many models may also offer email communication with optional capabilities for fax, cloud storage and document feeder management, workflow applications, and increased color printing range.
What sets true MFPs apart from other “all-in-one” machines is that the different capabilities offered may be used simultaneously. If different jobs in the queue require the machine’s different functions (e.g., one user needs to scan a document while another is printing), an MFP can execute them concurrently.
What to Consider When Evaluating MFPs
When evaluating multifunction printers, you can quickly begin narrowing down to a shortlist by first considering your use case and requirements. The best place to start is asking yourself, “How many people will be regularly using this office printer?” Falling either side of 10 users may significantly affect the capabilities or output you need.
Many MFPs designed to service 10 or fewer regular users sit at very affordable prices. As your printing needs increase and the need to service more users rises (or if your business expects to be printing in volume), you may want to consider investing in more sophisticated models designed to handle much higher monthly page counts.
An MFP such as the Xerox Color C60 or C70 may be able to print up to 50,000 pages per month at 75 pages per minute (ppm), but a small business printer is likely not meeting production printer output levels.
Consider your use cases and volume needs outside of just the number of users. For example:
- Legal firms may need to print thick stacks of court or other official documents often.
- Businesses requiring significant promotional materials may need to print in high volume for each event, sale, or new offering.
Other Considerations for Your MFP
Your users’ day-to-day requirements will also determine what MFP makes the most sense for your small business. Among other functionality, many small businesses may need:
- Fax machine capabilities
- Color printing (if just black and white remain insufficient)
- Wireless printing, mobile printing, or cloud printing and connectivity
- High print quality, measured in “dots per inch” (DPI)
- 300 DPI is considered the minimum for professional image quality
With MFPs, some functionalities can be added as options or are included “out-of-the-box” on a model’s higher tiers. If you think you have found the almost-right model, contact a reputable vendor to ask about adding certain capabilities and dropping the “almost.”
Best Color MFPs for Under 10 Users
The best color-capable Xerox MFPs for small user groups are the:
- WorkCentre 6515
- VersaLink C405
The WorkCentre 6515 best meets the demand for teams of two to seven, with an output of 30ppm and recommended monthly volume of 4,000 pages. This MFP supports (color) printing, copying, scanning, emailing, and faxing. Wi-Fi connectivity is an option for the base and 6515DN models and a native feature with the 6515/DNi.
The WorkCentre 6515’s additional features include:
- Mobile printing connectivity supporting Apple® AirPrint®, Chromebook™ Printing, Wi-Fi Direct®, Xerox® Print Service Plug in for Android™
- Near-Field Communication (NFC) for easy “tap-to-pair” with different devices
- Color touchscreen with a tablet-like UI
- 1200×2400 DPI
- Cloud connectivity
- Optional second paper tray that holds up to 550 pages
Designed for up to 10 users, the VersaLink C405 handles up to 8,500 pages per month at a print speed of up to 36ppm. As with the WorkCentre 6515, the VersaLink C405 provides businesses with print, copy, scan, fax, email, and cloud capabilities.
The VersaLink C405 also offers:
- Concurrent Wi-Fi and wired connection
- NFC “tap-to-pair”
- 600x600x8 DPI (enhanced)
- ConnectKey® Technology to prevent cybersecurity threats
Supporting More Users or Higher Volume
If your small business’ concurrent user or output requirements exceed the printers listed above, you may want to consider some of the more sophisticated models in the VersaLink series:
These printers are designed to facilitate user groups of around 10 to 20. The color-capable model delivers an output of about 17,000 pages each month at a rate of 55ppm. The black and white option is rated up to nearly double that volume at 30,000 monthly pages and a faster printing speed of up to 65ppm.
Both of these VersaLink models provide a customizable touch-screen UI, print, copy, scan, and email functionality, as well as the Productivity Kit with a 320GB hard drive. Depending on which tier of these VersaLink models you consider, fax machine capability may be included as well. Both models also offer Wi-Fi connectivity as an additional option for all tiers.
Productivity Kit with 320 GB Hard Drive
The Productivity Kit enables businesses to store fonts, forms, macros, overlays, more app data, and more user IDs or profiles. The kit also increases the machine’s ability to handle even more concurrent jobs with more granular queue management.
Choosing the Right MFP for Your Small Business
With all of the capabilities, additional options, and output levels various MFPs provide, it can be difficult to narrow down how to choose a multifunction printer that best suits your business and printing needs. If you’d like to speak with the experts to help narrow your shortlist further, we are here to offer advice on your available options. MRC has delivered industry-leading print management technologies and top-tier customer service since 1994.
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