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What is an All-In-One Printer?

Diane Goettel
Updated: May 17, 2024

An all-in-one printer is an electronic device that serves multiple purposes. In addition to printing, these machines also have the capability to make scans and send faxes. Many all-in-one printer models also have the capability to receive faxes. They may include the ability to collate printing projects and gather printing projects with simple bindings.

These machines are often purchased for use in offices. One of the main reasons for this is the reduction of cost. Instead of purchasing numerous pieces of equipment, purchasing an all-in-one printer can be purchased. While the cost of this kind of printer may be significantly higher than other pieces of office equipment, it is likely less than the total cost of a separate printer, fax, and scanner.

The drawback to using an all-in-one printer is that if one of the functions breaks down, the entire machine may be compromised. For example, if the printing function becomes damaged, then the machine probably won't be able to receive faxes. If it has to go back to the manufacturer for repair, then the office where it is used won't be able to print, fax, or scan until the equipment is repaired and returned. This can create a real problem in terms of productivity for an office.

As with all technology, machines that were once advanced and cutting-edge eventually become commonplace and affordable. This has happened with the all-in-one printer. There are some models that are priced to sell for use in the home or home office.

One of the benefits of having an all-in-one printer at home is that it saves on space. Home offices are often set up in small spare rooms. They are also sometimes set up in the corner of a room that is used for other purposes such as the bedroom, living room, or kitchen. For this reason, conserving space can be very important for people who work from home. An all-in-one printer can reduce the amount of space that is required for the home office equipment and, therefore, help to manage space issues.

Of course, just like all-in-one machines that are used in the office, those that are used in the home present the same problem. If one function breaks down, the entire machine may stop working which can force the user to run out to a printing shop on a daily basis until the machine is repaired. For this reason, anyone purchasing a multi-function printer, whether for the home or for the office, should be sure to choose a model that has received good performance reviews and comes with a warranty.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diane Goettel
By Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount Vernon, New York with her husband, Noah. They are the proud parents of a Doberman Pinscher named Spoon. Specialties: book editing, book marketing, book publishing, freelance writing, magazine publishing, magazine writing, copywriting,"
Discussion Comments
By Wisedly33 — On Jan 22, 2015

@Scrbblchick -- Yeah, those machines are great, until they're not. The only problem is that when something goes kerflooey, everything does. If the scanner won't work, it should still print from the computer -- but it won't. You'd think the two wouldn't be related, but they end up being that way.

I love the all-in-ones, but i do wish there were also a better, more convenient way to recycle them. Every company should offer a program to take printers and so forth back to the store, get credit toward a new machine and then the store sends these machines to be recycled or reconditioned. That just makes good, ecological sense to me.

By Scrbblchick — On Jan 22, 2015

I have a home version of an all-in-one printer. My device will print from the computer, scan and make copies. It won't fax, though. That's not a problem though, because there are actually pretty good websites that will send faxes for free. You scan your document, upload it to the site, and they send it as a fax. This has been a real blessing at our office, because since we switched over to our new phone system, the fax line will not send a long-distance fax. We don't send many faxes nowadays, but when we do, I use one of those sites.

Technology has gotten to the point where an all-in-one printer isn't much more expensive than a print-only machine.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount...
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