"All in One Printers" or "multifunction printers" have become extremely popular over the last several years. These printers generally include copying and scanning functions, as well as sending and receiving faxes in some cases. Some of the newer models also include photo printing capabilities, with digital memory card readers and preview screens built right into the printer. All-in-Ones usually come in two popular combinations: those that provide printing, scanning, and copying, and those that also include a fax capability. The best strategy is to identify what is most important to you and then get a model that is strong in that area. A typical MFP may act as a combination of some or all of the following devices:
Smaller multifunction printers offer the print, copy and scan capabilities for an affordable price and the fax feature is added on machines that cost a bit more. Larger desktop and floor models have those features plus networking, USB capabilities so you can print directly from a memory stick, Optical Recognition software so you can scan documents and turn them directly into a standard computer file, a hard drive that can store documents plus so much more. The quality of print also differs depending upon the machine with the low-quality print costing less than the higher-quality print.
Multifunction printers come in inkjet, laser or color laser models. Inkjet models tend to cost much less than the laser ones and supply a higher quality print for graphics or photos. The laser style is better for high-quantity printing and print much faster than the inkjet.
It used to be that scanning pages from a book or any bound document was either impossible or quite a chore, but that's no longer the case. Many AiOs are built with flatbed technology, which is similar to what photocopiers use: a piece of glass on which you place your original document. You can also choose flatbed scanners that accommodate oversized pages.
Fax or facsimile is a telecommunication for sending and receiving documents through telephone lines. MFP devices include this functionality which raises its capability. With the ability to fax built in to your printer/scanner/copier unit, you don't need a separate machine. And when you add flatbed technology, you can fax pages from a book. Some AiOs even send and receive faxes in color!
At last Production Printing MFP are large freestanding expensive units which don't include advanced networking features like the smaller version but instead concentrate on functionalities like high speed, high quality output, finishing includes book making with cover insertion. They often divide in two segment, light and heavy printing production which factor of speed differentiate them. By the way, all multifunction peripherals divide by factor of speed (pages per minute=PPM) into different segments.