An all-in-one printer (also known as a
multifunction or MFP) combines the features of more than one device
in one package. At its simplest, an all-in-one offers a printer
(either an inkjet or a laser printer) together with a scanner so
that it can act as a printer, a scanner, and a copier. Many
all-in-one devices also have the capability of sending and
receiving faxes, which make them very useful for home offices
and small businesses.
Inkjet printers are the most common home
printers available today. They come in a wide range of prices,
depending on what features you need and the type of quality
you're looking for. You can get a solid printer that can do your
business letters and your kids' birthday cards for under $100;
if you want something that will print professional-level
graphics, you could spend ten times as much.
Photo printers fit into a range of printer
types. They are optimized for printing photographs, which means
that more attention is paid to color quality, and less to text
quality and speed. They are available in a wide range of sizes
-- there are several on the market that are very small, so that
you can take them along with your camera and print photos on the
go. Many, including the portable printers, will connect directly
to your digital camera, so that you don't need a computer to
print out your pictures. Others will have slots for digital
media cards, so you can simply remove them from your camera and
pop them right into the printer.
Laser printers have traditionally been used for business
applications because they offer higher speeds and crisper print.
They tend to be more expensive than inkjet printers, although
prices have dropped considerably -- you can buy a home
monochrome laser printer starting at about $200. There are color
laser printers as well, but they are priced above the budget of
most home and small business users.