Nowadays, technology is all about consolidation, and a printer is no exception. An all-in-one printer is a great way to save space, stay productive, and maybe have a little fun along the way. These powerful machines are great for home and office use. You can use these gadgets to not only print but scan, copy, and fax your documents. Take advantage of wireless connection and print straight from your comfy couch workspace or distant office desk. Whether you need to print documents for work, a report card to hang on the fridge, your favorite picture of your pet, or just a simple to-do list, the best all-in-one printers will make the job easy.
There are more than a few options out there, so we’ve created this compact packet for you to peruse. Here’s what to consider when looking for a new printing pal. We’ll also point you towards our recommendations to get you started on your search.
- Best all-in-one printer overall: Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850
- Best laser printer: HP Color Laserjet Pro M479fdw
- Best inkjet printer: Canon PIXMA TS9520
- Best all-in-one printer with fax: Brother MFC-J5330DW
- Best all-in-one printer, wireless: HP OfficeJet Pro 9025
- Best portable all-in-one-printer: HP OfficeJet 250
- Best cheap printer for home: Canon PIXMA TR4520
Things to consider when buying an all-in-one printer
All-in-one printers, also known as multifunction printers, or MFPs, are equipped with many special features, connectivity options, and general abilities. It can be hard to know where to start. Do you want an Inkjet or Laser printer? How much space do you have in your home office? What kind of print quality do you need for your newly finished report? All good things to consider when purchasing a new printer. Rest assured, there’s something for everyone. We know you’ll be able to find the best all-in-one printer for you, especially if you’re specific about your goals and needs.
What specs are you looking for in an all-in-one printer?
When it comes t finding the best all-in-one printer, it’s essential to understand the various specs and information companies provide. The more you know, the easier it will be to find a printer to fit your needs and budget. First, consider printing speed. This is especially important if you need to print things on short notice. How many times have you been about to log into a meeting or leave the house when you remember to print out the permission slip, budget numbers, contact sheets, etc? Look for specs that clearly outline the number of pages printed per minute (ppm).
Next, you need to think about print volume. How many pages can your printer handle before exhausting itself? Look for the monthly print volume to determine. There will usually be two numbers, one for the maximum monthly duty and one for the recommended. Of course, it’s better to stay within the recommended amount to avoid damage. Page yield will be directly related to the printer type and subsequent ink cartridge you select.
You’ll also want to think about the overall price per page you’ll be paying. Each printer will be compatible with specific ink cartridges, which will, in turn, factor into the price per page. Figure out what cartridge cost per page is by taking the cartridge price and then dividing it by its expected page yield. Remember, a cost-effective printer isn’t necessarily the cheapest at first glance.
Finally, pay attention to the printer’s resolution. Generally, for color-photo printers, you’ll want to shoot for one that has 4,800 x 1,200 pixels or DPI. A traditional printer will typically have a 1,200 x 1,800 dpi resolution, but many all-in-one features will go above and beyond what’s traditional to get you a perfect print.
Best all-in-one printer overall: Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850
While this all-in-one-printer from Epson is no small purchase, it will deliver the best overall performance when it comes to printing, especially if you are running a small office or business. While it might not be necessary for at-home work, it will undoubtedly upgrade your company’s productivity. It’s equipped with voice-activated printing, wireless and ethernet connection, 25 pages per minute printing for both color and black & white documents, plus it has a maximum print resolution of 4800 x 2400 dpi and beautiful bright pigmentation.
Should you go with a laser or inkjet all-in-one printer?
There are two printer types: laser and inkjet. Both are great but are suited for different needs. An inkjet printer uses, you guessed it, ink, while a laser printer uses toner to get any and all printing jobs done. Inkjet printers are fairly popular for home offices; they are pretty compact and can print text and images. In fact, if you are regularly printing photos, an inkjet is probably the way to go. You’ll get a more vibrant mix of colors when you employ ink. Inkjets are generally less expensive than laser options, but costs can rack up depending on the volume and frequency you need to print. Ink cartridges have been known to dry up if used infrequently, meaning more money spent on replacements. Inkjet printers also tend to print more slowly, be louder, and hold less paper in their trays than lasers.
Though a bit more expensive, laser printers are going to ultimately save you time and money if you need to print documents frequently. Toner cartridges use a powder and precision technology to accurately and sharply print out text documents. One cartridge can handle between 2,000 to 10,00 pages, whereas an ink cartridge will last between 135 – 1,000 pages. Laser printers can print images, but if you are looking for photo quality on photo paper, then you might find a laser printer lacking. Laser printers originated for office use, though more and more are being purchased for the home. That being said, a laser printer is generally going to take up more room than an inkjet printer. So, think about how much space you can spare, how frequently you need to print, and whether or not your first priority will be photo printing.
Best laser printer: HP Color Laserjet Pro M479fdw
This laser printer has everything you need for high-quality images and crisp, clean documents. It also has a flatbed scanner, copier capabilities, touchscreen with customizable shortcuts, a recommended monthly page volume of up to 4,000, and additional security features. You can print with or without a network and from multiple devices, like smartphones or iPads.
Best inkjet printer: Canon PIXMA TS9520
One of our favorite inkjet printers is the Canon PIXMA TS9520. It can print out detailed photos as large as 11 x 17″ with 1200 x 4800 dpi. Wireless printing is compatible with services like Apple Airprint, Mopria, with control by Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Direct photo printing is available with the SD card slot. Canon measures the print per minute as ipm (impressions/images per minute). This printer can churn out 15 ipm in black and white, 10 ipm in color.
Do you want faxing, scanning, and smart features?
The entire reason we are here is to talk about the multi-function, all-in-one features found in these high-tech printers. The most popular addition is scanning, and there’s a lot to consider when selecting a great scanning printer. Now, there are some differences between scanning and photocopying. Some printers can do both, but most will focus on one. While a photocopier does scan the document before printing a replica, scanning will store that information electronically, which can then be saved and sent out via, say, email. If you know you need to scan frequently, we suggest finding a printer with an automatic document feeder and the ability to process and load several pages at once; that way, you don’t waste time feeding pages in one at a time. If you find you often need to scan documents that don’t fit the traditional 8.5 x 11-inch page, look for a flat-bed scanner for extra efficiency. Keep in mind a higher DPI (dots per inch) and bit depth will result in sharper scans.
Faxing is another standard tool that comes with a multifunction printer, though faxing is slowly becoming a business function of the past due to a decrease in landline popularity. If faxing is important to you, however, make sure to check the model’s general capabilities, compatibility with your device, and the general clarity of scans.
Photo printing is also a popular bonus feature. While we briefly discussed our preference for inkjet printers for photos, you can go further by finding a printer that is specifically designed to deliver beautiful, high-quality images. This means finding a printer that accepts photo paper of varying sizes and prints with a resolution of 4,800 x 1,200 pixels. Finally, double-sided printing, or duplex printing, may also be available if you are looking for an added bonus feature in your best all-in-one printer.
Best all-in-one printer with fax: Brother MFC-J5330DW
One of our favorite feature-filled, all-in-one printer models is by Brother: the MFC-J5330DW. It has nine wireless connectivity options, including Airprint, Google Cloud Print, Mopria, Cortado Workplace, and traditional wifi. Its maximum print speed is 35 pages per minute and features auto-duplex printing and a color touchscreen display that will connect your scans to Google Drive, Dropbox, Facebook, OneDrive, and more. Of course, it’s also equipped with copying and specialty paper print capabilities.
What level of connectivity is best for your office set up?
In our humble opinion, the best part about having a multi-function printer is the connectivity options. There is nothing better than being able to connect to your printer regardless of your location inside the office or lounging at home. There are three main ways to connect: ethernet, wireless, and Bluetooth. Ethernet connection is typically reserved for offices that need to connect multiple PCs to one multifunction printer. Look for a built-in integrated network interface if you plan on routing a bunch of work computers to your new mega-printer. Wireless connection is popular for offices using multiple computers equipped with LAN connectivity. Often these printers will create their own wireless network using accompanying software downloads and drivers. Wi-fi and Bluetooth connections are increasingly popular for at-home offices. Some printers equipped with Bluetooth can even print documents and pictures straight from your smartphone.
Overall, make sure you get a printer that can connect with your computer by checking all software requirements
Best all-in-one printer, wireless: HP OfficeJet Pro 9025
The HP OfficeJet Pro 9025 has some impressive options when it comes to connectivity. Using USB, wifi, and ethernet, you’ll easily be able to get what you need and get it quickly. These connections are “self-healing,” which means the printer can automatically detect any issues and automatically trigger a 3-stage reconnection process. It will directly sync with programs like Quickbooks and Google Drive for easy organization, plus it can be used in tandem with voice assistants like Alexa. You can even download the HP Smart Access app for even more features, monitoring options, and remote connectivity.
How portable do you need your printer to be?
The truth is, all-in-one printers can be bulky, but can we blame them? All the extra features and general operating abilities add to the printer’s build, which certainly shouldn’t be an issue if you have an office or dedicated workspace at home. We also want to take care of all of the folks who love to print on the go, whether that be pictures from a recent vacation or driving directions for off-road adventures. Some of the best portable printers are indeed battery-powered, so your options for printer locations are almost endless. If you are printing on the go, you’ll need to be prepared to carry paper with you separately, because portable printers don’t have paper trays—you feed each sheet individually. That said, you should expect to easily fit a truly travel-size printer in a handbag or small carry-on. If you are hoping to forgo cables altogether, keep in mind you’ll probably need to connect via Wi-Fi, though some are equipped with Bluetooth.
If you are primarily hoping to print out photos, you may want to skip an all-in-one printer and opt for a photo-only portable printer. This will guarantee your images come out looking bold and beautiful, plus photo-specific printers are even smaller; some could fit in your coat or pants pocket. They are also significantly less expensive than full-service portable printers.
Best all-in-one portable printer: HP OfficeJet 250
This all-in-one portable printer from HP is a great tool to keep around the house or take with you on the go. It has a built-in rechargeable battery and multiple connectivity options, including wifi and Bluetooth, so that you can print from almost any device. This printer is still an all-in-one; it can scan and copy, a rarity amongst portable printers. It can print 10 pages per minute (black and white) and 7 ppm in color with a manual duplex option and a 10-sheet auto-document feeder. Best of all, it’s only 3.6 inches tall.
Best all-in-one printer FAQ: people also ask
What is a print engine?
Many printers will have spec sheets or ad copy that talk about the printer engine. A printer engine is a literal mechanism inside the machine in charge of the print function; it is further specified by resolution and speed. It’s often used as another way to describe the printer type, like inkjet or laser.
What are the best brands to know?
As you can probably tell from our product suggestions, we trust HP, Canon, and Epson with all our printing needs. You can also rely on companies like Brother, Lexmark, and Xerox. If you want something tried and true, we suggest you stick to those brands as long as the products fit your budget.
What are ink tanks, and how do they work?
Ink tank printers forgo individual cartridges and utilize a built-in, refillable system. Ink tank printers are more expensive but can save you a significant amount of money in the long run since you will only need ink and not the specifically constructed cartridges. They tend to have larger page yields per refill, but they need to be used frequently to avoid dried up ink wells.
On a budget? Best cheap all-in-one printer under $100
It can be challenging to find a good all-in-one printer for under $100. If you’re looking for the best cheap printer for home there are some things you should know. Budget units are more likely to break or suffer damage after fewer prints. So we recommend keeping your eyes peeled for sales, bundles, and deals on quality brands.
Check out the Canon PIXMA TR4520, for instance, which often hovers around the $100 mark.
A final word on choosing the best all-in-one printer:
It’s time to take care of all your business needs with one efficient machine. Take the time to think about your printing needs and what you want most from an all-in-one appliance. Consider your space, devices, and dreams for each item you need to print, whether it be spreadsheets, memos, essays, articles, or photo albums. Once you settle on your overall goals, we’re sure you’ll be able to find the best all-in-one printer for you.