Best All-in-One Printers

Updated June 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

42 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
391 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best all-in-one printers

Last Updated June 2019

One of the biggest challenges when creating a proper workspace is maximizing efficiency. There are dozens of ways to accomplish this – purging junk, designating locations for things, using planners – but one of the most effective methods is consolidation. If you can get a job done with one tool instead of three, do that. That’s where the best all-in-one printers come in.

All-in-one printers, also known as multifunction printers, copy, print, and scan. Some even fax. Not only does this save room and add convenience to your workspace but all-in-one printers also reduce the cost of energy, maintenance, and supplies.

These printers come in many forms: wired, wireless, inkjet, and laser. Wondering what you need to know to make a smart purchase? Read our guide and find out. And when you’re ready to buy, check out our top picks for the printers we think stand out from the crowd.

Printers with flatbed copiers rather than feed trays enable you to copy directly from books and large items like maps.

Key considerations

Size

Large, bulky printers might be fine for an expansive corporate office, but if your workplace is small or you’re self-employed, you need to allocate your space strategically. One all-in-one printer is smaller than three separate devices, but keep in mind it can still be large. Research the dimensions and weight of your machine to make sure it will fit in your space before buying.

Responsiveness

Have you ever waited minutes for a printer to wake up? It wasn’t just you; some printers actually do take a while to respond, so peruse product descriptions for startup times. Even better than that, check user reviews because you’ll get some brutal honesty if a machine is laggy.

Another form of responsiveness is how quickly a printer completes its tasks, measured in pages per minute (PPM). The higher the better.

Cartridge efficiency

Saving money on your multifunction printer is important, but choosing a machine that uses ink efficiently is just as significant. Ink can get very expensive – some even call it “the other black gold” – so purchasing a printer that uses the material frugally while still providing good quality should be one of your main considerations. The way you decipher this is by determining the printer’s cost per page. Here’s how to do it:
 

  • Determine what ink cartridge the printer uses.

  • Research the number of pages that particular cartridge can print before it’s completely empty. This is known as “page yield.” Cartridges with a higher page yield are usually more cost effective.

  • Take the price of the ink cartridge and divide it by the page yield. The number you’re left with is the cost per page.
     

Also, confirm that your desired printer accepts third-party cartridges so you’re not stuck buying one type for as long as you have the machine.

Tray design

The price, feature set, and look of a printer don’t always translate to the quality of its paper trays. Some are small, flimsy, and seem like an afterthought even on expensive units. Survey user reviews for details on this, and pay attention to the design. Will the paper get jammed if jobs start to stack up? Can the trays hold the weight of large projects? Keep all this in mind when shopping.

Compatibility

Take a moment to check if your printer is compatible with other operating systems like macOS. Not all are, and if your computer and printer don’t jive, you may lose settings and formatting when transferring your files.

DID YOU KNOW?

Ink cartridges can be costly. Expect to pay between $5 and $50 for black ink cartridges, keeping in mind more expensive options usually last longer. For color cartridges, expect to pay between $20 and $100.

All-in-one printer features

Color printing

The majority of printing jobs are done in black in white, so for most projects this isn’t much of a concern for you. Even if you do print in color, especially if it’s rarely, you may save money by buying a monochrome printer and visiting a local print shop as needed.

There are instances when quality color printing is necessary, though, including photos, brochures, and marketing materials. If you specialize in those areas, spending more up front just might be worth it.

Wireless printing

The ability to produce documents without physically connecting your computer to a printer is extremely convenient, and while some still require a USB connection, it’s not hard to find all-in-one printers with wireless capabilities. This is generally done through WiFi, but certain models offer near-field communication (NFC), which allows you to print from a mobile device by simply touching it to a designated spot on the machine.

Duplex printing

Duplex printing is a fancy way to say double-sided printing, or printing on both sides of the paper. It’s called duplex because of the duplex unit inside the printer that makes the process possible.

Some versions of the duplex simply reverse the piece of paper after printing and repeat the process on the other side; this is most common on consumer-grade and low- to medium-volume office printers. High-volume printers may fit two print engines inside a single device and are able to duplex print rapidly in a single pass.

Touchscreen

Rather than relying solely on buttons and dim LCD panels, top-flight multifunction printers have a touchscreen that’s large, color, and intuitive to operate. A proper touchscreen allows you to swiftly work your way through different menus, customize printing and copying settings, and send multi-page faxes in seconds.

Quiet mode

The last thing you want when you’re trying to get work done is the mechanical racket of a loud printer. Thankfully, some printers include a quiet mode or something similar. That way, if you’re in a zen-like working space and don’t need your job done quickly, you can use this mode to slow down the printing and reduce the noise. Print quality shouldn’t be affected, just duration.

Lightning fast, ultra convenient

If you don’t require color prints, the Brother laser all-in-one offers everything you and your office will need. It starts up and prints quickly, supports wireless use, accepts third-party cartridges, and has a color touchscreen. And it’s built to last.

All-in-one printer prices

The price bracket for all-in-one printers is wide.

Inexpensive: You can buy a basic inkjet model for around $50, but you’ll be limited to printing, copying, and scanning, with little to no conveniences such as quiet mode or wireless operation.

Mid-range: Double the price, however, and you’ll encounter units with all the features a home office would need – wireless printing, duplex printing, and color touchscreen.

Expensive: Laser printers start at around $150 and offer faster production, with high-end models costing hundreds of dollars. You’ll enjoy exceptional PPM ratings with these printers, along with superb durability and features.

DID YOU KNOW?

Double-sided printing is known as duplex printing, and single-sided printing is also referred to as simplex.

DID YOU KNOW?

If you expect to go through a lot of ink, consider signing up for a subscription-based service like HP Instant Ink to save money in the long run.

Tips

  • Have a backup in case your all-in-one printer fails. One of the disadvantages of an all-in-one printer is if it breaks down, you’ve lost your ability to print, scan, copy, and fax. An extra will come in handy if bad luck strikes.
     

  • Try humidifying your office. Clogged ink jets are an inevitability of printing. Believe it or not, installing a humidifier can prevent this, but using the printer at least once every few days goes a long way as well.
     

  • Cut down on printing costs. Meticulously editing your work won’t just improve its quality, it will cut down on printing costs, too. Save yourself erroneous prints by double- and triple-checking your work or employing the assistance of a colleague.

Plentiful features, affordable price

This HP all-in-one wireless printer is the perfect fit for a small or home office. It offers easy duplex printing, high ink efficiency, quiet mode, WiFi support, and a slick color touchscreen. Best of all, this sophisticated printer won’t break the bank.

Other products we considered

Several printers stand out as alternatives to our main picks. One highlight is the Canon TS9120 Wireless All-in-One Printer, which offers mobile and tablet printing, stunning color prints, a touchscreen, and a snazzy design, but its ink usage and software designs raised some concerns. In addition, we liked the Brother MFC-J985DW Inkjet Printer for its ability to print high volumes efficiently, however its limited paper handling and outdated software just missed the mark.

The paper you use can make a tangible difference in how the end result looks. Whiter, brighter paper makes text and graphics appear crisper and colors more vibrant. Use quality stock for the best results.

FAQ

Q. What is an inkjet printer?
A.
As the name suggests, an inkjet printer uses liquid ink. The ink is sprayed via jets onto the printer paper. Inkjet printers are generally less expensive than laser printers, and they print more slowly. However, they provide better quality for photos and image-heavy documents.

Q. What is a laser printer?
A.
A laser printer, sometimes called a laserjet printer, transfers toner to paper via a complex process involving static electricity. Laser printers typically cost more than inkjets, but they work faster and are exceptional for small fonts and fine lines.

Q. What is an acceptable PPM rating?
A.
A modern inkjet printer churns out an average of 15 pages per minute in black and white and around 11 in color. Some are capable of 30 pages per minute and higher, but it depends on the type of document you’re working with. Laser printers can print more than 50 pages per minute.

The team that worked on this review
  • Andrew
    Andrew
    Writer
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Samantha
    Samantha
    Writer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Web Producer

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