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Nowadays, technology is all about consolidation, and an all-in-one printer is an excellent example. 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 print, scan, copy, and fax your documents. Take advantage of a wireless connection and print straight from your comfy couch workspace or distant 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.
Our recommendations for the best all-in-one printers are based on a mix of hands-on testing and research. Naturally, all of these printers can print, copy, and scan, but some have additional features like the ability to fax. We also ensured the printers we selected could be connected to a WiFi network so you can use them from several rooms away. If you’re short on space for the perfect L-shaped desk, keeping a printer beneath the bed or hooked up in a closet makes a lot of sense. At the end of the day, all these printers are tools that will help you get more of your work done from a single device.
There are tens of thousands of all-in-one printers available, but we’ve tailored our picks to account for size and budgetary restraints. While all of them share a baseline of functionality, each has a unique property that helps it stand out and fit in for all your home office needs.
Brandt Ranj / Popular Science
Brother’s MFC-J1170DW has succeeded in an area where so many all-in-one printers have failed: Reliability. All of the printer’s functions continue to work after months of regular use. If you rely on your printer for work, this level of sustained performance is critically important. Setting up the printer, from unboxing and setting up its ink cartridges to getting it on our home network only took about 15 minutes. There was no app to download, and our greatest annoyance was punching in our password on the MFC-J1170DW’s smallish screen.
Our tests included connecting the printer to smartphones, tablets, and computers, plus running the printer through its paces. Prints, be they documents or photos, came out clearly and quickly. As it’s not a dedicated photo-printer, this printer’s photography performance will depend on your image’s resolution, but expect solid results when using photo paper. While an inkjet printer can’t match the raw speed of a laser printer, we never felt like we had to wait for the MFC-J1170DW to receive a job and start printing. Double-sided printing took longer, but that’s to be expected.
Similarly, scanning and copying documents using this printer was a breeze. Cranking out copies took only a few taps on the printer’s touch screen, while scans of photos and documents had crisp detail. It’s important to realize that scanning documents wirelessly will take longer than connecting the printer to a computer using a cable. That’s not the fault of the MFC-J1170DW, just the reality of wired and wireless data transfer speeds—especially if you’re scanning photos with the DPI (Dots Per Inch) setting cranked up.
Overall, we never ran into any glaring issues with Brother’s MFC-J1170DW. It lacks a built-in fax, which means it’s not quite as feature-complete as some other all-in-one printers, but that’s far from a deal breaker. If you’re considering replacing your current home office gear with a single all-in-one printer, it’s hard to argue with the performance of Brother’s MFC-J1170DW.
HP’s Color Laserjet Pro M479fdw laser printer has everything you need to run a small business successfully. It can print over 30 pages per minute and hold 300 sheets of paper. This level of performance is overkill for the typical home office—unless your job requires a ton of printing daily, in which case this is the only option you should seriously consider. The Color Laserjet Pro M479fdw is also an impressive scanner thanks to its 50-sheet auto document feeder, which will save you the trouble of feeding it sheet by sheet. One feature of this model that many others lack is wireless printing, which is extremely important given the printer’s size. You’re not going to want to move the HP Color Laserjet Pro M479fdw around very often, so find a spot that won’t annoy you and keep it there. HP says it designed this printer to handle workloads of up to 4,000 pages per month, another reason small businesses or homes with multiple people working or studying from home are the ideal users. If you fall into that category, you won’t find much to complain about with this printer beyond its high but reasonable price.
While the Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850 is an investment, it will deliver the best overall performance when it comes to printing. The inkjet printer can send out sheets of paper at near-laser-printer speeds, and is one of two printers with a 500-capacity sheet tray. This is because the printer has a pair of trays rather than one. The EcoTank Pro ET-5850’s most practical feature is its use of ink bottles rather than cartridges. Epson says you should be able to use this printer regularly for two years without having to add any ink. It goes on to clarify this means 7,500 monochrome or 6,000 color prints, which is very impressive.
You will pay a heavy up-front cost for this printer but won’t have to continually pump money into ink cartridges frequently. This also makes the EcoTank Pro ET-5850 a more environmentally friendly feature because you won’t have to worry about ink cartridges ending up in a landfill or toxic ink being disposed of improperly. This is the ultimate inkjet printer and a great get for small businesses or a cluster of folks working remotely.
We dubbed the HP Smart-Tank 7602 the best all-in-one option in our guide to the best home office printers, and the presence of a built-in fax has earned it a place here. It has a high up-front cost, but like the Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850 it uses ink bottles as fuel rather than cartridges. HP says you should get roughly two years of regular printing without buying another bottle but clarifies it means roughly 6,000 monochrome or 8,000 color pages. Regardless of the metric you follow, you shouldn’t have to think about ink for a long time. On another eco-friendly note, HP says this printer is made from 25% recycled materials, which can’t be said for most other printers, which are big, plastic boxes.
The EcoTank ET-2800 can up to 15 pages per minute, which is faster than the average inkjet printer but can’t touch the performance of laser printers. This speed will come in handy whether you need to print documents quickly for a client, or want to make fast copies. Many all-in-one printers have cut out their fax functionality, but it’s still present here. You may not use this feature often but will be happy to have it on the occasions when you do. If you want the most feature-complete all-in-one printer and have a lax budget, Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850 is the right choice.
The HP OfficeJet Pro 9025 has some impressive options when it comes to wireless connectivity. While you can connect it to your computer or network over USB or Ethernet, you’ll be able to hook it up to your home’s WiFi network for wireless printing from all your devices. Through a process called “self-healing,” the printer can automatically detect any issues and automatically trigger a 3-stage reconnection process. This will save you the frustration of turning to a manual, YouTube tutorial, or customer support. While many printers support wireless printing from device in your home, the OfficeJet Pro 9025 can be connected to a Quickbooks or Google Drive account, allowing you to print documents or photos stored on the cloud.
This will be easier using HP’s Smart Access app on iOS or Android since the printer’s built-in screen is on the smaller side. Its final inventive wireless feature is support for Amazon’s Alexa, which allows you to use an Echo or other connected speaker that works with that smart assistant to begin print jobs using your voice. All of these wireless features are complemented by raw printing performance, as this printer can send out pages at a rate of up to 24 pages per minute from its dual sheet trays, which have a total capacity of 500 sheets. If you have been living the cabled lifestyle, HP’s OfficeJet Pro 9025 can help you permanently cut the cord.
HP’s OfficeJet 250 printer is a great tool to keep around the house or take with you on the go. It has a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts up to 90 minutes per charge and both wired and wireless connectivity options. It can even connect to devices over Bluetooth, which makes sense since you may not have an active WiFi network when you’re printing out in the field. Despite its size and portability, this model is still an all-in-one; it can print, scan, and copy, a rarity amongst portable printers. While its printing speed is slower than our other recommendations—the printer will throttle even more if it’s running on battery power, this is to be expected as a tradeoff given its small size and portability. The HP’s OfficeJet 250 may be expensive, but its true level of portability more than makes up for this.
Brother’s all-in-one MFC-J1010DW inkjet printer is very similar to our best overall pick but is offered at a much lower price. Its paper tray has the same capacity, and it’s similar physically, though this model has a fax, which isn’t common in all-in-one printers anymore. The MFC-J1010DW’s standout technical feature is called the “print gauge,” which displays how many pages you can print before needing to replace your ink cartridge. This is a lot more helpful than a vague graphic and may help you avoid the annoyance of having to run out in the middle of the night to get more printer ink. Brother focused on practicality rather than cool but unnecessary extras with the MFC-J1010DW, and it’s an excellent all-in-one printer for its price.
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.
When it comes to finding the best all-in-one printers, 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 of the best all-in-one printer’s features will go above and beyond what’s traditional to get you a perfect print.
There are two types of printers: 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. Inkjet printers 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 powder and precision technology to accurately and sharply print out text documents. One cartridge can handle between 2,000 and 10,000 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.
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 the best home office 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 printers.
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, WiFi, 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. WiFi 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.
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, remember 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.
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.
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.
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.
Despite their multifunctionality, all-in-one printers aren’t necessarily expensive. Our recommendations range in price from $89 to $800.
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 printers for you.
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Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.