Best Home Printer Scanner
Compare Specsthe Best All-In-One Printers For 2021
Multifunction printers (MFPs), also known as all-in-ones or AIOs, offer users a variety of features beyond printing. All can also copy and scan, and many particularly business MFPs add faxing to the mix. Our favorites range from small versions appropriate for home or home-office use and costing about $100 to behemoths able to anchor a busy workgroup, with service cycles of tens of thousands of pages a month.
Printer manufacturers offer a wide range of MFPs, both inkjet-based and laser-based. Given the combination of print technologies and brands, finding a model with the right set of features may not be a simple job. But here are the main items to remember while shopping for an AIO printer.
Is Your Aio For A Home
The single most useful way to categorize MFPs is by intended use: home, workplace, or both. If you’re looking for a home MFP, you probably care about picture quality, which means you want an inkjet. Beyond that, if images are your primary concern, and you’re looking for a way to print them from practically any source memory cards, USB memory keys, cameras, slides, strips of film, and original photographic prints you need a photo-lab MFP.
There are only a few options in this subcategory: You can spot them by their ability to scan slides and strips of film, a feature most MFPs leave out. When looking for an MFP solely for an office, you probably care more about text than images, which means you’ll want a laser or laser-class printer . (The latter type includes LED and solid-ink printers, and even some inkjets.) You probably will want it to allow faxing, and to have an automatic document feeder (ADF) to scan, copy, fax, and email multipage documents.
Or An Office?
Getting beyond generalities regarding home and office MFPs, it’s helpful to make a list of the functions and features you really need. Printing, scanning, and copying are a given, but even these basics aren’t as easy as you would expect. Some MFPs are limited to scanning over a USB link. If you intend to link over a network, make sure the scanning works on a network. The ability to scan transparencies (slides and strips of film) is rare enough that it’s sometimes classified as a separate feature.
Be sure to verify the sizes the MFP can handle; transparencies are mostly limited to 35mm. Some MFPs need a machine for copying. If you want to copy with the device off, make sure the MFP can act as a standalone copier, controlled from its control panel. A fax feature almost always involves standalone faxing, which you monitor via the MFP’s keypad.
But it doesn’t usually provide a PC faxing feature faxing documents directly from your PC without having to print them first. PC faxing can be in the form of a fax utility, a fax driver that you use like a print driver, or both. Email features also come in two types.
A direct-email feature enables you to search a page and send an email directly to your Internet service provider (ISP) or an in-house email server on your network. The more popular option for low-end MFPs is to open an email message on a PC and include the scanned document as an attachment.
Any provided MFP can deliver one or both kinds of email. Notice that some direct-email features won’t work for all ISPs, so be sure to find out whether they would work with yours before buying. Many MFPs provide flatbeds appropriate for scanning images or single-sheet papers. An automatic document feeder (ADF) can let you easily scan (plus copy, fax, and email) multipage documents.
For MFPs with letter-size flatbeds, an ADF will always let you scan legal-size pages as well, but not all do, so search first. Some ADFs can also conduct duplex scans (that is, they can scan both sides of a page) (that is, they can scan both sides of a page). If you deal with several two-sided papers, the feature is well worth searching for.
Most MFPs that support duplex scanning do so by scanning one side of the paper, turning it over, and then scanning the other side, but some have one-pass scanning scanning both sides of the page at once which is much faster. If the MFP contains a print duplexer too, the combination will usually let you copy both single- and double-sided originals to your option of single- or double-sided copies.
Aio Printers: Key Functions And Features
In addition to testing out the printer’s output quality, you can need to check the scan quality. It’s not a problem for offices, since practically any scanner will scan documents at sufficiently high quality for copying or optical character recognition (OCR) (OCR). For pictures, however, you’ll want to take a closer look, especially for transparencies.
When you’re estimating the task cycle and input capacity you’ll need for an MFP, remember to add in copies and incoming faxes to the total number of pages you’ll print. Also, be sure to monitor cost of ownership over the life of the printer. Compare the overall cost for each model you’re considering to find out which would be most economical in the long run. Do you regularly print in color or want to print the odd glossy photo? If so, one of the picks below would fit best.
But if you don’t, a black-and-white laser AIO could save you some money. As the questions above indicate, color inkjet AIOs aren’t the right option for all. If you desperately need your own printer but don’t always scan, copy, or fax and don’t need to print in color, monochrome laser printers are almost always a safer option for irregular use.
Inkjets have been known to dry out and clog if they sit idle for too long between uses, and to get them running again you need to run cleaning cycles that waste ink and push up your operating costs. Laser printers can sit unused for weeks or even months on end with no downside. (If you do need to scan and copy and don’t mind paying a little extra for laser reliability, we also have suggestions for monochrome laser and color laser AIOs.) If picture and scan quality are critically important to you, an AIO probably won’t cut it.
We have suggestions for photo printers and document scanners if you need better results for those particular tasks. A few years ago, we announced that all printers suck . That’s always valid and the best models available today aren’t a pleasure to use. But with a few developments, printer makers have inspired some guarded optimism for the future. They’ve built cost-saving ink-subscription services that take the pain out of keeping printers topped up (and keep a constant stream of income flowing into manufacturers’ pockets).
They’ve also launched more versions with large ink reservoirs that don’t need to be refilled as much. Wireless connections can still be flaky, but they’re getting better: HP and Canon have finally embraced 5 GHz Wi-Fi, and HP is advertising “self-healing” wireless connections, meaning the printers identify communication problems and attempt to fix them automatically or provide guided troubleshooting rather than just tossing up an indecipherable error message.
And mobile printing apps are improving all the time, showing smartphones’ growing dominance over PCs. Despite ongoing quality issues, AIOs remain common because they’re a one-stop shop for home document production needs. A midrange inkjet AIO makes a lot of sense for someone who prints or copies on a regular basis, scans documents from time to time, and maybe even wants to fax on occasion.
Color laser AIOs have come down in price since we started covering them, but in general they remain much more costly than inkjets. Though AIOs are jacks-of-all-trades and masters of none, they also provide the most economical way to address all of the document production needs a home or small business could have.
Assessing Scan/Print Quality (And Quantity)
Given their competitive per-print prices, we can’t suggest either of these machines. We considered them to be short on essential features and more difficult to work with than our picks. All had a combination of notable printing or scanning defects, surprisingly slow printing and scanning, or weak user interfaces.
And while they’re cheaper to operate in the long run than our other inkjet picks, we think enough people wouldn’t use enough of the included ink to make the higher up-front cost worth it. (nytimes.com) But it has considerable disadvantages. Compared with the results from our top pick, the print quality was a letdown: Black text was slightly washed out, noticeable alignment problems cropped up even after we ran the printer’s correction routines, and we found obvious banding in solid-colored areas.
While the ET-4760 was faster than some other ink-tank printers, it was still much slower than the HP 9015e in both printing and scanning, and multi-page scans from the ADF had an unusual pink line down one side of the page. Like all of the other ink-tank versions we checked, it can’t scan two-sided papers, either.
The printer’s build quality, though better than that of the other ink-tank models we reviewed, was still flimsy in comparison with most other inkjets. (nytimes.com)
What About Ink-Tank Printers?
Every printer we review is thoroughly checked to determine the performance and output quality. These tests include timed prints of text, mixed text and graphics and color images. The resulting prints are closely checked for errors and problems, and compared with samples from other printers to assess the print quality.
We time every test print to see how quickly the computer handles document printing, and closely inspect the finished product to decide how well various printing tasks are managed. We also measure the scanning and copying functions of the printer, timing how quickly it captures a page and comparing the results to the original images to determine how well it captures color and detail.
To determine the cost of owning and running a printer, we look at the current street price of ink refills and the average number of pages that each cartridge will produce, and calculate the cost for printing a single page.
How We Test All-In-One Printers
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Although each type of printer has its strengths and disadvantages, you’ll also want to understand each individual printer’s functions. Our suggestions are all-in-one devices that can print, copy, scan, and occasionally fax, but some are better suited to particular tasks.
Printers with automatic document feeders are perfect for scanning and copying several pages at once; other printers with high page-per minute (ppm) numbers excel at quick printing of longer papers, and models with several paper inputs are critical if you want to print on using various types of paper.
Inkjet Vs. Laser Printers
Brother Monochrome Laser Printer HLL2390DW A quest for the best low-cost printer for small spaces led Strategist managing editor Maxine Builder to the Brother L2350, which has since been modified and replaced by this model. This black-and-white printer has built in Wi-Fi, freeing you up to print wirelessly from your smartphone or computer.
It can print double-sided pages and has an equal or smaller footprint than most other printers. Although it does lack a printer and copier, if you’re looking for an affordable (and easy to set up) way to print occasional documents in your new home office, this is it.