Why Buy an All-in-One Printer?
All-in-one printers allow you to combine the functionality of a printer, copier and fax machine into one unit. They have become significantly more affordable in recent years, which means that most small business owners have no reason to buy separate units for copying, printing and faxing.
The best all-in-one printers for small business or home use are the HP Officejet Pro 8610, the Epson WorkForce 3620 and the Brother Business Smart J4310. To learn more about multifunction printers, check out our additional articles on all-in-one printers.
All-in-One Printers: What to Look For
There are lots of features to consider when deciding what all-in-one printer to purchase. We broke down all-in-one printers based on the following criteria:
This is the main function of an all-in-one printer, because it's the one owners use the most. Look for a printer that prints black-and-white documents at a rate of 15 pages per minute or quicker (laser printers tend to be quicker). This ensures that long print jobs don't monopolize the device for inordinate periods of time. A printer should also be able to print color at a speed of at least 10 pages per minute.
Print quality is measured in resolution. All of the printers we reviewed printed in black and white at 600 x 600 dots per inch (dpi) or better, which means they all create professional-looking black-and-white documents. If you plan to print a lot of color documents, look for a printer with a color resolution of at least 1,200 x 1,200 dpi.
Also look for a printer with automatic duplexing. This feature means the printer can automatically print on both sides of a page. This saves paper, which is good for your wallet and the environment.
Scanning & Copying
Look for a printer that scans at a resolution of at least 600 x 600 dpi to make sure your scans are detailed and clean. An automatic document feeder, or ADF, is a huge feature to look for. These are automated paper trays that enable you to scan multiple-page documents without manually inserting each page into the printer. It's also important to get a printer with a fax memory of at least 100 pages so you can send and receive lengthy documents.
If you're an Apple user, look for a printer compatible with AirPrint, Apple's wireless printing protocol. This enables you to print wirelessly from your iPhone, iPad or Mac. If you're an Android user, look for a printer with an Android printing app.
Google Cloud Print is another helpful feature, allowing you to print to your printer from anywhere you have an internet connection. Look for a printer with Wi-Fi printing so you can send print jobs to the printer wirelessly from your Windows laptop or desktop.
Help & Support
We assigned companies a help and support score that reflects the quality of phone support we received. Make sure the printer you choose has at least a one-year warranty, which is standard for these machines. Live chat is another feature that is particularly helpful, as it will help you avoid experiencing frustrating phone menus and hold times when you have a simple question.
Multifunction printers give your small office or home office all the capabilities of a fax machine, copy machine and printer, but they are much more affordable than buying those machines separately. Check out our in-depth reviews and side-by-side feature comparisons to choose the best all-in-one printer for you.