Help and Support
Best All-In-One Printers
Why Choose a Wireless All-in-One Inkjet Printer?
For almost 10 years, we’ve researched and hands-on tested the best all-in-one printers to help you find one that’s a good fit for your home or business. During our testing, the HP Officejet Pro 8740 stood out from the competition, and we believe it is the best all-in-one printer for most people. It’s a wireless multifunction printer that works well in both large and small offices, with great print speeds and consistently high document quality. It’s also durable, uses reasonably priced ink, includes a variety of connectivity options and prints decent-quality photos. Not only is it the best all-in-one printer for small business, but it’s also the best wireless inkjet printer.
If you need a printer for your home office, check out the Canon Pixma MG7720. It prints high-quality documents and great-looking photos, balancing the two better than any other model we reviewed. On top of that, it also has good networking features and is easy to connect to mobile devices.
The Brother Business is a good value option for a small business. It is fast and reliable when printing documents and has several mobile printing options. It also boasts ports to connect storage devices and cameras, and it uses Brother’s convenient no-fuss ink cartridges.
Wireless All-in-One Inkjet Printers: How We Tested, What We Found
Output Quality: Putting Ink on the Page
When you hit the print button, you expect your printed document to be readable, clean and error free. No matter what type of project you’re printing, print quality is a key concern, and no amount of fancy features can make up for shoddy prints.
To test this essential functionality, we printed both text and images in black and white and color, across a variety of file types. Nearly every printer we tested printed documents with what we consider acceptable quality – clear and readable text, minimal inking errors, and reasonable quality for both text and graphics. That said, a few printers had better-than-average quality, earning A grades thanks to sharper text at smaller sizes, with errors only detectable under high magnification. If you want better than good enough, these are the models to consider.
Testing scan and copy quality is a slightly different process. To test these features, we captured scans of high-resolution test images and examined the results side by side with the originals to spot issues like blurred details, muddied colors or other scanning errors. Copy tests were similar – physical copies were compared under high magnification to gauge not only the quality of the image captured, but also the reproduction of the image in print.
Speed: Printing With Less Patience
Ideally, a printer should not only produce high-quality documents and photos, but also print them rapidly. The reality, however, is that fast printing generally comes at the expense of quality, so you want to consider which is your highest priority: quality or speed. In our own rankings, we tried to find a balance between the two, though we did place more emphasis on quality.
As we printed dozens of test documents, we timed each one from the moment we issued the print command to the moment the last page dropped. Since we used the same documents and settings across all the machines, we could compare speeds using a pages-per-minute rate. In addition, since not all print jobs are the same, this test was used for black-and-white documents and color documents at both default and high-speed settings. We also tested photo print speeds by timing a batch of 4 x 6 photos as they printed and then calculating an average print time per photo.
Operating Costs: Ink Expenses Add Up
All else being equal, you want a printer that is affordable over its life. Even reasonably priced ink cartridges are notoriously expensive, but it’s not without reason. Printer ink has to meet a lot of demands, including having consistent flow and color and fast drying times, all while working in systems that distribute ink through nanometer-scale printheads. The cartridges themselves often have the printhead built in, making every ink refill a replacement for the most functional part of the device.
Gauging actual ink usage and costs is impossible, since it varies from one user to the next, but we calculated the average cost per page of each manufacturer’s replacement cartridges. The lower the cost per page, the more affordable the printer is in its day-to-day operation. Using exacting industry standards, manufacturers measure the page yield for each cartridge, which we then used to calculate the cost of a single printed page. Based entirely on retail pricing and manufacturer reported page yields, we found that the machines we tested have an average ink cost of 15 cents per page.
Looking to save a buck on printing costs? You will frequently see refilled cartridges and third-party replacements sold for much less than the manufacturers offer, but they have their problems. Sub-par inks can damage the delicate printheads, shortening the life of the printer and even voiding the warranty. Refills also create lower-quality prints, since the cartridge wears out from repeated use. By all means, look for deals on ink, but don’t get too greedy or it may cost you more in the long run.
Knockoff cartridges and third-party refills aren’t the only way to reduce the cost of printer ink. Nearly all the printers we reviewed have options for high-capacity ink cartridges, and while they may sell for more per cartridge, the increased print yield drops the cost per page well below that 15-cent average. HP goes a step further on its printers, like the HP Officejet Pro 8740 All-in-One and the HP Envy 5540 All-in-One, offering subscription inks at a steep discount. Epson takes a different approach for the Epson Expression ET-2550 EcoTank, replacing the cartridge entirely with ink reservoirs that you refill by hand from less-expensive bottles. Both options can drop the price per page drastically, even to the single digits.
Operating Costs: Built to Last
Another point to consider is just how much use a printer is designed to provide. Every printer has a monthly duty cycle, or the maximum number of pages it’s designed to print in a month. Home printers are generally rated at up to 1,000 pages per month, while business printers can run as high as 30,000 pages per month. A higher duty cycle rating is a good indicator of durability, but it’s important to know your own needs, since more robust business-grade printers often cost much more than regular models for the home.
Similarly important is the monthly recommended usage. While the duty cycle is the maximum a printer can print per month before breaking down, the recommended usage is the ideal level of printing to reduce wear and tear while keeping everything humming along nicely.
Paper Handling: More Printing, Less Shuffling
Beyond print quality and durability, you also want your printing to be convenient. You can reduce irritations like frequent “out of paper” messages by having a large paper tray. The standard for most printers is a 100-page tray, but the best printers not only have higher-capacity trays, but they also frequently have a second tray as well.
Automatic duplexing is another convenient feature, which lets you print on both sides of a page without having to manually flip the paper. It’s one of several features that aren’t always included, such as options for photo printing, automatic document feeding and printing on other media. When in doubt, check a model for the features you most expect to use.
Versatility: Create & Connect
Versatile printers do a lot more than merely print, thanks to wireless all-in-one functionality. Built-in features let you scan, copy and fax from one machine, while simple networking options and wireless printing let you do more without hassle.
Mobile devices have different connectivity requirements than desktop and laptop computers, and the specifics vary by operating system and model – be sure to confirm that the printer you want works with your smartphone or tablet. For iPhones and iPads, you need a printer that supports Apple’s AirPrint, while Google Cloud Print is used for Android devices and Google Chromebooks. Even if these major protocols aren’t supported, most wireless printers are still compatible through specialized apps like Mopria’s industry-standard wireless print solution or proprietary apps that fill the same role.
With so many features that vary from one printer to the next, you need to watch for the specifics you want. The all-in-one label applies to many printers with built-in copying and scanning, but fax isn’t always included. If you want to print files off a USB flash drive or an SD card, you need to confirm the printer has the necessary slots. In addition, if you print a lot of pictures, you want to make sure your camera can connect to your printer without first offloading files to a PC.
Help & Support
Nothing renders a printer useless like an unexplained technical problem. If you need maximum uptime from your all-in-one printer, you want to focus on models that offer both a generous warranty and several avenues for help and support. Contacting a knowledgeable support tech should be easy, whether it’s by live chat, email, social media or over the phone. If you prefer to work through problems yourself, you want the manufacturer to offer plenty of automated support tools like online manuals, FAQs and troubleshooting guides.
Inkjet or Laser Printer?
Inkjet printers have low entry prices but tend to be more expensive to operate overtime, thanks to pricey ink cartridges. Even the most affordable ink is expensive in high volumes, but inkjets do tend to be more affordable if you only print occasionally. Laser printers are more expensive up front, but powder-based toner cartridges are cheaper on a per-page basis, making them less expensive to operate over time, provided you print at a higher volume. If you’re printing a few hundred pages a day, you may be better served with a laser printer. On the other hand, if you’re in that sweet spot of low to moderate print volumes, printing a few, or even a few hundred, pages per week, then an inkjet has a better balance of purchase price and operating expenses.
Inkjets are also far superior in printing color documents and photos. The most affordable laser printers are monochrome, which is perfect for running off reams of black and white text, but even color-capable laser printers have trouble matching an inkjet’s ability to blend colors and produce high-quality images. For the home or business user that wants to print more than just documents, inkjet printing is the way to go, and all-in-one models also have useful built-in features like scanners, copiers and fax machines.