The best all-in-one printers do exactly what their name suggests - they roll a printer, scanner, copier and fax machine into a single device for your convenience. All-in-one printers are invaluable as space saving devices in homes and small businesses. How come? Where you’d otherwise need to find room for four separate office gadgets, now you just need a single, relatively small printer that does it all.
But choosing the best all-in-one printer for your needs isn’t as simple as just grabbing something off the shelf. These multifunctional devices are complex, and can be rather expensive, so you want to make sure you make the right choice. By definition, they all do everything, but some printers handle some tasks better than others. Some specialize in photo printing, which is great for families who want to print off their holiday snaps and family photos. Others have better ink efficiency that keeps their running costs down - this is ideal for offices where you’ll be printing regularly. Then there are cheap all-in-one printers that are perfect for shoppers on a budget.
If you need something even smaller than the options we have here, perhaps for a tiny home office, then check out our best compact printers guide, which covers the best small printers for home and office environments.
Whatever your needs, our handy guide to the best all-in-one printers has you covered. We’ve elected our best overall all-in-one printer, but we also have categories for the others that highlight the areas they excel in.
1. Canon PIXMA TR8520 - Best all-in-one printer overall
The Canon PIXMA TR8520 is our top pick for the best overall all-in-one printer as it offers the perfect blend of functionality, print quality and style. It looks great and doesn’t take up nearly as much space as most all-in-one’s, so it’s perfect for a small home office.
The print quality is exceptional, whether you’re printing regular black and white or color images, or using it as a photo printer. It’s not the fastest printer out there, but it’s respectable when it comes to speed at around 15 pages per minute for black and 10 pages per minute in color.
What impressed us the most about the Canon PIXMA TR8520 is that it offers the complete package at a very reasonable price. It prints all types of documents well, it scans and copies efficiently, and it comes with extra features including an ADF and wireless printing from your mobile device. It’s not quite the best at any one thing, but it does everything to a high standard with no obvious weaknesses.
- Read the full Canon PIXMA TR8520 review.
2. HP OfficeJet Pro 9015 All-in-One Printer - Best for small businesses
The HP OfficeJet Pro 9015 All-in-One Printer straddles the line between being a home printer and a full-blown office printer, which makes it ideal for either home offices or small businesses which can make the most of its fast printing speeds. It looks great and is packed with smart features including remote printing via the mobile app and even voice controls.
When we say fast printing speeds, we mean fast. The HP OfficeJet Pro 9015 All-in-One Printer can print at a rate of 22 pages per minute for black and white documents, and 18 pages per minute for color. This is easily the fastest home printer we tested. It also has a recommended monthly page volume of 1500, which means it should easily be able to handle the workload of a small office.
The only major weakness of the HP OfficeJet Pro 9015 All-in-One Printer is that it’s not great when it comes to photo printing. It’s not awful mind you, but if you’re looking for a home printer for your family photos then you can do better elsewhere.
- Read the full HP OfficeJet Pro 9015 All-in-One Printer review.
3. Brother MFC-J805DW - Best for ink replacement
When you’re buying a printer, the upfront cost is only one part of the equation when you’re looking at how much it will cost you. Ink refills can be pricey, so if you’re looking to save money in the long run then the Brother MFC-J805DW is the best all-in-one printer for you thanks to its INKvestment system.
Cringey name aside, we’re very impressed with INKvestment, which allows the Brother MFC-J805DW to print pages at an average cost of less than $0.01 per page in black and under $0.05 per page in color. That’s around five times cheaper per page than the industry average, and it makes the Brother MFC-J805DW the most economical printer by far.
There are some downsides though. For one thing, and there’s no nice way to say this, the Brother MFC-J805DW is ugly. It looks like something you’d see in a late 90s office with it’s off white coloring and chunky keypad. It’s also utterly glacial when it comes to photo printing, taking over 8 minutes to print a single glossy photo according to Tom’s Guide. Other reviews noted much quicker times than that (around a minute and a half), but it’s still slower than the competition by a long way.
- Read the full Brother MFC-J805DW review.
4. Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4720 - Best all-in-one printer on a budget
If you’re looking for a solid all-in-one printer but don’t want to break the bank, then the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4720 is our top pick for you. This cheap all-in-one printer does everything that all the more expensive models do, and comes with a ton of premium features including wireless printing and an ADF.
It’s speedy too, printing at 20 pages per minute for black and white pages which means it’s only beaten out by the HP OfficeJet Pro 9015 All-in-One Printer in terms of print speed. The print quality isn’t top-end, but it’s extremely good for the price range and beats many more expensive printers on the market.
The only real downside that we can think of with the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4720 is its average ink economy, which means in the long run you may be better off buying the Brother MFC-J805DW if saving cash is your primary concern.
- Read the full Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4720 review.
Why Trust Us?
At Top Ten Reviews, we’ve been testing all-in-one printers for over 10 years.
In our search for the best all-in-one printers, we found some of the top models on the market today and tested their many functions. We combed through dozens of products, sifting through specifications to find models that come with all the right features that go beyond printing, including scan and copy capability, wireless networking and mobile compatibility. In today’s world of laptops, tablets and phones, it’s more important than ever for manufacturers to make it simple to connect to a printer.
After looking at the printer’s output quality, we evaluated the printers in other areas to make sure they limit frustration: printing speed, cost of ink, paper handling and versatility.
For an outside perspective, we reached out to Brian Westover, the editor at Tom’s Guide over printer coverage. We asked him about the most important thing to look for in an all-in-one printer. “The same with any tech, the first question is what you want to do with it, and that will determine what you end up getting,” Westover said. He added that “with an all-in-one printer, you’re looking at multiple functionality options. In addition to printing, you’ve got scanning, copying, sometimes fax capability, sometimes photo printing … use case is really the first thing to figure out.”
Westover also pointed out other considerations that people often overlook. “One of the big things to watch for is cost per page. A lot of people don’t think beyond the purchase price of the printer. But printers, more than perhaps any other piece of tech, have ongoing costs associated with them.
Features to Look for When Choosing an All-in-One Printer
The best all-in-one printers produce high-quality documents and photos, have easy-to-use functions, and are easy to connect. Aside from price, you should pay close attention to each printer’s list of features, since specific functions like fax capability and compatibility with certain mobile devices varies from one model to the next. Some are built with businesses in mind, with extra-durable designs and high-capacity inks, while printers for the home often have sleeker, compact designs and more media features. For more information about these devices, check out our articles on inkjet printers.
Our print quality scores put most of the focus on document printing, but many printers actually do better with photos than they do with basic documents. If you want a printer that prints high-quality photos, look at any of our reviews that have an A or B rating for photo print quality. These printers stood out in our testing with near-professional-quality photo prints that had sharp detail and good color reproduction.
Printers can be tricky devices. There will always be at least a few setup steps between you and your first printed page, so we look for printers that make that process as frustration-free as possible. We look for high-capacity trays so you don’t need to change the paper in your device as often. We also look at speed so you don’t have to stand around waiting for something important to print. So that you can keep a handle on future and not just upfront costs, we calculated the average price of ink for each of the printers we tested. Pay attention to these cost comparisons when assessing your short-term and long-term budget.
Connectivity & Features
Top-rated wireless printers have mobile compatibility for your smartphone or tablet, connectivity that plays nicely with Wi-Fi or wired networks, and a variety of built-in features that once required a specialized device such as a scanner or copier. Pair all of this capability with inkjet technology for affordable printing and refills and you’ve got a multifunction device that covers all of your document needs.
Making digital copies of physical documents is a critical feature of any all-in-one printer. A high quality scan makes all the difference when you pull a document out of the archive. A subpar scanner will produce documents that are fuzzy and distorted, which can make documents hard to read and in some cases, completely unusable.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
We’ve covered the main concerns, but there are other details to keep in mind when shopping for a wireless all-in-one printer. Does it support photo printing? What’s the scan and copy quality like? Is there easy access to support services? These may not be everyone’s focus when buying an all-in-one printer, but all are significant concerns if they speak to what you need.
Should You Get an All-in-One Printer?
Even though we’re printing less and storing more digitally, there’s still reason to have these devices in your home and office settings, especially for their scanning and copying abilities and their ability to print photos and projects.
Printers aren’t stuck with one or two functions anymore, as once-exotic functions like color printing, photo printing, scan and copy capability, and mobile connectivity have gone mainstream and can be found in the top all-in-one printers. At this point, finding a printer without these functions takes some real hunting, and multifunction designs are the name of the game as printing becomes less prevalent. But not all printers have the same capabilities, and quality differs from one model to another, so keep your eye out for the features you need.
How to Know If an Ink Cartridge Is Compatible With Your Printer
Before you buy an ink cartridge, you need to make sure it’s compatible with your all-in-one printer. If you get the wrong type, you’ll be stuck with an out-of-commission printer while you deal with the return and exchange process.
First, you need to find out what model printer you have. The model name and number are usually displayed on the front panel of your printer. If it’s not there, check the top of the printer, then the cartridge access area or inside the ink access door. In the rare case you can’t find it anywhere on your printer, it will definitely be printed in the owner’s manual.
Then go to the manufacturer’s website. Big names, such as HP, Canon and Epson, all have complete lists of all the printer models they sell. Searching for your printer is easy when have the model number. Once you’ve found your model, you’ll see a list of compatible ink cartridges. When we searched for our HP Envy 4520, we found that it accepts HP 302 Black and HP 302 Tri-color cartridges.
Once you know the type of cartridge your printer takes, you can buy directly from the manufacturer or Amazon or search for deals at the best discount ink cartridge stores.
Does Printer Ink Go Bad?
When you purchase an ink cartridge, make sure you check the expiration date. Most ink cartridges will be usable from 18 to 24 months after you install them. If you use your printer regularly, this shouldn’t be a problem. But if you’re only an occasional user, old/dry ink can potentially harm your printer.
“Often the problem is not the ink in the cartridge but the ink in the outlet valve to come out of the cartridge. It can dry and create a blockage.” Westover said. He added that HP printers stand a greater chance of clogging due to dry ink because the cartridge also has the print head in there.
So, just like your car needs an oil change, your printer will need fresh ink, even if there’s plenty left in the tank. The difference is that you only have to do it once every year or two.
How Much Does an All-in-One Printer Cost?
Inkjet printers tend to be less expensive than their laser counterparts. The low upfront cost makes them an ideal choice for a home office, and all-in-one models come with convenient features like a copier, scanner and fax machine. On average, the machines we tested cost just over $150, though there are printers with basic features that cost even less. We recommend models that cost above $100, since those that cost less usually work out to be expensive over time.
We also considered the ongoing costs of maintaining an all-in-one printer. Inkjet cartridges tend to cost more than those used in laser printers. On average, it costs 12 cents per page to print with the printers we tested. The per-page printing cost often goes down when you purchase high-capacity cartridges – they cost more upfront, but they drop the printing price to about 9 cents per page.
Best Places to Buy or Refill Ink Cartridges
Replenishing ink is the most expensive part of maintaining a printer. The fastest, most cost-effective option is to have empty cartridges refilled at one of the big box retail stores that offer the service. If you aren’t in a hurry and want a remanufactured or OEM cartridge that’s guaranteed to work and delivered to your doorstep, try one of the best discount ink cartridges stores. Here are our favorite places to replace an empty ink cartridge.
This discount ink cartridge website has the best selection of replacement cartridges of all the services we reviewed. Its prices are lower than average –about 3 cents per printed page for remanufactured cartridges and 7 cents per page for OEM cartridges. You can also add paper, cables and other printing supplies to break the free shipping price threshold. Shipping is fast and free for any order over $50. 4inkjets has a two-year guarantee for remanufactured cartridges and discounts for buying in bulk. After buying the ink cartridge you need once, you can use the service's reorder button to quickly place the same order again.
With more than 3,000 brick-and-mortar locations in the U.S., Walgreens is the best same-day option for refilling ink cartridges. It costs $13 to refill black or color cartridges, and the process takes less than an hour. You can call ahead to check on wait time for your preferred location. Walgreens uses the same high-quality ink you get in remanufactured cartridges and offers a money back guarantee if it doesn’t print at the same quality as a new cartridge. Printer maintenance professionals suggest refilling a cartridge a maximum of four times for optimal results.
Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) vs. Third-Party Ink Cartridges
When buying an all-in-one printer, it’s good to know about the machine's ongoing costs. The biggest part of that cost is ink. You can visit discount ink cartridge stores to save some money when it’s time to refill the tank. Most discount ink cartridge stores sell both OEM and third-party ink cartridges.
We asked Westover to explain the difference between the two types of ink cartridges. “An OEM ink cartridge is one made by the manufacturer of the printer. So, if it’s an HP printer it’s going to be HP ink. The alternative to OEM is third-party, which just means it’s made by someone else,” said Westover.
Refillable Ink Tanks vs. Refillable Cartridges
Some all-in-one printer manufacturers make models with refillable ink tanks rather than replaceable cartridges. We asked Westover about the benefits of buying a tank model. He said, “The biggest benefit with refillable ink tanks is that you’re paying for ink rather than the cartridge,” adding that, “More of your money is going to the liquid that lands on the page.”
Some third-party companies create refillable cartridges that are compatible with printers that don’t use tanks. Of those Westover said, “It will be cheaper – it may not always be as high of quality.” He emphasized that, “You don’t have the manufacturer’s quality control, and that’s part of what you give up in order to get those savings.”
Further, he said you can get away with cheaper ink if you print more text than anything, but it is harder to get away with when attempting to print higher quality images. “Ink isn’t just a liquid – it’s the end result of just as much engineering, if not more, than the rest of the printer,” said Westover.
Can You Use Expired Ink?
Ink cartridges made by printer manufacturers all have expiration dates. It works like any other expiration date, and if you choose to use expired ink, you run the risk of damaging your printer. Ink that’s too dry can clog the printer’s parts and cause flow problems, resulting in inferior print quality.
A good way to avoid this problem is to not buy more ink than you generally use. You may want to stock up to save time, but if you don’t use your printer very much, you could end up with nothing but expired cartridges when the machine runs out of ink. However, most printer ink cartridges expire about two years after they’re manufactured. So, it should be easy to figure out how often you should order more.
Warranty and aftercare?
As with any expensive electronics purchase, you want to check out the warranty before you buy an all-in-one printer. Printers made by the four top brands almost always come with a one-year warranty. The exception is Brother – its printers have two-year warranties.
Although you can probably count on any printer made by these brands to go the distance with few problems, there’s always a chance you’ll get a defective one and have to exchange it.
Some printer manufacturers sell augments to their warranties with services such as HP’s Printer Care Packs. These packs offer perks like telephone and chat support along with replacement parts and prepaid shipping for your printer in case it breaks down or needs to be replaced.
What Are Printer Drivers?
Just like a car, without a driver, a printer just won't go. The difference is that instead of a human driver, your printer needs a software one. Drivers are the bit of software that allows your computer to communicate with your printer. Most printers will automatically download the driver when they're connected to the internet, but many still come with an installation CD with the necessary drivers.
If you don’t have an optical drive on your computer, you can go to the printer manufacturer's website to download the appropriate ones for your model. Drivers periodically update, and you need to make sure you stay on top of them. Some may update automatically, but you should check every few months to make sure you have the latest drivers so you can take full advantage of all the features your printer has to offer.
What’s the Fastest Printer?
When we tested the printers in this category, the HP OfficeJet Pro 9015 was the fastest of the bunch. It printed out black-and-white documents at 22 pages per minute and color documents at 18. The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4720 came in second place, managing 20 pages per minute for both black and white and color pages
What’s the Difference Between Ink and Toner?
If you’re unfamiliar with printers, you may accidentally pick up toner instead of ink, or vice versa. Because ink and toner represent the major ongoing costs of having a printer, you should check which one your printer uses before you buy.
So, how do they differ? “The difference between ink and toner, primarily, is that one is a liquid and one is a powder," Westover said. "Ink is used in inkjet printers, which physically deposit the ink onto the page. Toner is used in laser printers, where it is statically adhered to the page and then usually thermally bonded to the paper – slightly different printing processes, different physical characteristics, the end result being the same: letters on the page.”