You can’t beat the versatility of all-in-one printers. They can print, scan, copy, and even fax, making them indispensable to home offices. Compact printers are handy, too, but are much smaller to help save space in your home office. Whether you need an option for school, work, art, or for printing photographs, we’ve rounded up the best here.
Printer, copier, scanner
This inkjet printer from Canon has all the home office devices you need in one machine. It creates high-quality prints in both color and in black and white from your home computer or your mobile device. It also has a scanner and copier built-in. This device holds 350 pieces of paper and prints quickly. It can handle producing borderless photos in multiple sizes and has mobile capabilities. Refilling ink is simple, too; they can be refilled with handy bottles. But the ink lasts, creating 6,000 pages in black and white or 7,700 pages in color before ink is required.
Wireless printing from mobile device
HP OfficeJet 250 All-in-One features a printing resolution of 4800 x 1200 dpi and prints 250 full-colored pages in under 8 minutes. It comes with a scanner and Bluetooth connectivity that lets you print, scan and copy documents wirelessly from a laptop or mobile device. This printer features auto-feed that supports various paper sizes including legal paper, envelopes, index cards, and photo paper.
Built-in battery for easy charging
The Epson Workforce printer has intuitive controls and an LED screen that doesn’t require a lot of setup to start printing. The included rechargeable battery means you can print documents from anywhere including a hotel room, airport terminal, or in your car. The Epson Workforce prints fast and clear in both colored and monotone. It’s good enough to print 6 x 4 borderless photos.
Print photos from your phone
The HP Sprocket Select printer uses zero-ink, or “Zink,” technology, which uses heat-activated paper instead of ink or dye when it prints. It links to your smartphone, so you can immediately print any photo you capture. It’s small enough to fit your pocket or purse and use whenever and wherever. It holds 10 sheets of 5 x 3 paper, so you don’t have to feed the printer every time you print.
Key features to look for when buying a printer
Print quality is one of the most important considerations when buying any kind of printer, so we looked at documents printed by each machine under high magnification. Since you likely won’t compare sample documents side by side in person as you choose a printer, we suggest comparing their print resolutions, which is a good indicator of how much detail a printer can recreate in images. The higher the numbers, the better the resolution. Smaller, high-resolution printers usually cost more, so you may have to compromise on resolution and portability to find something in your price range. If you're printing pictures, we'd recommend a printer designed specifically for printing photos.
We looked for printers that can standard-size, 8.5 x 11 documents, but the more flexibility you have in your paper choice the better. While all the printers we considered handle standard-size paper, watch for special paper requirements. This is especially true for photo printers that may only take a specific size, type, or brand of paper.
Manufacturers list printer speed in the machines’ specs, but we timed the models we reviewed to approximate their speed in real-world conditions. Based on what you’re using the printer for, speed may be important to consider.
Ink & media
You want to check to see what types of cartridges your inkjet compact printer uses. If it takes high-yield cartridges, you can usually shave off a few cents per page. Or you might consider a printer that uses thermal print technology, though the specialty paper these machines use comes at its own expense.
Pay attention to the printer’s regular output specifications, including the maximum number of pages the manufacturer suggests printing per month, called the monthly duty cycle. Regularly printing above this number can wear the machine down faster and cause damage, so make sure the duty cycle matches up with your needs.
Printers that connect to a variety of online storage and cloud systems are more useful, especially now that so much is stored digitally. Check to make sure you’re preferred cloud storage program is supported by your printer.
Generally, the lighter a mobile printer is the better. However, we looked for models that balance features and quality with their compact size. As you look at a mobile printer, check its dimensions to see if it’ll fit inside of the carrier you typically use, like a laptop bag or backpack.
Another important consideration is the battery life. Check to see how many documents you can print or days you can go before you need to recharge the battery. If you have to plug the battery in regularly, it impacts the printer’s overall portability.