There was a time not too long ago when the typical home office had a separate machine for copying, printing and scanning. Those days are gone. Today’s multifunctional printers offer a variety of features, consolidating all those devices into one, saving time and space. Many all-in-one printers go beyond the typical printer/scanner/copier/fax combo and may include memory card slots, allowing for easy printing of photos, as well as built-in wireless capabilities for printing on a network.
Since your all-in-one printer is just that – all-in-one – there is only one cable needed to connect it to the computer. It also only requires one power outlet. All-in-one printers are available in both inkjet and laser technologies. Inkjets will typically cost less than laser, although laser printers are decreasing in price as they become more popular with the average consumer. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8500A, the Canon PIXMA MG8120 and the Canon PIXMA MX870 are some of the best you can find for under $300.
In this site, you'll find reviews comprehensive and articles on all-in-one printers that will help you make an informed decision on which printer is right for you.
What to Look for in an All-in-One Printer
Because all-in-one printers do so many things, it is difficult to identify which features are most important. Some may have higher resolution than others. Some might be able to fax documents faster, while others will have blazing-fast print speeds. Some will utilize laser printing technology, while others use tried-and-true inkjet technology. Since there are so many factors to what makes a good all-in-one printer, we have broken it up into the following categories.
When it comes to printing, you want speed and quality. Even if you had all the time in the world, you still wouldn't want to dedicate all that time to waiting for something to print. Quality is equally important because you want your work to look professional. If you do a lot of printing then you'll also want to pay attention to the monthly duty cycle of the printer you buy. Some printers can handle heavier workloads while others aren't meant for quite as much use.
Scanning and Copying
For scanning and copying you want to look for a printer that can do high-resolution scans and quick copies. If you have a quality scanner you can create electronic images and printed copies that look as good as the original picture or document. The resolution and color depth that these all-in-one printers are capable of will reveal how true to the original the scans and copies will be. If they nail that then you just need a quick copying speed.
This category covers all the extras. The main things we looked for are if it has memory card slots for printing directly from your camera's memory card, the different kinds of PC connectivity (Wi-Fi, for example), whether the printer can fax and if it has automatic duplexing. We also looked at whether the printer uses inkjet or laser technology, how many different colors of ink it requires, the physical dimensions and the warranty.
Help & Support
What sort of help and support options are available for the all-in-one printer? Options include a user guide, a quick start guide, a FAQs/Knowledgebase page, tutorials and a troubleshooting guide. You should be able to contact the manufacturer by telephone, email or live chat.
These are the four categories that we used to define the quality of an all-in-one printer. With the variety of abilities that each of these multifunction printers has, some usually get focused on and the rest are neglected. In other words, each all-in-one printer will excel in one area but may not perform as well in others. Because of that, it is important to select the one that fits your needs.