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All-in-one printers, also known as multifunction printers (MFPs), are the jack of all trades for document creation and management and are key to lots of functions for small businesses and home businesses. They can not only print a variety of documents—from contracts and graphs to long memos and tax forms—but can turn paper into digital images, copy important documents, and even fax documents.
According to Keith Kmetz, program vice president of imaging, printing & document solutions programs at IDC, after years of declining sales, MFPs priced at under $500 posted a 7.3% rise in sales for the first nine months of 2020 versus 2019, the latest figures available.
With no shortage of all-in-ones to choose from, deciding on one can be hard. Start by choosing between a laser- or inkjet-based device. Resolution for printing and scanning can determine if your output appears fuzzy or sharp, so look for something with at least 600 dots per inch (dpi).
Meanwhile, consider how it will connect to your computer. All MFPs can use a traditional USB cable but many include the option to use Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet for sharing the device with other users. In addition to working with Windows and Mac computers, most manufacturers provide apps for printing and often scanning from a phone or tablet. Be sure to get an all-in-one that’s reliable and fast enough to keep up with you. “Most of all, make sure it fits in your home office,” adds Kmetz. “It’s worthless if you’re always tripping over it.”
Look for a good value, too, because an inexpensive printer that uses pricey ink or toner can cost more in the long run. If you divide the consumables cost by the manufacturers’ estimate for how many pages it can print, you’ll get a good guess for the device’s cost per page. Regardless of what your needs are, here are the best all-in-one printers for your home office or small business.
Best Overall: Epson EcoTank Pro ET-16650
It may seem big and expensive, but the Epson EcoTank Pro ET-16650 is a workhorse printer that can turn any tabletop into a document center. While other options on the market are limited to printing letter- or legal-size paper, this machine can print up to 13 x 19-inch sheets and scan up to 11 x 17-inch pages. It can digitize open magazines or books and print large spreadsheets and posters. It can also churn out pages in super-sharp 4,800 x 1,200 dots per inch (dpi) resolution prints—perfect for everything from fliers to work memos.
This printer connects with a USB cable, wired Ethernet, or Wi-Fi and works with Epson’s iPrint apps for iPhones, iPads, and Androids so you can print anywhere. At a claimed speed of 25 pages per minute (ppm), it’s fast but not expensive to use because the bottled ink costs about 1.7 cents per page. All in all, this Epson printer is a great investment that pays for itself after a short period of time with lower operating costs.
Best InkJet: HP OfficeJet Pro 9015
HP put together best-in-class components and technologies with the OfficeJet Pro 9015. It’s capable of delivering roughly 25,000 pages per month, as well as printing and scanning in sharp and vibrant 1,200 x 1,200 dpi resolution.
At claimed speeds of up to 22 ppm, it’s not quite a speed demon, but it should be fast enough for most businesses. On the downside, using this inkjet printer can be expensive at about 12 cents per page. With the ability to scan, copy, or fax, it’s just as good for scanning a business plan as sending a contract to a customer.
This printer is not only secure with its built-in encryption, but it offers the choice between a USB cable, wired Ethernet, or Wi-Fi networking for connecting and sharing the printer and scanner; it can print or scan via the HP Smart app for phones and tablets (iOS and Android compatible). This makes it about as versatile an office companion as anyone could ask for.
Best Laser: Lexmark MC3224dwe
It may not be the smallest, fastest, or cheapest all-in-one option out there but Lexmark’s MC3224dwe does so many things well, it’s a good all-around pick. This color laser machine not only prints and scans on each side of the page but also handles up to 30,000 pages per month of printing. It connects via a USB cable, wired, or Wi-Fi network and can print from an iOS or Android phone or tablet using the Lexmark mobile app.
It can also pump out documents at claimed speeds of up to 24 ppm at up to 2,400 x 600 dpi text and scan at 600 x 600 dpi. Though the printer fits in with offices large and small, it lacks a fax machine. And because each of the toner cartridges has a photo drum built-in, toner and an inexpensive waste container are the only maintenance expenses but this makes it expensive to use at 15 cents per page in color. Still, the printer’s full-spectrum security that protects your documents from hackers offers great value.
Most Compact: HP Envy 6075
If you’re trying to squeeze a full office into a studio apartment, look no further than HP’s Envy 6075. It takes up just 14.2 x 17 inches of desktop space and is only 5-inches tall, yet it is a full all-in-one system capable of 1,200 x 1,200 dpi scanning and printing. However, the printer copies pages at 300 dpi, doesn’t have an integrated fax machine, and can be slow at up to 10 ppm.
The device can connect via a standard USB cable, Wi-Fi, or through the HP Smart app for iPhones, iPads, and Android phones and tablets. It’s inexpensive at first because HP provides two years of ink but after that, the prints can cost a lot at upward of 25 cents per page. Still, this HP printer can print up to 1,000 pages a month, comes with a one-year warranty, and can be hidden in places where other printers can’t fit.
Best Value: Epson EcoTank ET-2720
Epson’s EcoTank ET-2720 offers excellent value, thanks to its environmentally-friendly features: rather than buying and throwing away lots of expensive plastic ink cartridges, all you do is pour in fresh ink. The printer comes with enough black, cyan, magenta, and yellow ink to print 4,500 pages. After that, it can save up to 80% compared to printers that use conventional ink modules, making it an economical choice over the long run.
Although it lacks faxing, this Epson machine can print, scan, and copy. Its output is good for business documents and photos with up to 5,760 x 1,440 dpi prints. Keep in mind that the printer is slow at up to 10 ppm. The system also connects via a USB cable or Wi-Fi and works with the company’s iPrint app for iOS and Android systems.
Best for Speed: Brother HL-L2395DW
If you’re always in a hurry, consider this budget-friendly Brother HLL2395DW for your home office needs. With a 1,200 dpi laser print engine, it can create super-sharp monochrome documents but can’t print in color. The printer’s paper tray only holds 250 sheets (half a ream), meaning you’ll probably spend a lot of time refilling it. The printer’s claimed speeds of 36 ppm, however, is twice the speed of other all-in-one devices.
Its scanner has a 100-page document feeder but lacks the ability to fax documents. The rest of the system is high-end as it can connect via a USB cable, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or link to a phone or tablet’s near-field communication (NFC) circuit. The system can also use Brother’s iPrint&Scan app for iOS and Android systems.
Best Heavy Workload: Xerox Versalink C405
Rather than skimp on speed or output, Xerox’s Versalink C405 pumps out pages at a top claimed speed of 36 ppm in color. Ideal for those who need an office printer in their home, this machine can handle up to 85,000 sheets a month.
Using its color laser print engine, this Xerox printer creates sharp 600 x 600 dpi output and can print, scan, and copy on both sides of sheets. Even more, it can fax sheets via a 2,000-contact address book. It works with Windows, MacOS, a variety of Linux distributions, Androids and iOS systems, and can connect with a USB cable, built-in Ethernet, or Wi-Fi.
On the downside, at 17 x 21.3 x 23.6 inches, it’s a behemoth that weighs around 70 pounds. With its optional base, the printer can hold up to 1,250 sheets of paper and print them for roughly 10 cents per page. Overall, it’s effective for handling large jobs quickly and efficiently.
Best Budget: Brother MFC-J491DW
Ideal for home offices on a budget, the Brother MFCJ491DW inkjet all-in-one claims to print at 12 ppm in monochrome or 6 ppm in color and has a monthly duty cycle of 2,500 pages. In addition to sending and receiving faxes, this printer can copy and scan documents at 19,200 dpi resolution (and even directly email the images). Its 1,200 x 600 dpi prints aren’t as sharp as laser documents but should suffice for most uses. Its 100-page paper tray, however, isn’t meant for sustained use.
Additionally, this printer works with everything from a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer to an iPhone, iPad, or Android tablet or phone. Note that it features duplex printing but not for copying and scanning. It also offers the choice of connecting with USB and Wi-Fi printing, although it lacks a wired Ethernet port. At 9.8 x 18.8 x 18 inches, it’s perfectly sized for small offices but its ink can cost roughly 12 cents a page—making it potentially cheap to get but expensive to use.
There’s a multitude of all-in-ones for every budget, need, and task. When it comes to versatility, Epson’s EcoTank Pro ET-16650 (view on Amazon) is a modern marvel. Its hefty price tag is more than worth it, and the printer’s use of inexpensive bottled ink means it’s among the least expensive to use. At the other extreme, HP’s OfficeJet Pro 9015 (view on Amazon) is a bargain that does everything right. It’s fast, its prints and scans are sharp, and at 22 ppm, it’s more than fast enough.
Which is better, ink cartridges or bottles?
What goes onto paper is the same, so ink cartridges and bottles are equivalent but with specific attributes you might find attractive. Installing traditional ink modules is cleaner, simpler, and quicker, but can be much more expensive compared to bottled ink, where you need to open the machine, remove a cap, and carefully pour the ink in. A pro tip is to wear gloves and have a paper towel handy.
How important is print speed?
If you print a lot and are in a hurry, print speed is paramount. Look for a printer that claims it can deliver at least 15 ppm.
Which is better, USB or Wi-Fi printing?
Using a USB cable can speed up printing, but connecting with your Wi-Fi network allows the machine to print and scan to be shared. Be careful, though, as setting up a Wi-Fi printer can be a frustrating process.
Do I need a fax machine?
Probably not, but there are corners of business and society where fax machines still dominate, like law enforcement, healthcare, and anytime you need a hardcopy confirmation or receipt.
Why Trust Investopedia?
These all-in-one printers were largely based on the author’s expertise. Brian Nadel is a freelance writer who has been covering printers—from small label makers to huge wide carriage poster printers—for more than 30 years. Between his office and home, he owns and uses no fewer than six different models.
To put together this list, he started by breaking down the all-in-one category into eight sections based on use, price, and abilities. Altogether, they cover the full range of uses today. After that, he explored the technical and operational details of each, comparing the major players, along with a few minor ones, to whittle the list down to the best all-in-one printers available today.