Best All-in-One Printers 2015

With dozens of models with similar specs — Amazon lists nearly 1,150 results for inkjets and laser printers when you search for "multifunction printer" — it can be difficult to find the all-in-one printer that offers the best combination of performance, output, quality, features and value. But based on more than 100 hours of in-depth testing, we've identified the top inkjet and laser printers you can buy.

Our favorite overall printer is the HP Envy 5540 ($80), which produces high-quality prints and scans and prints graphics with impressive speed. If you do a lot of photo printing, you should also consider the Epson Expression Premium XP-820 ($151) which has produced some of the most impressive images we've seen.

In other categories, we think the best budget printer is Canon's ImageClass MF217W ($110), which recorded some of the fastest print, copy and scan times among the laser printers we've reviewed. Business users will be happy with the Canon ImageClass MF229dw laser printer ($196) for its low printing costs over time, while Canon's Pixma MG7520 inkjet ($99) also keeps costs low for high-volume printing. As for large-format printing, our nod goes to the Brother MFC-J5620DW inkjet ($170) for its ability to handle 11 x 17-inch prints with style. Read on to get all the details on our best picks.

Inkjet Versus Laser

What kind of printer you should buy — inkjet or laser — depends on how you plan to use your printer.  If your primary focus is printing photos, you'll want an inkjet. The photo print quality of an inkjet is typically superior to what you'd get with a laser printer and you'll be able to print on various photo media, including matte papers, in addition to the typical glossy. If your printing needs are more business-oriented, a laser model will likely suit you better, though there are business-oriented inkjets, as well. Laser printers' razor-sharp text printing can't be beat, nor can their speed.

Laser all-in-ones are also built for high volume, with many capable of printing up to 10,000 pages a month. If your needs are much more modest, an inkjet specified for up to 1,000 pages a month could be a good candidate. Compare ink and toner costs to ensure your initial investment doesn't turn into a long-term budget-buster.

Some all-in-ones — both laser and inkjet — offer high-yield cartridges that lower printing costs over the standard cartridges. Many laser all-in-ones only print in black-and-white (monochrome), which helps keep printing costs down. If that's simply too boring for you, consider a color laser all-in-one. Some color lasers even print on glossy paper, which is great for business brochures, but the quality is not on a par with inkjet photo prints.

Don't forget to consider other features you might otherwise overlook. For example, if you plan to do a lot of copying or scanning of large documents, you'll want an automatic document feeder (ADF) for loading multiple pages: It will make your life a lot easier. A duplexer (which enables two-sided printing) will save paper. And a large input tray will cut down your trips to the printer to refill it.

How We Tested

We put each all-in-one printer through a battery of home-grown tests to determine its performance and output quality. To test print speeds, we timed each device when printing a text document, a five-page mixed text/graphics project, and a color photo. We examined the output quality of both landscape and portrait images printed on each printer, and we recorded scan and copy times. To measure cost of ownership, we looked at the current street price of ink and the estimated number of pages that each cartridge can produce.

Best All-in-One Printers

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  • The HP8600 is a good printer but has a serious hardware defect. The touchscreen will wash out to the point where it cannot be used. This makes copying and faxing challenging. Check out the HP support forums before you buy this one. I am at the point of throwing mine out as missing the touchscreen makes it too frustrating to enjoy. HP does not offer a replacement part for this.
  • Poor performance by the Epson WorkForce WF-3540 is a big disappointment.This printer fails to make the grade when it comes to printing graphics or photos. No matter what I do to remedy the problem, 99% of my graphics and photographs have mis-colored bars running through the image field. It is not fulfilling my primary purpose for buying this printer. Cleaning the nozzles fails to cure the problem - nothing works! I will just have to let my husband use this for straight printing of documents and find a replacement for my graphics and photo print work.
  • Lot of people saying it's best with 5 cartridges cause you only change the one that is empty. On my Canon Pixma MP640 I can't write anything, not even black text if one of the other cartridges are empty. That's just stupid!
  • Thank you for breaking this down into different categories. It would be great to have the Canon Pixma MG5620, but as a small business owner it is out of my price range, and it is more than I need. I think I will look into the HP OfficeJet 4630.
  • > Arne Schedin

    On the MP640 it can be persuaded to continue printing in a low ink condition (at least it can from within Windows 7). It does offer a warning, but if a coloured ink is out and you're only printing a mono text document, this works fine for me.