The best all-in-one printer is an ideal solution if you're a home worker who also wants to print out photos. After all, having multiple printers is not only costly, but can also clutter up your space. While all-in-one printers can be expensive up front, they can represent a saving over time, with more efficient use of ink.
Home working is, of course, much more common than it used to be. It makes sense to invest a little money in making your setup comfortable, practical and productive, with the ability print, scan and photocopy documents at home with ease
With working from home looking as if it's going to continue to the new normal, it's natural to find yourself wanting to make it as comfortable and productive as possible. This can make life in the at-home office much easier and less stressful. And if you're able to also print out photos in high quality from the same device? All the better!
For this guide, we've picked out MFD (multi-function device) printers. These are not specifically dedicated to photo printing, like the A3 Epson XP-970, say, but being all-round MFD devices, they come with built-in scanners. If you're looking for a dedicated desktop or portable scanner, we do also have a best scanners for documents & photos guide it'd be worth having a look at. For this article, we're assuming you also want to print.
All-in-one printers tend to have multiple connectivity options, meaning Wi-Fi as well as physical connection like USB. This makes it easy to print from multiple different devices, or start printing off for a different room. It all just makes life a little bit easier, and can make it much simpler to cope with a home-working setup. No more traipsing to a print shop and paying by the document.
Our guide here mostly focuses on inkjet printers, but we have also included some colour laser models as well.
• Read more: Everything photographers need to work from home
One thing to note is that the majority of inkjet printers will be sold with standard-capacity or 'installation' cartridges. Unfortunately, these can and do run out pretty quickly, and it's easy to get caught in a cycle of buying expensive cartridges. It's not a problem if you're only printing the occasional document, but if you think you'll be doing a lot of heavy printing, it might be worth thinking about more efficient options. We've included a few of Epson's 'EcoTank' printers; these are more expensive initially, but use a more efficient bottle-based ink system that'll save you money over the long run.
With all that in mind, let's get stuck right into the best all-in-one printers!
Best all-in-one printers in 2021
Canon’s five-ink printers typically give you the best of both worlds. The combination of a pigment black ink plus dye-based cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks deliver immaculate quality for crisp mono and color documents, as well as superb photo output.
Known as the Canon PIXMA TS6320 in America, and the PIXMA TS6350 in Europe, this latest model in the line-up has smart paper handling options, including a space-saving motorized output tray that extends from the front, an internal paper input cassette, plus a rear-loading feeder that’s ideal for photo paper and alternative media sizes. Automatic duplex printing is also available, with the potential of saving paper and postage costs. Although there’s no touchscreen, an intuitive onboard control system is based around a high-quality OLED display.
If you’re hoping that working from home is very much a short-term measure, you won’t want to spend more on a printer than you really need to. Good-quality models don’t come any cheaper than this Canon, and it’s a real lightweight space-saver into the bargain. As you’d expect, however, it cuts a few corners. With four inks in total, it’s the only printer in our round-up to run on mono and tri-color cartridges, rather than having separate cartridges or tanks for each ink. It is sold as the Canon PIXMA TS3320 in the US , and the PIXMA TS3350 in Europe
If you print a lot of yellow, for example, you can find yourself throwing away cyan and magenta inks when you need to replace the cartridge. In general though, the optional XL cartridges help keep costs down. Print speeds aren’t exactly quick and double-sided printing can only be done manually but, even so, this PIXMA is a good budget option.
Building on Canon’s rich heritage of five-ink printers, this model goes one better with its six-ink system. You get the usual mix of pigment-based black and dye-based CMYK, plus a ‘photo blue’ ink for more vivid photo output with even smoother graduations. It’s simply the best A4/Letter sized photo printer on the market, but it’s equally adept at office duties. Mono and color print speeds are fast and there’s an auto duplex facility.
Further automation extends to a motorized tilting front panel and extending output tray, along with auto paper width detection, which can save setup time when using different sizes of media. Speaking of which, there are dual input paths including an internal cassette and rear feeder. This printer is called the Canon PIXMA TS8320 in North America, and the TS8350 in most other places around the world.
It's great to get a printer that uses bottled ink rather than cartridges; not only is it cheaper to run as the system is more efficient, it's also less wasteful as the bottles are refillable. The Epson Ecotank ET-8550 is an exemplary all-in-one printer as it's great for basically anything, from documents to high-quality photos. It can be a little slow, especially in high-quality mode, but if printing time isn't a factor you'll find this to be a highly reliable printer. The colour space is a little more limited than some other printers, as it runs on six inks rather than eight or ten, though it has to be said that the prints it spits out still look pretty darn good, full of detail and vibrancy.
On the face of it, this is a remarkably inexpensive printer considering that it enables all of the usual multi-function scanning and photocopying duties, as well as adding a direct fax facility and even an auto document feeder (ADF) that can accommodate up to 30 pages. It also takes automatic duplex printing in its stride and generally ticks all of the right boxes for working from home. With only four inks under the bonnet, it’s not ideal for photo printing but does a good job of color documents.
There are individual cartridges for all four colors but the printer is supplied with low-capacity ‘setup’ cartridges which can run out soon after installation. Even so, XL high-capacity replacement options help to drive down running costs.
Bucking the trend of printer manufacturers selling inexpensive hardware and making their money on ink cartridges, this Epson EcoTank printer takes the opposite approach. It’s relatively expensive to buy but leaves ink cartridges out of the equation altogether. Instead, it has four ink tanks and comes with bottles of cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks, with sufficient capacity for printing up to 4,500 mono pages or 7,500 color document pages. Replacement high-capacity ink bottles (if and when you need them) are much cheaper than most regular cartridges. It is known as the ET-4760 in North America, and the ET-4700 in Europe.
Other home office-friendly features include auto duplex printing, a 30-sheet auto document feeder and direct faxing with a 100-name/number speed dial memory.
Typical of relatively low-cost ‘laser’ printers, this one is based on an LED array rather than actual laser technology. It’s certainly fast and highly effective, however, churning out mono or color prints at up to 25 pages per minute. You can photocopy or scan to your computer, as well as sending direct faxes, all of which take advantage of a built-in auto document feeder. A 3.7-inch touchscreen makes for easy menu navigation and the printer is well-connected, adding NFC to the usual range of USB, Wi-Fi and Ethernet options. Running costs are fairly competitive for mono printing but a bit pricey for color.
Billed as ideal for three to ten users printing up to 4,000 pages per month in total, this LED-based Color LaserJet Pro comes complete with a 50-sheet auto document feeder, plus auto duplex for copying, scanning and fax, as well as for scanning direct to email and PDF. The ‘fdw’ version is Wi-Fi enabled. Print speeds are quick, at 27 pages per minute for both mono and color output, and the supplied cartridges are good for 2,400 mono pages and 1,200 color pages. The main paper input tray takes 300 sheets, which you can boost to 850 sheets by fitting an optional 550-sheet tray. The printer is quick and easy to set up, and it’s easy to live with too, thanks to an intuitive 4.3-inch color touchscreen. All in all, this HP is a great color laser for the home office.
For most home-office needs, an A4/letter sized printer will suffice. However, if you need to create larger output, or maybe fold a larger sheet of paper in half to effectively make a four-page A4/letter sized pamphlet, this 13-inch Epson printer is the ideal solution. It’s also a dab hand at creating A3/11x17-inch photo prints. A major frustration of most large-format printers is that you can find yourself perpetually running on empty, for at least one or more of the ink cartridges.
Typical of Epson’s EcoTank range of printers, this one has high-volume ink tanks instead of cartridges, and is supplied with sufficient ink to create thousands of mono and color documents, or up to 3,400 6x4-inch photos, with correspondingly smaller amounts of larger sizes
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