TL;DR – These are the Multifunction Printers:
1. HP OfficeJet Pro 8720
Best Multifunction Printer
HP OfficeJet Pro 8720
Printer type: Inkjet ● Max printing speed: 37 ppm ● Max printing resolution: 4,800 x 1,200 DPI ● Max copying resolution: 600 DPI ● Max scanning resolution: 1200 DPI ● Power consumption: 1.3-35W ● Weight: 33.09 pounds ● Size: 19.7″ x 20.9″ x 13.4″
There’s a lot to like about HP’s OfficeJet Pro 8720. From Amazon Alexa voice control to easy setup and Wi-Fi connectivity, there are plenty of creature comforts on board. Then there’s its speedy printing capabilities that include 24 pages-per-minute (ppm) for black and white copies and 20 ppm for color prints. Users also have options for borderless printing alongside features like an automatic document feeder and legal-sized scanner bed.
Of course, mobile printing is on offer in addition to copying and faxing. And to ensure you have enough ink when you need it, this model features both HP’s Instant Ink subscription service in addition to automatic Amazon Dash replenishment.
2. HP OfficeJet 3830
Best Budget Multifunction Printer
With the OfficeJet 3830 from Hewlett-Packard, you don’t need to spend a ton of money to get everything you need from a multifunction printer. The device will scan, copy, fax, and connect to your Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi Mesh network wirelessly for $100 plus ink.
It also packs in mobile printing via a dedicated app, Wireless Direct and Apple’s AirPrint. You can also opt for HP’s Instant Ink subscription service that automatically re-orders ink once it detects you’re running low. And if you’re more of an Amazon fan than you are HP, you could reorder ink via a Dash button. This machine’s small footprint means you can fit this just about anywhere in your home office (or dorm).
3. Epson Workforce Pro WF-4630
Best Color Laser Alternative Inkjet Printer
Epson Workforce Pro WF-4630
Looking for something a little more robust for your office? Give the Epson Workforce Pro WF-4630 inkjet a shot. While monochrome laser printers are the value leader, opting for a color model can get expensive given the additional ink cartridges needed. With this Epson, you get printing speed that’s close to laser options on this list (20 ppm for both monochromatic and sharp-as-hell color prints).
It can also scan, copy and fax, and this Epson supports Wi-Fi connectivity and mobile printing. An automatic document feeder, 330-sheet paper tray and 30,000-page monthly duty cycle round out this attractive package.
4. Brother MFCL2750DW
Best Multifunction Monochrome Laser Printer
The Brother MFCL2750DW monochrome laser printer is ready to be your office workhorse on a budget. Assuming you can live without color prints and faxing, it’s hard to beat Brother’s laser multifunction printer.
The company’s laser printers are practically bulletproof, and this particular model adds copying and scanning on top of its already sturdy foundation. Plus, replacing cartridges doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and unless you’re on a team of four printing gigantic legal briefs every day, you won’t have to do it often either.
And best of all, if you don’t print nearly as often as you scan, you’ll never have to worry about ink nozzles drying or clogging up from non-use. All that and you’ve got Wi-Fi connectivity, a blazing fast 36 ppm and a toner saver mode that ekes even more efficiency out of every cartridge.
5. Canon Pixma TS9520
Best Multifunction Printer for Photos
The Pixma TS9520 from Canon is an easy choice if your workload skews more towards printing photos. Thanks to its five separate ink cartridges, you get gorgeous prints in a pretty convenient package that also includes a high-res scanner for importing photos shot on film to your editing program of choice.
That’s all in addition to mobile device printing via Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print—making this photo printer perfect for offloading those shots from your iPhone or Android phone, respectively. Of course, photos taken with a DSLR, mirrorless camera, or point-and-shoot camera will look even better thanks to their bigger lenses and higher-resolution sensors.
6. Brother HL-L23400W
Best Multifunction Printer for Documents
Yeah, this breaks the rules a bit, but if you just need to print term papers, receipts, and various other non-glamorous computer-related tasks, a simple laser printer is hard to beat. The Brother HL-23400W is a personal favorite of mine.
The minimal, rounded design of this printer doesn’t draw attention to itself —the two paper guides thankfully fold flat—but it’s a dorm room or home office hot rod where it counts: printing speed and cost of ownership. We’re talking 26 ppm and the toner will last you between 1,200 – 2,600 pages depending on whether you go for the standard- or high-yield toner, respectively. I personally print lots of documents for work and I’ve purchased exactly three high-yield toner cartridges since 2011. The pack-in cart that came with my Brother HL-L23400W lasted almost two years.
Automatic duplex printing is here too, as is Wi-Fi. If you can live without the latter though, you can save $80 by going with the Brother HL-L2300D to drive the value proposition even higher. Best of all? No matter which you choose, neither have a crappy touchscreen.
What to look for in a Multifunction Printer
When it comes to multifunction printers there are really only two options: inkjet or laser.
Inkjet printers work just like they sound by spraying ink through a print head full of nozzles. They’re fantastic for printing high-quality photos with rich colors and sharp details, but they aren’t particularly fast at spitting out pages. Inkjet printers also often cost less than their laser-based counterparts, but you’ll end up paying more for new ink cartridges in the long run as they don’t last as long as toner cartridges.
Laser printers utilize a process of rolling toner onto pages and baking this powder onto them using lasers, which is why the copies that come out of laser printers are usually warm. The biggest advantage of laser printers is they can produce a lot of prints in a short amount of time.
The bad news is laser printers and toner cartridges are usually more expensive than inkjet tanks, especially if you’re looking to buy one that also prints in color. That said, toner cartridges often last much ink cartridges, so you likely be able to use the one that came with the printer for more than a year even if you’re making a lot of copies every day.
Picking the right type of multifunction printer comes down to considering how often and what you’ll be printing.
If you won’t be printing any photos or color documents, a monochrome laser all-in-one is much more suited to your needs than one geared towards high-quality photos. And if you stumbled down here looking for something to just print documents, quickly, always go for a laser printer.
Timothy J. Seppala is a Detroit-based freelance reporter who has crammed a 5.1 surround system into every place he’s lived, regardless of bedroom size.