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All-in-one printers for any task

Find the right printer for your job and budget

Published: July 31, 2014 08:00 AM

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If you’re shopping for a printer to use at home, chances are you’re ­going to choose a multifunction inkjet. It can print, copy, scan, and maybe even fax documents. Are there other choices? Sure. But basic do-it-all printers account for much of the market these days, and they’re a good value. We have tested dozens of them in our lab in ­recent months, and many performed very well. If you simply want an all-around machine for light home use, you can feel confident choosing any of our recommended models.

But certain models stand out if you have specific priorities—say, you want to print high-quality photos or churn out reams of documents for a home business, school project, or community organization. We have combed our Ratings to find models that excel at those tasks while remaining affordable.

If low price is a high priority, we have you covered. Price is a tricky topic when it comes to printers. You need to consider the sticker price and how much ink the printer uses. In our tests, we found that printers differ greatly in how frugally they use ink. Check the Ratings for ink cost per month, maintenance ink use, and cost per text page and photos.

Many all-in-ones have wireless connectivity. That lets you print photos and documents from multiple computers and mobile devices on your home network, whether or not they’re near the printer. Most of these models use the Apple AirPrint feature, which lets you print from iPads, iPhones, and Mac computers without installing drivers or downloading software. Most major brands have free apps for Android devices, and recent phones and tablets can print from their built-in Google Cloud Print service. All of our top picks, featuring models from Brother, Canon, Epson, and HP, have wireless networking. Some have Ethernet jacks.

No matter which printer you buy, be sure it doesn't waste ink.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the September 2014 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

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