Control The Best AllinOne Printers ComputerShoppercom

“Something big happened to home and small-office printers in the last few years: They reached a point where it no longer made much sense, most of the time, to buy one that wasn’t an all-in-one (AIO) model.
Also known as multifunction printers, AIO printers can scan documents and make copies; in the case of business-oriented models, some also support old-school phone-line faxing. AIOs have been phenomenally popular sellers, and the price grappling among the four or five major makers has been so intense that inexpensive printers that “only” print have been pushed to the sideu2014especially among inkjets.
We don’t mean to talk down laser-based AIOs, but inkjets are where you’ll find today’s best AIO printer values for budget-strapped offices and home offices. Even under-$100 color inkjet models nowadays can scan and fax, and so long as you have the living space or work space to dedicate to one, an AIO is where to start looking with any budget-printer purchase. Plus, the wave of business-oriented inkjet AIOs over the last several yearsu2014notably, from Canon, Epson, HP, and Brotheru2014has brought about a major shift in the fortunes of the inkjet. Now, it can compete for the affections of IT folks and small-business owners alike as a viable alternative for workgroups.
Inkjet or Laser?
The right technology for you to choose, thoughu2014inkjet or laseru2014is really a function of the kind of printing you intend to do, and your budget. The very cheapest AIO printers are inkjets, and the least-expensive laser AIOs will print in black-and-white only.
A laser-based wi
er: Canon’s ImageClass MF249dw
A good rule of thumb to follow: If quality photo printing matters to you at all, an inkjet-based AIO is the only way to go; if photo printing doesn’t matter much, and most of your output is reams of monochrome business documents or drafts, a laser model is worth considering, as it may save you plenty of bucks on operating costs over the long run.
Color laser AIOs are also viable options, and some models are capable of high-quality non-photo-centric color output, for things like business presentations and text-heavy brochures. But note that they start around $300, and they also tend to be larger and heavier than equivalent-functionality inkjet models.
Print-Tech Advancements: It’s Mostly Been Inkjet
The biggest X-factor that we’ve seen emerge in recent years in the inkjet-vs.-laser debate was brought on in 2013 by HP, which debuted printers employing its PageWide technology. PageWide printers are inkjets, but they employ a stationary array of printing nozzles, which lets them print at high speeds reminiscent of a top-notch laser. They’re meant for businessesu2014not consumers, reallyu2014but they are a compelling alternative to color lasers for heavy-printing workgroups, a market segment once completely owned by high-volume laser printers. Some of our favorite AIOs for some time now have indeed been PageWide machines, with the new flagship of HP’s line being the HP PageWide Pro MFP 577dw.
HP PageWide Pro 477dw
Epson, meanwhile, in recent years rolled out its PrecisionCore technology, a new design for its inkjet heads, that while quite a different approach brings some similar efficiencies. It has enabled Epson to churn out some stellar business AIOs, notably the 5-star Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4630 All-in-One. We haven’t seen a whole lot of equivalent baseline i
ovation from laser printers in recent years, with the possible exception of HP’s laser-toner reformulations that allow for faster printer warmups thanks to lower toner melting points.
Another fast-developing trend in inkjet AIOs, though, has been the idea of bulk ink, as well as direct-by-mail ink. All of the major inkjet makers are now toying with different means of selling you bulk ink supplies up front, bundled with certain AIO models, or automating the provision of ink. The idea is to lock in more profit outright by selling you more ink when you buy the printer, or by turning ink into a subscription-style service.
With Epson, the bulk-ink approach is called EcoTank, in which you buy a given EcoTank inkjet model bundled with enough ink to last a typical user months or years. Depending on the model, the ink may be in bottles that you drain into onboard ink reservoirs; in other EcoTank units, the ink is in foil “saddlebags” that resemble big bags of juice. (Just don’t stick a straw in them.)”

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