Multifunction Printers | The best of January 2021

Multifunction Printers | The best of January 2021
Multifunction printers have now become an essential element of our daily life. After all, they have always represented something more than a simple computer peripheral. In addition, with smart working now becoming an increasingly concrete reality, these devices have become increasingly important, so much so that home printers are now rivaling office ones.

In this guide to the best printers multifunction market let's analyze the offer of the numerous manufacturers who over time have created a real ocean of machines in which it is difficult to navigate. We will therefore try not only to recommend the best printer between the jet or laser printers but also to explain to you which are the features to focus on according to your printing needs.

How to choose the multifunction printer

First of all, all the printers in our guide are multifunctional. We made this choice because the "simple" printers are now outdated and, above all, the price range with multifunctional devices has now become extremely narrow. In a nutshell, more or less with the same figures or a little more, you take home a product that can also scan and photocopy documents. A nice advantage in daily use and that saves time and extra expenses.

Secondly, before choosing a printer it is good to understand what type of printer you need based on both the number of prints monthly, both as needed for color prints. So let's see a brief summary of the 3 types of printers on the market:

with single cartridges - they cost more on average but are more reliable in the long run, as they tend not to "dry out" the ink, therefore they are ideal for those who make few prints during the month (less than a thousand ); ink jet - cheaper but more subject to the phenomenon of nozzles that "dry out", making them ideal for those who usually make a lot of prints during the month; laser - the fastest and with a better optimization between ink (toner, in this case) and number of printed pages. They cost more on average, so they are aimed at the most demanding public. Once you have chosen the type of printer that best suits your needs, you should also consider the following characteristics in order to have a fully functional product.

Print resolution and speed

Print resolution it is a value that is calculated in DPI (dots per inch) and that is calculated on the basis of two characteristics: the basic print resolution and the increased resolution that the printer is able to generate thanks to the internal image enhancement software. On this front the printer RAM is very important which, just like the RAM of computers, regulates the speed of the machine and allows better prints at a higher speed (in laser printers the RAM is always expandable just like in PCs). Printer speeds are calculated in images per minute (ipm) or pages per minute (ppm). If you need speed, we therefore recommend a product that is at least 15 ipm.

Connectivity, display and compatibility

With the advancement of technology, the Wi-Fi connection has become very important for a printer as for any other technological product. Almost all multifunction printers on the market now have integrated Wi-Fi but only the higher-end ones support Wi-Fi Direct. This particular technology allows you to connect a control device directly to the printer without going through the PC and create an infrastructure for use. In practice it is possible to control the printer remotely with compatible mobile operating systems such as Android or iOS, directly from the smartphone.

Another good method to get rid of the "chains" imposed by the PC is to choose a printer with a display. If you are used to printing often and do not want to turn on the PC every time, you can in fact independently manage each print function from the integrated display. This, preferably touch screen, is not available on entry-level multifunction printers but with a few euros more it is able to guarantee you unparalleled convenience.

As for compatibility, on the other hand, practically all printers on the market can be connected to Windows and macOS. In some cases there are third-party software that allow connection even where it is not possible, but to avoid problems we do not recommend this type of solution. In fact, in the guide we have chosen all printers genuinely compatible with the aforementioned systems.

Paper formats

A peculiar feature that should not be underestimated and which mainly depends on the printing needs. All printers on the market print in A4, the classic format of traditional paper. However, if you need to print in A3 or other formats, you must focus on specific and multi-format printers that also allow you to check the weight (consistency) of the paper or set automatic duplexing. This function is particularly useful because it allows you not to reposition the sheets and takes care of the entire printing in a single cycle.

Maintenance and cartridges

Two characteristics that go hand in hand and are often the cross and delight of any printer. In fact, before purchasing any multifunction printer, it is good to inquire about the cost of cartridges and toner because sometimes, by choosing an inexpensive printer, they could cost more than the printer itself. Today there are also many compatible solutions that make up for the high prices of original cartridges and toners and so choose a printer of well-known brands so as to be sure to find compatible cartridges or toners.

If you don't want to waste time on the printer maintenance is also good to make sure products are totally plug and play from the insertion of the sheets to those of the cartridges and toner. Finally, do not underestimate the noise of the product either: cheaper multifunction printers tend to be noisier than higher-end printers, a feature that if you print a few sheets a month does not weigh on the overall budget of the product, but that using the printer for several hours a day could shift your choice to other products.

Taking all these features into consideration, we have divided our guide into 6 categories that will help you find the right product for you right away:

The best for those who print a lot but want to spend little (ink jet); The best for those who print little and want to spend little (single cartridges); The best for those who print a lot and have no budget limits (inkjet); The best for those who print little but have no budget limits (single cartridges); The best monochrome laser for quality / price ratio The best color laser A main model is selected for each category, which is the one that, when updating the guide, we consider the benchmark in the segment in question.

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