Multifunction printer - there are so many! What to buy?

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Posted 24th May 2020
My printer has given up the ghost (a high spec HP envy) and I need a new multifunction one. I have spent days trying to work my way through hundreds of seemingly practically identical models. I’m looking for an all in one with a good scanner, cheapish to run, ideally with a document feeder. Probably A4 but might go for an A3. Needs WiFi / print from iOS. Don’t care about fax. Good looking (hard in a printer I know). Anyone got any recommendations? Ta in advance!
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Epson 245 I was going to say but it’s been replaced by the 2100. It’s not as cheap compatible cartridges As before but I’ve always had good results even with photos I’ve only recently replaced it with a photo printer
Many years ago I was informed that many lazerjet and inkjets had the same engine - Canon and that Canon then licensed the engine to other manufacturers. The licence fee depended which features the manufacture utilised. The old term was "badge technology". My personal printing needs have changed over the years. My next printer will be Canon mono lazer one.
I currently have a Canon TS8000 multifunction printer which scans and prints fine. Note, it and other printers can utilise WIFI Direct which means it neither needs to sit on a network nor needs a printer cable. Many printers can work both in WIFI direct mode and traditional wireless mode making them ideal for iOS in addition to windows, linux and mac environments all at the same time.
Go for one with Duplex printing.
tardytortoise24/05/2020 19:01

Note, it and other printers can utilise WIFI Direct which means it neither …Note, it and other printers can utilise WIFI Direct which means it neither needs to sit on a network nor needs a printer cable. Many printers can work both in WIFI direct mode and traditional wireless mode making them ideal for iOS in addition to windows, linux and mac environments all at the same time.


I doubt many people have a printer that's placed outside their home wi-fi network coverage, so it's a pretty niche feature for a home printer.

A lot of what you get when you go up the range is geared to higher volumes of documents. Faster speeds, bigger ink catridges, more robust construction. The ink cartridge size does mean you can only go so far up the range for inkjets before you find the ink drying up on you because you've been using the same catridge for three years.

How many pages do you print on average per month?

If your current printer still powers on and connects to a PC or the network there's probably a way to check the total page count it's printed. (try sticking the IP it's connected to into a web browser address field, many run their own web server).

On the other hand cheaper printers are reputedly subsidised by ink cartridge costs and are often the most locked down ones in terms of using compatibles.
Having been highly dubious, I'd recommend an HP instant ink printer. Never worry about ink again (they send it automatically), normally loads of deals, and I think they even have a free plan now (i.e. 15 pages a month and you pay nothing) so effectively free printing forever if you're a low user.

I pay £1.99 a month for I think 100 pages, but within that you can print whatever you want e.g. colour photos Etc. Figured at £24 a year it was equiv to what I spent on ink/toner before, without the hassle of tracking down cheap deals and ordering and running out of ink.

Paid about £30 for a very good printer and it came with 12 months unlimited pages free in first place. Not sure the deals are quite as good now, but for convenience and price it's a winner for me (coming from both laser and inkjet printers).
EndlessWaves24/05/2020 19:22

I doubt many people have a printer that's placed outside their home wi-fi …I doubt many people have a printer that's placed outside their home wi-fi network coverage, so it's a pretty niche feature for a home printer. A lot of what you get when you go up the range is geared to higher volumes of documents. Faster speeds, bigger ink catridges, more robust construction. The ink cartridge size does mean you can only go so far up the range for inkjets before you find the ink drying up on you because you've been using the same catridge for three years.How many pages do you print on average per month?If your current printer still powers on and connects to a PC or the network there's probably a way to check the total page count it's printed. (try sticking the IP it's connected to into a web browser address field, many run their own web server). On the other hand cheaper printers are reputedly subsidised by ink cartridge costs and are often the most locked down ones in terms of using compatibles.


I don’t print much at all normally, but will need to much more for the next month or so due to.. well, you know. Hence the sudden need for a replacement. Good point about going up the range and ink drying before it’s used - I’ve had that happen to me several times. Really, need lots of b&w printing now as I can’t go to an office, then occasional but good quality colour printing, but mostly scanning. Ideally I want an A3 now but won’t need it once back to work, but no idea when that will be for me.
Vinegar.Tom24/05/2020 20:00

Ideally I want an A3 now but won’t need it once back to work, but no idea w …Ideally I want an A3 now but won’t need it once back to work, but no idea when that will be for me.


Brother MFC-J5730DW
I've got a Brother MFC-J590DW .The replacement cartridges are very cheap too
I used to have the mfc-j590dw for shy of 5 years, it was great and extremely versatile. However I did find the paper grab was terrible, and it would frequently pick up 3-5 pieces of paper when printing.

I recently upgraded to the mfc-j6530dw, pretty much the same specs as the 590dw but I have found it to be much better with the paper grabs. Best thing about both models is the ink was cross compatible.

In my experience, printers above £100 tend to have significantly cheaper 3rd party cartridges available. In the long run you are better off spending the extra £30-50 buying the printer.

PS. Whenever purchasing any printers, find a model, and before purchasing, research on ink cartridge cost.
EndlessWaves24/05/2020 19:22

I doubt many people have a printer that's placed outside their home wi-fi …I doubt many people have a printer that's placed outside their home wi-fi network coverage, so it's a pretty niche feature for a home printer. A lot of what you get when you go up the range is geared to higher volumes of documents. Faster speeds, bigger ink catridges, more robust construction. The ink cartridge size does mean you can only go so far up the range for inkjets before you find the ink drying up on you because you've been using the same catridge for three years.How many pages do you print on average per month?If your current printer still powers on and connects to a PC or the network there's probably a way to check the total page count it's printed. (try sticking the IP it's connected to into a web browser address field, many run their own web server). On the other hand cheaper printers are reputedly subsidised by ink cartridge costs and are often the most locked down ones in terms of using compatibles.



I now have 3 separate clients over the last 6 months who had network/router issues and had lost/thrown out their printer cable. They needed to print some urgent work. They did not know they had WIFI Direct feature on their printers. I was able to configure that for them so they were able to print until their network/router issues were resolved. Most new wireless printers now have that function, only the very cheap do not. It is a brilliant function, designed for those areas who do not need a router/internet access and dont want to be tethered with a printer cable and who want to print from mobile devices. Even some smart tellies can utilise WIFI Direct. It is also a feature to cover "disaster recovery" situations as mentioned. You would be hard pushed to find a modern printer without the function. Far better, people learn how to configure it before it becomes needed.
WIKI is your friend
en.wikipedia.org/wik…ect
Personally love my HP7740 A3

Important to note whether the scanner has to be A3 or just the print. Lots of A3 printers only have A4 flatness to keep costs down.

Been running mine for 2 years, in the home office and only bought one set of cartridges beyond the installation pack and I've printed thousands of pages, including 80+ borderless A3 photos!

Don't be fooled by compatible ink, the results definitely vary and some show as blocked by HP.

There's a huge page difference between the standard and the XL cartridges for only a few quid more.
tardytortoise25/05/2020 07:34

I now have 3 separate clients over the last 6 months who had …I now have 3 separate clients over the last 6 months who had network/router issues and had lost/thrown out their printer cable. They needed to print some urgent work. They did not know they had WIFI Direct feature on their printers. I was able to configure that for them so they were able to print until their network/router issues were resolved. Most new wireless printers now have that function, only the very cheap do not. It is a brilliant function, designed for those areas who do not need a router/internet access and dont want to be tethered with a printer cable and who want to print from mobile devices. Even some smart tellies can utilise WIFI Direct. It is also a feature to cover "disaster recovery" situations as mentioned. You would be hard pushed to find a modern printer without the function. Far better, people learn how to configure it before it becomes needed.WIKI is your friendhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wi-Fi_Direct


Same here! Its so irritating, i have one client with only 3 printers connected via wifi to 2 computers and its constantly going down! 2 of which are ho envys one is a brother laser. At my own cost i have to keep going out to them to remove drivers and reinstall again. Its l now got to the point where i have decided to hardwire ome each of the 2 inkjet printers to each computer, and ethernet hardwire the laser printer to bith pcs. Biggest nightmare i have had.
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