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Multifunction and basic printer reviews

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Last updated: 20 June 2018

We test and review the latest basic and multifunction printers to help you find the best one for you. Our printer buying guide will help you work out what kind of printer and features you need, and how we test explains the rigour behind our results.

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Our review covers basic, or standard, printers (inkjet and laser in both colour and mono) that just print, and multi-function printers (MFPs) that have inbuilt scanning/copying functions. 

Our expert testers give every printer a thorough workout to help you:

  • check how the top brands compare on price, printing speed and quality
  • estimate your annual running costs, including ink and toner purchases*
  • find models that deliver the best-quality prints.

Our interactive comparison tool helps you find which standard printers and MFPs have features such as being able to print via Wi-Fi, near field communication (NFC) and AirPrint, and from a desktop computer, laptop or mobile device. Our Recommended list will quickly show you which models come out on top.

To include discontinued products in your search, select the 'Discontinued' filter under 'Related products'.

*Annual running cost based on the latest ink cartridge prices provided by printzone.com.au

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Brand

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List of brands we tested in this review.

Price

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Prices are recommended retail, as provided by the manufacturer. When this information is not available the price is taken from an average from major bricks and mortar retailers. In either case you should be able to do better by shopping around.

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Model type

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MFP = Multi-function printer Standard = inkjet and laser (mono/colour) printers 

Printer type

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Laser printers include mono and colour options.

Maximum paper size

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Most printers can print at sizes up to A4 (21.0 x 29.7cm), but some of the larger printers support A3 (29.7 x 42.0cm) printing.

Annual ink/toner cost

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Toner life is determined by running the printers almost continuously, printing as many text, spreadsheet and photo pages as possible from three sets of cartridges. This information is used to calculate cost per page and long-term running costs (based on our average use scenario of 1000 mono prints, 250 colour document prints and 250 full-colour photo prints over the course of a year). Based on the latest ink cartridge prices provided by printzone.com.au.

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Features

Near field communication (NFC)

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Enables wireless connectivity with nearby devices.

Can print both sides

Can print emailed items

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Internet printing is done by sending pictures to an email address configured through the manufacturer's website, the printer's own built-in web-page or Google's Cloud Print. Typically, this makes it possible to print from a phone or tablet without going through a computer, just by emailing the file to the address given.

Wi-Fi

Print from mobile devices over Wi-Fi

AirPrint

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Print directly from an Apple device. The simplest way is to buy an AirPrint-enabled printer, which will give you direct printing without a computer. You can check AirPrint Basics on the Apple website for more information and a list of supported printers. However, many printers can be connected to wirelessly using OS X's USB printer sharing feature. You'll need to have the printer connected to a desktop computer via USB and share it over your local network.

Ethernet

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Most modern printers will come with a USB port – and the necessary cables – for direct connection to a computer. Some may also have an ethernet port for joining a wired network, which can be located away from your work desk, helping to save on space.

USB connection

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Most modern printers will come with a USB port – and the necessary cables – for direct connection to a computer. Some may also have an ethernet port for joining a wired network, which can be located away from your work desk, helping to save on space.

Auto feeder for scan or copy

4x6 photo tray

Has separate cartridges for each colour

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Colour cartridges can be replaced separately.

Test results

Printing quality score

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Printing quality is assessed by a panel of experts looking at a typical black-and-white letter (15%), an 8x10-inch high quality photo (40%), a colour spreadsheet (15%) and a colour document with a mixture of graphics and text (20%). This is representative of the most common printing habits. Moisture resistance is also measured (10%) by seeing if text smears when using a highlighter pen on it and if ink would run or bleed by dripping water on a day-old photo print.

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Scanning score

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Scanning and copying are assessed by scanning and copying a magazine page, an 8x10-inch colour photo and scanning a 3D object.

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Number of text pages from a set of cartridges

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Number of graphics pages from a set of cartridges

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Included in this review

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  • Overall score
  • Recommended
  • Printing quality score
  • Printing speed score
  • Scanning score
  • Copying score
  • Ease of use score
  • Networking score
  • Ink cost score
  • Power consumption score
  • Toner cost per text page
  • Toner cost per graphics page
  • Toner cost per photo page
  • Annual ink/toner cost
  • Total cost first year
  • Excess ink usage for cleaning etc
  • Total cost over 3 years
  • Time from power on to start printing (s)
  • Number of text pages from a set of cartridges
  • Number of graphics pages from a set of cartridges
  • Number of photos from a set of cartridges
  • Noise assessment
  • Good points
  • Bad points
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Availability
  • Price
  • Model type
  • Printer type
  • Dimensions H x W x D (cm)
  • Claimed printing speed colour (ppm)
  • Claimed printing speed mono (ppm)
  • Stated life of laser drum (pages)
  • Input paper capacity main tray/multipurpose tray (A4 sheets)
  • Maximum paper size
  • Minimum paper size
  • 4x6 photo tray
  • Borderless printing A4
  • Borderless printing 4x6 photo
  • Print on CD/DVD
  • Print on transparent film
  • Can print both sides
  • Auto feeder for scan or copy
  • Feeder can auto-duplex
  • Scan for each copy
  • Fax without PC
  • Number of cartridges required to load printer
  • Cartridge format
  • Has separate cartridges for each colour
  • Cartridge has built-in printhead
  • Must swap cartridge for photo printing
  • Ethernet
  • Wi-Fi
  • USB connection
  • Near field communication (NFC)
  • Print from mobile devices over Wi-Fi
  • Can print emailed items
  • AirPrint
  • Print through Google Cloud Print
  • Memory card support
  • Has memory card (DPP)
  • Windows 8/10 compatible
  • Linux
  • Mac OS
  • LCD type (colour/mono/touch)
  • LCD size W x H (mm)
  • Preview screen
  • Photo editing or organising software
  • Eco setting
  • Website
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