Brother printers enjoy a solid reputation. Brother wins customer-satisfaction surveys at PCMag.com and Britain's Which? magazine (in fact, Brother has won the PCMag.com survey five years running). It's also the most reliable printer brand in PCMag.com's survey, and runner up at Which? (right behind Canon).
Another plus: Brother printers don't waste ink. If you only print occasionally, you've probably noticed that most inkjet printers practically guzzle half the ink cartridge every time they perform a "head-cleaning cycle" (which they do if the printer has been sitting idle for a while). Brother printers don't guzzle. When ConsumerReports.org ran a real-life-style, occasional printing test (just two or three pages every few days), "only Brother printers were consistently frugal with ink."
The Brother MFC-J870DW (Est. $110) earns the title of best all-in-one printer. This inkjet printer lives up to the Brother reputation, reviews say: It's reliable, and it's an ink miser. It prints, copies, scans and faxes nicely. Text looks very good, photos look just as good as drugstore prints, and graphics look perfectly fine for most uses. Speed is snappy, especially for the price. It even carries a two-year warranty -- twice as long as most all-in-one printers'.
This all-in-one printer is packed with extras, too, including some rare treats you usually won't find even on pricey printers: The Brother MFC-J870DW will print on CDs, and it will print directly from an NFC- (Near Field Communication) enabled phone like the Samsung Galaxy S4 (just touch the phone to the printer to connect). Other features include an auto-duplexer (to print both sides of the page), PictBridge (so you can print photos directly from a camera or USB stick) and AirPrint compatibility (to print directly from your iPhone or iPad), as well as both Ethernet and Wi-Fi networking (to print wirelessly from your computer).
Paper capacity is small, though -- 100 sheets in the main tray, plus a 20-sheet automatic document feeder -- so the Brother MFC-J870DW is best suited for home-office or personal use.
The best laser all-in-one printer, the black-and-white Brother MFC-7360N (Est. $165), pares away the frills but cranks out crisp prints faster, cheaper and just as reliably as the Brother inkjet. It copies, scans and faxes just as beautifully in tests. It holds a lot more paper than the Brother inkjet, too -- 250 pages -- and is much heavier-duty (10,000 pages per month, versus 2,500 for the J870DW).
Customers at Amazon.com rave about the Brother MFC-7360N all-in-one printer. "There isn't a single thing about this printer that I can complain about," writes one. In a leading test, the MFC-7360N prints a speedy 14 pages per minute (versus 9 for the inkjet MFC-J870DW) and is one of the cheapest printers to run (1.9 cents versus 3.4 cents per page).
And since there are no ink nozzles to dry out, the laser 7360N works well for either heavy or intermittent users. There's no auto-duplexer, but you'll find one on the very similar Brother MFC-7460DN (*Est. $225).