What kind of printing do you intend to do? If you plan to print large volumes of black-and-white text, experts say a monochrome laser all-in-one printer is your best bet. If you want to print photos or color graphics, however, you'll get better results from an inkjet all-in-one printer -- especially one with more than four ink colors. Color laser printers can deliver pro-quality graphics without the inkjet hassles, but they're not great for photos.
How much desk space do you have? All-in-one printers take up more desk real estate than regular inkjet printers (though the difference between the two is shrinking). However, they still use much less desk space than separate devices would. Be sure to also consider things like automatic document feeders and needed clearances for trays and output if things are tight.
How will you be hooking up your all-in-one printer? Every multifunction printer in this report works both wirelessly (over your Wi-Fi network) or wired (with Ethernet or USB cables). Most can print directly from your phone or tablet, as well as from your computer. Some can print directly from cloud-based sites like Google Drive and Dropbox.
Do you need high-capacity paper trays? If you do a high volume of printing, you should get a printer with high-capacity input and output trays or drawers to save yourself from constantly reloading paper. Some manufacturers sell high-capacity paper trays as an option for certain multifunction printers.
Do you need duplex printing? This is a time-saving convenience that allows automatic printing on both sides of a sheet of paper. Duplexing, though essential in a busy office, may not be worth the additional expense to home users, who can do it manually by printing odd pages first, then flipping the stack over and printing even pages.
What type of copying and scanning features do you need? If you plan to copy multipage documents on a regular basis, an automatic document feeder (ADF) is a must. If you'll need to scan frequently, one-button scanning is a useful feature. With this feature, you place an item on the scanner and push a button, and the scan is saved to your computer. Most all-in-one printers include scanners that are good enough for general-purpose use, but for ultra-high-quality photo scans, you may require a separate scanner.
Elsewhere in this report: