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Need a All-in-One Printer? This is the Buyers Guide for You!

Mar 7 2011, 12:55pm CST | by , in Shopping | Shopping Tips

Need a All-in-One Printer? This is the Buyers Guide for You!
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Let me help you figure out what AIO printer you need

If you work from home or just want a printer for your computer that can do more than just print out a page, the multifunction printer is what you want. These printers are able to print form your PC, scan, copy, and some can fax as well. The All-in-One or AIO printers are among the most popular today.

When it comes time to buy a new AIO printer one of the details that many folks overlook when comparing price is how much the replacement inks cost. Many of the printers boast separate ink tanks for better image quality. The catch with that is that each of those separate ink tanks often cost $10 or more each. If you have three different color tanks, that is $30 for a full set of color alone and the black tank often costs more than that.

Many people have realized it can be cheaper to just buy a new printer rather than replace the ink in some instances. Always check the cost of ink before you buy an AIO printer. All of the AIO printers I have seen on the market today are capable of printing high-quality photos in snapshot and larger sizes up to 8 x 10 photos. The images printed by most printers available today rival those you can have printed at a photo lab. Some printers have trays just for photo paper to make it easier to move between normal paper and photo paper and some can print directly on envelopes.

If you print, lots of photos are sure you get an AIO with a dedicated photo paper feeder; it will be worth it to you. Some AIOs today will have large LCD screens to allow you to view photos without using your computer. I think this is a bit of a gimmick feature. I have never printed a photo from the printer without looking at it first on my computer so I can resize it and edit them before printing.

If you work from home or think you may need to fax a document at some point AIOs with fax modems built in are often no more or at least on my minimally more than a AIO lacking fax capability. There are instances, especially if you work from home, when a fax machine will be a great time saver for you. Many of the new AIOs also have wireless networking so that you can print from your laptop without having to connect via USB, this is a fantastic feature and is a must have if you use a notebook unless you want to walk to the printer and plug in each time you print.

Many of the new AIOs will have an app available that lets them print email and pages from your smartphone too. This is one of the only ways you can easily print from devices like the iPhone or iPad so if you use your Apple gear or other devices for email a lot this is a feature worth paying for.

One of the more popular AIO printers is the Canon Pixma MX870 AIO with wireless connectivity built-in. The printer can be had for about $135. The ink isn't exactly cheap for the printer with the four pack of color cartridges for $43 and the black going for about $37 for three cartridges. This AIO also has a fax modem and auto duplexing that lets it print front and back to save you some money on paper.

If you want an AIO, but need something significantly under $100 the Canon Pixma MP495 might be perfect for you. This little AIO is under $50 new, but you do give up some features to get that low price. The ink is all in one cartridge for color. The downside there is that if you run out of cyan printing photos and have other colors left you will need to replace the entire cartridge. The upside is that a color cartridge is $27 and a black is $19.49. Surprisingly for the price, this AIO has WiFi and can print from smartphones. It scans as well, but lacks fax capability.

If you have a small office or print lots of pages at home, an ink jet AIO might not be the AIO for you. You may be more suited to a laser multifunction device. That is assuming you can do without color prints and photos. Laser printers are more for printing lots of documents. The Brother MFC-7840W has both WiFi and Ethernet connectivity with a price of about $225. This AIO can print at 23 pages per minute and scans, copies, and faxes as well. It also has a 35 page document feeder.

Epson is one of the biggest names in printers and the Work Force 635 is an ink jet AIO aimed more at the small office than the consumer. This AIO sells for about $200 and the ink is $25 for black and $44 for the three color tanks. It can print double sided pages and has integrated WiFi connectivity. It scans and can print from your mobile device with a free app. It has a small LCD and can fax documents.

Kodak is one of the newer names in AIO printers and I like these AIOs more than any other today. I use an older Kodak EasyShare 5500 printer and the thing I like most about it is cheap ink. This Kodak ESP 7250 is a newer and more feature packed offering from Kodak. The black and color ink combo pack is only $22 online, the black cartridge alone is $14.95, and an individual color tank is a bit under $20. That is the cheapest inks you will find and the Kodak printers are able to print excellent images too. It has WiFi, can print from your mobile devices, and prints on both sides of a page. This printer does lack fax capability though.

If you want an AIO just in case, but your main concern is high-quality photos the Epson Artisan 835 AIO might be just what you need. This printer sells for right under $200 and what Epson claims makes the images higher quality than other offerings is the addition of two more colors of ink. Most printers get three color inks used to make a single print and the Artisan uses five colors. The downside is that the inks for this printer cost more at $56 per set and the black sells for $15 per tank. The printer has a 7.8-inch screen, can fax, copy, and scan. It also has WiFi and wired networking capability.

These are some of the better AIO printers on the market. Decide what features are key for you and how much you want to spend on ink and buy the printer your budget allows. All of the offerings on this list are great with some focusing on one feature or another. Happy shopping!

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