Our Top Pick for 2018: HP OfficeJet Pro 8620 All-in-One Color Inkjet Printer
Read our full review.
There was a time when printing was a simple affair; you utilized an inkjet machine to print your documents or images and for more in-depth, varied jobs you utilized a separate fax machine, scanner, or copier to complete your task. Unfortunately, these required bulky machines that took up a lot of space. Today, with the invention of the all-in-one printer, you can accomplish all of these tasks, almost at once. With the advent of this jack-of-all-trades technology, many printer manufacturers have created multiple variations of the all-in-one, these include, but aren’t limited to, manufacturers such as Hewlett Packard, Brother, Canon, and Epson. To navigate the world of the all-in-one is not an easy prospect, as a true quality product can be elusive. Fortunately, and for your edification, we’ve rounded up some of the best all-in-one printers that are available on the market today, and we’ve also found a great budget pick that’s excellent quality and won’t break the bank.
#1. HP OfficeJet Pro 8620 All-in-One Color Inkjet Printer
Our Gold Pick all-in-one printer, like all Gold Picks, is a device that is beloved by both consumer and critical groups. The HP Officejet Pro 8620 has a rich feature set that sets it apart from the majority of its competitors and continues an ongoing legacy of quality. Manufactured by Hewlett Packard, a company that has made an auspicious name for itself in the realm of computing and printing, this machine provides all of the functionality that you need from an all-in-one printer and does so without costing an arm and a leg to own.
The first thing that you might notice about this all-in-one printer is the top loading paper feeder. This type of functionality is perfect in an office environment where you have to make quick copies or quickly load a source sheet in for a scan. From a size point of view, this is a very large printer, so if you’re planning on fitting this into a small corner, you might want to find a more spacious home for this all-in-one. Its dimensions are: 19.7 inches in width, 12.4 inches in height, and 18.5 inches in depth. Also, moving this all-in-one isn’t much of a hassle, as it weighs a relatively light 28.9 pounds.
Insofar as control scheme, this all-in-one has a lot going for it. Positioned along the front of the device is a 4.3 inch touch screen display. From this color display, several options are available: copy, fax, scan, and apps are available on the first screen.
Copy – This effects copy settings and starts the process of copying.
Fax – This allows you to input the receivers fax number.
Scan – Controls the scanner features and settings. This also includes many options like the choice to scan to your computer, your thumb drive, your network folder, or directly to your email.
Apps – Allows you to access the bevy of applications that Hewlett Packard has released to support their growing line of connected printers
If you swipe left from this initial screen, another three options are made available that control your photo printing settings, the printer’s general settings, and a discover functionality that helps you with some of the printer’s finer settings. Along the bottom of these tabs are more details that will inform you about the printer’s Wi-Fi connection level, ink level, and loaded paper.
A particularly strong feature of this printer is its speedy print rate; the Officejet Pro 8620 can print up to 21 pages per minute in black-and-white and up to 16.5 pages per minute under base color settings. This speediness is perfect for quickly printing out presentations and documentation while under time constraints. HP also was sure to include a bevy of compatible paper sizes that range from standard 8.5” x 11” to photo paper-sized.
The attached paper tray can accommodate about 250 sheets of standard sized paper, which isn’t a lot for an office-styled machine, yet is still respectable. An excellent feature of this machine is that HP included an installable duplexer. Simply install the duplexer in the back of the printer and you can print double sided documents; in other words, the page will pass through the machine and print normally, then feed back into the all-in-one and pass out of the rear of the machine and print again on the reverse side of the page.
When it comes to extra features, this printer has quite a few. The most prominent of these is the NFC support that HP baked into the device itself. To connect quickly to your Smartphone or tablet, simply touch the NFC-capable device to the front panel of the printer that sports the phone diagram. Once you do this, the two devices will be wirelessly connected and you’ll be able to print your photos and documents by way of the HP application.
Another set of useful features is the ability to print from a USB drive or send emails directly from the all-in-one. These types of office-friendly options really help to add a degree of usefulness to the printer; we’ve all had the experience of running to and from our computers to make printing adjustments at work, these two features will help curtail all of the running back and forth.
78 percent of the users on Amazon have felt that this all-in-on printer is worth at least four stars in rating quality. This is out of 1,206 reviews, so this is a very good approval rating from the purchasing audience on the site. Here is a five star review that summarizes the overall consensus about our Gold Pick choice:
“I have absolutely nothing but praise for this wonderful printer! To start with, setup was truly a breeze. It went completely without a hitch, helped along by the touch screen showing little videos once it was plugged in! Setting it up to work with our network was very easy, also. The print quality is excellent. It prints fast, clearly and with great colors.”
#2. Canon PIXMA MX922 Wireless Office All-In-One Printer
Our Silver Pick is from Japanese imaging and optical products giant, Canon. The company began in 1934 and started its history producing cameras that pushed the limits of the available technologies. The most famous camera from this early period was their iconic Kwanon camera that would serve as the benchmark of quality that all future Canon devices would be judge by. As times progressed, Canon began to diversify their business model until they developed some of the first laser printers to hit the market. Today, the company is one of the most successful producers of print technology in the world.
The PIXMA MX922 all-in-one printer incorporates Canon’s historical desire to provide crystal-clear images into the form factor of an office-ready machine. From a design point of view, this printer is unique. It has a somewhat hexagonal design that has a forward facing front paper tray that has a two toned front paneling face that beautifully blends black into an almost wood-toned light brown. With its beveled, curved edges, this printer utilizes the design aesthetic that Canon has become famous for over the years. This unique design also enables you to store this machine fairly easily in home or office. Its measurements are also decently compact; 15.6 inches in depth, 19.4 inches in width, and 9.1 inches in height. The whole device weighs a relatively light 25.7 pounds.
Canon clearly has intended this printer to be friendly to those who want to print on-the-go. Not only is this printer mobile friendly, but it can also wirelessly print from the cloud through the Google Cloud Printing service. Canon furthers this forward thinking functionality by incorporating their Canon Easy-PhotoPrint app into the all-in-one printer functionality. This allows users who have Android or iOS devices to utilize their devices to quickly print their pictures directly from their camera roll. If you prefer to print directly through your Canon camera, this software has great interactivity with their brand of cameras as well.
Like our Gold Pick, this all-in-one loads paper for scanning and copying through an input located at the top of the device. For those who like to scan or copy more than a few different pages, this printer also features auto document feeding (ADF), which will allow you to not have to engage in the tedious activity of constantly opening and closing the scanner bed when loading a document for processing. With the ADF, you can feed up to 35 documents at a time.
The interface is very easy to use. There is a LCD screen in the center of the machine that will let you adjust minute settings as well as a set of four physical buttons that will help you cycle through the all-in-on functionality of the device.
Color and high resolution imagery has long been the hallmark of Canon products. This Pixma all-in-one achieves a great level of color and clarity, while also saving you a bit of money on replacement ink. It does this by utilizing two separate black ink cartridges. The first one, simply labeled BLK, will primarily be used to add darkening elements to the printouts you create. The second black cartridge, entitled PGBLK is primarily used for black and white text-only documents. In the long run, this will save your black ink levels; as you won’t be taxing your document ink by creating color pages.
Many reviewers on Amazon were pleasantly surprised by this printer; a full 79 percent of an astounding 7,352 reviews reflected that this all-in-one is worthy of at least a four star rating. Most seem to feel that this is workhorse of a printer and that it’s perfect for printing color images. Here is one testimonial:
“When I saw this Canon on sale I decided it was time for a change. It was a great move on my part as this printer delivers all that it advertises and more. The print quality is superb and for a home inkjet printer it is reasonably quiet.”
#3. Brother WorkSmart MFC-J880DW Compact All-in-One Inkjet Printer
Our Bronze Pick is produced by one of the oldest electronics manufacturers on our list: Brother Industries. Beginning in 1908 in Nagoya Japan, Brother started out as a producer of sewing machines and sewing machine accessories. As their business model diversified over the next century, the company eventually began to be known for its quality printing solutions. The Brother WorkSmart series utilizes some industry mainstay features to deliver a quality printing experience.
The design of this printer is fairly simply. It is shaped as a squat rectangle that will fit in well in almost any alcove or on any desk. The form factor itself is definitely reminiscent of many of the printers that HP has become known for in recent years, and this might be a concession to their office-ready design philosophy.
Heightened connectivity is also a clear design philosophy that Brother incorporated into this all-in-one. You can print from a myriad of sources including, Google Cloud Print, AirPrint, Mopria, Brother iPrint & Scan, and Wi-Fi connect. This large amount of mobile friendly print options really makes this the perfect printer to print documents and decks quickly from your phone or tablet. Further beyond this functionality is the included NFC tab, which will allow you to print wirelessly through point of contact connectivity technology. This will let you print from or even scan directly to your mobile device.
This printer features a 2.7 inch touchscreen interface that contains the majority of the printer’s functionality. While many of these are the standard buttons and settings that you find on many multifunction machines of this type, some are relatively unique. The feature that stands out most is the accessibility this machine has for cloud-based services. Included with the printer is functionality for Microsoft’s OneNote, OneDrive, Box, Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, and even social apps like Facebook and Picassa. This degree of connectivity makes this printer even less tethered to the computer-to-printer functionality that has been standard for decades. Simply put, now you can print your needed documents directly from the printer itself.
Loading up cartridges is also done in a fairly unique way; rather than presenting each cartridge on rails like in most all-in-ones, the Worksmart uses a stationary ink system that’s positioned at the bottom right of the machine. Simply, fold the tab and slide one of the four ink cartridges out of the housing. Also, this printer features automatic duplex printing that prints easily on both sides of the page. Some times it can be hard to find the right ink replacement, you can use this resource to help Brother ink cartridge replacements.
A full 77 percent of the reviewing audience on Amazon has granted this all-in-one a positive rating of four or five stars. The general consensus is that this printer does everything that you need in an efficient way without the risk of paper jams or difficult connectivity.
“Small footprint, very simple to install on my network. Print quality is excellent. Print speed is adequate. Paper supply only holds 100 sheets. The automatic document feeder is reliable. Fairly quiet. Ink cost seems significantly lower than all the competition. Can print from all our mobile devices. If you need a printer for home, dorm, or maybe even a small business, take a close look at this Brother unit.”
#4. HP OfficeJet 4650 All-in-One Color Inkjet Photo Printer
Our budget pick is another device from the industry leaders at Hewlett Packard. Clearly designed to be svelte and unassuming, this small all-in-one printer is perfect for homes or offices that don’t have an overabundance of space. While it doesn’t print high volumes of pages, this is definitely a great printer for its very reasonable price point.
Its design is the most unique-looking of all the printers reviewed here, with a rectangular shape that is rounded somewhat on the top section as well as an almost mouth-like output tray that also features a rather cool output tray that is motorized to fold outward when needed.
This all-in-one has all of the connectivity that you’d expect from a modern printer. From the monochrome LCD you can access your devices wirelessly, or you can print from any Smartphone and connect to documents on the cloud. One of the best features that Hewlett Packard included in the design of this printer is the potential to sign up to HP’s instant ink service. If you are signed up to one of their plan structures, when you run low on ink, your printer will automatically order more, this way you’ll never be caught flat-footed and inkless when you need to print an important document.
This printer is well-received on Amazon. Of the 174 reviews, 83 percent of the testimonials there are of a positive four or five star rating level. One of the five star testimonials summed up the overall positive experience concisely:
“Fits nicely on my smaller home desk. Set up was fast, easy and dummy proof. We only use it for random home and school stuff so it's been perfect. Paying $3 a month for the ink is a no brainer and no I didn't feel pressured into it.”
Of the current crop of printers, almost all are connectable through a standard USB. This type of connection assures that you’ll have fast communications from your computer to your all-in-one, but what if you want to connect multiple machines to your printer? This is where printers that utilize a Wi-Fi connection come in. These types of printers will allow multiple machines and even Smartphones to access the printer’s key functionalities. As a matter of fact, in some cases, you’ll be able to print from miles away by simply utilizing the internet and the printer’s included software. This enhanced capability increases the versatility of your all-in-one and makes the process of getting your documents and images a much smoother one. When looking for a new all-in-one, be sure that it has all of the connection options that you need to simplify the printing process.
Dependent on the intended usage of the printer, high color quality can be something that you can either live without, or is something that is a deal maker or deal breaker. If you intend to purchase an all-on-one printer that will simply print, copy, and scan monochrome documents, then you might want to purchase an all-in-one laser printer. This kind can accomplish all of its functions in a relatively short amount of time. On the other hand, if you need a printer that will consistently print PDFs, PowerPoint decks, or personal or professional photos, you’ll find that a laser printer that prints in black and white is wholly unequal to your intended tasks. In this case, you might want to purchase an all-in-one printer that has photo-level color options. This type of printer will produce color presentations that are vivid, web-pages that look as great on paper as they do on the screen and absolutely breathtaking photos.
Unfortunately, some all-in-one manufacturers produce printers that are designed to not last forever. This lacking build quality helps the manufacturer to make a return on their investment and also is a primary annoyance among consumers. A good rule of thumb when searching for a reliable, long-lasting all-in-one is to check user testimonials of all-in-one printers on consumer sites or read professional reviews like this one. Doing so will ensure that the printer option that you select will be a device that you can rely on for years to come.
Ease of Ink Replacement
Ink can be expensive. Many times when looking for ink directly from the manufacturer, you’ll find that you’ll be spending upward of $30 just for a single color of photo-quality ink. This expenditure adds a hidden cost to the whole experience of owning a all-in-one ink-based printer. Luckily, if you’re willing to chance it, there are many ink options available to the standard consumer. These include:
Online – While this may seem like an obvious choice to some, many don’t know about this simple solution. Physical retailers sometimes mark up ink drastically; adding more than five dollars or more to each item. To avoid this, search for your ink replacements online, you’ll find that you’ll be able to get the same ink at near cost.
Off Brand – This is a solution that is somewhat controversial. Companies that manufacture these types of devices oftentimes manufacture them at a financial loss that they recoup buy selling their ink at a higher price. To avoid this, you can simply buy off-brand inks at a fraction of the cost. There is one caveat: some manufacturers have ink connection software that will instantly recognize that an ink cartridge is from an off-brand manufacturer and will thusly notify you every time you attempt to print with that ink.
Ink Refilling – This option is something that began to pop up in malls in the last decade, and is another solution that isn’t necessarily supported by the all-in-one printing manufacturers. This involves purchasing a ink-refill “kit” that allows you to manually poke a hole into your ink cartridge (usually in the area occupied by the label) and use a syringe to inject more ink.
Digital Picture Quality
If you are an avid Smartphone photo taker, then a dedicated photo producing all-in-one might be a smart purchase for you to make. In most cases, color printers utilize a standard system to produce colors in the visible spectrum. This system uses four specific colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CYMK). For a more realistic photo experience, some printers use a wider selection of colors in order to capture the many shaded hues that you see in everyday life. The specific processes used in the printing of these vivid images are also more specialized with these types of photo-friendly all-in-ones. These type use sublimation to color your picture; this involves numerous passes that set layer on top of layer of color and finishes the image with a clear protective coat. When coupled with quality photo paper, your pictures will be of the highest caliber color and sharpness.
Conclusion (Wrapping it up)
In a world of increased connectivity, it’s great to have a fully-functional all-in-one printer that can perform adequately as a copier, scanner, and printer as well as provide access to your mobile devices’ cache of files and media. As printers become more versatile, it’s good to have a guide that will present you with all that the current crop of devices has to offer. Take a look at the list of great machines that we’ve compiled and utilize our pre-purchase considerations to help you decide upon the device that will fit your personal or professional needs.