When buying a multifunction printer, there are a few things to consider, as the comparison test shows. Because not only the print quality can differ: Are you looking for a device with laser or ink, should the multifunction printer not only be able to scan but also fax? We present our four recommendations from the test in more detail here, name the advantages and disadvantages of the two types of printer and explain our test procedure in more detail.
Multifunction printer test: The recommendations
Sometimes, even with the increasing digitization of everyday (office) life, it is unavoidable to put an e-mail or a document on paper in traditional physical form. In order not to have to regularly walk down the street to the copy shop, many people buy their own printer for private use or for the office. However, anyone who has ever been spoiled for choice knows that there are a few aspects to consider when buying a printer. The question arises as to the basic mode of operation of the device: inkjet or laser printing technology.
Even after this decision, there are many other points. These include, for example, the desired functions such as copying or faxing, emissions generated by the printer or, of course, the price. The latter can, depending on the type of printer and the functions offered, eventually move into a price range beyond the 500 euro mark. But our two price tips impressively prove that good models are also available for significantly less money in both the ink and laser printing segments.
You will find all of the tested models clearly arranged in our leaderboards for ink and laser multifunction printers . You can see an overview of the respective top model and our price tips here. Then read more detailed information on the advantages and possible disadvantages of our recommendations. If you are looking for general information on buying a multifunction printer and an illustration of the most important differences between ink and laser printers, you will also find what you are looking for in the lower part of this article.
Can't find the right product for you in our recommendations? Then try out our personal step-by-step advisor to find the right multifunction printer for you.
1. Epson Workforce Pro WF-C5710DWF
The ink printer test winner from Japan impressed in all categories in the test. A strong quality, the outstandingly high printing speed and a strong equipment make it deservedly number one.
Epson Workforce Pro WF-C5710DWF Pros:
- Fair price per page
- Very good print quality
- High printing speed
Epson Workforce Pro WF-C5710DWF Cons:
- Weaknesses in photos and copies
The leader of our ink multifunction device leaderboard comes from Japan and goes by the name Epson Workforce Pro WF-C5710DWF. With an outstanding print speed and still excellent print quality, the multifunction printer made it to first place. In the test, the print quality weakened somewhat when printing photos, but pure text pages always looked very good.
The Workforce Pro doesn't need any longer than the competition for this, but can assert itself with a very good 14.6 pages per minute. As a multifunctional device, the copier function should of course not be missing here and the fast operation from just nine seconds of copying time is particularly noticeable here.
In addition, the Epson Workforce Pro WF-C5710DWF printer has a network and WLAN interface as well as AirPrint and Wi-Fi direct, which means that several people can access the device at the same time via PC, smartphone and Co. A scan function, an integrated fax machine and a duplex unit also feature in our ink recommendation.
The printing costs are of course not insignificant for the purchase, which is pleasantly limited at around 1.2 cents in black and white and 3.4 cents in color. Overall, the Epson Workforce Pro WF-C5710DWF was the only ink multifunction printer to receive the grade “very good” in the test.
2. Xerox Workcentre 6515DN
As the best laser printer in the test, the Workcentre impressed with its outstanding print quality, top equipment and high speed. However, the high printing costs can be a problem.
Workcentre 6515DN Pros:
- Brisk work pace
- Very good print quality
- Extensive equipment
Workcentre 6515DN Cons:
- Printing costs a little too high
The best laser multifunction printer we tested offers not only a strong printing performance, but also an excellent price-performance ratio. The Workcentre 6515DN from the American manufacturer Xerox secured first place on our laser printer best list with an almost perfect print quality and high printing speed.
Even with a resolution of up to 1,200 x 2,400 dpi, the printout shows neither blurring nor disturbing toner mist. With a strong 15.4 pages per minute, the Xerox also delivers a super printing speed and spits out a color copy in 13 seconds at the latest.
As a multifunctional device, the printer also scores with functions beyond copying: Devices can be connected to the device either via USB 3.0 or via the network and used for print jobs or as a target for scans. The integrated fax machine is also particularly interesting for the office and other features such as an automatic document feeder with turning function (“ RADF feed ”) and the 250-sheet paper cassette (550 sheets with an additional extension) are also appealing.
As usual for laser printers, the acquisition costs of the Xerox Workcentre 6515DN are relatively high, but in the long run you will benefit from the long-lasting toners. The page price of up to 14.9 cents for a color page is still only average.
3. HP OfficeJet Pro 9012
The HP OfficeJet not only offers a strong price-performance ratio, it also shines with its first-class print quality. Speed and equipment are also convincing.
HP OfficeJet Pro 9012 Pros:
- First class print quality
- Strong equipment and ergonomics
- Very good pace of work
HP OfficeJet Pro 9012 Cons:
- Printing costs a bit high
The ink printer with the best print quality in the test is also the price-performance tip. With the HP OfficeJet Pro 9012 you get an excellent overall package. The HP delivers good results when printing text and graphics as well as when copying; the quality of the photo printing could be a bit better. The multifunction device prints black and white pages extremely quickly: 16.8 pages per minute is the best value in the test.
The HP OfficeJet Pro 9012 graphics and photos are also quickly completed. Only when copying does the HP do a little worse than the Epson test winner. Both do the black and white copy in 9 seconds, but the HP needs almost two minutes for the photo copy. The start time of 10 seconds is also a little longer. Still, the speed is very good.
The equipment meets all the requirements of our rating scheme. Network, WLAN and USB interfaces as well as Apple AirPrint and Wi-Fi Direct are available. You can print on both sides, use the fax function and control the device via the touchscreen. The copier has an automatic document feeder (ADF) that scans the pages in a swipe.
There is also nothing to criticize about the ergonomics of the device. The only downer is the somewhat high printing costs: 2 cents per text page and 5.2 cents per color page are still okay, but other manufacturers are cheaper. However, that doesn't spoil the high price of the HP OfficeJet Pro 9012.
4. Kyocera Ecosys M5526cdn
The enormous printing speed and the very low printing costs make the Ecosys a clear laser price tip. The quality is only satisfactory, but good equipment and ergonomics are still offered.
Kyocera Ecosys M5526cdn Pros:
- Lush furnishings
- Fast printing speed
- Low printing costs
Kyocera Ecosys M5526cdn Cons:
- Text prints only satisfactory
Even if the Kyocera Ecosys M5526cdn is more expensive than our test winner in terms of purchase price, the financial calculation is worthwhile in the long term. While the Xerox printer costs around 14.9 cents on average for color printing, the Kyocera Ecosys only costs 10.7 cents per sheet. As a result, those who plan to use the printer regularly can save in the long term. But the laser printer can also convince apart from the financial aspects.
Although the print quality is only sufficient for everyday use in the office and is only satisfactory for text printing and copying, our price tip does an excellent job in the other disciplines. For example, it offers a very high printing speed, but it is also equipped with a fax, duplex unit, and USB and network interfaces.
When copying larger stacks of paper, you can also benefit from the ADF feeder for scanning up to 50 sheets. The Kyocera Ecosys M5526cdn scanner itself only has a resolution of 600 dpi, but the overall result is okay.
Ink vs. laser: this is what defines an ink printer
Ink or laser printing are the main printing options. While laypeople initially do not notice any difference and make statements such as " No matter how it is printed, the main thing is on the paper ", some serious differences between the two printing processes can be found when immersing themselves in the material.
The first variants of modern inkjet printing go back to the early 1960s, although the road from the teletypes and permanent printers of that time to today's multifunctional devices was still a long one. Nowadays, inkjet printers work with color cartridges, which have to be replaced at regular intervals.
As a matrix printer, an ink device creates an image using individual pixels (like pixels on a screen) and injects 0.3 to 0.4 mm large drops of ink onto the paper via the print head and its nozzles.
The advantages of ink printing lie in the low acquisition costs of the devices, which often deliver satisfactory results for less than 100 euros. However, owners of an inkjet printer have to be more patient with the printing process, which makes them only conditionally suitable for your mass printing. The moistening of the paper with the liquid ink can also lead to undesirable side effects such as possible smearing of the ink and curling of the paper.
If the printer is not used for a longer period of time, it is also essential to clean the print head using dried-up ink. The quite frequent increase in ink cartridges can also cost a lot in the long term and around 15 euros are normally due for individual black cartridges, which then cost approx. 190 pages should be enough. (Example: HP 302 original printer cartridge)
Ink vs. laser: this is what defines a laser printer
Based on electrophotography for which a patent was applied for as early as 1937, laser printing offers a fundamentally different type of printing, which dispenses with ink drops and instead uses the electrical charge of an image drum and a fine powder called toner. Said toner consists of 5 to 30 µm particles.
Put simply, the paper is moved under the rotating imaging drum during the printing process. This drum is electrically charged until it is hit at certain points by a laser beam reflected by a rotating mirror and discharged there. The toner is then applied to these no longer charged points and burned into the paper using heat. As the rotation continues, the drum is reloaded and the process begins again.
The aforementioned fixing of the color already has an obvious advantage: the color can neither smear nor ripples caused by moisture in the paper. This makes the pressure less sensitive to external influences such as sunlight or water splashes. It also makes no difference to the quality of the print whether special or normal copier paper is used.
Unfortunately, the use of toners also brings with it a problem that has been hotly debated for years: emissions of microparticles. The composition of the toners from substances such as synthetic resin, metal oxides and pigments causes the distribution of microscopic particles in the ambient air via the ventilation of the printing device. Various studies, for example by the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich or the Bavarian State Ministry for the Environment and Consumer Protection, have shown increased pollution in the ambient air, but the effects on health are only marginal or cannot be directly associated with laser printers.
The results of the study carried out by the State Ministry in 2013 did not indicate that exposure to high laser printer emissions was an objectifiableSource. However, some manufacturers also offer special filter units for the fans of their laser printers, which are intended to keep emissions to a minimum. Another disadvantage: a rather high power consumption and the comparatively higher operating volume.
What should you look out for when buying a printer?
There are a few questions to ask yourself before you buy a new printer. What do you want to use your printer for? An answer can range from “printing occasional text documents” to the desire for elaborate graphics or images on photo paper in maximum resolution. This not only plays an important role in pricing and the higher the demands, the higher the price - but also helps when deciding between laser and inkjet printers. Ink is more suitable for photo paper, while text documents on plain paper usually look better with laser printing.
For multifunction printers, of course, the question arises as to which functions the device should actually have. For example, do you need a built-in fax or can you save yourself that? Will the circumstances require a network connection or are you only printing via USB anyway? With questions like this you can make targeted savings and ultimately do not pay for aspects that you will never use after the purchase anyway.
The specific strengths and weaknesses of the models also differ from model to model. Some print faster, some better, some cheaper. Ultimately, only you can decide what is more relevant to you.