Last updated: August 31, 2021

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At one point, it seemed that the paperless trend had completely take over. However, multifunction printers appear to be more relevant than ever. Why aren't we surprised? They save space, time and money, and as if that weren't enough, they also provide top quality results. This peripheral device is the one that you must have at home.

You may think they're difficult to use, or even that you'll end up not using them. You couldn't be further from the truth! In this shopping guide, we've gathered the most valuable information and all the advantages of having a multifunction printer. Keep reading and we'll tell you all there is to know about this device. We're sure you'll realise how much you need it in your personal and professional life.


  • A multifunction printer is an office equipment that brings together three basic yet very useful functions: printing, scanning, and photocopying. The latest models also offer other functions, such as email, fax and memory card reader.
  • The greatest advantage of the multifunction printer is its versatility. It is ideal for all types go home users. Whether you want to store important documentation, print high-quality travel photos or photocopy many study notes, a multifunction printer does it all.
  • The best known and most prestigious printer brands have fully delved into the production of these multifunction models. Companies such as HP, Brother, EPSON and Canon guarantee quality devices.

The best Multifunction Printer: Our Picks

Printing, scanning and photocopying, all in one. These are the most basic functions of these peripherals. Keep reading if you want to find out which multifunction printer is the right one for you. In this section, we've compiled the best products available out there right now. This will allow you to make a successful purchase, and you won't regret getting such a useful device.

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Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about multifunction printers

You never know when you'll need to print something urgently, scan a passport for a procedure, or make copies of a magazine page that you like. This is exactly what multifunction printers are designed for: they can do a little of everything, and they're always there when you need them the most. But you don't know which features to look for? We've answered the most frequently asked questions in the section below to help you make the right decision.

Printer with white backround

What is a multifunction printer exactly?

It is a peripheral — a computer component that is not part of its central unit — that works as one device to print scan and photocopy, although it can be connected to a computer. Common to all models, these three basic functions are what gave rise to the name 'multifunction printer'.

These devices have been integrating more and more functions as technology advanced. In addition to emailing and fax, there are now even newer features in multifunction printers. These include working using a Wi-Fi network, having USB ports and memory cards, and the possibility of controlling the device via applications. The latter means that you can manage your printer directly from your smartphone.

T.E. LawrenceBritish Archaeologist, Diplomat & Writer
"The printing press is the greatest weapon in the armoury of the modern commander."

Multifunction printers can be laser or inkjet, the latter being more common and affordable. One reason why they have become so popular is because of their low cost and simple operation. Their great versatility makes them very practical for domestic use, and they offer professional-like quality.

What are the uses of a multifunction printer?

You already know the usual tasks that the printers you've used your whole life can do. Unlike these models,  multifunction printers also offer two functionalities that are fundamental today: scanning and photocopying. We've briefly explained what each of these three basic functions does in the list below:

  • Printer: The most elemental operation you can do with any printer: it allows you to print documents or photos, either in colour or in black and white. Nowadays, most also include the option to print on both sides of a sheet to save paper.
  • Scanner: The top part of a multifunction printer is generally the scanner. You can use it to digitalise images or texts from scanning documents or photos. Place them on the glass surface through which the scanner then passes. Newer scanner models can be configured to your liking, allowing you to manage sensitive documents or high quality photos that you want to keep.
  • Photocopier: In the same place where you can scan, you have the option to make photocopies of documents and photos. The difference with the scanner is that the multifunction printer will automatically reproduce the document on the sheet placed in the printer tray. Most models give you the possibility to make colour or black-and-white copies.

What are the advantages of a multifunction printer?

Some of the advantages of these versatile devices are quite obvious, while others may not be so much. In recent years, various manufacturers have been improving their latest functionalities. We therefore have access to very innovative multifunction printers. Here's a list of the most essential advantages:

  • Space saving is the most outstanding point. No one would ever think of having three peripherals to perform three different operations. Multifunction printers allow you to bring together these three common and useful functions in a single device.
  • Energy savings are induced by the previous benefit. It's a natural consequence to having a 3-in-1 printer: it will use less energy than three standalone devices.
  • Time saving and comfort are also quite obvious. While having a printer at home was and remains quite common, we used to have to go to a specific shop if we had documents to scan or needed photocopies. Multifunction printers have simplified everything, saving us time and giving us greater comfort.
  • The prices of these devices have always been very competitive. This is due to the fact that they tend to be aimed at the domestic market: families, students or young professionals. It provides these groups with a great document management tool. If you need to go a lot deeper into a specific function, you may want to opt for a standalone device.
  • Wi-Fi compatibility has made models wireless. This is particularly useful now that our hyperconnected homes are filled with cables. The use of smartphone apps to manage multifunction printers is a great plus, too.

If my multifunction printer is wireless, does that mean it needs zero cables?

That's not actually quite true. Multifunction printers are still electrical devices, and as such needs to be connected to a power socket. Models that are sold as wireless do not need to be connected to a computer to print, scan, or photocopy. This gives you the possibility of using it from anywhere in your home, and you don't have to plug your computer in every time you need to use your printer.

As we mentioned earlier, you can even manage your wireless printer directly from your tablet or smartphone, as long as they are compatible. Each brand of printers generally has its own application that allows you to perform all operations from there.

Wireless printer

What is Wi-Fi Direct?

This is a very useful feature for multifunction printers. Wi-Fi Direct allows you to create a secure connection between your multifunction printer and any of your mobile devices. This is particularly helpful if you have issues with your regular Wi-Fi network, or if your router isn't working well.

The following steps will help you use this feature:

  1. Check Wi-Fi Direct compatibility in the wireless settings of your multifunction printer.
  2. Activate the Wi-Fi Direct feature in the printer control panel, pressing on the dedicated button.
  3. Detect the Wi-Fi Direct-connected printer on your phone or tablet. Once you select it, a secure connection has been established.

What are the advantages of using the recommended apps?

Wireless multifunction printers are designed to be fully managed from your smartphone or tablet. In that regard, apps are recommended for each specific model. They have been designed to make your printing, scanning and photocopying experience comfortable, fast and more efficient.

While there may be slight differences depending on the brand of your printer, most features are common to all device. We've listed them below for you:

  • Quick, integrated printing: Apps allow you to print photos and documents at the touch of a button on your smartphone. You can print anything from your social media or from cloud storage. These apps can link all your profiles to the printer.
  • Scanning to external services: You no longer need to connect the printer to your computer. These dedicated apps allow you to send scanned documents or photos to the email of your choosing. You can also store scanned documents in the cloud.
  • Photocopying from your smartphone: Some apps even let you photocopy a photo or document using your mobile phone. Simply take a photo, configure it from the app, and choose whether you want to photocopy it in black and white or in colour.

Are laser or inkjet printers better?

This will depend on how you plan to use your printer, and this is often the case when it comes to technology. Laser models will be much faster if all you want is to be able to print, scan and photocopy black-and-white documents. On the other hand, If you're interested in work with colour photographs, inkjet printers will be the better option.

Mike BoyleHP Inc's Managing Director of the South Pacific
"I think in five years we'll see a resurgence of consumers interacting with print. A great example is the Sprocket, which lets you print photos from a device that fits in your pocket. We will see people interacting with print in a different way, be it via voice activation, or printing via the cloud with HP Roam."

Why does using a multifunction printer save ink?

The majority of multifunction printers are designed for home use. Manufacturers therefore know they can't be competitive if ink cartridges aren't available. This is why most brands offer their own promotional packs of ink to attract customers and build loyalty.

Industry-leading manufacturers like HP even offer ink services so that you don't have to regularly purchase new cartridges. All you have to do is pay a very cheap monthly subscription, and the brand will send ink cartridges straight to your home every time it detects that your printer is running out of ink. This also represents considerable savings in the long run.

Shopping Criteria

You'll truly step up your capacity to manage all your documents and photos when you decide to buy your own multifunction printer. That being said, there is a series of key factors that you'll have to take into account during your decision-making process. In this final section, we discuss these criteria to answer any doubt you may have. That way, you'll get a multifunction printer that offers the quality you deserve.

Wireless connectivity

Our homes are getting smarter by the minute. One thing you don't want when buying your multifunction printer is to have even more cables lying around. So it won't be a surprise to you to know that the market offers many wireless models. This allows you to print, scan and photocopy from anywhere in your house without having to plug in your computer.

Wi-Fi Direct function

The vast majority of households have Wi-Fi networks, but this often comes with regular connection issues. This is why you're advised to opt for a multifunction printer that integrates Wi-Fi Direct. That way, whenever your network or router fails, you'll still be able to manage documents and photos with your printer over a secure network.

Ink saving plan

Make sure you check the conditions for purchasing cartridges before you choose a specific inkjet multifunction printer. Opting for an affordable printer is useless if you have to spend a lot to print or photocopy your documents. You can look out for plans like HP's Instant Ink, which can definitely make a difference.

Competitive price

Compare multifunction printer models of different brands before you take your final decision. Since most printers are designed for domestic use, the most expensive models don't necessarily offer the best quality. As such, you can often find very affordable multifunction printers without giving up on the very best.

Mobile apps

We now use our smartphones like handheld computers, which is why apps to manage our multifunction printers are so useful. Read the product description carefully to see which applications you can use, and compare the features of each app. Pick the right one, and your printing, scanning and photocopying experience that much more fruitful.

Memory card and USB ports

This isn't talked about enough, but having the possibility to plug in memory cards or USBs to your multifunction printer is quite important. This feature is very useful when you're out of time and know exactly which photos or documents you need to print or photocopy. In that regard, we encourage you to buy a model with compatible ports.


Since the advent of the multifunction printer, managing documents, photos and text materials has never been easier. You have the most essential functions in one device: printing, scanning and photocopying. Certain models even allow you to fax and email. These peripherals are very easy to use, affordable and efficient.

You'll save time, money and space. You can also forget about cable with wireless models. Fully compatible with smartphone apps, your printing experience has become completely intuitive and versatile. Most models also give you the possibility to connect memory cards and USBs, without ever giving up on quality.

If you liked our shopping guide, feel free to share it on your social media so others also learn everything there is to know about multifunction printers. You can also leave us a comment in the section below, and we'll be happy to get back to you.

(Source of featured image: Leung Cho Pan: 24880537/