Multifunction printer models are often attractively priced, but pay attention to the ink bill: most often, cheaper will be the printer at the start, more expensive cartridges will come back. Opting for a first-rate model is rarely a good bet.

The key points

Multi-function inkjet printers are now the norm. The models dedicated to printing (without scanner function and copier) are often specialized in photo printing or in large prints (A3, A2) and are the subject of another comparison on Digital: A3 printers.

Recall also that inkjet printers are not always more economical than laser printers. Indeed, they launch more frequent cleaning cycles and thus spoil up to half of the ink. In addition, if you do not print for a long time – several months, but sometimes a few weeks – the ink can dry out and block printing. The “Nozzle Cleaning” option in the software supplied with the printer can save it, but not always.

Ergonomics

We examine the ease of use of the printer and its various features. Most printers now have Wi-Fi and a display. The capacity of the tank is also important, as is the space requirement.

Debit

The throughput is the number of pages per minute the printer is capable of outputting. The best inkjet printers can reach up to 15 pages per minute in color and 19 pages per minute in black and white.

Image quality

Print quality remains an important criterion for choosing a printer. A printer must print texts, graphics and of course the photos on the papers dedicated to the formats 10 x 15 or A4.

Scanner and Copy

For copying, a good printer must offer a reproduction as close as possible to the original document. The scanner is also expected to perform well in scanning documents, whether they contain text or photos.

Cost per page

The cost per page is the average cost of printing a standard page, in color or black and white. It amounts to about 11 cents on inkjet printers, but it can be much higher after several cleaning cycles.

Consumption and noise

Energy consumption remains an important criterion of choice. Standby power consumption is always less than 1 watt and rarely exceeds 20 watts when printing. At the noise level, the average is often below 50 dB (A).

Test Procedures

  • First of all, the various options present on the printer and its ease of use make it possible to obtain an ergonomic note.
  • We then measure the throughputs with several standard documents from the standby, after power-up and even duplex mode.
  • We also measure the speed of the copier function and the scanner. 
  • The image quality is determined by the printing of several test patterns that have been subjected to a magnifying glass in order to determine the fineness of the printing.
  • Color fidelity is also measured using a probe.
  • Finally, we measure the consumption of the printer in standby and during printing as well as its noise level.