So Consumer Reports wanted to know: should you push your plain printer aside for a multi-purpose, all-in-one machine?
Manufacturers are offering many more features on all-in-one inkjet printers. This one has a scanner and copier and faded photo fix.
To compare quality, Consumer Reports put 45 printers through a number of tests. Standardized documents were printed and then compared. Terry Sullivan, Consumer Reports, says "Notice that the black text on this document is lighter than the one on this one."
Testers also printed photos and evaluated them. "This is how a good photo should look. In this photo, it's too dark," says Sullivan.
Tests show both kinds of inkjet printers were pretty comparable in performance. But there could be big differences in how much it cost to print a page of text or a photo. Sullivan says, "Over the long haul of the printer that can actually add up more in terms of price than the initial sticker price."
For an all-in-one inkjet printer, Consumer Reports recommends the Canon Pixma mp520 at $140.
If all you do is print, and you don't need an all-in-one printer, Consumer Reports named another Canon Pixma a best buy. It's the Canon Pixma ip4500, for $120.