10 Best MFC Printers | April 2017

10 Best MFC Printers | April 2017
Best Mid-Range
★★★★
Best High-End
★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★
We spent 30 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Multifunctional centers, also known as MFC printers, offer the best of all worlds with the ability to print, scan, copy and transmit documents and images to your computer, mobile device, or even your cloud storage service of choice with ease. Whether you need one for your home or office, one of the models from our comprehensive selection is sure to meet your requirements. Skip to the best mfc printer on Amazon.
10
The Canon ImageClass MF634Cdw uses laser technology and features wireless direct printing, easily connecting to mobile devices without a router. A bright, five-inch color LCD touch panel allows for seamless navigation though all of its functions.
  • scans double-sided pages in one pass
  • exceptionally heavy
  • oddly low input tray capacity
Brand Canon
Model MF634Cdw
Weight 60 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0
9
The Brother WorkSmart J985DW is a well-rounded, budget-priced, all-in-one inkjet model that has some advanced features, like duplex printing and wireless communication with smartphones and tablets. Its ink cartridges can last for up to 2,400 black and white pages.
  • extremely quick to set up
  • lightweight and compact
  • poor color reproduction
Brand Brother
Model MFCJ985DW
Weight 20.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
8
The Epson WorkForce ET-4550 has a higher upfront cost than many, but its money-saving refillable ink tanks eliminate expensive cartridge replacements. The ink included in the box is equivalent to a whopping 50 sets of standard ink cartridges.
  • no network needed for wireless use
  • can be used as a fax machine too
  • document feeder tends to jam
Brand Epson
Model WorkForce ET-4550
Weight 24.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
7
The Samsung Xpress SL-M2070FW is a laser monochrome model that makes quick work of scanning and copying documents. It's exceptionally quick to connect with a host of devices over a Wi-Fi network thanks to its one-touch setup functionality.
  • rated for 10000 pages per month
  • drivers are easy to install
  • mandated toner replacement is a scam
Brand Samsung
Model SL-M2070FW/XAA
Weight 24.7 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
6
The HP OfficeJet Pro 8740 is a versatile addition to any home office. It offers mobile printing from anywhere with the free HP ePrint app, two trays to accommodate multiple paper sizes, and easy job management on its large, full-color touchscreen.
  • duplex and borderless output
  • two scanner inputs
  • prone to frequent paper jams
Brand HP
Model K7S42A#B1H
Weight 51 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
5
The Canon Pixma MG7720 is a low-cost home model compatible with many wireless interfaces, including Apple Air and Google Cloud, allowing for simple printing from your computer, smartphone, or tablet. It's extremely compact and comes in your choice of four colors.
  • works with nfc-enabled devices
  • self-opening output tray
  • takes a long time to power up
Brand Canon
Model MG7720 WH
Weight 20.6 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0
4
The Epson XP-960 is a bit expensive for a home model, but it more than makes up for it with its fast and brilliant borderless photo prints at sizes of up to 11 by 17 inches. It also produces exceptionally crisp documents, and its wireless functionality is easy to set up.
  • usb and dual memory card inputs
  • reluctantly accepts third party inks
  • depletes cartridges quickly
Brand Epson
Model C11CE82201
Weight 23.1 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0
3
The Canon ImageClass MF247dw is a good value for a black and white laser model. It has an output speed of 28 pages per minute, and is a great choice for small offices, given its 250-sheet front-loading cassette and 35-page auto-document feeder.
  • first page prints in 6 seconds
  • customizable lcd touch panel
  • built-in wi-fi functionality
Brand Canon
Model Canon imageCLASS MF247d
Weight 35.5 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
2
The HP OfficeJet 4650 is an all-in-one inkjet model that's well-suited for home use and comes in at under $100. It boasts a flatbed and auto-document feeding scanner, and accepts paper inputs from legal size down to 3 by 5 inches.
  • scans at resolutions up to 1200 dpi
  • laser-quality sharpness
  • includes a one-year warranty
Brand HP
Model F1J03A#B1H
Weight 17.3 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0
1
If you're in search of a monochrome laser powerhouse for your home or business that won't break the bank, the Brother L5900DW may be the answer to your prayers. It features automatic duplex copying and scanning and has an output of up to 42 pages per minute.
  • compatible with mac os and windows
  • affordable toner replacements
  • ethernet port for fast transmissions
Brand Brother
Model MFC-L5900dW
Weight 45.9 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

An Office At Home

When I was in elementary school there was one enormous, ominous copy machine in the administrative office of the building, just outside the principal's office. Now, I'm not admitting to have spent a lot of time waiting outside the principal's office or anything, but let's just say that I came to associate that machine with a certain sense of dread. It stood there, with its bleak, colorless LCD and its beige everything else, mocking me.

Thankfully, the technology that goes into those things has gotten a little smaller and a little more welcoming over the years. And, also, I got on really good terms with the vice principal, and she handled me kindly after that.

In those days, which for the purpose of confusing my biographers I will not specify, copiers were just copiers. They served no special function beyond duplication. They hadn't even integrated the fax machine.

What you should expect to find in a multi-function printer today is pretty varied, but the quality of the unit will be measured by the clarity and contrast of its prints and by the sharpness of its scanning.

Dots Per Inch, or DPI, will have a lot to do with the clarity of that print, but it's just as important to know that you're feeding your printer files of a high enough resolution to make use of the printer's powers. The old standard baseline for DPI was 300, and all of the printers in our lineup far exceed that.

When you get your unit home, check out the scanner function. It's safe enough to go ahead and hit scan, then watch as the scan head drags a fluorescent light slowly and repetitively across the scanning surface. Basically, that's just the light source. When I was a kid I thought that somehow the light itself did the scanning, and that the light was powerful enough to blind you. Sometimes, I think I wasn't that smart of a kid.

The light from your scan head reflects off of a series of mirrors and onto a basic CCD sensor like you might have found in early consumer digital cameras. The quality of that sensor and the cleanliness of the mirrors and your glass scanning surface can all affect the clarity of your scans. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a smudgy scan become clear after wiping the fingerprints off of the glass bed.

Which Tool's For You?

It's a given that the main reason you're looking into these printers is to print. I don't know what you want to print, but I know printing is going to be the primary function of whatever unit you eventually take home.

What does that mean about your other options? Some of these printers do everything but make you a cappuccino, though I have a feeling something like that exists.

If this is a purchase for home use, you're almost guaranteed to employ the scanning and copying functions, whether you're preserving old photographs or copying documents during tax season.

The real standout function that you may or may not use is the fax machine. I've got to be honest; I had a fax machine on my printer for years without using it much, and as soon as I got a printer without one, I needed to send a dozen faxes. I suppose that's some kind of karmic retribution for my lack of faith. DMVs, tax aides, and a handful of other people and organizations you might encounter only once a year still demand faxed information.

I guess they don't realize it's just as easy to fake a document via fax as it is via email, and that facsimile security across LAN lines is subject to just as much, if not more, security risk.

At this point, if you still have a phone line in your home–and I assume you still would in an office–, it's probably a good idea to have the fax capability. Even if you only use it once a year and never again after a few runs, that time saved scrambling your way to the nearest FedEx store will be worth every penny.

Copying And Printing Have Always Gone Hand In Hand

The development of printing the way we think of it today (and not so much the printing presses that revolutionized literature and news media) started in the 1930s with the original concept for what would become the Xerox machine.

It took a solid 30 years for that invention to catch on, though, and by that time computing powers were edging closer and closer to the smaller machines that would enter people's homes less than 20 years later.

We had a computer and printer in my house when I was four or five, and with it came a printer much like the one you see pictured. That was the old dot-matrix printer, which is still used widely today in retail and on the set of Halt and Catch Fire.

Meanwhile, the fax machine was being developed from its roots in radio and telegraph transmission for use along phone lines to transmit newspaper quality images between Cleveland and New York City.

It wasn't until around 2000 that companies started experimenting with combination machines that could copy and fax, or scan and copy, etc.

Although the fax element may be on its way out, some multi-function units are becoming network hubs for office communications, and time will tell what other innovations make their way into the bodies of these reliable machines.



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Last updated on April 30 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.