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All In One Printer Vs Single Function Printer

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If you are new to the world of printing, you may compare an all-in-one printer to a single-function printer. After all, many of the best printers fall into one of these categories. So what are the differences between these two, should you choose from the best all-in-one printers, and what are the pros and cons of each? Keep reading to find out.


  • Simply put, single-function inkjet printers just print, and all-in-one printers handle printing, scanning, copying, and more. Some are even photo printers.
  • Single-feature inkjet printers are easier to use, cheaper, smaller, and lighter, making them easier to fit in a small space or to use for mobile printing.
  • Multifunction printers may be more expensive, but the addition of a dedicated scanning bed brings up their usefulness.

Differences Between All-in-One and Single-Function Printers

The primary contrast here is that single-function printers perform one single function if you are learning about the types of printers out there. Single function devices make prints, whereas all-in-one printers bring other features to the table if you are comparing an all in one vs a flat-screen printer. This can include scanning, copying, and more, even when comparing an inkjet vs an all-in-one.

Insider Tip

Laser printers tend to be single-function, while ink printers tend to allow for multiple feature sets.

Both types vary between using ink and toner cartridges if you are comparing laser printers vs inkjets. Here are more differences between the two so you can conduct that all-important Epson vs HP printer review.


This one is rather obvious. Single-function printers are not versatile, as they can just print. On the other hand, all-in-one printers can also print, scan, copy, and more. This makes them a sort of one-stop-shop for office-adjacent tasks. However, there is something to be said for the simplicity of a single-function printer, as they do one thing and do it well. After all, you have heard the phrase, “jack of all trades, master of none.”


Single-function printers are bare-bones offerings with bare-bones prices. You can often get ahold of a decent standard printer for $50, give or take. On the other hand, all-in-one printers boast multiple functionalities, which allows the price to creep up. On average, all-in-one units are around twice the price of a regular single-function printing device.

STAT: All-in-ones are available as inkjets and lasers and in color and black and white. Other convenient features include memory card slots and wireless printing. (source)

Weight and Profile

Scanning beds tend to be on the larger and heavier side, and this spills over to any printer with scanning functionality. In other words, all-in-one printers tend to be much larger and heavier than traditional single-use printers. This is important if you live in a small apartment in a big city or like to move your printer around to different locations to suit different needs. Modern single-function printers are downright tiny in some instances.

For more details on understanding such printers, check out our resource guide to learning what is an all-in-one printer.

Regular Printer Vs All-in-One FAQs

How can I choose the right printer?

Choose based on your desires and needs. If you want to keep printing costs down, even with a high print volume, go with a model with an automatic document feeder and a long-lasting ink cartridge. If you like printing photos, go with portable printers or a mobile printer.

Should I choose a black and white all-in-one printer or a black and white single-function?

This depends on your personal preference. An average monochrome laser printer with additional functionalities tends to be more expensive than those with additional features, and the same goes for printers that use ink cartridges.

Do all all-in-one printers have fax functionalities?

Many do, though not all. Read the fine print before making a purchase of an all-in-one laser printer or inkjet model to see if they include a fax machine feature.

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