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This all-in-one Canon printer is small, simple, and surprisingly cheap

Canon's Pixma TS6420a handles double-sided document printing reliably.
Canon Pixma TS6420a
MSRP $130.00
“The Canon Pixma TS6420a is a great personal printer with scan and copy capabilities, but ink costs will add up quickly if you print often.”
  • Great photo prints
  • Fast for a budget printer
  • Very compact and lightweight
  • Low upfront cost
  • Easy setup
  • Black ink is expensive
  • Tricolor cartridge wastes ink

The Canon Pixma TS6420a is a low-cost all-in-one printer that might be perfect for your home. Beyond the friendly price, it’s small and lightweight, making it easy to set up and move around if you decide to reorganize your workspace.

With every new printer, you have to take a moment to consider how well it fits your needs. A busy office will want a rugged, high-volume business printer, while this Canon Pixma TS6420a seems like a better personal printer. The bottom line is quality and value, so let’s see how well Canon’s budget printer performs and how quickly ink costs accumulate.


Canon's Pixma TS6420a is a compact and nice-looking printer.
Canon’s Pixma TS6420a is a compact and nice-looking printer. Alan Truly / Digital Trends

The Canon Pixma TS6420a might be the shortest printer I’ve ever tested, standing just 6-inches tall. The main paper tray and output bin are placed at the front, and with its 14-inch depth, the printer is usable on a deep shelf. The weight is just 13.8 pounds.

The rear tray raises upward for photo prints, heavier paper, and envelopes, raising the printer height to 11.25 inches. If you plan to put it on a shelf or under a cabinet, you’ll need at least 16.25 inches of vertical space to open the top lid of this all-in-one printer’s flatbed scanner. The width is 16 inches, making this a small printer overall.

Canon gave the Pixma TS6420a an attractive two-tone shading, and it’s available in two color options. I tested the gray-on-black printer. Canon also sells a white-on-light-gray style, so you can choose the color that blends best with your decor.

The black-and-white display is small at 1.4 inches, but easy to see since the control panel tilts up. The menu layout is simple to understand and navigate, with large, clearly labeled buttons on either side of the display.

Canon Pixma TS6420a's control panel is easy to understand.
Canon Pixma TS6420a’s control panel is easy to understand. Alan Truly / Digital Trends

The main paper tray is at the front bottom and can hold 100 sheets. The rear tray also has a 100-sheet capacity, so you won’t need to reload frequently unless you switch to another type of paper.

The main tray comes out entirely, which is nice. To add paper, I had to remove a small cover. That’s not a problem, but replacing the cover requires aligning the edges, which is a slight annoyance. If the design included a hinge, adding paper would be much easier.

Printing performance

Canon's Pixma TS6420a is a great photo printer.
Canon’s Pixma TS6420a is a great photo printer. Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

The Canon Pixma TS6420a has great print quality for a low-cost all-in-one printer. Photos are bright and sharp, with accurate colors, while text is crisp and easy to read.

With budget inkjets, pictures often have a slight color cast. The Pixma TS6420a has good color fidelity when using glossy or matte photo paper. Photo prints have nice detail and vibrant color in the right places, making this one of the best four-color printers I’ve tried.

Borderless printing works as expected, and a variety of media is supported. However, the Pixma TS6420a doesn’t handle photos well on plain paper, so choose matte or glossy photo paper.

For better pictures, you’d need to get a printer designed for photographic prints. The best photo printers use five or more ink colors to provide more midrange detail and smoother gradations.

Print speed is good for an entry-level printer. Monochrome printing outputs 13 pages per minute, so you can get through long documents or run copies quickly. Depending on how sparse or dense the page is, you’ll be able to print about seven color documents each minute. And 4×6 photo prints are speedy as well, finishing in about 43 seconds.

Alan Truly tests the Pixma TS6420a's envelope printing capability.
Alan Truly tests the Pixma TS6420a’s envelope-printing capability. Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

Envelopes, 4×6 photo paper, and heavier paper load in the rear tray and print well. Printing envelopes from a mobile device is often frustrating, but the Canon Pixma TS6420a handled that task with no trouble. Double-sided (duplex) printing worked reliably as well.

Special features

Alan Truly scans some photos with the Pixma TS6420a.
Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

The Canon Pixma TS6420a is an all-in-one printer that can copy, scan, and print. Copying is quick and easy from the device using the control panel buttons and display. In about 17 seconds, a page full of photos rolls out, looking almost as good as the original.

Scanning resolution is up to 600 dots per inch with a computer, but I could only scan at 300 dpi when using the mobile app. Still, the scan quality looked good, and it was quick.

The Pixma TS6420a doesn’t include an automatic document feeder to scan or copy multiple pages at once. If that’s important to you, check our list of the best all-in-one printers to find a model with one.

Budget price trade-offs

Alan Truly checks ink levels on the Pixma TS6420a.
Alan Truly checks ink levels on the Pixma TS6420a. Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

The Canon Pixma TS6420a retails for $130, but can be found for well under $100. Where you really pay is in long-term ink costs. It’s a well-known trade-off when you buy an inexpensive printer.

Canon sells a value pack with color and black cartridges for $40. The average ink cost for each page when ordering this bundle is about 10 cents. The high-capacity value pack costs more (about $55), but has significantly more ink, knocking a few more cents off. At best, you’ll average about 7.5 cents per page.

However, the value packs are only saving money if you run out of black and color cartridges at the same time. Inevitably, you’ll need to order a black or a tri-color cartridge separately.

High-capacity cartridges (PG260 XL and CL261 XL) last for about 400 black and 300 color pages, respectively. Canon doesn’t list the yield of standard cartridges, but I used the ink volume versus the XL cartridges to estimate 210 black pages and 204 color pages.

The cost per page for individual black cartridges is 8 to 9 cents per page, and each color document costs 10 to 12 cents. That’s expensive, particularly for the black ink. The tri-color cartridge is a wasteful design since it’s unlikely you’ll run out of cyan, magenta, and yellow at the same time.

Is this the printer for you?

The Canon Pixma TS6420a has excellent print quality, relatively quick performance, and is easy to use. Photos are surprisingly crisp, with great color for a four-color printer. Scanning and copying are fast, and the paper trays are well-designed.

The small footprint and light weight make this a nice option for a personal printer for the home or school, where you might want to move it around.

The ink is my only complaint about this all-in-one printer. The black ink is more expensive than most, and the color cartridge is a three-in-one that’s almost guaranteed to waste some ink.

If you aren’t sure about the Canon Pixma TS6420a, you might want to check out our list of other top printers.

That means this is a good printer for low-volume personal use. When you need to print in black-and-white often, as well as several photos, the ink cost will add up in a hurry.

If you only print a few photos a month, plus some letters, documents, and labels, Canon’s budget printer could be perfect. The Pixma TS6420a is a great photo printer and a good, reliable all-in-one.

Editors' Recommendations

Alan Truly
Computing Writer
Alan is a Computing Writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. A tech-enthusiast since his youth, Alan stays current on what is…
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