Jeremy Laukkonen is automotive and tech writer for numerous major trade publications as well as the creator of a popular blog and video game startup. A fan of EVs since the early 2000s, he stays up-to-date on the myriad complex systems that power battery electric vehicles.
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Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen
Duplex scanning and printing
High paper capacity
Good print quality
Good for high volume printing
Print from or scan to USB
Slow scanning direct to PDF
Unimpressive copying speed
Mediocre photo print speed
No borderless photo printing
The Canon MAXIFY MB5420 is a high-volume all-in-one inkjet that’s great for small business use, with a decent price tag, fast printing, and affordable operating costs.
We purchased the Canon MAXIFY MB5420 so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
The Canon MAXIFY MB5420 is a heavy-duty all-in-one inkjet printer that’s built for small-office and business use. It features two big paper trays, optional high volume ink cartridges for economical running costs, and some impressive features that can make life a bit easier in a small office or business environment.
I unboxed a MAXIFY MB5420 and put it through about eight hours of testing, checking everything from ease of setup and use, print quality and speed, scanning and copying capabilities, and even operating costs. If you’re interested in an affordable workhorse for office or business use, this printer is worth further examination.
The Canon MAXIFY MB5420 is big for an all-in-one inkjet printer. It’s so big that you’d have to stack any two printers in Canon’s PIXMA line on top of each other to tip the scales against this beast.
The overall design aesthetic is similar to Canon’s other AIO printers, with the same boxy rectangular footprint and rounded edges you’ve almost certainly seen before. The size and weight of the unit offer it some authority though. This looks and feels like a printer that’s capable of handling the load in a small office or even a business environment.
The top of the MAXIFY MB5420 features a flip-up cover that both conceals the automatic document feeder (ADF) and assists in paper handling. Documents, once copied, can be collected from an indentation below the ADF that doesn’t have a cover.
The control panel is situated on an angled surface right in front of the ADF, and it features a large color touchscreen that’s a huge improvement over the cavalcade of physical buttons and two-line-displays seen in Canon’s PIXMA line. The touchscreen represents your primary method of interacting with the printer, but there are a handful of physical buttons as well.
The ADF and control panel lifts up to reveal a flatbed scanner. Below that, a large panel flips down to reveal access to the printer internals for easy access to remove paper jams and replace the ink. To assist in that particular task, the MB5420 features a permanently-installed guide and a quick-removal tab, making the process of removing old ink cartridges easy, and ensuring you won’t ever install a cartridge incorrectly.
An extendible tray sits beneath the main access panel, which you can fold out to hold documents as they print. This tray doubles as a cover for the first paper tray, which sits directly beneath it. This tray is adjustable, and setting it to accept A4 paper causes it to stick out a bit from the body of the printer. A second tray sits below the first one, and it works in the same exact way.
The MAXIFY MB5420 features a single USB Type A connector on the front, situated just to the left of the paper trays, and it’s capable of printing directly from thumb drives. The rest of the connectors are all located around the back, including a USB Type B connector, Ethernet, FAX, and even a pass-through jack for a landline phone.
It’s so big that you’d have to stack any two printers in Canon’s PIXMA line on top of each other to tip the scales against this beast.
Setting up the MAXIFY MB5420 is pretty painless. The procedure is much the same as any Canon inkjet AIO, starting with the removal of packing tape and a couple plastic pieces that are meant to keep things from shifting around during shipping. Instructions on the color display will walk you through the procedure to make sure you don’t miss anything.
When you reach the part of the setup process where it’s time to insert the ink, the printer automatically shifts the print head to the left, lining it up with the handy guide that I mentioned earlier. This allows you to easily slot in the first ink cartridge, ensuring that it lines up and snaps into place. Once that’s installed, the print head shifts further to the left, and you repeat the process until all four cartridges are installed.
There are a few ways to get the MAXIFY MB5420 connected to your network, including a direct Ethernet connection, but I opted for using the Canon PRINT app. After you have installed the ink, the printer gives you an option to finish setup using a PC or phone. The printer enters a discoverable mode at this point, allowing you to locate it from the Canon PRINT app on your phone and connect it to your Wi-Fi network.
My only complaint with the setup process is that it took such a long time. After finishing setup with my phone, the printer remained spent at least five additional minutes moving the print head around and doing its thing before it was ready to put out a test print, and it wasn’t ready for my own prints until a while after that.
When printing my monochrome Word documents and PDFs, the MAXIFY MB5420 produces crisp text that was very clear and legible even at small sizes. It isn’t exactly laser quality, but it comes very close. Monochrome graphics came out with similar clarity, and I was also impressed by the overall quality when printing color graphics, although they were fairly washed out when printed on normal paper.
The MAXIFY MB5420 is a business machine at heart, not a photo printer, but it put out surprisingly high-quality results there as well. My test prints all came out quite well when printed on glossy photo paper, with a high level of detail and great color saturation.
The only real problem is that this printer isn’t capable of printing borderless photos. That might not be a dealbreaker since this printer is really meant for office and business use and isn’t billed as a photo printer, but it is a bit of a letdown. The quality of its photo prints are more than acceptable, so it would be nice if it could print them borderless.
Canon bills this as a small office and business machine and rates it at 24 pages per minute (ppm) monochrome and 15.5ppm color. I wasn’t able to quite reach those results, but I did time it at a speedy 21ppm when running off my test suite of monochrome documents and 10 ppm when printing documents that consisted primarily of color graphics.
Print speeds were fairly average when printing full-color photos on glossy paper, but I don’t expect anyone to really buy this machine for that purpose due to the fact that it can’t even print borderless.
The MAXIFY MB5420 features single-pass duplex scanning, which is a fantastic feature that’s missing from a lot of inkjet all-in-one printers. This feature allows you to set a stack of two-sided documents in the ADF and either copy or scan both sides of each document without the need to manually flip each page, which is a massive time saver.
The printer itself is also capable of auto-duplexing, so you can copy a set of two-sided documents in a completely automated fashion, without any need to manually interact with the machine during the process.
While scan and copy quality were both impressive, including the MAXIFY MB5420’s ability to scan color graphics and full-color photos, copying and scanning speeds are fairly average. The single-pass duplex scanner speeds things up for two-sided documents, but it’s fairly average otherwise.
The MAXIFY MB5420 uses ink cartridges, but its running costs are fairly affordable.
The MAXIFY MB5420 uses ink cartridges, but its running costs are fairly affordable. Standard black ink cartridges have an MSRP of $30 and are rated at up to 1,000 pages. High capacity black ink cartridges have an MSRP of $37 and can print up to 2,500 pages for a cost as low as $0.014 per monochrome page.
Color cartridges are similarly economical, with standard ones having an MSRP of $24.99 and high capacity ones having an MSRP of $28.
The MAXIFY MB5420 features a fairly full slate of connectivity options, including an Ethernet port for wired connections, USB Type B port for wired connections, Wi-Fi connectivity, and support for AirPrint, Cloud Print, Mopria, and the Canon PRINT app. It lacks support for Wi-Fi Direct and near field communications (NFC), but I was able to set it up with the Canon PRINT app for wireless printing direct from my phone with no trouble.
The MB5420 also includes a USB Type A port on the front, which you can use to connect a USB thumb drive. It’s capable of printing directly from thumb drives for a bit of added convenience. It doesn’t have an SD card reader, but you don’t really need both.
Canon rates this printer as being suitable for up to nine users in an office or business environment that typically prints a couple thousand pages each month, with a maximum peak duty cycle of 30,000 pages per month. In service of that goal, the MB5420 features two substantial paper trays.
Each paper tray is capable of holding up to 250 sheets of plain paper, either letter or legal, which adds up to a full ream. Alternatively, you can choose to put up to 20 sheets of photo paper in the top cassette. The lower tray is not set up for photo paper.
With an MSRP of $330, and a street price that typically hits about $50 lower than that, the MAXIFY MB5420 is an expensive device if you’re looking for a home or even home office printer. If you’re in the market for a heavy-duty AIO inkjet that’s suitable for about nine users in an office or business environment, it presents a much better deal. It’s still suitable for home use in limited circumstances, like you need to print over 2,000 pages per month for whatever reason, but this printer is really built for small offices and businesses.
My one real complaint with hanging this price tag on this printer is the fact that it can’t print borderless photos. It’s clearly not a dedicated photo printer, and one printer can’t ever be perfect at everything, but at this price point it would be nice if the MB5420 could pull double duty as a real photo printer, especially since the quality is so good.
With a typical street price of about $230, the PIXMA G6020 (View on Best Buy) is priced a bit cheaper than the MAXIFY MB5420. This MegaTank printer is a representative of Canon’s more consumer-focused PIXMA line, but it’s worth considering as an alternative if you aren’t running an office or business that requires the MB5420’s impressive duty cycle.
The biggest difference between these printers is the PIXMA unit has no ADF, while the MB5420 has an ADF that’s capable of single-pass duplexing. That single fact makes the MB5420 a better choice for most office and business environments.
The PIXMA G6020 is significantly cheaper to operate, thanks to its use of ink tanks and bulk ink instead of replaceable cartridges. It also features fantastic monochrome, color, and photo print quality, along with the ability to generate full bleed prints and borderless photos. So if you’re looking for an economical printer with those capabilities, and you don’t need an ADF, the PIXMA G6020 is worth a look.
An excellent printer for high-volume small office and business use.
The MAXIFY MB5420 is a fantastic choice for any small office or business that has high print volume needs thanks to its single-pass duplex scanner, generous paper capacity, and impressive peak duty cycle. This isn’t the printer for you if you absolutely need borderless photo printing, but it’s absolutely worth a look for most small office and business environments that don’t involve printing photos.
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