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
Excellent operating costs
Includes a ton of blank ink
Fantastic print quality
No automatic document feeder
Disappointing control panel
No memory card or USB A connector
The Canon PIXMA G6020 is an affordable all-in-one inkjet printer with enticingly low operating costs and fantastic print quality that cuts some baffling corners in the service of obtaining a low price tag.
The Canon PIXMA G6020 is an entry-level all-in-one (AIO) inkjet printer that leverages bulk ink to offer enticingly low operating costs. It sports an archaic interface and doesn’t have an automatic document feeder (ADF), which are just two of several baffling design choices that hold this printer back from true greatness.
I unboxed a PIXMA G6020, carefully topped up the ink tanks, and put it to use in my office over the course of an intense testing session and about eight hours of use over five days. I looked at everything from print speed and quality to usability and operating costs to help you decide whether or not this intriguing option belongs in your own home, office, or even business setting.
The overall design of the PIXMA G6020 is pretty standard inkjet printer fare. It sports a matte black finish over a boxy profile, with the scanner bed being slightly inset from the rest of the body. Lifting up the top lid reveals the scanner bed, while lifting up the scanner bed itself reveals the internals, allowing you to install the two ink cartridges and clear paper blockages.
At this point, we’ve already hit on two somewhat strange design choices. The first is that the PIXMA G6020 doesn’t have an automatic document feeder (ADF). It has a flatbed scanner, but that’s it. The second is that this bulk ink cartridgeless system actually has two cartridges. You only have to install them once, and they’re connected to the ink tanks by a series of tubes, but there they are nonetheless.
Closing the printer back up, you’ll find the control panel directly under the flatbed scanner. It tilts out for easy access, but you have to do it manually, and it looks like a relic from a different age.
Instead of a big, colorful touchscreen like a lot of the PIXMA G6020’s competitors, this control panel features a cramped little two-line LCD display. The buttons are all physical and include the back and forth arrows that you’ll use to page endlessly back and forth through options on the tiny screen.
To the left and right of the control panel, the PIXMA G6020 features four big ink tanks with cutouts in the case that allow you to see your ink levels at a glance. This is a nice feature since it takes all the guesswork out of wondering how much ink you have left, and it also looks really nice.
Under the control panel, you’ll find a pull-out mechanism designed to catch documents and photos after printing, and the main paper tray. Another tray can be found around the back, allowing you to load two types of paper at once.
Setting up the PIXMA G6020 isn’t a difficult process, but it does take a bit more time than the typical inkjet. It starts with removing packing tape, just like any AIO, and then you have to install the printer cartridges. As I mentioned earlier, these cartridges are connected to the ink tanks by a series of tubes, and you only have to install them once.
The next step is to add the ink, and this printer comes with a lot of ink, with one massive black ink reservoir and smaller tanks for cyan, magenta, and yellow dyes. Each tank is covered by a flip-up stopper, and you need to carefully empty the right bottle into the right tank.
There’s nothing stopping you from accidentally putting color in the wrong place, so you have to be careful to match the color of the stopper with the color of the ink or dye. It’s pretty easy to fill each tank without spilling, but carelessness during this step could easily result in a huge mess.
After you’ve filled the tanks, you can proceed with the setup. There is no setup wizard, but powering on the printer and continuing with the prompts will eventually get you to a point where the smartphone app can take over. Using the Canon app on my Android phone, I was able to get the PIXMA G6020 connected to my Wi-Fi network and ready to print without any trouble.
The PIXMA G6020 produces impressively high-quality prints in both monochrome and full color. The text was sharp and crisp, even when printing tiny fonts, in my monochrome text documents. Colors were a bit washed out when printing graphics on regular paper, but that’s only to be expected. When printing full-color photos on glossy paper, the results were fantastic.
While this printer puts out high-quality documents and photos, you’re getting it at the sacrifice of speed. Printing out a series of monochrome text documents, the PIXMA G6020 chugged and struggled to even hit 13 pages per minute (ppm), which is its rated output. That’s faster than some inkjets I’ve tested, but it’s a little slow for heavy office or business use.
When printing documents that include a mix of black and white and color, including text, graphics, and charts, I timed the PIXMA G6020 at a significantly slower 4.5ppm. That’s likely to differ depending on the type and layout of graphics you’re printing, but the fact is this printer is not a speedster.
I also printed a variety of photos in 4x6-inch and 8x10-inch formats and found the times there to be fairly average. Snapshots in the borderless 4x6-inch format took a little over 30 seconds to run off, which is more or less in line with most of the AIO printers I’ve had my hands on.
The flatbed scanner included with the PIXMA G6020 works just fine, and I didn’t have any trouble scanning or copying documents. Color photographs scanned just fine as well. The issue here is that this is an all-in-one with no automatic document feeder, which really hamstrings the usefulness of the scanner. It’s there if you need it for single scans, but scanning multi-page documents is a huge pain.
If you have an ADF scanner in another device, or you just don’t need a scanner at all, Canon has the PIXMA G5050, which is basically this printer without the scanner.
One of the best things about this printer is how affordable it is to operate. As a MegaTank printer, you benefit from the fact that you essentially buy ink in bulk, filling large tanks yourself instead of replacing costly low-volume cartridges.
In the same way that high-volume cartridges drive costs down on other printers, doing away with replaceable cartridges in favor of large tanks allows the PIXMA G6020 to offer high-quality results at less than a penny per page.
The PIXMA G6020 comes with a massive supply of ink in the box as well, which helps defray the cost of the printer itself. You get three bottles of black ink, which Canon says will print up to 18,000 monochrome documents, and one bottle each of cyan, magenta, and yellow, or enough to print about 7,700 color pages when combined with blank ink.
The PIXMA G6020 comes with an Ethernet port for wired connectivity and as USB type B connector that you can use if you have a PictBridge-compatible camera or video recorder. It also has Wi-Fi for wireless connectivity, including Wi-Fi Direct.
I made extensive use of the Wi-Fi connection via both the Canon PRINT app on my Android phone and Windows 10, but the printer also supports AirPrint, Cloud Print, and Mopria.
While the PIXMA G6020 has decent connectivity options for both wired and wireless connections, it’s missing near field communication (NFC) and doesn’t have any way to print directly from a memory card or USB drive. Like the other cut corners, the omission of these options was probably in the service of keeping the price down.
With a generous front tray and an additional rear tray, the PIXMA G6020 holds plenty of paper to get the job done in most home office situations and even some small business environments. The front tray holds 250 standard weight sheets, and you can add an additional 100 sheets to the rear tray.
Both trays are adjustable, allowing you to dedicate the front to A4 paper and the rear to envelopes, 4x6-inch photo paper, or a handful of other options. While setting paper sizes using the archaic control panel is a bit of a pain, the size and flexibility of the paper trays are top-notch.
With an MSRP of $270 and a street price closer to $249, the PIXMA G6020 is priced pretty well for an all-in-one inkjet that has the print quality, paper capacity, and print speed to handle home office and small business applications. The omission of an ADF is a bit hard to swallow, but you can cut out the scanner altogether and check out the PIXMA G5020 that typically sells for under $230 if that sounds like a better option.
The real kicker is the amount of ink that this printer ships with, as it comes with enough black and color ink to fill the tanks, plus two extra black ink bottles. It comes with almost $100 worth of ink when everything is said and done, which helps justify the price tag of the printer despite a couple of strange shortcomings.
It comes with almost $100 worth of ink when everything is said and done, which helps justify the price tag of the printer despite a couple of strange shortcomings.
With an MSRP of $330 and a street price around $280, the Canon MAXIFY MB5420 (see on Amazon) is typically priced a bit higher than the PIXMA G6020, but there is some overlap. There’s also some overlap in functionality, as these are both inkjet AIO printers from Canon, but their strengths are different enough that it’s tough to pick a clear winner.
The PIXMA G6020’s strongest point is low operating costs, which it achieves due to being a MegaTank printer that leverages bulk into to drive costs down. The MAXIFY MB5420 doesn’t have that advantage, so it’s printing costs are roughly twice that of the PIXMA for monochrome and even higher for color.
The MAXIFY MB5420 wins out in general usability as a small office or business machine though, with faster print times, comparable monochrome print quality, and the inclusion of an ADF. The ADF even has single-pass duplex scanning, making this printer a fantastic choice for anyone who has to scan or copy a lot of two-sided documents. The MAXIFY also has a massive 500 sheet paper tray capacity and huge XL ink tanks.
The bottom line is that the PIXMA G6020 is worth checking out if you don’t do a lot of scanning, its per-print costs are tough to beat, and it’s better at photo printing, but the MAXIFY MB5420 is a more capable small office and business machine with slightly higher operating costs.
A fantastic printer with low operating costs if you don’t need an ADF.
The Canon PIXMA G6020 is a great little printer for home office and small business use due to its excellent print quality and remarkably low operating costs. It’s also priced affordably, with that cost further defrayed by the inclusion of a massive amount of ink in the box. It is missing some key features, like an ADF, but it’s definitely worth a look if you don’t need an ADF or already have one in another device.
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