The Canon Pixma G6020 MegaTank All-in-One Printer ($299.99) is designed for mid-volume printing and copying for the family in a home-based office. Like other lower-end all-in-one printers in this class, the G6020 comes with enough ink to print thousands of pages, and it lists for the same as its closest competitor, the Epson WorkForce ST-2000. With many bulk-ink models, though, you’re forced to make trade-offs in productivity and convenience features to get their rock-bottom running costs. Not so with the G6020. It lacks an automatic document feeder (ADF) for scanning and copying multipage documents, but its spacious paper input trays, robust connectivity options, and other handy attributes are just enough to gain it our Editors’ Choice nod for an entry-level color home office AIO.
Two major drawbacks of the first round of G-series MegaTank Pixmas were their low 100-sheet paper input capacity and slow print speeds. Canon addressed the first problem on the G4210 last year by adding a 100-sheet tray to the rear of the chassis and increasing the size of the front cassette to 250 pages. As for the slow print speeds, the G6020 addresses this issue by increasing the monochrome rating from a too-sluggish 8.8 pages per minute (ppm) to 13ppm.
At 7.7 by 15.9 by 14.6 inches (HWD) and weighing 17.8 pounds, the G6020 is somewhat smaller and weighs a little less than last year’s G4210, but that’s due primarily to the latter’s 20-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF), which the G6020 lacks. It’s also smaller and lighter than two other recent bulk-ink competitors, the Epson ST-2000 ($249.00 at Dell) mentioned above and the ST-3000, but then that last one also comes with an ADF.
The lack of an ADF on the G6020, of course, limits it to small, one- and two-page scan and copy jobs, and that’s reflected in its somewhat sparse and outdated control panel, shown here.
The panel consists of a few buttons for scanning and making copies, navigation keys for scrolling around in the drill-down menus on the three-line monochrome text display, and a few status LCDs.
As mentioned, the G6020’s paper input capacity is 350 sheets split between a 250-sheet main drawer and a 100-sheet tray that pulls out from the back, as shown below.
In addition to standard-size paper, the G6020’s rear tray also holds up to 20 sheets of snapshot-size premium photo paper, 20 No. 10 envelopes, and several other paper types and sizes, including (as do most Pixma brand printers), Instagram’s square media formats in sizes ranging from 3.5 by 3.5 inches up to 5 by 5 inches (the wide-format Pixma TS9520 ($488.00 at Amazon) and TS9521C ($469.00 at Amazon) models also take 12-by-12-inch square paper).
Also like many inkjets from Canon, Epson, and HP nowadays, the G6020 accepts voice-activation commands to execute tasks like checking ink levels, reviewing alerts and other notifications, and printing hands-free from Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant smart home devices. You can also use Apple’s Siri, Windows Cortana, or other voice-activation services via simple IFTTT (if this, then that) scripts available online at topdeblogs.com and other readily available sites.
Canon rates the G6020’s maximum monthly duty cycle at 5,000 pages, but the company hasn’t published a recommended monthly volume. I doubt, though, that this means that you can safely print 5,000 pages monthly on this little printer without wearing it out. My educated guess places it closer to the Epson ST-3000’s 800 pages per month. The HP OfficeJet Pro Premier, on the other hand, is rated at 25,000 pages maximum and 1,500 pages recommended.
Copious Connectivity and Software Solutions
The G6020 comes out of the box ready to connect to your network, your PCs, and your mobile devices via Ethernet up to 100Base-T (aka Fast Internet) or Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, or to a single PC via USB 2.0. It also offers the peer-to-peer networking protocol, Wi-Fi Direct. Other mobile options include Canon Print App, with support for Android, iOS, Fire OS, and Windows 10 Mobile.
Third-party mobile options include Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Mopria Print Service, and Pixma Cloud Link. And, while you don’t get a USB port for printing from and scanning to USB thumb drives, the G6020 does support PictBridge over its USB printer port and Wireless PictBridge for printing from Canon PictBridge-compliant cameras and video recorders.
The comprehensive software suite contains several productivity solutions for both Windows and macOS. The bundle includes Easy-PhotoPrint Editor (a cross-platform utility that allows you to edit, enhance, and apply special effects and other filters to your scanned photos) and PosterArtist Lite (a Windows poster layout and printing program).
You also get Scan Utility and Scan Utility Lite (Windows and Mac, respectively). Master Setup, My Printer (Windows only), and Network Tool are a set of utilities for configuring the printer and its network connection. Finally, there’s Quick Menu, a collection of one-click shortcuts that provide fast access to the various features and functionality available from the software and the printer itself.
Entry-Level Print Speeds
Canon rates the G6020 at 13 monochrome pages per minute (ppm), which is, as mentioned, 4.3ppm faster than previous MegaTank models, but slower than most competitors. Epson’s ST-2000 and ST-3000 models are, for example, rated for 15ppm, and HP’s OfficeJet Pro Premier ($399.99 at HP) has a 9ppm higher rating. To assess how well the G6020 holds up to its competitors, I tested it over an Ethernet connection from our standard Intel Core i5 testbed PC running Windows 10 Professional.
The first round of testing entails clocking the printer as it churns out our standard 12-page Microsoft Word text document several times and then averaging the results. Here, the G6020 managed 12.7ppm, a hair below its 13ppm rating. That’s 4.4ppm faster than its G4210 sibling, 3.8ppm slower than the ST-3000 and ST-4000, and behind HP’s 9015 by 11.3ppm.
Next, I printed our collection of complex color Adobe Acrobat portable document files (PDFs), Microsoft Excel spreadsheets with accompanying charts and graphs, and PowerPoint handouts consisting of colored text at varying sizes and typefaces, as well as several different types of business graphics. Then, I combined these scores with the average speed from the 12-page text file in the previous test and came up with a score of 4.3ppm for printing our entire suite of test documents.
This time, my G6020 review unit came in slower than all the other AIOs mentioned here, though the G4210 outpaced it by a negligible 0.2ppm. The two Epson models printed the same pages at an average rate of 3.3ppm faster and the HP pulled ahead by more than 10ppm.
I also printed our 4-by-6-inch snapshot photo several times and averaged the results. With print quality on the highest setting and borderless finishing turned on, the G6020 churned out our highly detailed and colorful test photos at an average time of 35 seconds. That’s a little slower than the other AIOs in this group, but, considering the quality and finishing settings, that isn’t bad at all.
Premium Pixma Print Quality
As with most of the Pixmas I’ve reviewed over the past several years, the G6020 produces excellent print quality, with well-shaped, clearly legible text at all point sizes, and highly detailed, vibrant, and accurately colored photos.
I did notice some minor banding in a few dark fills and backgrounds in some of our full-page business graphics, though I had to search for this specific kind of flaw to find instances. In other words, the banding was minor enough that most recipients of your printed material probably won’t notice it. I have no complaints about the G6020’s print quality, and no qualms about using it in sensitive marketing material designed to make a good impression.
A Fraction of a Penny Per Page
The real benefit of most of the models discussed in this review is that their per-page printing costs are extremely low. Both the Canon MegaTank and the Epson EcoTank brands deliver running costs of less than 1 cent per page, though this time around, Canon has, at 0.2 cents for monochrome pages and 0.7 cents for color, managed to get its cost per page (CPP) slightly lower than Epson’s 0.3 cent black and 0.9 cent color. Unless you’re printing thousands of pages per month, though, these tiny-fractions-of-a-cent-per-page differences are negligible.
The G6020 ships with three bottles of black ink, or enough to print up to 18,000 monochrome pages, and one set of color bottles, which should yield, when combined with black ink, about 7,700 color pages. The comparably priced Epson ST-2000, on the other hand, ships with two sets of all four ink colors, or what Epson says is enough to print up to 14,000 monochrome pages and 11,200 color pages. Depending on what you print—more monochrome or more color pages—both are fantastic deals; even though you’re paying two to four times more for the printer than you’d pay for a comparable non-bulk-ink model without all that ink in the box.
The HP Premier mentioned throughout is, instead of a bulk-ink model, one of that company’s Instant Ink subscription products where you pay a flat-rate per page, instead of a calculated per-page cost based on estimated yields and per-container prices. HP’s highest subscription rate of 700 pages for $19.99 delivers a per-page cost of about 2.9 cents. An important consideration here is that’s 2.9 cents for any page, even letter-size color documents and photos with 100 percent ink coverage. Also, for the same list price as the G6020, the Premier comes with a free one-year, 300-page-per-month Instant Ink subscription, a $120 value that offsets the cost of the printer significantly.
Do You Need an ADF?
If your print and copy volume warrants an investment in a bulk-ink MegaTank or EcoTank AIO, and you need an ADF, hands down, you should choose either the Epson ST-3000 or ST-4000 (or one of that company’s several other ADF-equipped EcoTank AIOs), though they list for $100 and $200 more, respectively. If you don’t need to make multipage copies and scans, or don’t mind scanning each page one at a time, the Canon Pixma G6020 is an excellent choice. It packs just enough features to keep your home office humming, produces excellent output, and costs a fraction of a cent per page to use. It’s our Editors’ Choice for entry-level color home office all-in-one printers.