Easily caters the job to your needs. Print remotely from smartphone or tablet. Syncs with Google Drive and other office programs. Features double-sided print, copy, and scan option. Decent price for a long-term investment.
Ink cartridges can be pricey and require frequent purchase.
Has the ability to print "borderless" – right out to the edges of a standard 8.5 x 11-inch sheet. Includes an easy-to-use scanner.
Some owners feel there's a delay before the machine actually starts printing.
Makes use of large ink tanks, which reduces the cost of consumables over time versus ink cartridges. Includes Wi-Fi connectivity option, so you can print from mobile devices. Has a large 250-sheet paper tray. Ships with a built-in 2.4-inch touchscreen, making it easier to operate the printer. Copying is fast and easy.
Expensive printer. Large footprint.
Includes toner to complete 5,000 pages of work. Doesn’t use cartridges. Wireless connection allows you to direct jobs from your phone or tablet. Pairs with easy-to-use HP app.
No color printing or Ethernet connection. High initial investment.
Printers have become essential tools not just in business, but in home-use situations as well. If you have a computer, laptop, tablet, camera, or smartphone, chances are that you need a printer. How you intend on using that printer, however, will ultimately determine which is the best one for you.
Because the cost is comparable, and cartridges last for months instead of weeks, laser printers tend to be the wiser option. If you need your printer to perform other duties such as double-sided printing, scanning, copying, color printing, borderless printing, or faxing, make sure that the model you are considering is capable of accomplishing these tasks. A decent capacity tray will come in handy, even if you don't print in high volumes.
We've provided you with some excellent options, if you're ready to buy. If you are still considering your needs, reading through this article will offer detailed insight into what today's printers have to offer.
The BestReviews lab staff examined each printer’s output statistics: pages per minute, color quality, and so on.
Few printers just print any more; multifunctional models abound. What’s more, the prices of these machines are now well within reach of the average home user. Are print-only machines worth the expense? Do these models save you money or grant a better performance? Our lab staff noted and tested the features offered by each printer we considered.
Most printers can still plug into a computer, but WiFi is everywhere now, and an increasing number of machines print wirelessly from smartphones and tablets. During testing, we noted the offerings of each model.
It's possible to buy a cheap printer for less than $50, but the faults of these bargain models frequently outweigh the savings. And, the truth is, a decent machine could cost you just a little more than $50. Even at the top end of the pricing scale, a high-quality multifunctional printer is remarkably affordable.
Read on to discover the price of each of our shortlist contenders. You can also check out our product list, above, to discover this information.
Color vs. monochrome
Little difference exists between the cost of a color printer and the cost of a black and white printer. So why not have the color option? There are several reasons, actually.
The best monochrome printers are:
• Easy to use
Although a color printer may be more cumbersome and slightly more expensive than a black and white model, the benefit is undeniable: you get color prints.
As such, some consumers find it prudent to buy a cheap monochrome printer for text printing and an all-in-one color printer for everything else.
Notably, all of the monochrome models we looked at were laser printers, designed for rapid output of large amounts of text and/or black and white images. Even the very best inkjets struggle to produce text that's as sharp (particularly at sizes below 12 point), and when they do, they run much slower because they're on a “high resolution” setting.
Should you buy a single or multifunctional printer? In general, this is an easy question to answer. If you can find a quality color printer with fax, scanning, and copying capabilities for the same price as a printer without those functions, the decision is a no-brainer.
However, some situations exist in which you might prefer a single-function printer. Consider the following:
If you want photo-realistic output of high quality, you almost certainly want a specialist machine that focuses solely on the task at hand.
A printer with a built-in scanner would probably serve the needs of most consumers, but if you require high-resolution scans for trade printing or graphic displays, a machine dedicated entirely to high-resolution prints could be your best bet.
This is always going to be a difficult question to answer, and even the BestReviews lab testers had differing opinions.
However, all agreed that your final choice should depend largely on what you intend to use the printer for.
In the early days of home printers, the choice between inkjet and laser was rather straightforward. Back then, laser printers created images with superior detail, but the machines were prohibitively expensive.
Inkjets were far more affordable, but the final product wasn’t nearly as sharp.
Today's printers employ the same basic technologies, but much has changed.
Laser and inkjet printers share similar price tags. And although laser toner remains much more expensive, you get up to ten times as many pages from a cartridge.
Most inkjet and laser printers offer similar features. Almost all can communicate wirelessly with your smartphone or tablet. Many offer WiFi so you can share the printer with other users. And, as we've seen, scanning, copying, and faxing are common.
Here are some notable “other” features you might be interested in:
Paper tray capacity: If you do a lot of printing, a large-capacity paper tray comes in handy.
Automatic feeding: If you print lots of envelopes or cards, automatic feeding of multiple sizes is useful.
Automatic duplexing: This feature is great for those who want to execute rapid double-sided printing.
Borderless printing: This is great if you want to print lots of photos, but you should check the print sizes available before making a purchase.
Ink refill subscription program: A program such as this could save you money, but we urge consumers to think about their usage patterns before choosing a printer with this feature. It’s not necessary for everyone.
Of course, you want your prints to last forever — especially if you use your printer to create copies of beloved family photos. But some inks fade over time. Here’s what you need to know about ink technology as it stands today:
Testing suggests that some images created by cheap replacement ink fade in as little as three months. This may be extreme, but it’s a known danger of buying remanufactured cartridges.
Ink purchased directly from the printer manufacturer may cost more, but the images rendered from it could last longer. The reason: this ink will probably be part pigment (the black) and part dye (the colors).
We wholeheartedly endorse our highlighted printer models, but what if you’re still not sure which product is right for you? After all, your printing needs may differ from those of your neighbor.
Keep these pointers in mind when making your final decision —
If you need high quantities of monochrome/grayscale printing, choose a monochrome laser printer. This unit will offer you:
If you need high quantities of business printing, choose a color laser printer. This unit will offer you:
Quality presentation (though not best for photos)
If you need a general-purpose home or small business printer, choose a color inkjet model. This unit will offer you:
If you need large quantities of high-quality photo printing, choose a specialist color inkjet printer. This unit will offer you:
Materials you will need: burlap, cardstock, ruler, X-Acto knife, computer, inkjet printer
Use this DIY to make customized burlap bags, wall decor and more!
Materials you will need: tattoo paper, credit card, scissors, computer, inkjet printer
BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.