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Updated August 2022
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Canon PIXMA PRO-200 Wireless Professional Color Photo Printer
Canon
PIXMA PRO-200 Wireless Professional Color Photo Printer
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Great Print Quality
Bottom Line

A great choice if you're seeking a printer that can produce high-quality photos and images. Fast, efficient, and saves a ton of space

Pros

Easy to set up and implement, more compact compared to previous versions of the printer, and wireless and Airplay capable. Clear LCD screen and Built-in sensors that automatically correct for paper skewing. Also listed as Climate Pledge Friendly on Amazon.

Cons

Some users mention that it is difficult to find ink cartridges for this particular printer and are only programmed for Canon paper.

Best Bang for the Buck
HP DeskJet 3755 Compact Printer
HP
DeskJet 3755 Compact Printer
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Simple Yet Solid
Bottom Line

Bargain inkjet printer from industry giant pairs well with phones, tablets, and computers to make printing as simple and streamlined as possible.

Pros

Wireless copying, scanning, and printing without tedious setup. Compact design works just as well with phones/tablets as computers when paired with HP app. LCD display makes manual operation simple task. Prints wide range of sizes for letters, documents, and photographs. Compatible with Alexa devices.

Cons

While a plus for some, the feeding scanner is not for everyone. Some claims of wasted ink.

HP Smart Tank Plus 651 Wireless All-in-One Printer
HP
Smart Tank Plus 651 Wireless All-in-One Printer
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Most Eco-friendly
Bottom Line

Ink tank printer that scans, copies, faxes, and prints with crisp text, vibrant colors, and no smudging.

Pros

Brand-name printer works wirelessly with mobile devices and computers alike. Box includes two years worth of bottled ink, an eco-friendly replacement. Automatic document-feeding a favorite among those who need it for larger projects. Paints from 3" x 5" to 8" x 10".

Cons

Some reports of initial bleeding as printer gets going. Others note some freezing that can only be undone with unplugging.

HP ENVY Photo 7855
HP
ENVY Photo 7855
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Trusted Brand
Bottom Line

Affordable, vibrant, wireless HP performance from one of brand's most beloved lines.

Pros

Works wirelessly and directly with SD cards, while document feeder acts as scanner and copier. Built for phoros 4" x 5" to 8" x 10". 3" LCD Touchscreen for easy setup at your fingers. Eco-friendly ink cartridges available at low costs. Also works for documents. Syncs wonderfully with HP app for printing, ink, and general maintenance.

Cons

Some complaints of low ink-yield per cartridge.

Canon G3260 All-in-One Printer
Canon
G3260 All-in-One Printer
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Great for Documents
Bottom Line

Megatank printer that preserves your ink cartridges while printing vibrant colors and crisp documents.

Pros

Boasts 6,000 black pages and 7,700 printed pages on one set of ink bottles. Sharp black text for heavy document printing. Flatbead scanner an easy all-in-one way to copy photos, preserve them in the cloud, or print your latest digital creation. Prints from computers, tablets, and phones alike.

Cons

Some recommend doing some custom photo settings for maximum performance. Some issues connecting to home networks.

HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

30
Models
Considered
93
Consumers
Consulted
22
Hours
Researched
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Buying guide for Best ink printers

If you're looking for a top printer, you'll find a huge range of models offering every conceivable feature and extra. How do you decide which is best for you?

Solid ink printers will do just about everything, from rapid black and white printing to scanning, copying, automatic color duplexing, and outputting from a smartphone or tablet.

For some people, printing is all about speed. For others, it may be the quality of photos. Printers aren't necessarily one-size-fits-all.

Considerations

Output statistics

The BestReviews lab staff examined each printer’s output statistics: pages per minute, color quality, and so on.

Features

Few printers just print anymore. In fact, 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 on our shortlist.

Connectivity options

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 on our shortlist.

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Did you know?
Should you buy a laser or an inkjet printer? Yes, the laser vs. inkjet question is a big one, but others issues also figure prominently. For example, should you get a color or monochrome printer? A single-purpose or an all-in-one (AIO)?
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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:

   •    Compact

   •    Fast

   •    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.

Single-function printer vs. multifunctional printer

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 a 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.

  • Business owners might prefer a more robust single-function unit that can consistently handle their heavy output demands.
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Did you know?
Some modern printers can connect to every imaginable mobile device. As such, they cater to all kinds of users.
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Inkjet vs. laser

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.

  • Print resolution is no longer an issue. Even cheap inkjets render a decent output. The graphic quality of our inkjet finalists is much greater than average.
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Did you know?
An auto document feeder allows you to get substantial jobs going and come back to them when they're finished, rather than having to hand-feed them.
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Features to consider

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.

When buying a printer, consider the cost of ink cartridges. Many printers are priced low, but their ink costs are sky high. Laser printers have a higher upfront cost, but many are cheaper when analyzed over their entire life cycle.

A note about ink quality

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:

  • Inkjet inks fall into two categories — dye-based and pigment-based. Dye-based inks are 100% liquid; the color is dissolved in water. Pigment-based inks have solid particles in the mix and consequently last longer.
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In case of a paper jam, hold the obstructing document with both hands and pull it out gently but firmly; do not yank it out as that might cause it to rip and leave debris behind.
  • 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).

  • If you want your photo images to retain their richness for years, consider a specialist photo printer and the corresponding ink and paper. You'll pay more, but you’ll enjoy remarkable technology.
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Did you know?
Printed images that are stored in direct sunlight will fade. To preserve your images, shield them from sun exposure.
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Pointers

We wholeheartedly endorse all five of our chosen printers, 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:

  • Fast printing
  • Sharp detail
  • High-volume capability
Content Image
Did you know?
The slight blurring inherent in an inkjet printer’s output is beneficial to photo printing. Why? The constantly variable tone enhances the photo’s overall quality. Many manufacturers tune nozzle performance for better results.
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If you need high quantities of business printing, choose a color laser printer. This unit will offer you:

  • Fast printing

  • Fine detail

  • Quality presentation (though not best for photos)

  • High-volume capability
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Did you know?
Inkjet printers create images by squirting wet ink onto paper. As such, you can print the ink onto different fabrics, like burlap, for a fun DIY.
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If you need a general-purpose home or small business printer, choose a color inkjet model. This unit will offer you:

  • A lower initial investment
  • Cheaper ink
  • Good photo quality
"Although inkjet cartridges are cheaper than laser toner cartridges, they don’t tend to last as long."
STAFF
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If you need large quantities of high-quality photo printing, choose a specialist color inkjet printer. This unit will offer you:

  • Exceptional visual quality
  • Prints that hold their color for decades

Price

It's possible to buy a cheap printer for less than $50, but the faults of these bargain models frequently outweigh the savings. 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.

2 DIY projects with your inkjet printer

Printing on burlap

Materials you will need: burlap, cardstock, ruler, X-Acto knife, computer, inkjet printer

  1. Measure out your piece of burlap to 8.5" by 11". Use the X-Acto knife to cut it.
  2. Repeat with the card stock.
  3. Use the masking tape to affix the burlap to the card stock.
  4. Make sure your printer settings are set to Heavy Duty.
  5. Gently feed the burlap/card stock through the printer.

Use this DIY to make customized burlap bags, wall decor and more!

Temporary tattoos

Materials you will need: tattoo paper, credit card, scissors, computer, inkjet printer

  1. Design your tattoos on your computer.
  2. Print them onto the tattoo paper.
  3. Lay the adhesive sheet on top and use a credit card to smooth.
  4. Cut out the tattoo with scissors.
  5. Place the tattoo on your arm and gently rub it with a wet paper towel for 30 seconds.
  6. Slowly peel the tattoo off.
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