Laser or inkjet? Do you need to print alone or scan and copy as well? Looking for a cheap printers or low-cost ink? With the help of our best, lab-tested recommendations, learn how to choose the ideal printer for your home or office.
Choosing a printer might seem simple. Making a decision, though, can soon become overwhelming as you begin to explore all the options that are offered.
Do you wish to scan and copy in addition to printing on a basic printer? What about faxing, scanning to the cloud for printing, or even scanning and emailing? Which technology—laser or inkjet—should you choose? What actually distinguishes a $200 model from a $500 model?
We have you covered on all fronts, so don’t worry. Every year, we examines hundreds of printers, including common consumer versions, powerful office equipment, portable picture printers, and more.
For our top recommendations in each of these categories, scroll below. Then, continue on for a detailed buyer’s guide.
Because the term “Best Everyday Printer for Most Users” is so broad, our choice had to fulfill a number of criteria: An automatic document feeder (ADF) will save you the trouble of manually placing sheets on the glass one at a time.
Good print quality; color instead of monochrome to give pop to presentations and reports; an all-in-one model rather than a single-function one. All of that is there in the OfficeJet Pro 9015e from HP, including text output that is nearly laser-quality, and it is faster and has a greater duty cycle than most of its rivals.
The HP 9015e is qualified for the Instant Ink subscription plan, which can reduce its running expenses to as little as 3.5 cents per page—any page, whether double-spaced black text or a letter-size borderless photo.
Because of this, Instant Ink is perfect for families who print plenty of photos, whilst the OfficeJet Pro truly lives up to its name as the perfect printer for homes or small offices that require both beautiful text and vibrant marketing materials.
Customers with a budget of $159.99 can choose from a variety of all-in-one inkjet printers that don’t take up much desk space, but the Brother MFC-J4335DW goes above and beyond with duplex printing, faxing (either as a standalone fax machine or from almost any app on your PC), a 20-page automatic document feeder, and low running costs of under a penny per black page and under a nickel per color page.
Double-sided pages cannot be handled by the ADF, although in this price range, some compromises must be made.
This Brother printer fits well in both small (to be honest, extremely small) offices and residences. Although you won’t frequently use its fax feature, you never know when you might need it. In addition to its excellent text and graphics quality, it also handles paper with skill.
Epson’s EcoTank Pro ET-5850, which won Best of the Year in 2020, no longer comes with the two years’ worth of free ink that it did when it was first introduced, but it’s still a fantastic price for high-volume office printing.
This multifunction device has a 50-page ADF with single-pass auto duplexing, a generous 550-sheet paper capacity, and output for text that is nearly typeset-quality (and impressive graphics, too).
It prints monochrome and, more impressively, coloured documents at a cost of only approximately 2 cents per page, which is comparable to many inkjet and laser competitors.
The ET-5850 is practically perfect for small enterprises and workgroups that produce 3,000–4,000 pages each month, provided you stick with letter- and legal-size paper instead of the wide-format media supported by its EcoTank Pro ET-16650 sister.
The bulk-ink approach may have reduced consumer printers’ page costs to under a penny for black and white in what was likely the first successful commercial deployment, but those printers aren’t equipped for demanding office use. One of them does.
The HP Color LaserJet Enterprise MFP M480f is a capable workhorse with a recommended monthly consumption of roughly 5,000 pages. Midrange color laser all-in-ones are neither inexpensive ($879.99 MSRP for this one) nor portable (about 50 pounds).
It contains a 250-sheet paper drawer, a ditto multifunctional tray, and a 50-sheet automatic document feeder. (A second cassette with 550 sheets costs $195.) It adds flexible mobile connectivity to the standard Ethernet and Wi-Fi workplace network membership. Additionally, the output quality is superb.
Its fleet-management functions support the word “Enterprise” in the name. However, the MFP M480f will also entice medium companies with its unwavering performance and low operating expenses (about 2.3 cents for monochrome and 14.1 cents for color pages).
While photo-quality color inkjet printers get all the attention, small, inexpensive monochrome laser printers will always be useful for workgroups and offices that mostly produce black-and-white text documents.
While technically entry-level, HP’s Neverstop Laser MFP 1202w not only meets this need but also conveniently incorporates copying and scanning. (It lacks an automatic document feeder to handle multiple-page documents or a stack of sheets.)
Most importantly, a cutting-edge toner-refill mechanism reduces operating expenses to an astonishingly low 0.6 penny per page, or one-fifth or one-sixth of what they would be for laser printers using conventional toner cartridges.
The Neverstop is not for you if you require the highest-caliber graphics and images, but neither is any other mono laser. However, this MFP is a godsend if your home or small office needs to print roughly 2,500 black-and-white pages per month on a shoestring budget, with the occasional copy and scan work thrown in.
producing copies? For that, there is a Xerox machine. Scanning? Poor you! The Brother HL-L9310CDW is a laser printer with a single function, end of story.
It can print pages upon pages (up to 6,000 a month) of flawless, vibrantly colored Excel and PowerPoint graphics and typesetter-quality text at rates that are unmatched even by the most expensive business printers. Along with several connectivity and expansion options, it also has a robust set of fleet security features.
The HL-L9310CDW will be warmly welcomed by midsize and big workplaces and workgroups, who will appreciate everything from its color touch-screen control panel to its affordable operating expenses. It’s a workhorse with excellent output quality and versatility, certified for everything from remote computing to managing electronic medical information.