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The right home printer for you really depends on the kind of output you expect from it. Pro photographers have very different printing needs than casual shutterbugs or regular people who mostly capture candids of family and friends. Pros might need to print lots of photographs in many different sizes, perhaps even large fine-art prints. Additionally, you might need to use your printer to produce smaller prints for self-promotional work that you’ll mail out to your clients. That means you’ll want to be sure your printer produces decent photo prints and is very versatile.
Not all printers print out pages quickly, and some that produce stunning photographs might be very slow to print your average 8.5 x 11-inch Word document or Excel PowerPoint document. Moreover, you might also require that your new printer print on both sides of a document or one that produces stellar graphics for presentations or reports. And since you’re always looking to save money, you might want to consider investing in a printer that doesn’t use ink cartridges at all but instead has an ink tank for each color, which can store more than a year’s worth of ink for each color.
As you can see from just this one example, finding the best home printer can be more challenging than you might expect. The good news is that if you’re looking to buy the best home printer for your needs, you can use this guide to assist you in making the very best choice.
- Best overall for home use: Canon TR8620a all-in-one printer
- Best all-in-one: Brother MFC-J4335DW
- Best for home offices: Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850
- Best cheap printer: Canon Pixma MG3620 all-in-one printer
- Best wireless: Epson EcoTank ET-3760 all-in-one printer
- Best for photos: Epson SureColor P900 single-function inkjet printer
- Best laser printer: HP Color LaserJet Pro M255dw
What to consider when choosing the best home printer for your needs
When you’re looking to find the top-rated printer for your needs, think about the projects or tasks you’ll need it for—since different types excel at different tasks.
You might need it for a variety of jobs, including printing out many pages of text (both black-and-white and color) and photos. Plus, you might need one that allows you to scan and copy pages. All-in-one inkjets do a great job at a variety of tasks.
But say you only need a printer to crank out pages of black-and-white text. You might want to buy a black-and-white laser printer. Or say you want to produce really large photos—you can find a few single-function models that can create stunning 17 x 22 fine-art quality photographs, but they’re slow if you need to print simple text.
Of course, you’ll want to consider how much you’ll want to spend. In most cases, you’ll find that many printers range between $100 and $500. However, select models with unique or cutting-edge features may cost you more. Additionally, you’ll want to look at how many ink cartridges your printer uses and how much they cost since buying ink cartridges will add up over the lifespan of your printer.
Here are some key points to consider before making your decision on buying the best home printer for your needs:
Determine the type of printer you need: laser or inkjet
When looking to buy a printer, determine the type of printer you need—laser or inkjet. The most popular printers are all-in-one inkjet printers, which can print text, photos, and graphics. Laser printers, which print in black-and-white or color, have a higher sticker price but, depending on how you need to use them, can save you money since they use a toner cartridge that lasts a long time. If you just print black-and-white documents, a monochrome laser printer might be more cost-effective since they generally produce documents with excellent print quality and do so very quickly.
Do you need an all-in-one or single-function printer?
After selecting an inkjet or laser printer, decide if you want to buy an all-in-one (AIO) or a single-function printer. AIOs are the most popular type of printer, and there are far more AIOs available on the market, which not only print documents and photos but let you scan, copy, and in some cases fax. But if you only need to print, consider a single-function printer. Also, a few single-function printer models are designed for printing higher quality photos in larger sizes than what you can print on AIOs.
Additional specialized features to consider: Ink tanks, connectivity, and more
Next, choose the features that are important to your workflow—whether it’s a home or office setting, or both. Here are a few to consider:
- Ink tanks: Epson introduced the first EcoTank inkjet printers a few years ago, which didn’t use ink cartridges. Instead, these EcoTank models let you refill ink tanks that last far longer, often more than a year. Many in the printing industry believe these types of printers will save you money in the long run. Other brands also include this feature, including Canon and Brother.
- Ink cartridge subscription plans: In response to the introduction of new ink tank printer models, printer manufacturers, like HP, have introduced ink cartridge subscription plans, which will monitor your ink use and send you a new cartridge as the ink levels in your printer run low.
- Connectivity: Almost all printers can connect to a laptop or desktop via a USB cable. But nearly all new printers print via wireless features, letting you use your home wireless network or allowing you to print directly via technologies like wireless PictBridge.
- Printing large photos: Most printer manufacturers produce a select group of single-function inkjet printers considered pro-level photo printers. These pricey models provide you with many options for printing out very high-quality photos in large sizes.
- Additional features to keep in mind: Above, we’ve listed several of the more notable features currently available on the best home printers. But there are many other features to consider, including features like an auto-duplexer (which lets you print or scan on both sides of a document), an SD memory-card slot, a flatbed scanner, and the ability to print borderless photos, to name just a few.
Here are our best home printer reviews:
Best overall for home use: Canon TR8620 all-in-one printer
Why it made the cut: Although there are many all-in-one printers available, not all are easy to set up or easy to use. But the Canon TR8620a is our top choice for an excellent all-around printer since it does many different tasks very well.
- Weight: 17.4 lbs.
- Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 13.8 x 7.5 inches
- Type: All-in-one inkjet printer
- Intuitive feature set
- Very versatile
- Easy to use
- Quick set up
- Easy to print from mobile devices
- May use more ink than other models on maintenance
- Can cost more due to ink use
What sets the Canon TR8620 all-in-one printer apart from most printers is that it can perform many different tasks and does them all quite well—from printing documents or photos to scanning and copying. We liked that it also connects via USB, Wi-Fi, or Ethernet, which gives you lots of options for connectivity.
We also like that this Canon printer has several useful automated features. For example, auto-duplexing lets you print on both sides of your document, and a 20-sheet auto document feeder (ADF) makes it easy to scan, copy, or fax multi-page documents.
It also has a 4.3-inch touchscreen LCD, which lets you easily access the functions you need to print, copy, or scan. It’s also where you’ll access the printer’s maintenance screen or other settings. If you want to print directly from an SD memory card, it has a card slot, which is a feature fewer all-in-ones include these days. Best of all, this Canon printer is very easy to set up, whether you’re connecting via a wired or wireless connection, and it’s easy to use. Its wireless features also allow you to connect via your mobile device, so you can quickly print via your smartphone or tablet.
Best all-in-one: Brother MFC-J4335DW
Why it made the cut: It has fast print speeds with low costs per print and auto-duplexing, making it a well-rounded printer at a very reasonable price.
- Weight: 17.6 pounds
- Product dimensions: 17.1 x 14.2 x 7.1 inches
- Type: All-in-one inkjet printer
- Faxing abilities
- Low cost per page
- Auto duplex printing
- Mobile device connectivity
- Small display
The Brother MFC-J4335DW is truly a jack of all trades, capable of handling all of the standard office tasks. It can print, scan, copy, and even fax, so you just need one device for it all. It also has many connectivity options, from Bluetooth, WiFi, or USB, and can connect to your mobile device for easy remote printing.
It has excellent resolution at 4800 x 1200 dpi and can scan up to 2400 x 1200 dpi. So you’ll get excellent text quality in your prints and even some decent photos from this AIO. There is an automatic document feeder (ADF) to make printing and scanning multiple pages faster. And the automatic duplex printing lets you print on both sides without figuring out which way to feed the paper back in.
The running cost of this printer is a big selling point and a reason it is one of the top-rated printers. It costs only 0.7 cents per color page and 0.9 cents per black page, so you can print lots without breaking the bank. The low upfront cost of the printer is also excellent, making this one of the best printers for the money.
Best for home offices: Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850
Why it made the cut: The ET-5850 is ideal for the busy home office, with paper trays capable of holding 550 sheets total, large ink tanks for less frequent changes, and low running costs.
- Weight: 39.2 pounds
- Product dimensions: 19.7 x 16.73 x 13.8 inches
- Type: All-in-one inkjet printer
- Small footprint
- Low running costs
- Excellent print quality
- Large paper capacity
- High initial purchase price
More people than ever are working from home these days. Small businesses are also on the rise, with many running those businesses out of home offices. The Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850 is one of the best work from home printer options available, especially for those who still need to print frequently.
It boasts multiple paper trays that can hold up to 550 sheets and large ink tanks, so you won’t have to worry about it running out of paper or ink mid-document. The large ink tanks will also save you money over time since you won’t have to purchase ink as frequently. Epson frequently has big incentives, such as two free years of new ink, for buying new printers, so keep your eyes peeled for more savings.
The print quality from this Epson printer is excellent, with clear, crisp text even at small font sizes. You won’t have to worry about readability if you are printing contracts with lots of fine print. Its color accuracy is also great, which means you can print promotional materials with on-brand colors. You’ll also be able to print borderless up to 8.5 x 14 inches, perfect for posters or flyers.
Best cheap printer: Canon Pixma MG3620 all-in-one printer
Why it made the cut: Although it’s a basic, budget-priced all-in-one inkjet printer, the Canon Pixma MG3620 offers lots of value for the money and is one of the best cheap printers.
- Weight: 11.90 lbs.
- Product Dimensions: 12 x 17.7 x 6 inches
- Type: All-in-one inkjet printer
- Easy to use
- Offers duplex printers for printing documents on both sides
- Scans documents quickly and easily
- No touchscreen LCD
- Doesn’t offer separate color ink cartridges
If you’re looking for an inexpensive all-in-one printer that’s also easy to use and intuitive, consider this Canon Pixma budget printer. It offers many useful features found on pricier models, like the Canon Pixma TR8620, such as auto-duplex printing features to print on both sides of the document. It also has a flatbed scanner, which some budget models lack. It scans documents quickly, which can be helpful in both home and office settings. It’s also very easy to set up.
The footprint of the printer unit itself is compact, so it can fit into many office or home settings. It’s wireless, too, so you can print from just about anywhere in your home. You can also download Canon’s PRINT mobile app, which makes printing from mobile devices easy—you can print and scan photos and documents directly from iPads or iPhones via AirPrint or from Android devices via Mopria and Google Cloud Print.
Best wireless: Epson EcoTank ET-3760 all-in-one printer
Why it made the cut: It’s not an ink tank all-in-one with the most features. But it’s also not the priciest. However, it has loads of wireless connectivity options, making it easy to print from anywhere.
- Weight: 16.1 lbs.
- Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 14.8 x 9.1 inches
- Type: All-in-one inkjet printer with refillable ink tanks
- Its ink tank design can save you money on ink
- Easy to use
- Simple set-up
- Expensive sticker price for a personal printer
Gone are the days when you need to sit at a desktop and physically connect to a printer in order to print. These days, all printers are wireless, so you can easily print from anywhere. Some will have more connectivity options than others, however. The Epson EcoTank ET-3760 has loads of different options for printing wirelessly, making it one of the most versatile and reliable home printers.
It includes Ethernet, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, and WiFi direct printing for even easier setup. In terms of mobile device connectivity, there is no shortage. The ET-3760 works with Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Fire OS support, and Mopria Print Service. You also get Epson’s own suite of apps: Epson Email Print, Epson Remote Print, Epson Scan to Cloud, and the Epson iPrint app. No matter what device you have or what you are trying to do, there will be an app that works with this printer. It also has voice-activated printing, should the rest not be enough for you.
Beyond connectivity, the printer offers many additional features. For instance, it has a 2.4-inch color display and can hold 150 sheets of paper. It has an auto document feeder for faster printing and copying of multi-page documents. And, though the initial purchase price is high, the ink tank format will save you money in ink costs down the line.
Best laser printer: HP Color LaserJet Pro M255dw
Why it made the cut: This single-function laser printer has lots of wireless connectivity options, a small footprint, and printing speeds up to a fast 22 ppm.
- Weight: 32.6 lb
- Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 16.5 x 9.7 inches
- Type: Color laser printer (single function)
- Small footprint
- Low operating costs
- Easy to use
- Mobile device connectivity
- Paper capacity could be better
Laser printers are a great option for those who print a lot and want their documents fast or those who print infrequently and don’t want to worry about ink cartridges clogging. The HP Color LaserJet Pro M255dw is a color laser printer, so you can still print graphics in color while getting the other benefits of laser printers.
Color prints from this printer are well saturated and accurate for a laser printer, putting it ahead of the competition in printer comparisons. While photos won’t be professional quality by any means, they will be plenty for basic home or office use. The text quality is excellent, with clear, sharp text even with small fonts.
The M255dw has plenty of wireless printing options, including WiFi Direct, mobile app connectivity, and voice-activated printing. It has automatic duplex printing and can print up to 22ppm, faster than many other home printer options. Be aware that this isn’t an all-in-one printer, however, so you won’t be able to scan, copy, or fax.
Best for photos: Epson SureColor P900 single-function inkjet printer
Why it made the cut: This pro-grade single-function printer produces stunning prints, whether you’re printing high-quality, large-sized black-and-white, or color fine-art photographs.
- Weight: 35.3 lbs.
- Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 14.5 x 7.8 inches
- Type: Single-function inkjet printer
- Produces excellent quality prints
- Print as large as 17 x 22 inches
- 10-color archival pigment ink cartridges last a long time and won’t fade
- 4.3-inch customizable touchscreen
- Wireless connectivity
- Pricey ink cartridges
Epson makes some of the best printers for photos, and this option is no exception. The P900 is the larger of Epson’s two models in its current line of SureColor single-function printers—although it’s actually 30 percent smaller than its predecessor. The P900 is more than double what you’d pay for most inkjet printers, but it’s pricey for a purpose. This printer can produce some of the best professional-level photographs and fine-art prints. Moreover, it can print out large photographs, up to 17 by 22 inches. If you buy the additional print roll adapter, you can print panoramic photos as large as 17 x 129 inches.
What allows this printer to produce such high quality is that it’s based on a 10-color archival pigment ink, which has an expanded color gamut. This 10-color palette also offers you many different options to customize your workflow to reproduce your fine-art image accurately or convert your work into stunning black-and-white works of art. The printer also comes with a 4.3-inch touchscreen LCD, which even lets you configure the settings for each print (letting you avoid the need to always access the printer via apps or software).
Q: What’s the difference between an inkjet printer and a laser printer?
Each type of printer uses a different process to produce a document, print, or graphic. Here’s a quick overview of how each printing technology works.
Not surprisingly, inkjet printers use ink, which is stored in ink cartridges that are sprayed through hundreds of small nozzles, producing thousands of ink droplets, which are heated and then sprayed out onto the paper as it passes through the printer unit.
Laser printers use a different process, which is more complex than inkjets, to produce a document or graphic. Instead of squirting droplets of ink, laser printers use static electricity to attach, heat, and then fuse toner, a powdered form of ink, onto a sheet of paper.
Q: What’s the most economical type of printer?
It depends on how you define the word “economical.” That’s because it’s related to how you’ll actually use your home printer. For instance, if you’re using your home printer for many different tasks, including printing photos and documents as well as scanning and copying, then an all-in-one inkjet might be very economical for the way you need to print and the projects you’re working on. However, if you only print black-and-white text, then perhaps a monochrome laser printer could save you money.
Q: How are inkjet printers with an ink tank, like Epson’s EcoTank printers, different from normal inkjet printers?
The biggest difference between an inkjet printer that uses cartridges and a model that stores ink in an ink tank is that cartridges hold far less ink than printers that use ink tanks. So, an all-in-one inkjet printer with ink tanks can dramatically reduce how much you spend on ink.
What are the disadvantages of an inkjet printer?
Although inkjet printers are extremely popular and produce excellent print quality, there are some disadvantages. If you don’t use an inkjet printer frequently, the print heads are prone to clogging. The clogging is not only frustrating and leads to maintenance issues, but it also wastes precious ink. And, ink costs are more expensive with inkjet printers, so wasting that is definitely not ideal.
The other main disadvantage is print speed. Inkjet printers are not capable of printing as fast as laser printers. So if you have high-volume print needs, you may not want to invest in an inkjet.
For our best home printer ratings, we researched and selected current models from most major brands that produce all-in-ones, single-function prints, and laser printers. We also picked models that included the broadest spectrum of features and capabilities and met most users’ needs.
Additionally, we looked at printers that were compatible with both Windows and Mac computers (ensuring that the printers were compatible with the most current operating systems for both), as well as other connectivity technologies, including USB, wireless, Bluetooth, and more.
A final word on shopping for the best home printers
Although it can be a challenge to find the best home printer for your needs, this guide can help you select the correct model. What’s more is that because there is fierce competition in the home printing market, particularly at the consumer level, you’ll find that today’s home printers are more versatile, include more features, and have better overall quality than past models. There are also a wider array of printers to choose from, whether you’re looking for an all-in-one, a single-function printer, a laser model, or an inkjet printer.