Inkjet printer review

Inkjet printer review DEFAULT

Best inkjet printers 2021: top picks for home and office

If you're looking for the best inkjet printers, whether it's to act as a home printer or office printer, we've got some excellent choices for a wide range of needs and budgets.

When buying a new printer, you'll have probably noticed that there are two main choices - inkjet or laser. But, which one is the best for you.

The best inkjet printers are great choices for people on a budget, as their upfront costs are usually lower than laser printers. However, it's important to note that inkjet printers can be costly to run, as you'll need to buy ink cartridges throughout its lifetime.

The good news is that if you've decided that an inkjet printer is the right device for you, then we've carefully picked the best inkjet printers money can buy right not, and we've taken into account running costs, as well as the upfront cost, print quality and speed of the devices on this page. Picking an inkjet printer that's economical to run can save you and your business a lot of money in the long run.

We've also picked some of the best budget inkjet printers. These brilliantly cheap inkjet printers are affordable, yet don't skimp on the print quality. You'll be seriously impressed by how well these printers handle your printouts.

We've also got some great all-in-one inkjet printers that handle scanning and photocopying as well.

The best inkjet printers on this page have been hand-picked by us, and with our built-in price comparison tool, we'll make sure you get the very best deals as well.

1. Brother DCP-J1100W All-In-Box inkjet printer

Get three-years of ink and service with this unique inkjet bundle


Category: colour 3-in-1 inkjet printer

Print speed: 12ppm

Paper sizes: A4

Paper capacity: 150

Weight: 8.8kg

Reasons to buy

+3yrs of ink included +Touchscreen interface

Reasons to avoid

-High initial cost     -Slow to print  

This is the first inkjet printer to be sold with three years-worth of ink and service included in the price and it represents great value for money. The printer itself is a capable three-in-one device that can print, scan and copy at a fairly high resolution and turn out crisp and colourful duplex pages at a reasonable rate. It’s not as fast as some of Brother’s other business-oriented printers, but the inclusion of four very high-yield ink cartridges make this the most economical of all the cartridge-based inkjets available. It comes with Wi-Fi Direct connectivity and a colour touchscreen interface for easy operation.

Read the full review:Brother DCP-J1100W All-In-Box

2. Epson EcoTank ET-4750 inkjet printer

Refillable ink tanks for crisp and cost effective printing


Category: 4-in-1 colour inkjet printer

Print speed: 15ppm

Paper sizes: up to A4

Paper capacity: 250

Weight: 6.8kg

Reasons to buy

+Affordable ink refills  +High ink/paper capacity  

Reasons to avoid

-High initial -The ink tanks add bulk

Here we see Epson’s refillable EcoTank system refined and particularly well integrated in this four-in-one printer. With a fairly deep 250-sheet paper tray, a fax facility and Wi-Fi with Wi-Fi Direct as well, this machine would be well suited to a busy home office. It prints reasonably quickly and consistently and the initial price includes enough ink for up to 14,000 mono and 11,200 colour pages.  

3. Epson EcoTank ET-M1120 inkjet printer

Pricey printer proves the most economical to run


Category: mono inkjet printer

Print speed: 15ppm

Paper sizes: up to A4

Paper capacity: 150

Weight: 3.5kg

Reasons to buy

+Very economical refills +Simple/pleasing design

Reasons to avoid

-Slow print speed-High initial cost

It might seem like a lot to pay for such a basic mono print-only device but that £266 (around US$350) includes enough ink to print up to 6,000 pages. Epson’s EcoTank system allows you to top up with black ink from affordable refill bottles that can be recycled more easily than cartridges. The printer itself is equipped with Wi-Fi and duplex printing and it can manage a reasonable speed of 15 crisp and consistent pages per minute. 

4. Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4820DWF inkjet printer

Inexpensive inkjet ideal for the office


Category: All-in-one color inkjet printer

Print speed: 36ppm (mono)

Paper sizes: up to A4

Paper capacity: 250 + 35 sheets

Weight: 10.2kg

Reasons to buy

+Great value+Large touchscreen

Reasons to avoid

-Expensive cartridges-Limited paper capacity

The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4820DWF is a fine example of just how much you can get out of a mid-priced office-oriented inkjet all-in-one these days. This is a full color printer with auto duplex, an automatic document feed, high-res flatbed scanner and a fax modem. It can print faster than some laser printers in its fastest monochrome mode, but being an inkjet, it can also print decent quality photos onto glossy paper. The cost of ink cartridges should be a consideration as they are not cheapest, but this model is still competitive, especially if you sigh up to Epson’s ReadyPrint subscription ink service which mails replacement cartridges to your door.

5. HP Envy 5030 inkjet printer

Do-it-all inkjet with touchscreen convenience


Category: colour 3-in-1 inkjet printer

Print speed: 10ppm (mono)

Paper sizes: A4

Paper capacity: 100

Weight: 5.4kg

Reasons to buy

+Wi-Fi and Bluetooth +Inexpensive 

Reasons to avoid

-Small paper tray     -Expensive cartridges    

This all-in-one inkjet comes with all the features you’re likely to need in a home office setup, assuming that is, you don’t fax, and it all comes at a very reasonable price. In addition to Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct, it also offers Bluetooth for all round wireless connectivity. It is also equipped with a touchscreen interface — all be it a fairly small mono affair. Printing is slow, but steady and it has the all important auto duplex mode. It can scan and print at reasonably high resolution, which means good quality photocopies are possible. Replacement cartridges are a little pricey, but for light printing duties, this inexpensive device should serve well.

6. Canon PIXMA G5050 inkjet printer

MegaTank makes this an affordable option


Category: Color inkjet printer

Print speed: 13ppm (mono)

Paper sizes: up to A4

Paper capacity: 250 sheets

Weight: 6.5kg

Reasons to buy

+Low running cost+Plenty of ink in box

Reasons to avoid

-Slow to print-Small display

Canon’s MegaTank printers go from strength to strength and this print-only device proves that refillable ink tanks are the future for inkjet printers. The Canon PIXMA G5050 can duplex print color documents, and there’s room for half a ream of paper in the main tray. It can also print detailed photos onto coated photo paper, but it can do all this at a much lower cost per page than any cartridge-based inkjet. What’s more, the box includes enough black ink for 18,000 pages and color inks for 7,700 pages. 


Best all-in-one printers in 2021

The best all-in-one printers give you more than just a quick way to print a hardcopy. Whether it's a multifunction inkjet printer or a laser printer with scanning, copying and fax built in, an all-in-one printer puts several document handling features into one convenient device. Whether you want to print a photo, scan an assignment from a textbook, or just run off a few copies of a document, the best all-in-one printers can handle it all, and offer something for every member of the family.

For both inkjet and laser printers, the best all-in-ones offer useful features, speedy printing, sharp print quality and affordable ink. Of the dozens of printers we've reviewed we've devoted more than 150 hours to testing to find the very best printers out there.

What are the best all-in-one printers?

Of the dozens of printers we've tested, the best all-in-one printer overall is the Brother INKvestment MFC-J995DW. With solid performance across the board, it's our favorite model, not least because it uses extra-large ink cartridges to deliver some of the lowest per-page printing costs we've seen. 

For those working from home, the Canon Pixma G6020 MegaTank offers incredible value, with the chops to handle thousands of pages of prints and copies with ease, and an ink tank system that keeps print costs extremely low. Plus, you get a load of capability without paying much more than a standard inkjet, with savings you'll see on day one.

If you're not so hot on ink, there's always the Brother MFC-L2750DW XL, the best laser all-in-one printer we've reviewed. With scan, copy and fax capabilities, you can do a lot with this printer, but it's monochrome, so you can't print in color, making this printer best for handling lots of text documents.

The best all-in-one printers you can buy today

1. Brother INKvestment MFC-J995DW

The best all-in-one printer overall


Printer Type: Inkjet

Features: Print, copy, scan, fax

Display: 2.7-inch color touch screen

Ink/Toner: Four cartridges (black, cyan, magenta, yellow)

Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB 2.0

Reasons to buy

+Very low cost per page+Fast at printing text and graphics+Quick scanning and copying speeds

Reasons to avoid

-Mediocre color-photo scans-Does not make two-sided copies/scans via ADF

There's much more to the cost of a printer than just the purchase price: Ink costs can eat away the savings you expected from your affordable inkjet device. If you want one of the best all-in-one printers with the most affordable ink, we recommend the Brother INKvestment MFC-J995DW. The printer features extra-large ink cartridges, and comes with an estimated years' supply of ink in the box, which adds up to the lowest per-page ink costs we've seen.

On top of that, the Brother INKvestment MFC-J995DW offers solid printing, scanning and copying. Print speeds beat the category average and two-sided printing is among the fastest we've seen. And it did all of this while delivering high print quality across the board. That same zippy speed and above-average quality was found in scans and copies, making it a great choice for anyone, even if you aren't buying it for the affordable ink.

Read our full Brother INKvestment MFC-J995DW review.


2. Canon Pixma G6020 MegaTank

The best all-in-one inkjet for busy home offices


Printer Type: Inkjet

Features: Print, copy, scan

Display: 3-line monochrome screen

Ink/Toner: Four refillable ink tanks (pigment black, cyan, magenta, yellow)

Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB 2.0

Reasons to buy

+Ink tanks and included refills deliver very low ink costs+Two paper trays and a duplexer+Fast scanning and copying

Reasons to avoid

-No document feeder-Small monochrome LCD

The most obvious reason to like the Canon Pixma G6020 MegaTank is the use of refillable ink tanks that offer huge savings on ink and dramatically low print costs, thanks in part to the thousands of pages worth of ink that come included with the printer. But there's more to the G6020 than cheap printing.

The compact body is sized right for use in a home office – we actually named it the best printer for working from home in the 2021 Tom's Guide Awards – but it doesn't skimp on the features, with dual paper trays for a total capacity of 350 sheets, and an automatic duplexer that makes two-sided printing a breeze. And with scanning and copying built-in – both offer speedy performance, as well – it's got everything a home office needs (provided you don't rely on faxing). And with a recommended monthly duty cycle of up to 3,300 pages, it can handle much heavier workloads than the average cheap inkjet, despite still offering an attractively low price.

Read our full Canon Pixma G6020 MegaTank review.

3. Brother MFC-L2750DW XL

Best laser all-in-one printer


Printer Type: Laser (Monochrome)

Features: Print, copy, scan, fax

Display: 2.7-inch color touch-screen

Ink/Toner: Black toner

Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB 2.0

Reasons to buy

+Very fast printing and copying+Very fast black-and-white scanning to PDF+Fast document feeder+Low cost per page

Reasons to avoid

-Average color-scanning speed

The Brother MFC-L2750DW XL multifunction laser printer is packed with features like a fast ADF, fast duplex printing and copying, fax capability, and a second paper tray. This device is monochrome laser printer that lends itself well to fast document printing that looks sharp and clear every time. It's easily one of the best all-in-one printers overall, and our favorite laser printer – so long as you don't need to print in color

The MFC-L2750DW XL turned in great document quality, and the fastest speeds to date for text and mixed text/graphics files. The printer even made two-sided prints faster than some models can handle one-sided documents. Using its high-capacity toner cartridge, the MFC-L2750DW XL offers a cost per page of just 2.7 cents, the lowest we've seen in this category. That's a tough deal to beat.

Read our full Brother MFC-L2750DW review.


4. Epson EcoTank ET-4760

A great ink-saving printer for the home or office


Printer Type: Inkjet

Features: Print, copy, scan, fax

Display: 2.4-inch color touchscreen

Ink/Toner: Four refillable ink tanks (pigment black, cyan, magenta, yellow)

Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB 2.0

Reasons to buy

+Fast printing and copying+Very low ink costs+Quick duplexer

Reasons to avoid

-No secondary paper tray-Duplex prints look lighter than single-sided prints

The Epson EcoTank ET-7460 is a great choice for busy offices, thanks to its combination of solid performance, generous feature-set and impressively low ink costs. It's also one of the top printers for working from home in our 2021 Tom's Guide Awards. Built for heavy duty, the EcoTank earns its name by not only printing thousands of pages a month, but also keeping ink costs low with refillable high-capacity ink tanks. 

The printer comes with the first set of ink bottles, and enough ink for an estimated 7,500 pages (black) and 6,000 pages (color) before ever worrying about refills. Even when you buy new ink, you'll get plenty of bang for your buck, with costs of less than a cent per page.

Speedy printing and copying make it a smart pick for any busy home office or small team, though you might miss having a second paper tray. Regardless, the printer's relatively compact footprint and convenient two-sided printing make it a winner for day-to-day productivity.

Read our full Epson EcoTank ET-4760 review

5. Canon Pixma TR8620

Best value for home office


Printer Type: Inkjet

Features: Print, copy, scan, fax

Display: 4.3-inch color touchscreen

Ink/Toner: Five cartridges (black, pigment-black, cyan, magenta, yellow)

Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB 2.0

Reasons to buy

+Fast photo printing and copying+High image quality+ADF and duplexer

Reasons to avoid

-Ink costs are above average-Does not make two-sided copies/scans via ADF

The Canon Pixma TR8620 offers plenty of office features, from scanning and faxing to a 20-page automatic document feeder (ADF), a duplexer for two-sided printing, and two paper trays for keeping two types of paper at the ready. A big 4.3-inch color touchscreen makes it easy to control, and the printer supports smart home integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

It's also a great printer, with faster-than-average print speeds and high print quality overall. Text and color graphics all look great, but we noted that glossy photos printed impressively fast, and the use of a 5-ink cartridge system with two types of black ink resulted in photos with high-quality accuracy: Natural-looking colors, sharp details and smooth transitions. We liked it so much, we named it one of the best printers in our 2021 Tom's Guide Awards. Really, our only big complaint with the Pixma TR8620 is the above average cost of ink, due partially to the expense of the extra ink cartridge.

Read our full Canon Pixma TR8620 review. 

6. HP OfficeJet 250

Best portable printer and scanner


Printer Type: Portable inkjet

Features: Print, copy, scan

Display: 2.6-inch color touch screen

Ink/Toner: Two cartridges (black & tri-color)

Connectivity: USB 2.0, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct

Reasons to buy

+Automatic document feeder+Fast printing, scanning and copying+High-yield cartridge lowers color page costs

Reasons to avoid

-Battery life could be better-Somewhat large and heavy for a portable printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 isn't just the best portable printer out there, it's also a full featured all-in-one printer that's small enough to pack along on a trip. With copying and scanning capability built in – a rare offer in portable models – the HP surprised us by complementing that functionality with superb print quality and category-leading speeds. It's even eligible for HP Instant Ink, which saves you money while sending ink refills automatically by mail.

Whether printing basic text documents, color photos or scanning material to save for later, the quality was superb. And somehow, despite the printer's small size, it manages to boast a 2.5-inch color touch screen, a 10-page automatic document feeder and a total travel weight of just 6.7 pounds with a battery attached. We wish it were a little less expensive, or had slightly better battery life, but these are small complaints given how much you can do with the HP OfficeJet 250.

7. Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850

A great small business inkjet printer


Printer Type: Inkjet

Features: Print, copy, scan, fax

Display: 4.3-inch color touch-screen

Ink/Toner: Four ink tanks (black, cyan, magenta, yellow)

Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Ethernet, USB 2.0

Reasons to buy

+Very fast performance+Extremely low ink costs+Large, 4.3-inch color touchscreen

Reasons to avoid

-Occasional paper feed issue-High initial price

The Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850 combines impressively low ink costs with an abundance of business-firendly features to take its place as the best small business inkjet printer we've reviewed. The EcoTank design uses refillable ink tanks and comes with enough spare ink bottles to print thousands of pages. A small business printer rated to print more than 3,000 pages per month, it's more than capable of handling whatever your office team might throw at it. The printer boasts scan, copy and fax capability, dual 250-page paper cassettes, a 50-sheet automatic document feeder and   a large, easy-to-use 4.3-inch touchscreen for convenient operations.

In timed printer tests, the Epson ET-5850 delivered some of the fastest printing we've seen, and produced crisp, clear text that nearly rivals laser printer quality. That same quick, high-quality performance was also seen in copying and scanning, making it the printer of choice for offices that need a full featured multifunction printer. But the real draw is the ink savings, extremely low per-page costs of 0.4 cents for text pages, and 1.6 cents per color page. The upfront price may be high, but the combination of quality, features and super-low operating expenses make this one of the best investments you can make for your office.

Read our full Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850 review. 

How to choose the best all-in-one printer for you

Check out all of our printer coverage:

Best printers | Best photo printers | Best portable printers | Best laser printers | Best 3D printers

There are several key details to consider when shopping for a new printer. Obviously, you want a printer that performs well, so all of our reviews discuss a printer's output quality and speed, but there's more to an all-in-one printer than just churning out documents.

Price: All-in-one printers sell for as little as $60 (£45/AU$90) for inkjet models, and $150 (£170/AU$200) for laser printers, with high-end models costing hundreds of dollars, but offering better print quality, durability and features. And don’t forget ink and toner, which can range from 1 to 5 cents per page for basic documents (photos will cost more).

Inkjet or Laser: Next, it helps to determine the style of printer you need. Inkjet printers are generally better suited to producing the full range of colors, making them better suited to printing graphics and photos. Laser printers, on the other hand, can quickly produce professional looking text documents, often at a lower cost per page. (Learn more in our guide Inkjet vs. Laser: Which printer is right for you?)

Home or Office: Home and office printers differ greatly in their handling of large print volumes. Some printers are built to offer great quality and value for the home user that prints a few pages a week, while others are built for busy offices where multiple users print dozens or hundreds of pages every day. Find the one that’s right for you to avoid paying for features you don’t need.

Use case: Additional use-cases, such as photo printing are addressed in our selections above, while specific features are discussed in every printer review we do. Portable printing is another niche area where the right printer can make a world of difference. (See the best photo printers and best portable printers to learn more.)

Operating expenses: Finally, consider the cost per page. Whether it’s using ink cartridges or toner, printers cost money over time. Check our reviews for a breakdown of the costs to print individual pages as a good measure of how expensive operating costs will be over the life of the printer. 

Some companies even offer subscription services that save you money while sending you ink just in time to replace that empty cartridge. Learn more in our article HP Instant Ink vs. Canon vs. Epson: Are ink subscriptions worth it?

How we test all-in-one printers

Every printer we review is extensively tested to determine the performance and output quality. These tests include timed prints of text, mixed text and graphics and color photos. The resulting prints are carefully examined for errors and issues, and compared with samples from other printers to determine the print quality.

We time every test print to see how quickly the machine handles document printing, and closely examine the finished product to determine how well different printing tasks are handled. We also test the scanning and copying functions of the printer, timing how quickly it captures a page and comparing the results to the original images to determine how well it captures color and detail.

To measure the cost of owning and operating a printer, we look at the current street price of ink refills and the estimated number of pages that each cartridge can produce, and calculate the cost for printing a single page.

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The 5 Best Inkjet Printers - Fall 2021 Reviews

The best all-in-one inkjet printer for families that we've tested is the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4830. It feels excellently well built, with easy access to paper jams and the ink cartridges. There are two paper trays with a large total paper capacity so you don't have to refill them often, and the touchscreen display is excellent, responsive, and easy to use.

It yields a good number of color pages, and the overall cost-per-print is great, which helps keep you within budget. It prints black text documents quickly, while photos look good and have very accurate colors. The scanning features are fantastic, including a flatbed with lid hinges that raise high enough to scan thick items like textbooks, and an automatic document feeder with duplex scanning. There are outstanding connectivity options, including Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service.

Unfortunately, its page yields are only okay, so you'll need to replace the cartridges more often. The Brother MFC-J995DW yields a far greater number of pages, but it's currently difficult to find at a reasonable price. On the bright side, you can use the Epson iPrint app to print, scan, copy, and perform maintenance tasks directly from your phone. All in all, it's a great printer for families that can handle many different tasks.

See our review

Canon Pixma E410 Review
  • We are currently testing new photo printers and will have a new pick coming soon. The other picks in this guide remain the best option for their respective categories.

January 29, 2021

From the beginning of Wirecutter’s existence, we’ve been testing printers, totaling nearly 500 hours of research and trying dozens of models. The reliable, simple-to-operate HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e, an all-in-one color inkjet, is a good choice for most people who need to print regularly at home. It’s easy to set up and cheap to run, it works with all kinds of devices, and it produces beautiful prints, from tax forms to glossy photos.

The best all-around home printer: Inkjet all-in-one

Who this is for: Families—particularly those with school-age kids—or anyone who needs a machine that can reliably do it all.

Why we like it: The OfficeJet Pro 9015e isn’t HP’s most powerful inkjet all-in-one, but it is the best one for most people. It is remarkably easy to set up and use, hitting a sweet spot of speed, print quality, and reliability that other printers can’t match. Its running costs are reasonable at 2.2¢ per page for black-and-white pages and 8.9¢ for color, with the option to join HP’s Instant Ink program for set-and-forget refills and cheaper color printing. And its sleek design helps it stand out from stodgy-looking competitors, which is almost enough to make us forgive its tiny touchscreen and flimsy output tray. Ultimately, though, our concerns are small. Printers still suck, but this one is a marked improvement over the dinosaurs of yore.

Our top pick for best all-in-one printer, the HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e.

The 9015e is plenty fast for just about anyone who would use it in a home or home-office setting. HP rates it at up to 22 pages per minute with black-and-white documents and 18 ppm with color. In our testing, it got pretty close: With a text-only Word document, we saw 19.6 ppm single-sided. Switching to PDF documents, we saw the typical drop-off in speed at 15 ppm in monochrome and 11.5 ppm in color. (These figures include the lag time between our hitting the print command on our computer and the first sheet being fed.) Printing two-sided documents slowed things to 12.8 ppm with Word files and 10 ppm with PDFs, which is still just fine. Scanning was similarly brisk at 9.5 ppm, single-sided, from the 35-sheet automatic document feeder. Duplex scanning dipped to 4.5 ppm, though, mostly because the ADF has to pull each sheet through twice to scan both sides.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The OfficeJet Pro 9015e’s biggest shortcoming is probably its single 250-sheet paper tray. Although that’s a standard size for a home printer, it may be less than what some people want for home and home-business purposes. Since there’s only one tray, you need to manually swap out your plain letter paper whenever you need to print on something else—whether it’s legal, labels, glossy photo stock, or résumé paper.

We’re less than enamored with HP’s dinky slide-and-fold output tray, which extends out of the front of the printer. One of the best things about the OfficeJet Pro 8720, our previous pick, was that it had a self-contained output tray behind its huge touchscreen display; the upshot was that your documents were less likely to fall out and end up strewn about your office floor. Not so with the new model.

Speaking of displays, the 9015e has a much smaller one than those on the previous generation of HP printers. It still works fine, but the reduced real estate does make it harder to hit the smallest on-screen buttons, such as the gear icon that takes you to the settings menu. Be prepared for a few frustrating mis-taps.

Dimensions: 19.4 by 16 by 12.8 inches

Pages per minute (stated, monochrome/color): 22/18

Cost per page (monochrome/color): 2.2¢/8.9¢

A home office powerhouse: Color laser printer

Who this is for: Home- and small-business owners, or people who simply don’t want to deal with the clogs that can plague inkjets.

Why we like it: The HP Color LaserJet Pro M255dw is our pick for the best laser printer because it’s easy to use, produces brilliant results, and enjoys laser printing technology’s superior reliability. No matter how long you leave it sitting unused, you can turn it on and it’ll start printing more or less right away—and without wasting any toner on cleaning cycles. Though it’s more expensive than a comparable monochrome laser printer, it’s also far more flexible. In addition to crisp text, it produces vivid color graphics and can even turn out respectable photos (just not on photo paper). Print speeds are quick, and per-page costs are reasonable. This model’s smartphone-style color touchscreen makes changing settings simple, and HP’s PC and mobile software is the best in the business. Unlike most other printers, the M255dw can connect to 5 GHz wireless, which should speed up big print jobs and helps ensure that the printer won’t lose connection over time.

Close up of the HP Color LaserJet Pro M255dw laser printer.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The M255dw can take a minute or two to get going for very large print jobs. We saw this issue only once during testing, but several owners have reported it in reviews. Because this printer comes with a skimpy set of “starter” toner that’s good for only 800 black-and-white and 700 color pages, you’ll probably need to buy replacements within a year or so of purchase. Getting cartridges with the highest possible capacity makes the best financial sense, but a full set for this machine will cost around $400, or nearly twice as much as the machine itself. Thanks to all that toner, this printer is big (long, in particular) and heavy; make sure you have a space that can accommodate it. And, of course, the M255dw is just a printer—it doesn’t include copy, scan, or fax capability. To get those features, you’ll need to upgrade to a model like our color laser all-in-one pick.

Dimensions: 15.4 by 18.7 by 11.7 inches
Weight: 32.6 pounds
Pages per minute (stated, monochrome/color): 22/22
Cost per page (monochrome/color): 3¢/15¢

Affordable and reliable: Monochrome laser printer

Who this is for: People who don’t need a printer on a daily basis, but still appreciate having one for the few times a year when they need to print.

Why we like it: The Brother HL-L2350DW is simple, fast, dependable, easy to set up, and affordable to operate. And because it’s a laser printer, it can sit for weeks or months between print jobs and start up again without trouble. But although it’s a budget model, it’s not short on features. For the $100-ish asking price, you get automatic duplex printing capability, a large 250-sheet paper tray, reliable Wi-Fi connectivity, and the option to use high-yield toner cartridges—which means you don’t have to buy them very often. This printer works with Windows, MacOS, Linux, ChromeOS, iOS, and Android. As for print quality, in our testing to choose the best laser printer, we found that this model is more than good enough for any text-based document, but it might need a few settings tweaks to produce a graphics-heavy document you’d want to hand out to other people. It’s also extremely compact, which means it can fit in tight spaces (like a bookcase shelf) where other printers can’t go.

A close up of our budget pick for best laser printer, the Brother HL-L2350DW.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: It’s a little flimsy and the packaging isn’t great, so if you buy one, be sure to check for any plastic parts that might have gotten bumped out of place in transit. We don’t recommend printing via Brother’s iPrint&Scan software, because it results in excessive, detail-destroying contrast. And if you use a Chromebook, you should be aware that the printer’s default settings might prevent it from working with Google Cloud Print; to get it working, you need to disable IPv6 in the Networking section of the printer’s Web control panel.

Dimensions: 14.0 by 7.2 by 14.2 inches
Weight: 15.9 pounds
Pages per minute (stated): 32
Cost per page: 3.3¢

Gallery-worthy prints at home: Photo printer

Who this is for: Serious photographers, or those who aspire to be.

Why we like it: The Epson SureColor P600 is capable of delivering gallery-quality prints up to 13 inches wide, and can print panoramas up to 10 feet long. It can also print on a huge variety of media, including metal and CDs. Though its color photos caught our eye while testing for the best photo printer, we especially loved the black-and-white output; it’s as close as you can get to traditional darkroom prints at home. Those prints will last you a long time, too: the P600’s UltraChrome HD pigment ink is one of the longest-lasting consumer inks. The touchscreen interface is a cut above what you’d get from most rivals. Ink costs are reasonable, and you can get extra-large-capacity tanks, so you’ll need to fill up less often. In addition to Wi-Fi, this printer has USB and Ethernet connections for faster printing.

The EPSON SureColor sitting on a table with a freshly printed photograph sitting in it's tray.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: As with most photo printers, print speeds are glacial—a standard 8-by-10-inch photo takes more than 3 minutes to print, and that time balloons to almost 6 minutes over Wi-Fi. This printer wastes ink when switching between matte and photo black inks (about 3 mL each time), because they share the same ink line to the print head. And if you use paper other than Epson’s own, you’ll have to seek out the appropriate media settings and ICC color profiles; frustratingly, Epson doesn’t include them.

Dimensions: 24.2 by 32 by 16.7 inches
Weight: 33.07 pounds
Cost per mL of ink: $1.24

About your guide

Ben Keough

Ben Keough is an editor covering powering, home office, and hobbies at Wirecutter. He previously spent more than a decade writing about cameras, printers, and other office equipment for Wirecutter, Reviewed, USA Today, and Digital Camera HQ. After four years testing printers, he has confirmed that they all suck, but some suck less than others.


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