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The best printer for you is the one that can handle your particular print needs, affordably.
Back during the early days of the PC revolution, technology pundits predicted that the office of the future would be paperless, with every document stored digitally and never leaving the screen. But decades later, we’re still living in a paper world, both in the office and at home. It doesn’t matter if have your own home business, occasionally work from home or just need to print school projects and everyday paperwork—owning some kind of printer is probably unavoidable. The best home printer for you is one that prints what you need quickly, at an affordable price.
Printers aren’t one-size-fits-all, though. There are all-in-one models that print, copy and scan—great for a home office or just plain home HQ. Or you might prefer an inexpensive monochrome laser printer for super-fast printing. If you’re a photographer, there are photo printers that can produce high-quality prints suitable for framing.
And don’t forget about special features. An automatic document feeder (ADF) can help you scan or copy a lot of documents at once, while full duplex models can print on both sides of the paper automatically. You might also consider investing in an economical super tank printer to save money on ink. The bottom line? There is a wide variety of printers out there, and not all are created equally.
No matter your need, we’ve rounded up some of the best home printers you can buy today. There’s something here to satisfy your printing needs, whatever they are.
The ideal home printer should be a jack of all trades, able to print, scan, copy and fax (if the now-peculiar need should arise). The Epson Workforce Pro WF-7820 is an all-in-one inkjet that handles all that, wirelessly and mall. Full duplex printing—so it can print on both sides of the page automatically—is also on tap. But this printer can accommodate unusual print requests as well.
It can print wide-format projects up to 13×19 inches, for example, which comes in handy more often than you’d expect, such as for school projects and unusual late-night printouts you need to take to the office the next day. Do you need wide format printing? Probably not—but getting it included at this price point makes getting it a no-brainer. The printer also has a 50-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) and a 250-page paper capacity inside.
While not the fastest printer around, the WF-7820 is more than capable with a print speed of 25 pages per minute and a speedy first-page-out, so you won’t wait long for print jobs to start. Interacting with the printer is also streamlined. It houses a large 4.3-inch color LCD touchscreen for setting up print jobs, setting printer options and doing routine maintenance. But you can also connect to the printer wirelessly via your phone and control it using Epson’s mobile app. It’s also compatible with Alexa for voice commands.
Budget-friendly refillable tanks are the most interesting development in printer technology of the last decade. Epson pioneered the cartridge-free system and the EcoTank ET-3760 represents the latest generation of the technology. The cost savings are significant; this printer costs about a penny per color per page, as opposed to 20 cents for a typical inkjet printer.
While the earliest versions of the EcoTank were awkwardly bolted on to the side, the EcoTank is now built directly into the front of the printer, making it easier to refill and see how much ink you have left. Not that you’ll have to worry about that too much, since the ink that comes in the box should last you for about 2 years (or 7,500 pages, whichever comes first). That’s assuming you print about 200 pages a month.
Features include wireless printing, voice-activated printing, direct printing from your smartphone, copying, scanning, automatic two-sided printing and direct SD card printing. This model is particularly convenient because of the 30-sheet ADF on top in addition to the 150-sheet main tray.
You can spend a small fortune on a photo printer, but if you’re not a working professional photographer, you don’t have to break the bank; there are a lot of affordable inkjets that do a wonderful job printing photos for home use. The Canon TS5320 is a great option—not only does it have a 5-ink system for better shadows and dark tones in photos, but it has a rear tray designed expressly for loading up to 20 sheets of premium photo paper.
It’s an all-in-one device that can scan and copy, though it lacks an automatic document feeder. If you expect to print a high volume and need to scan a lot of multi-page documents, this might not be the printer for you. But the real focus here is on photo print quality, which the TS5320 excels at.
You can control the printer from the 4.3-inch color touchscreen, Canon’s mobile app or Alexa. And while the printer supports AirPrint, it doesn’t have an SD slot or USB port for printing directly from a thumb drive.
The Canon TR8620’s signature feature is simply how much it does—and how well it does it—for under $200. As an all-in-one printer, it includes a 20-sheet automatic document feeder, which is common in slightly more pricey printers, but a welcome bonus here.
There’s a large color touchscreen to control the printer operations, plus a great mobile app and integration with Apple AirPrint, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Print quality is solid thanks to a 5-ink system with two levels of black that delivers rich shadows and dark tones chock full of detail.
Wide-format printers tend to cost a premium, but they’re indispensable if you find yourself needing to print oversized documents or enjoy printing and hanging your own photos around the house. The Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 accommodates truly large print jobs, able to make borderless prints up to 13×19-inches—at an eye-popping 5760×1440-pixels.
Thanks to 6 individual color cartridges (with extra red and gray), the XP-15000 creates superb prints suitable for framing around the house or using to print creatives for a small business. It includes a 50-sheet tray for specialty media like card stock and there’s also a 200-sheet tray that can be used for automatic two-sided printing.
You can control the printer from the user-friendly 2.4-inch color LCD, and it supports both wired and wireless printing (but there’s no media slot for printing directly from your camera’s SD card, unfortunately).
There’s nothing worse than sending a bunch of print jobs to your printer and having it fail to connect—or get halfway through printing and have your ink cartridges run out. The HP Envy 6055 All-in-One Printer circumvents both common printer issues. Its “self-healing” dual-band Wi-Fi is able to recover from common connectivity issues and can connect on either a 2.4 or 5 GHz band network (many printers can only connect to the slower 2.4GHz Wi-Fi band).
If you opt into HP’s Instant Ink program, the brand will send you replacement ink cartridges automatically whenever you run low for as little as $2.99 per month, based on the number of pages you print. The Envy 6055 is also a capable photo printer, able to print borderless images. It also can copy and scan, sending documents directly to Google Drive or Dropbox. In all, it’s a hassle-free printer for those who don’t want to think about their printer.
All-in-one devices are great for people who move a lot of paper around, but what if you rarely (or never) need to scan or copy? In fact, even color ink might be overkill for some people. The HP Neverstop Laser Printer 1001NW is a monochrome laser printer for anyone with very modest printing needs. It has onboard Wi-Fi, and its 21 ppm (pages per minute) print speed is considerably better than many comparable inkjet printers.
With a footprint that’s not much larger than a sheet of 8.5×11 paper, you’ll be hard pressed to find a printer that does more in such a small space. The best part? Instead of toner cartridge refills that cost hundreds of dollars, the 1001nw uses a refillable toner tank that gives you 2,500 pages per refill (the device ships with 5,000 pages worth of toner in the tank) and costs under $30 for a 2-pack.
Brother positions this as an all-in-one printer with a very low lifetime cost and extremely long ink lifetime, which is super important for a home office printer—the ink cost is easily the costliest part of the equation for almost any printer, and no one likes swapping cartridges all the time. The Brother MFC-J995DW’s innovative “INKvestment Tank” Ink System is key to the printer’s low cost and long ink life.
Essentially, each oversized cartridge transfers its contents to an internal ink storage tank that lets you print substantially more pages of uninterrupted printing. That means you won’t end up discarding cartridges that still have some ink in them, and when a cartridge is empty you’re not completely out of ink and can keep printing. This isn’t a refillable supertank-style printer, but it’s close. And you get a year’s worth of ink right in the box with the initial purchase.
The ink system is so good it’s easy to almost overlook the printing capabilities, but that would be a mistake, because this is an excellent home office printer. Print quality is excellent, supported by a 150-page paper tray, automatic two-sided full-duplex printing and a 20-sheet automatic document feeder. Everything is controllable from a friendly 2.7-inhc color touchscreen or mobile app, and you can print via wireless, USB, Ethernet or AirPrint. It’s hard to find a better overall value for your home office.
While inkjet printers have a lot of advantages—namely the potential for better image quality in photo prints—color laser printers are quieter, faster and work better for text documents. If that’s what you’re looking for, the Brother HL-L3270CDW is an excellent choice. You get Ethernet, USB and Wi-Fi connectivity, and NFC lets you “touch to connect” so you can print from compatible mobile devices without even connecting to the network. It even supports full duplex printing. It can spit out an impressive 25 pages per minute, and the 250-sheet paper tray won’t run out too quickly. There’s a friendly 2.7-inch color touchscreen for managing all your printer settings.
The Canon SELPHY CP1300 is custom built for one thing and one thing only — to deliver snapshot printouts for convenient printing from your phone and other mobile devices. With its optional battery pack and petite size, it’s portable, so you can take it with you to photo shoots. You can AirPrint directly from your phone or tablet, or plug in a USB stick or your camera’s memory card.
While the SELPHY can give you instantly dry, archival quality prints via its dye sublimation printing on Canon paper (rated for up to 100 years), you can also switch out the standard 4×6 prints with square photo label paper that lets you print instant stickers. It’s a great way to get your prints off your phone or camera and into the real world in an instant.
Dave Johnson has been a tech journalist since the days of the Palm Pilot and Windows 95. He’s the author of about three dozen books about tech, digital photography, small