Best Printer 2021 – Buyer’s Guide

Best Printer 2021 – Buyer’s Guide

Looking for a printer to use at home or in a small office? There are hundreds available, and also dozens of different types, models and brands.

There is so much to think about, such as how much you’d like to spend on both the printer and ink cartridges, how many sheets of paper you will be printing every month, and whether you need colour or can stick with monochrome. Do you need it for essays and school or university work, or for printing out photos and posters? Do you also need a scanner?

Here you’ll find the very best home and small office printers, reviewed and at the best price. Plus, there is a little guide at the bottom in case you’re a bit confused to help you find the one that’s perfect for you.

The Best Printers – Our Top Picks

  • Connection: WiFi, WiFi Direct, Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, USB
  • Dimensions: 16.9 x 44.5 x 30.4 cm
  • Weight: 5 kg
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  • Connection: WiFi, Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, USB
  • Dimensions: 41.8 x 48.4 x 21 cm
  • Weight: 6.7 kg
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  • Connection: WiFi, AirPrint, Network, USB, Google Cloud Print
  • Dimensions: 42 x 42 x 33 cm
  • Weight: 14 kg
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Best Inkjet Printer

Epson Ecotank ET-2650 All-in-One Wireless Inkjet Printer

Allowing you to do pretty much everything from one device, the Epson EcoTank is one of the most reliable, consistent and cost-effective options we reviewed and the best all-in-one printer on the market.

The name ‘EcoTank’ comes from derives from the lower cost of printing. In the box is two years-worth of ink, so there will be no need to buy a supply every few months. It is enough to do 4500 pages in black, and up to 7500 pages in colour. This should be plenty when used for home use.

Thanks to the cartridge-free system, more ink can be held at any one time. And it is cheaper to buy the ink bottles when the time comes to refill as opposed to buying several different cartridges. In fact, you could save 90%. Perfect for keeping a low cost-per-page tab.

A fantastic range of connectivity possibilities will allow you to use it with all of your gadgets, from Windows and Mac to your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet.

There is a slot which will allow you to print from SD, SDHC and SDXC cards, which is perfect if you don’t want to set the laptop up or start the computer just for a few documents. Just pick the name of the file or photo from the list on the screen.

It may be a bit pricier than you were planning on paying for an inkjet printer, but the low running costs, high ink yield and longevity (thanks to the Micro Piezo printhead and genuine Epson ink usage), paying the price now will see you save a lot of money over the years. Not only that, but it is actually very well-priced for the quality of the print too.

Key Features

  • Page Formats: A4, A5, A6, B5, Envelope, User defined
  • DPI: 5760 x 1440. Scan 1200 x 2400
  • PPM: Black and White – Up to 5 ppm (ISO), Up to 33 ppm. Colour – Up to 10 ppm (ISO), Up to 15 ppm


  • Connection: WiFi, WiFi Direct, Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, USB
  • Dimensions: 16.9 x 44.5 x 30.4 cm
  • Weight: 5 kg

+ Downloads

EPSON Ecotank ET-2650 All-in-One Wireless Inkjet Printer User Guide


We like

  • Cheap to run
  • Lots of ink included in purchase
  • Choice of connectivity

We dislike

  • Small screen

Final Verdict

One of the best inkjet printers you could buy for your home office, and it will no doubt keep you going for quite a while without any further purchases.

Epson Expression Photo XP-8500 All-in-One Wireless Inkjet Printer

Incredibly easy to use and navigate, this is a printer which won’t only handle your documents and posters with ease but is also optimised for photo printing and other media.

There are six Claria Photo HD colour inks within the machine, which increases the print quality and vividness of the overall colours on the paper. This will surely impress any photographers out there, or indeed anyone who loves to keep physical copies of all their memories. It also helps to keep running costs low as you only replace what you need.

The Claria HD range makes clearer skin tones, darker blacks and brighter, more detailed lines and images. The prints are promised to last up to 300 years in an album, which is plenty for a few generations of memories to be passed down.

The ability to print directly from your smartphone or tablet has also been optimised, through the dedicated Epson app. Creative Print also lets you get images straight from social media, so you don’t have to save them separately, and you can even create greetings cards and colouring books. Email print allows you to send documents to the printer wherever you are in the world, too.

The possibilities don’t just stop at photo printing, either. Why not print onto other media forms, such as on CDs and DVDs? Dual trays allow you to load both paper and other media at the same time, so you can keep well-stocked of both A4 and photo paper without having to change them over manually.

We liked the auto-on function, which means the printer will switch on from idle as soon as a job is received and open the paper tray automatically. No more walking over to the printer, turning it on and waiting for it to load up, boot and prepare itself before you send.

Key Features

  • Page Formats: A4, A5, A6, B5, Legal, Letter, Envelope
  • dpi: 5760 x 1400
  • ppm: Black and White – Up to 9.5 ppm (ISO). Colour – Up to 9 ppm


  • Connection: WiFi, Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, USB
  • Dimensions: 41.8 x 48.4 x 21 cm
  • Weight: 6.7 kg

+ Downloads

EPSON Expression Photo XP-8500 All-in-One Wireless Inkjet Printer User Manual


We like

  • Automatic opening and closing when needed/left idle
  • Separate colour cartridges
  • Can see levels of ink left in cartridges
  • Quality of print

We dislike

  • Ink is expensive to buy

Final Verdict

Overall, it is a great 21st Century printer which has optimised all areas of usage to make life easier for anyone who likes to create visual prints but also needs to print or scan the odd serious document now and again.

Canon PIXMA MG5750 All-in-One Wireless Inkjet Printer

Allowing you to print, scan and copy to your heart’s content, the Canon Pixma is an ideal addition to any home office setup.

Unlike a lot of other colour inkjet printers which only feature black and tri-colour ink cartridges, there are five in this model. This will save money in the long run as you will only need to replace the one which runs out, and they can be a lot more exact in their usage.

Printing from your smart devices is easy, through the Canon PRINT app and WiFi Direct connection. If you like to print directly from Instagram, Flickr and Facebook or cloud hosting sites such as Google Drive, OneNote, Dropbox and Evernote, then the PIXMA Cloud Link makes this all simple with just a few clicks.

It is a bit noisier than the majority of others we reviewed, and even though there is a quiet mode which works incredibly well, this makes the whole printing exercise much slower. It is also heavier so not one to be moved around the house. But the sheer range of connectivity possibilities means the likelihood of needing to do this is probably slim, anyway.

There were a couple of occasions where it said it had run out of paper when it hadn’t so there was a bit of intervention needed, and the paper collection tray is very short, so there were a few instances where it flew over and landed on the floor.

But despite the few downsides, they don’t take away from the fact it is a great all-in-one printer with very good print and scan quality, which is the main idea at the end of the day. We’d be willing to push aside the usability issues.


  • Connection: WiFi, WiFi Direct, Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, USB 2.0, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 52.2 x 21.4 x 48 cm
  • Weight: 8.6 kg
  • Page Formats: A4, A5, B5, Envelopes, Letters
  • dpi: 4800 x 1200
  • ipm: Black and White - Up to 12.6 ipm. Colour - Up to 9 ipm

+ Downloads

CANON PIXMA MG5750 All-in-One Wireless Inkjet Printer User Manual


We like

  • Silent print mode
  • Automatic double printing
  • Great print quality

We dislike

  • Rather large in size - check dimensions and desk space before buying

Final Verdict

Stylish with almost instant printing, and wireless printing is a bonus.

HP ENVY 5032 All-in-One Wireless Inkjet Printer

A great option under £100, the HP Envy has been one of the most popular printers in recent years, and this latest model will cover plenty of the basics.

With a monthly duty cycle of 1,000 pages, it will easily handle all of your home office duties whether you’re a student or small business owner. Double-sided printing is automatic, which not only saves on paper costs and use but also saves the faff of having to automatically turn it around the right way up and make sure everything is aligned properly.

In terms of the connectivity, the WiFi capability is great, so it is so easy to connect up to your tablets and phones for immediate printing from any device using the remote app. If you have any pictures you’d like to print off that you took on your Sunday after-roast walk or during the work party, simply send them the way of the printer.

Setting it up can be a bit temperamental in places if you follow the instructions which come with it. We actually ended up doing it all manually and old-style, getting the computer to search for the wireless printer itself. But once it is all done, then starting the printing process is easy, and it does this rather fast for an inkjet. Scanning is also quick and good-quality.

The overall look and design of the printer are great, as it isn’t too bulky and lies quite low. Perfect for smaller spaces and offices. If you think you’ll be getting through a lot of ink, consider the HP Instant Ink subscription where the printer automatically orders ink when you’re running low. You get a five month free trial with this purchase so you can check it out before taking the plunge.


  • Connection: WiFi, Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Bluetooth, USB 2.0
  • Dimensions: 12.8 x 44.5 x 36.7 cm
  • Weight: 5.5 kg
  • Page Formats: A4, A5, A6, B5, Envelope
  • dpi: 4800 x 1200. Scan 1200 x 1200
  • ppm: Black and White - Up to 9.8 ppm (ISO), Up to 20 ppm. Colour - Up to 6.8 ppm (ISO), Up to 16 ppm

+ Downloads

HP ENVY 5032 All-in-One Wireless Inkjet Printer


We like

  • 2.2” touchscreen display
  • Holds up to 100 pages at once
  • Style and size

We dislike

  • Set up is somewhat frustrating

Final Verdict

A great printer to have at home, especially for under £50

HP DeskJet 2620 All-in-One Wireless Inkjet Printer

To say that this is our top budget pick, it is actually an incredibly decent printer with enough power and build to do all of those occasional tasks to a high degree.

From printing out your boarding passes to allowing you to scan in documents to fill out and email online, it is very good value for the money. It is also very easy to use, so great for anyone who doesn’t want to mess around with settings before a simple print job.

Setting it up to connect to the WiFi was easy enough, and the connection seemed strong, so there was never a need to use the wired USB which came with it. Perfect if your home office setup doesn’t really cater for you sitting by it all the time.

Even though it isn’t primarily for images, it seems to print these well and in good enough quality for a basic printer. However, we would say it is mostly a document printer for the occasional user.

It occasionally took a while to start printing, but patience was key. Once it got going, the speed was sufficient and even though it was quite noisy, we’d say that you’ll only be printing maximum half a dozen pages at any one time anyway, so it isn’t going to be a massive issue.


  • Connection: WiFi, Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, USB
  • Dimensions: 14.9 x 30.4 x 42.5 cm
  • Weight: 3.42 kg
  • Page Formats: A4, B5, A6, Envelope (DL)
  • dpi: 4800 x 1200
  • ppm: Black and White - Up to 7.5 ppm (ISO), Up to 20 ppm. Colour - Up to 5.5 ppm (ISO), Up to 16 ppm

+ Downloads

HP DeskJet 2620 All-in-One Wireless Inkjet Printer User Manual


We like

  • Price
  • Easy to setup and connect
  • Good quality scans

We dislike

  • Rather bulky shape

Final Verdict

A bit of a pain to get going, but once it does, this is a decent reliable basic printer which will give you good enough results for what you need it for.

Epson WorkForce WF-7715DWF All-in-One Wireless A3 Inkjet Printer

If you need something a bit more heavy-duty that anything featured so far but don’t want a huge bulky and expensive printer which has to sit on the floor, then the WorkForce WF-7715DWF may catch your eye.

Firstly, there is a duty cycle of 20,000 pages per month, so there is little chance of it being overwhelmed and conking out before you have full use out if it. You can load up to 35 pages into the automatic document feeder, which is great for bulk scanning.

It is all-in-one, but this isn’t just limited to printing, scanning and copying. You’re also free to fax with it, and it is all done in superior business quality at a pretty great speed so you won’t keep the whole office waiting in a printing queue.

You aren’t limited to A4 size and smaller, either, as it capable of printing on A3 and A3+ paper too. Great if you’re in an environment which uses a lot of posters, paper prints and infographics. A rear paper feed lets you load up the A3 without having to remove the A4 in the permanent drawer feed, which makes things a bit easier.

The ink cartridges are cost-effective to use and adapt themselves for superior monochrome or colour printing, so you’re never using what you don’t need. Double-sided printing can be selected automatically if you’re running low on paper or want to save space in a file, which is also cost-effective.

There is a great choice of connection possibilities, so you can control the printer from wherever you are and from whatever device you are using. The Epson Connect app means there is no need for a wired connection if you’re printing from a phone or tablet, too.

The compatible Epson inks are a bit pricey, but as you’ll likely be using this in a busy, high-demand environment, this may not be a huge issue. It doesn’t seem to use a lot of ink for each print though which should help a bit.


  • Connection: WiFi, WiFi Direct, Bluetooth, Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, NFC, USB
  • Dimensions: 34 x 56.7 x 48.6 cm
  • Weight: 18.5 kg
  • Page Formats: A3+, A3, A4, A5, A6, B4, B5, Envelope
  • dpi: 4800 x 2400
  • ppm: Black and White - Up to 18 ppm (ISO), Up to 32 ppm. Colour - Up to 10 ppm (ISO), Up to 20 ppm

+ Downloads

EPSON WorkForce WF-7715DWF All-in-One Wireless A3 Inkjet Printer with Fax User Manual


We like

  • Huge monthly duty cycle
  • Doesn’t consume too much ink
  • Can scan to USB, Cloud or network folder
  • Print up to A3+ size

We dislike

  • Setting up is a bit time-consuming
  • Ink is expensive

Final Verdict

There is quite a bit of setting up to do before it is used for the first time, but once it gets going, it won’t let you down.

Epson WorkForce WF-100W Wireless Inkjet Portable Printer

Printers are an essential part of a lot of peoples working life, but if you are a remote worker or always on the go, then carting around a huge bulky appliance or hunting for one you can connect to and use is not ideal.

Maybe you are a university student who has frequently found themselves going home for a long weekend, where you have realised you need to print out an essay for a hard-copy hand in on Monday morning, but your printer is in your dorm room and you aren’t going to make it back in time to get to the uni library and use one there before time is up. Panic.

Step up the Epson WorkForce, which is small in size and lightweight yet still performs just as well as large immovable versions. You don’t just have to consider it if you’re on-the-go though, as it is also brilliant for use in the home.

Because of the dimensions, it won’t take up a lot of space on your desk, and if you don’t happen to have a desk, then it will happily sit on any surface temporarily and can be stored away when finished with.

It is wireless so great if you want to keep the clutter to a minimum, but you can also connect it up via a USB for more reliability. WiFi Direct will also let you provide internet power through your laptop or smartphone connection.

What about the power, we hear you ask? “I don’t have time to be running around looking for a plug socket!”

Fear not, because it wouldn’t be portable if it involved a load of wires, would it? A rechargeable battery will keep it running, and when it needs a boost simply use the included power adapter or plug it into a USB socket (such as your laptop if that is fully charged). The battery doesn’t hold power for an overly long time, so try to keep it on charge when possible or before leaving the house.

The quality of the print is not reduced because of the fact it is portable, which is great. This is Epson’s first ever wireless portable printer, and they really have not disappointed.


  • Connection: USB 2.0, WiFi, WiFi Direct, Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print
  • Dimensions: 6.1 x 30.9 x 15.4 cm
  • Weight: 1.6 kg
  • Page Formats: A4, A5, A6, B5, C6 (Envelope)
  • dpi: 5760 x 1440
  • ppm: Black and White - Up to 7 ppm (ISO), Up to 14 ppm. Colour - Up to 12 ppm (ISO), Up to 36 ppm

+ Downloads

EPSON WorkForce WF-100W Wireless Inkjet Portable Printer User Manual


We like

  • Portable and battery-powered
  • Easy to set up
  • Carry case available (not included)

We dislike

  • Slower than ordinary printer (to be expected though)
  • Ink runs out quickly as cartridges are small

Final Verdict

Because of the idea behind the printer, it isn't the most powerful or reliable. But in terms of portable printers, it is a forerunner.

Best Laser Printer

Samsung Xpress M2070W Monochrome All-in-One Wireless

Incredibly versatile and able to print off documents straight from your tablet or smartphone, this is a nice little multifunctional printer, scanner and copier in one.

From web pages and emails to important documents and even photos, getting a physical copy is easier than ever. Just use the dedicated Samsung Mobile Print App, and it is all pretty clear how to get the job done. A one-touch Eco button helps to save costs, one push of the button will save toner, paper and energy.

This isn’t the only eco setting, though. Easy Eco Driver software means you can remove unnecessary text or images from a page before it prints so you don’t waste ink. So if you’re printing your favourite Nigella Lawson recipe but don’t want the adverts or unnecessary banners, there is no need to copy and paste it all into Word then edit it from there.

It can print up to 20 sheets per minute thanks to the 600 MHz processor and 128 MB memory, and a 1200 x 1200 dpi quality means that text and image prints are sharp.


  • Connection: WiFi, WiFi Direct, NFC
  • Dimensions: 35.9 x 40.6 x 25.3cm
  • Weight: 7.4kg

We like

  • Setup straightforward
  • Sleep function
  • Good price

We dislike

  • Can take a while to print on WiFi or NFC

Final Verdict

After a monochrome laser printer? You are in the right place. It ticks all of the boxes and is up to date enough without being too overboard

HP T6B82A Color LaserJet Pro MFP M281FDW Wireless

Print, scan, copy and fax with this multi-operational device from printing giants HP.

A 50 sheet automatic document feeder will allow you to bulk copy and scan, saving you a lot of time and effort feeding them in one by one. Also saving you time is the Fast First Page Out from Sleep (Auto-Off) mode, which gets everything warmed up and ready to go almost immediately, so there is no need to wait around for it to wake up.

There is a huge 40,000 prints per month capability, so it is great for offices where printing is really high in demand. Automatic double-sided printing will help cut down on paper usage, too.

The dedicated HP 203 toner cartridges have high yield capability so they won’t need to be replaced all the time, which is good as they are on the pricey side. It is important to note that you must use the dedicated HP cartridges with this model as any other brand without the special chip will be rejected.

An added 6.85 cm touch screen makes it much simpler to navigate and helps with the easy setup process. This is handy, as no instruction booklet or guide comes with the printer. Even though it works with a WiFi connection, there is also the opportunity to connect it to an Ethernet cable for a bit more reliability.

It is quite noisy, especially when double-sided printing, but it is to be expected somewhat with a product of its performance. The dpi isn’t the highest for a laser printer, so we would say it is best for anybody who won’t be needing images.

Key Features

  • Page Formats: A4, A5, A6, B5 (JIS), B6 (JIS)
  • dpi: 600 x 600
  • ppm: 21


  • Connection: WiFi, AirPrint, Network, USB, Google Cloud Print
  • Dimensions: 42 x 42 x 33 cm
  • Weight: 14 kg

+ Downloads

HP T6B82A Color LaserJet Pro MFP M281fdw Wireless Multifunction Printer with Fax User Guide


We like

  • Works straight away with little setup
  • Easy to print from a USB stick
  • New toners are easy to install

We dislike

  • No double sided scanning (like with previous models)
  • Cartridges are expensive (but have high yield)

Final Verdict

There are a few limitations, but it is a pretty substantial printer which will be able to cope with all your demands in a small office or high-performance home environment.

Brother HLL2350DW Monochrome Wireless Laser Printer

Compact and designed to save space without compromising on quality, this monochrome Brother printer is ideal for anyone with a lot of text to be printing.

A speed of 30 pages per minute will ensure any essays, documents or forms are done within a quick time frame, and the large paper tray holds up to 250 sheets so there will be no pausing and rushing to stock it when you’re halfway through.

Wireless printing is available via AirPrint, WiFi and Google Cloud, so you won’t spend ages rooting through all of your cables to find the one which fits. Two-sided printing is automatic to save you some money on paper costs and keep waste low.

You can also purchase high yield toner cartridges which will keep you going for much longer than average. The TN2410 will give you 1,200 pages, and the TN2420 3,000 pages. Great for anyone or any small offices wanting to keep costs down.

Setting it up for first use is pretty much plug and play, as there are no complicated parts to the process. It also has a rapid response time to printing requests, so is always ready for when you need it.

We think it would be great for any small offices or students who will have long essays to print and can’t be let down at the last minute. The price may seem a lot for a printer which can only handle black and white printing, but the speed and efficiency make it worthwhile for anybody who finds this is all they need.


  • Connection: WiFi, Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print
  • Dimensions: 18.3 x 35.6 x 36 cm
  • Weight: 7.2 kg
  • Page Formats: A4, Letter, A5, A5 (long edge), A6, Manual Feed Slot
  • dpi: 1200 x 1200
  • ppm: 30 (ISO)

+ Downloads

BROTHER HLL2350DW Monochrome Wireless Laser Printer User Manual


We like

  • Clear printing and text
  • Deep sleep state when not in use to save power
  • Small size

We dislike

  • Ink cartridges are expensive (but have high yield)
  • Sometimes a bit sluggish waking up from sleep mode

Final Verdict

A good compact option which is not a bad price at all for all of the little extras you get.

Samsung Xpress C480W All-in-One Wireless Laser Printer

Thanks to an optimised scanner resolution compared to the older models, this Samsung all-in-one is the perfect addition to any small office or business.

If you’re in an office, then a wireless internet connection may be a bit in-demand and adding a printer could make it even worse, so the possibility to connect it to an Ethernet cable is welcomed and means more reliability.

There are plenty of connection options for devices. From wireless printing through the Samsung Mobile Print app to wired USB connectivity. You can also pair an NFC-compatible device by simply holding it to the printer to create the connection, everyone should be able to find the best way for them.

ReCP technology means that images appear vivid and bright, so it isn’t just designed to print off a load of documents and forms. From presentations to highlighted documents and photographs, it all appears sharp and just how it looks on-screen.

Every 404S toner cartridge contains enough ink to print up to 1,500 pages in black or 1,000 colour. There is the capability to print 20,000 pages every month, so whether there are just a few of you in the office with a couple of pages needed every day, or the printer queue is always a bit hectic with dozens of employees, it can handle the job.

It can also scan, with a dpi of 1200 x 1200, so is perfectly multi-use. Printing can be optimised for low energy use thanks to the Eco Print mode, which cuts the amount of ink used and paper wasted without compromising on quality.


  • Connection: WiFi , WiFi Direct, Google Cloud Print, Apple AirPrint, NFC, USB
  • Dimensions: 28.86 x 40.6 x 36.2 cm
  • Weight: 12.89 kg
  • Page Formats: A4
  • dpi: 2400 x 600
  • ppm: Black and White - Up to 18 ppm. Colour - Up to 4 ppm

+ Downloads

SAMSUNG Xpress C480W All-in-One Wireless Laser Printer Installation Guide


We like

  • Print quality
  • Eco Mode
  • Easy to set up

We dislike

  • No automatic double-sided printing

Final Verdict

Overall, it is a great addition to any office where printing is an essential part of the job. It is pricey, but the quality is worth the cash.

Brother All In Box HL1212WVB Monochrome Wireless Laser Printer Bundle

If a monochrome printer is the one you are after because you just want to print tonnes of documents in super-quick time and aren’t worried about coloured images, then this isn’t only a fabulous printer, but it comes as a starter bundle, too.

Great for a fast-paced small office, it will print up to 10,000 pages per month without any struggle. It can hold 150 pages at any one time too, so there is no rush to stock it up before every single use.

Thanks to the WiFi connection, you can print from anywhere using the Brother iPrint and Scan app, which is compatible with iOS and Android, and there is also software included for installation on Windows.

This makes it ideal for multiple users, as the software has no download limitations and anyone can print from anywhere. The 20 pages per minute print ability will also ensure nobody is kept waiting too long even if there is a queue.

The bundle includes five toner cartridges in the box, each with a lifespan of around 1,000 pages. So if you’re going to be using it for home use, it could last you up to five years without having to buy any more based on a monthly print capability of 200 pages.

It is relatively compact in size, so if you’re stuck for space, then it shouldn’t be an issue.


  • Connection: WiFi, USB
  • Weight: 4.6 kg
  • Page Formats: A4, Letter, Legal, Folio, A5, A5 (long edge), B5, Executive
  • dpi: 2400 x 600, 600 x 600
  • ppm: 20
  • Dimensions: 23.8 x 34 x 18.9 cm

+ Downloads

BROTHER All In Box HL1212WVB Monochrome Wireless Laser Printer User Manual


We like

  • Fast at printing
  • Comes with ink toner cartridges
  • Generous printer tray

We dislike

  • Wireless setup is a bit long-winded
  • Doesn’t scan

Final Verdict

A great option for any small offices who get through printing loads of documents but don't want to spend hundreds of pounds for the privilege.

Printer Buying Guide

Which Printer Is Best For Me?


Got pages and pages of text-based black and white essays, dissertations and online pdf/textbooks/resources to print out? You’re going to want to get a printer which can do this quickly and without missing out words every so often. A monochrome laser printer would suffice.

If you’re going to need more visual and colour based resources though, a high-quality inkjet printer may be best. Also think about whether you’re going to need to scan pages in, for instance, if you’ve created artwork or have borrowed a shedload of books from the library and need to scan in particular pages for future reference.

Go home a lot and need one which you can take with you? A portable option may be the best idea, especially as it could save you money on getting two individual models.

Offices and Businesses:

All offices and businesses are different, so think about what you’ll need it for every day. A key thing is the print speed, so look out for high-performance ratings. Also check the monthly duty cycle, which is how many pages the manufacturer recommends that the printer can handle in this time. You don’t want to push it to the limit as it will result in weaker performance and lessened life.

Will there be a lot of scanning needed? If you don’t want to purchase a separate scanner, then grab a printer which has an automatic document feeder, which will allow the user to scan and copy several documents at once.

The printers above are best for home and small office use, but if you need a printer which can deal with tens of thousands of pages every month at the highest quality, you’d be best looking for an industrial printer.

Photo Prints:

Want a printer which can handle your documents when needed but also print high-quality photos and posters? A dedicated photo printer won’t be suitable, so instead opt for a printer with a high dpi print quality, and also one which can accommodate the size of the print (whether it be A4/A5 or standard 6×4 inch photo paper size).

If you need the posters or presentations to be printed quickly, then look for a high ipm/ppm rating, although the dpi is the most critical factor for quality.

Inkjet Or Laser?

Inkjet printers are best for home use, where the quality of the print is not overly important but needs to be photo-quality when necessary. The cost of the ink is low, and there are usually plenty of connectivity options.

Laser printers are much more heavy duty, often able to withstand more demand and print quicker and more reliably. However, they’re usually more expensive to run and manage. Because of their capability and high quality, they are a common addition to offices and small businesses as opposed to light personal home or student use, but there are some more affordable options out there now which are indeed primarily for home and personal use.

Print Speed

Measured in ipm or ppm, this basically tells you how fast the printer will be at tackling the requirements and how quickly you will have your results. It is an important factor to consider if you’re going to have a lot of documents or prints to produce.

Standing for ‘images per minute’, ipm is a form of print speed rating. It is used with printers which are good for producing photos and tells you how many of these it can print in a minute.

Otherwise known as ‘pages per minute’, ppm is an alternative performance rating to ipm. It mostly refers to text, so is important for home users, offices and businesses which will be using it to print documentation in large quantities. The two terms are not interchangeable.


Measured in dpi (dots per inch), those with higher dpi ratings can literally place more dots on the page and therefore produce clearer images.

It is another important factor to consider in conjunction with the speed. Because their printheads need to move about the page to produce the images, inkjet printers tend to be slower than laser printers, and the ink will also take a little while to dry.

Therefore, if you need a high resolution, a laser printer may be the best option.


The majority of printers on the market now offer wireless connectivity, so they connect to your laptop/phone/tablet via the WiFi and don’t need a lead between the two. This is great for remote printing, say if you are in the living room but need to send your work to the printer in the office. It is also great if you need to print from an online document.

Others may use Bluetooth or NFC to help connectivity with mobile devices, and others can also use AirPrint for iOS or Google Cloud Print for Android. If you think you will be communicating with your printer from a range of devices, then look for a range of connection possibilities.

Should you be worried about the WiFi connection in your home, particularly if your office is far away from the router, then a WiFi Direct printer may be the best option. This creates a relationship between your device and the printer as opposed to the router and printer, so as long as the device has a strong internet connection, so will the printer. It can also help if the internet has gone down. Think of it as an ad hoc wireless network.

Of course, all offer a USB wired connection too.


Which Brands Make The Best Printers?

Epson, HP and Canon are seen as the industry leaders when it comes to colour inkjet all-in-one printers, and Brother is more for your black and white or colour laser printers. Having said that, all have made printers which fit across all ranges.

Other names to look out for are Samsung (as featured in the list), Kodak and Lexmark. If you are after a large office printer which will sit on the floor and withstand incredibly high demand from a hectic office, then Oki is a great brand to look out for.

What Is An All-In-One Printer?

These combine your printer with a scanner and copier function, which is handy if you have a lot of documentation to be dealing with. If you use fax, some will also have this function.

They are available in both inkjet and laser options, so no matter your preferred printing method there is one for you.

What Is ISO?

You will have seen that some of our ipm/ppm definitions have ‘(ISO)’ beside them. In 2009, the International Organization for Standardization published their basics for looking out for the ink cartridge yield for colour inkjet printers and multifunctional devices.

Manufacturers will often release their ipm/ppm definitions related to their own testing methods across their products (which all feature similar mechanics and workings). It is also based on how they believe you should be using the product, but obviously, everyone has different needs.

However, the ISO test them all compared to their own independent analysis so that every printer will go through the same testing no matter the type or brand. This is therefore seen as a more user-friendly specification.

What Is The Difference Between Ink And Toner?

Laser printers work by using powdered ink, also referred to as toner. They last longer than ordinary ink but are much more expensive in general. These printers first draw a template of the images or text on to the drum of the printer, and then this is covered in the powder. A sheet of paper is passed over this, and the powder is transferred.

Ink cartridges are liquid-based and filled with dyes and pigments. They’re cheaper to buy but can face issues such as drying up if they haven’t been used in a while or lasting for fewer pages than advertised. The dye is printed straight on to the paper, so can take a few seconds to dry and is at risk of smudging.

Some modern inkjet printers contain refillable cartridges which can lower the cost slightly, although you’ll probably pay a premium for the actual printer.

Which Ink Or Toner Do I Need?

The majority of printers will require a cartridge from the same manufacturer as the printer, as these are the most compatible. Some include chips so that non-branded cartridges won’t work with them.

Take note of the model number of ink required, too, as a printer will only take certain ones. For instance, if you buy an HP printer, you can’t just use any HP cartridge.

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