Everybody who’s ever owned a printer has likely experienced a time when it jams, runs out of ink, or completely fails to turn on just when it’s needed most. Especially when many are still working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, reliability from your home printer is a must. We found the most reliable and versatile printers for your home office so you can print, scan, and copy pages without feeling the urge to throw the machine out the window.
Check out the quick reviews below of our top five printers, or scroll deeper for more helpful buying info and full reviews of those models.
Why Ink Runs Out So Fast & How to Preserve It
If you’ve owned a printer, or several, in your life, you may have wondered with frustration why some seem to guzzle ink more when not used frequently. It’s not all in your head, because inkjet printers not only use ink to print on the page, but also for maintenance. Consumer Reports found that intermittent use—a few pages a few times per week—used more ink for routine maintenance than printing in larger batches. Leaving the printer on between uses may reduce the ink used during this maintenance cycle, without using a ton of electricity to keep it running. You can also save significantly by purchasing XL ink cartridges in bundles. And if you print only a few times a year and seem to always have to buy new ink whenever you go to print, you’ll probably be better off printing through your workplace, the library, or another printing service from stores like Staples or FedEx.
This issue occurs only with inkjet printers, so you may also want to consider laser printers that use toner instead of liquid ink, because toner won’t dry up quickly between use. Below are some of the pros and cons of each variety that you should know before you decide.
Inkjet vs. Laser Printers
While each type of printer has its strengths and weaknesses, you’ll also want to consider each individual printer’s functions. Our recommendations are all-in-one devices that can print, copy, scan, and sometimes fax, but some are more suited to specific tasks. Printers with automatic document feeders are ideal for scanning and copying many pages at once; other printers with high page-per minute (ppm) numbers excel at fast printing of longer documents, and models with multiple paper inputs are crucial if you plan to print on different types of paper.
How We Selected and Rated Them
We researched 9 expert sources and 37,000 consumer reviews to select the top seven home printers of the year. To determine the Total Expert Score, we calculate the ratings from trusted publications such as PC Mag, CNET, and Tech Radar and convert them to a 100-point scale to make it easier for you to weigh the best options. Our Consumer Score represents the percentage of consumers who rated the product at least 4 out of 5 stars on retail and review sites like Amazon, Best Buy, and Office Depot.
HP OfficeJet 9015
Total Expert Score: 78.5/100 | Consumer Score: 82% give it 4 stars or higher
An easy, fast, and versatile all-in-one printer for most homes and home offices.
Type: Inkjet | Functions: print, scan, copy, fax | Print speed (ppm): 22 (black), 18 (color) | Paper capacity: 250 sheets | Display: 2.65-in. color touchscreen | Dimensions: 17 x 13 x 11 in. | Weight: 20 lb.
It’s hard to find a printer that can make the experience of printing actually enjoyable, but this OfficeJet comes close. Wirecutter named the 9015 the best all-in-one printer for most people because it “[hits] a sweet spot of speed, print quality, and reliability that other printers can’t match.” Compared to most inkjets, it’ll print fast enough for those who work from home—with speeds up to 22 ppm in black and 18 ppm in color. HP refined this model to be more compact than previous iterations, though it’s certainly not the smallest on this list. The color display is relatively small but functional, though some icons may be difficult to click.
HP also makes setting up its printers a breeze with its EasyStart installer and HP Smart app, and the company offers an Instant Ink subscription service with a variety of tiers (depending on how much you print each month) and will automatically mail you reasonably priced new cartridges when your ink supply runs low.
Canon Pixma TS9120
Total Expert Score: 85.5/100 | Consumer Score: 72% give it 4 stars or higher
The Canon Pixma pulls double-duty in a home office for both black and color photo printing.
Type: Inkjet | Functions: print, copy, scan | Print speed (ppm): 15 (black), 10 (color) | Paper capacity: 100 sheets | Display: 5-in. LCD touchscreen | Dimensions: 15 x 13 x 6 in. | Weight: 15 lb.
This Canon Pixma isn’t quite a dedicated photo printer, but thanks to its six individual ink cartridges (instead of tri-color cartridges), it’s a versatile home printer that also provides great color quality for photo printing. Unlike the OfficeJet 9150, this model has two paper input trays for loading both regular paper and photo paper, but isn’t equipped with an automatic document feeder. Its operating cost for black and white printing is slightly higher than other options, though it’s worthwhile if you plan to p
rint an abundance of photos in color, especially compared to many photo printing services. The Pixma also has an SD card slot to make photo printing even more convenient, as well as built-in filters that you can apply to your photos. According to Amazon reviewers, its large, five-inch touchscreen is “visually appealing” and “responsive.”
Total Expert Score: 77/100 | Consumer Score: 87% give it 4 stars or higher
This monochrome laser printer and scanner works best for everyday black and white printing.
Type: Laser | Functions: print, copy, scan | Print speed: 36 ppm | Paper capacity: 250 sheets | Display: 2.7” color touchscreen | Dimensions: 16 x 16 x 11 in. | Weight: 23 lb
CNET claimed the Brother HL-L2395DW is the best all-in-one laser printer due to its painless Wi-Fi setup, speedy print times, and all-around reliable quality. With speeds up to 36 ppm, it’s fast, though it could provide faster copies with an automatic document feeder. The small display is a touchscreen that’s also aided by a few manual buttons, including a number pad, that make it a bit more user-friendly. Many Amazon reviews noted that setup through Wi-Fi was easy and took just a few minutes. It may seem a bit expensive for just a black and white printer, but it’s especially worth the investment if you can find it on sale for below the original $170 price tag. If you’re looking for a similarly capable laser printer that also has color printing options, check out the Brother HL-3170CDW.
Epson Expression ET-2550 EcoTank
Total Expert Score: 72/100 | Consumer Score: 79% give it 4 stars or higher
Save money on ink cartridges with this refillable EcoTank printer.
Type: Inkjet | Functions: print, scan, copy | Print speed (ppm): 7.7 (black), 2.7 (color) | Paper capacity: 100 sheets | Display: 1.44-in. LCD | Dimensions: 15 x 23 x 9 in. | Weight: 10 lb.
Epson’s EcoTank line of printers exchange the traditional ink cartridges with reservoirs for each color that you refill with ink bottles. The printer may cost more up front, but if you’re a frequent printer, you can still save a lot of money on ink in the long-term. Epson claims that the $13 individual bottles include enough ink for about 4,000 pages in black and 6,500 in color—or about a two-year supply at moderate usage. CNET’s testing also confirmed that the quality of the refillable ink “appears nearly indistinguishable from its cartridge-bearing linemates.”
The tiny LCD screen isn’t a touchscreen; a directional pad and manual buttons next to the display control the printer. You can also choose to connect the printer through Wi-Fi, direct USB, or an installation disc with downloadable software. Though the main advantage of this printer, according to Best Buy reviews, is that “you don’t have to run out and buy ink cartridges every month.”
Total Expert Score: 78/100 | Consumer Score: 81% give it 4 stars or higher
Compared to most bulky printers, the Tango looks like a minimalist Apple design.
Type: Inkjet | Functions: print, copy and scan with app | Print speed (ppm): 11 (black), 8 (color) | Paper capacity: 50 sheets | No display | Dimensions: 8 x 15 x 4 in. | Weight: 6 lb.
Smartphones and laptops get sleeker every year, while printers seem to have stalled as blocky eyesores you’ll want to store out of sight in your home office. However, the HP Tango is finally making strides with its subtle, compact construction that you may actually want to display. At 15 inches wide, four inches high, and only six pounds, the Tango will easily fit at your desk. If you want it to blend in even more to, say, a bookshelf, you can pay an extra $50 for the Tango X, which comes with a gray fabric cover that packs the printer up into a sleek, book-like package.
For $150, the Tango certainly isn’t the best, fastest printer, and its input tray holds only 50 sheets at a time. Consumers should also note that although HP lists it as an “all-in-one” model, it doesn’t include a scanner bed. But the HP smart app allows you to scan and copy documents by taking photos on your smartphone, which will work for most people’s needs, but not for regularly copying large, multi-page documents.
HP Envy 5055
Total Expert Score: 74/100 | Consumer Score: 86% give it 4 stars or higher
An affordable option for basic text and photo printing needs.
Type: Inkjet | Functions: print, copy, scan | Print speed (ppm): 10 (black), 7 (color) | Paper capacity: 100 sheets | Display: 2.2 in LCD | Dimensions: 17 x 14 x 5 in. | Weight: 12 lb.
For those looking for an inexpensive printer that can handle photo printing as well as scanning and copying, the HP Envy 5055 may be the best bet. It’s less expensive than the Canon Pixma, though it doesn’t support flash drives or SD cards and it only has four ink cartridges. However, its image quality and speed is more than adequate for someone who likes to print photos off of their phone and occasional text documents. The initial printer cost is also a great value, though ink cartridge replacements will be pricey unless you opt into HP’s ink subscriptions. With almost 6,000 positive reviews on Best Buy, many consumers have been pleased with the Envy’s capabilities, such as its easy setup, smooth wireless connectivity, simple scanning, and automatic two-sided printing.
HP DeskJet 3755
Total Expert Score: 70/100 | Consumer Score: 76% give it 4 stars or higher
Don’t sacrifice quality and versatility for size and price tag.
Type: Inkjet | Functions: print, scan, copy | Print speed (ppm): 19 (black), 15 (color) | Paper capacity: 60 sheets | Display: icon LCD | Dimensions: 16 x 7 x 6 in. | Weight: 5 lb.
Even if you don’t print in large quantities regularly, you may still have a need for your own home printer to print schoolwork, occasional photos, or other essential forms. If you’re looking for a cheap and compact printer for this purpose, the DeskJet won’t take up any unnecessary space. Reviewers on Best Buy commented on how easy it was to transport and fit the lightweight printer into tight spaces like college dorms. Though it has a lower paper capacity and subpar speeds and graphic quality, the DeskJet 3755 exceeds expectations for its photo quality, mobile printing ability, and stylish design at its price point.
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