Gone are the days when the personal printer was the go-to source for printing MapQuest directions to grandma’s house, that beloved bourbon chicken recipe, and movie tickets for Star Wars: Episode II. And although smartphones have made many printer functions obsolete, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pick one up, especially given the plethora of features you can get for the price.
While you could just peruse local garage sales or spend your time combing your way through the hordes of free listings on Craigslist to find a printer, wouldn’t it be nice to find one that suits your specific needs and budget? There’s a lot to choose from, whether you’re looking for a modest all-in-one for all your basic printing purposes, or a monster of a machine capable of churning out absurd volumes of text for a paper-hungry office.
Here are our picks for the best wireless printers on the market so you can take all of your printing desires to the next level. Be sure to check out our printer buying guide if you’re having trouble deciding what exactly it is you’re looking for.
Don’t let the price tag fool you, the XP-400 is a quality printer at an affordable price. Epson’s been a on a small-in-one bandwagon as of late, continually shrinking each new product model as they hit the shelves and tacking on new features like hot cakes. Although the XP-400 isn’t the smallest of the bunch, it comes chock full of nifty features that justify the price and make it a top contender in the budget market.
The top-loaded printer can handle both wireless and mobile printing using the Epson iPrint app in iOS, as well as cloud-based printing via Google Cloud Print and Apple AirPrint, making the USB chord a thing of the past. The equipped 2.5-inch LCD screen and memory card slot are useful features you wouldn’t have found on the budget printers of yore, adding greater ease of use and compatibility for when you don’t have access to a computer.
Still, you get what you pay for and the printer is certainly not the most sturdily built piece of technology (it feels rather flimsy), nor does it produce the highest quality images or color graphics. Regardless, The XP-400 is a fantastic option if you’re merely looking for a printer that will scan, print, and carry out other simple tasks on a breakneck budget and low maintenance fee.
Brother HL-2270DW (Laser/$120)
Brother’s HL-2270DW is the newest update to the company’s flagship model, touting admirable speed and black-and-white precision that makes it one of the best monochrome laser printers in our roundup. It’s coupled with 802.11b/g and Ethernet interfaces, as well a 250-sheet capacity paper tray and 32MB internal memory. It also features an intuitive toner save mode for printing less important documents on the fly.
Although it’s not as quick as it boasts – it supposedly can print up 27 pages per minute – it’s still relatively fast and a welcome speed improvement over the previous model. Like the comparably priced Epson Expression XP-400, the printer struggles with high quality images and graphics, making it far more suitable for text documents and appropriate for personal and small business use. Brother also offers a mobile app for Android and iOS devices for printing sans computer, as well as an automatic duplex mode for printing double-sided documents.
The HL-2270DW is great option if you’re looking for a personal printer for producing text-heavy documents with minimal graphics relatively quickly. Yes, it may not be a looker, but we think that’s something that can be overlooked given the affordable price point and easy-to-use setup.
Epson’s WorkForce WE-3540 is a beast of a printer. It’s capable of quietly delivering high volumes of crisp text and graphics at remarkable speeds that surely justify the more expensive price. The ink cartridges are larger than normal – not to mention surprisingly affordable – and the printer is even equipped with dual 250-page capacity trays for extended use and marathon-like duration. It’s bundled with an 802.11 b/g/n wireless access point, but Google and Apple users can print documents directly from the cloud using the aforementioned Google Cloud Print and Apple AirPrint.
The 3.5-inch touchscreen can be a little awkward depending on the angle (it’s not adjustable), but the gesture controls work rather well, especially since you can adjust the touch sensitivity within the printer’s settings menu. Printing double-sided is always available – whether you’re printing, scanning, or receiving a fax – and the rear paper feed handles everything from envelopes to card stock for whatever specialty job is required.
The WF-3540 may be absolute overkill for some users, but it’s an industrious machine with high output volume and laudable image and graphic quality. It’s a behemoth though, measuring 22 x 16.5 x 11.3 inches and weighing almost 40 pounds, with a higher price tag to match the scope of the machine’s features.
Canon imageCLASS MF4880dw (Laser/$250)
Canon’s imageCLASS monochrome laser printer is the most expensive in our roundup, but we can chalk that up to its exceptional balance of features and user simplicity. The printer features automatic duplex printing for documents, scans and faxes, alongside an adjustable 5-line control panel and a single-touch “Quiet Mode” that reduces the machine’s output noise at the cost of its overall processing speed. It’s also equipped with a standard Ethernet port and a Wi-Fi access point, but only offers an infrastructure mode, making it difficult to wirelessly connect to mobile devices such as your smartphone or tablet. The automatic document feeder is a nice touch, as is the 250-page capacity tray and manual feed that prevents you from having to swap out paper in the tray if you merely wish to change paper stock.
The imageCLASS MF4880dw is perfect for small business or personal use, ranking high in both speed and text quality, but ultimately falling short when it comes to quality print images. However, it’s still not a bad bet if you’re looking for a printer that can withstand some heavy-duty use at the workplace or at home without having to completely break the bank.
Canon Pixma MX892 (Inkjet/$200)
With all this talk about standard image and graphic quality in our roundup, we thought it might be nice to include a printer that actually has photo quality you can write home about. Canon’s Pixma MX892 produces fantastic photos that can often rival those of a professionally produced studio, albeit a startup cost that is actually affordable for the average person. The printer is equipped with ADF duplexing, a 3-inch color LCD panel, and boasts a 300-page capacity.
It supports printing from mobile devices via Apple AirPrint and Pixma Cloud Link for those times when using your computer isn’t an option. Although the Pixma can easily scan, copy, and fax documents using the machine’s five individual ink tanks, it’s certainly not the quickest machine on our list and produces standard text quality in line with most similar inkjet printers. Aside from cloud-based and wired printing, the printer supports a slew of memory cards, USB-enabled devices, and Bluetooth printing for a truly sans computer experience.
The Canon Pixma MX892 is one of the best photo printers out there with a price to match. Image quality is superior – as is the printing compatibility across different devices – and the machine takes up a relatively light footprint space-wise. It may be a little slow and expensive if you’re pushing hundreds of photos a week, but it’s tough to rush quality images under strict time constraints and on an even stricter budget.
What did you think of our roundup of the best wireless printers on the market? There’s a good deal to choose from out there, each with its own set of strengths and weaknesses, so let us know in the comments below if you have another best-of suggestion for our list.