The best printers for 2019

The best printers money can buy, from Canon and Brother to Epson and HP

Best Printers

Looking for the top printer options for your home or small office? Our printer reviewers have pored over dozens of printers, comparing the ins-and-outs of speed, quality, and usability. As a great all-around printer, the HP OfficeJet Pro 6978 is the best.

The OfficeJet has company though. If you’re looking for a solid budget option, or perhaps a laser printer, we have great alternatives we’ve listed below that come highly recommended as well.

Best printers at a glance

The best all around printer: HP OfficeJet Pro 6978

best printers hp officejet pro 6978

Why we picked the HP OfficeJet Pro 6978:

The OfficeJet line is filled with dependable printers that are incredibly easy to set up and use, with ink cartridges that are both efficient and easy to find. The 6978 Pro model also includes the ability to copy, scan or fax as needed too, making it an ideal option for a home office or similar role. There’s a duplexing document feeder for two-sided copying that can hold up to 35 sheets, and a great—albeit small—touchscreen for controlling the modes and actions. Total input capacity is 225 sheets, and print speeds are good at 20ppm (pages per minute) black and 11ppm color.

If you’re looking for a wireless inkjet printer that can do everything a small office or home needs in an inexpensive package, this Inkjet Pro is an easy recommendation. However, it’s not the best choice for heavy loads, so if your printing needs are a bit more demanding, it’s worthwhile to check out the other models on our list.

The best photo printer: Epson SureColor P400

Why we picked the Epson SureColor P400:

Photography is an expensive hobby, and if you’ve invested a lot of money in a great camera, you may want a printer that can do your photos justice. While you can certainly drop a thousand dollars on a premium photo printer, the Epson SureColor P400 offers great prints without the need to tap into your retirement fund.

With its unassuming facade, the P400 may not look like anything out of the ordinary, but it houses an eight cartridge system (seven colors and a “Gloss Optimizer”) that can create prints of “excellent color accuracy and saturation,” as we put it in our review. The P400’s seven ink colors allow for a rich variety of shades, and the gloss optimizer gives photos a slick finish that emphasizes the color saturation.

The P400 can accommodate paper up to 13 × 19 inches, and while those sheets may take a little while to print (several minutes, according to our reviewer), the results are stunning. There may be photo printers with a higher ceiling than the P400, but casual photographers or those still learning the ropes should get the most value out of this entry-level beast.

Read our full Epson SureColor P400 review

The best small printer: HP Tango X

HP Tango X review
Ted Needleman/Digital Trends

Why we picked the HP Tango X:

For the average home, dorm or even business, printing needs have never been rarer. Everyone has gone digital and PDFs can easily be signed on your computer….but some printing is still required out of necessity. For those jobs, the Tango X steps in: This tiny printer has no screen and barely any buttons—it does everything by app and voice command, offering compatibility with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Cortana.

The printer also has great color accuracy for printing photos, and optional high-yield cartridges for greater flexibility, depending on what you want to print. However, there’s no room on this compact model for an automatic document feeder and it won’t exactly win anyway awards for speed. However, it’s safe to say that the Tango represents the future of printing, and may be perfect for you right now.

Read our full HP Tango X review

The best office printer: Canon Maxify MB5420

Why we picked the Canon Maxify MB5420:

If you run a small business, chances are you need to print a lot of documents, and not just any printer will do. You’ll want a printer that works quickly (so you don’t have people forming a queue, grumbling angrily), and one that can handle the rigors of frequent printing without breaking down.

Enter the Canon Maxify MB5420. With its compact, cube-shaped body, the MB5420 will fit in any office or house, and while it may not be the prettiest horse in the stable, it can pull a lot of weight. The printer can hold a hefty 500 sheets of paper (spread over two trays), and as we noted in our review, it can print monochrome documents at a rate of 22.2ppm (10ppm for color documents). Critically, it can also stand up to a heavy workload. The printer’s monthly “duty” cycle is 2,000 pages, which will likely be enough for any small business.

As an all-in-one device, the MB5420 can do more than just print; it can also fax, copy, and scan, and as we said in our review, “our scanned documents exhibited accurate colors and fine detail.” While it’s not the cheapest printer in the world, the MB5420 gives you a lot of mileage for the price.

Read our full Canon Maxify MB5420 review

The best laser printer: Brother HL-3170CDW

Why we picked the Brother HL-3170CDW:

If you want a laser printer for your home or office, the Brother HL-3170CDW is a safe bet, a compact device that you can get at an affordable price. This printer can blaze through jobs at a rate of 23ppm, and it holds 250 sheets of paper; both of these factors make it a good choice for offices, where people may need to print out a lot of documents without waiting for someone else’s job to finish.

The printer isn’t just fast; it also supports duplex printing for double-sided pages. Whatever you print will probably look great, as it can print full-color documents at 600 × 2,400 dpi.

Setting up this Brother model is a cinch, and in addition to its Ethernet and USB 2.0 connections, it also supports wireless printing; users can connect with Android and Apple devices, among others.

Best cheap printer: Canon Pixma MG6320

best printers canon pixma mg6320 press image

Why we picked the Canon Pixma MG6320:

If you are primarily concerned with affordability, check out this Canon Pixma print/copy/scan model, which you can find for around $50. IT offers complete wireless printing options via app and services like AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, NFC, Canon Print, and so on. We were also very impressed with the printer’s color accuracy when combined with Canon photo paper. While small enough to fit in many different locations, the printer also includes automatic duplexing and a small touchscreen for controls. There are two paper trays, with a tray that can hold 125 sheets and a secondary tray for photo paper if necessary.

While this printer is a good fit for the average home, it does use ink pretty quickly, so it may not be the most cost-effective option for frequent printing tasks.

Read our full Canon Pixma MG6320 review

Research and buying tips

Which printer has the cheapest ink?

Affordable ink depends on several different factors: How much the cartridges cost up front, how much ink the printer uses on average, and how long cartridges last. Ultimately, it’s best if you take a look at specific models and check how much the cartridges are, and how long they appear to last (usually measured in page yield). Even within the same brand, ink costs can vary considerably based on the printing machine.

In general, you should look for printers that offer a high page yield for their cartridges, and cartridges that are more affordable compared to alternatives. These two stats combined can tell you a lot. Inkjet printers with their liquid ink cartridges tend to cost more over time than laser printers with their large toner cartridges. All our top brand picks, like Canon, HP, and Epson, tend to be quite efficient. Our HP picks in particular may be a good choice if you want to save money on ink (we were a little disappointed in our Canon Pixma model’s ink performance, however).

What printer has the longest lasting ink cartridges?

Laser printers with their toner cartridges have high initial costs for replacing toner, but toner lasts longer than almost any other printer ink type. However, if you want a home or small business printer, then a laser printer probably isn’t on your list. In that case, we suggest you take a look at our top HP OfficeJet pick. HP offers very high-quality ink cartridges for its OfficeJet models, and they’ll last longer than most alternatives.

What printer is the cheapest to operate?

We have already established that, aside from the high initial costs, laser printers tend to be more affordable in the long run because they are so cheap to operate. However, let’s say that you’re looking only at inkjet printers: What should you look for?

Your best options will be well-known, dependable brands that create higher-end printers designed for lighter office work. We’re talking about Epson Workforce, models, HP Officejet printers, and similar brand families.

Which printer brand is best?

When it comes to printers, you’re probably familiar with brands like Canon and HP, and for good reason! They produce a very wide variety of printer models and have something for everyone at every cost. Lesser-known brands like Brother have also made a name for themselves primarily on the high-quality printers they produce. Also, while Epson may be more known for its enterprise-level printers, the company is also making some very excellent photo-quality home printers that are worth a closer look.

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