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The best printers for 2021

Whether you need a printer for a small business, home office, or school, it’s important to choose a device that makes printing quick and easy. Choosing the best printer can be complex due to the wide range of features available. You might be wondering which features are worth investing in and which specs you should pay attention to when comparing printer reviews.

Our guide to the best printers will give you a better idea of the features and innovations that match your needs, starting with the best all-around model, the HP OfficeJet Pro 9015. This printer is our top choice because it has endless printing options and top-notch quality.

If you’re looking for something more specific, take a look at our guides to the best inkjet printers, color laser printers, and photo printers for 2021.

Best printers at a glance

HP OfficeJet Pro 9015

Why we picked the HP OfficeJet Pro 9015:

HP has spent a lot of years slowly ironing out the kinks in the OfficeJet line and updating the technology for the modern home or office. The result is the OfficeJet Pro 9015, an incredibly advanced printer that works hard to make the printing, scanning, copying, and faxing experience, if not pleasant, then manageable. It has a 22-page-per-minute (ppm) printing speed (B&W), automatic two-sided scanning up to 1200 dpi, a 35-page automatic document feeder, and a 25-sheet paper tray.

On the printer, the excellent color touchscreen allows you to change settings and choose your tools, with plenty of options for sending scans to email, the cloud, or a device of your choice (with Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility, working by voice is also an option). Or you can use the HP smart app, which allows you to control the printer from afar and even monitor your ink levels. That’s only the start, if you want to dig into Smart Tasks that allow you to optimize the printer for specific programs like QuickBooks.

Connection options include major Wi-Fi Direct features like Apple AirPrint: If you’re printing over Wi-Fi, you also get a nice intelligent Wi-Fi connection that monitors for connection problems and fixes itself when possible. Since this is HP, the printer also comes with a variety of security features like encryption and password protection.

Few printers have ever shown such quality from top to bottom. However, we will note that while it’s a bit more compact than previous models, the HP OfficeJet Pro 9015 still takes up quite a lot of space, so you’ll need to make some room for it.

Canon Pixma TS9521C Wireless Crafting Photo Printer

Why we picked the Canon TS9521C Wireless Crafting Photo Printer:

This photo-friendly printer uses a set of five inks to create photo-realistic prints with easy wireless connectivity from whatever device you prefer to keep your photos on. It also offers scanning and copying through the top feeder and full 12 x 12 page printing for a wide variety of projects, so you don’t have to worry about other printing tasks.

Canon has glossy paper stock available for creating realistic photos you can use in collages or scrapbooking, but that’s just the start of what this printer is capable of. From creating your own greeting cards to printing out flyers, there’s a good reason why “craft” is in the name of this model. Plus, it works well with cloud downloads, so you can work on a design project elsewhere and port it to the printer whenever you are ready.

Other features the Canon TS9521C comes with include duplex printing, label printing, and built-in templates for fast work. It may not be the fastest printer around, but the versatility and focus on photo accuracy are perfect for your next big plan.

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 any awards for speed. However, it’s safe to say that the HP Tango X represents the future of printing, and may be perfect for you right now.

Read our full HP Tango X review

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4830

Why we picked the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4830:

Epson’s power Workforce all-in-one printer is a boon for offices that still need a reliable printing solution that can handle whatever they throw at it. It’s designed to be highly accurate and uses technology to minimize heat so the printer lasts as long as possible while still handling frequent work.

It’s also speedy for its size: The printer has a 25 black-and-white ppm rating and 12ppm for color printing, with a speed boost for a single/first page. Automatic two-sided printing is also included, and the printer comes with a 50-sheet auto load tray for quick scanning and other tasks. It can handle up to 500 sheets at a time with two separate trays.

The printer also sports all the reliable Epson features we love, including a solid touchscreen for controls, app management for setup, built-in wireless support for the office network, and more.

Keep in mind, the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4830 is designed for offices with varied printing needs, but if you expect to print a high volume over a significant period of time, you may want to consider a laser printer instead. Fortunately, we can help there, too.

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.

Setting up the Brother HL-3170CDW is a cinch, and in addition to its Ethernet and USB 2.0 connections, it also supports wireless printing; you can connect with Android and Apple devices, among others.

Canon Pixma MG6320

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 includes automatic duplexing and a small touchscreen for controls. There are two paper trays, with a tray that can hold 125 sheets and a second tray for photo paper if necessary.

While the Canon Pixma 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

Epson EcoTank ET-3760

Why we picked the Epson EcoTank ET-3760:

The EcoTank offers an alternative printer model that could be exactly what you’re looking for: Instead of replacing ink cartridges, this printer uses compartments that you fill up with ink using the included bottles. It’s less expensive than using ink cartridges, and an ideal solution if you don’t print color often but never want to run out of a cartridge at an inopportune time. The included bottles alone will keep a printer going for two years even with regular work.

The all-in-one printer isn’t just about savings, though: It also offers a 15ppm speed for black-and-white, and an 8ppm speed for color. There’s a 250-sheet storage tray, plus a 30-page auto document feeder for scanning and similar tasks. Automatic two-sided printing is supported as well. It even works with Alexa, so you can give it voice commands to help prepare for a printing job.

The combination of features on the Epson EcoTank ET-3760 makes it ideal for a small business or home that may only have intermittent but important printing projects, and wants to avoid the cycle of endlessly buying ink cartridges even when they aren’t technically needed.

Brother MFC-L2750DW

Why we picked the Brother MFCL2750DW:

Brother’s latest update to this solid printer helped maximize speeds, making it an ideal option for a busy home or office where you want printing jobs done fast. It can reach 36ppm for black-and-white printing, and is also speedy at copying and facing for maximum productivity.

It also features single-pass two-sided printing for even more efficiency, and the automatic document feeder holds 50 sheets, making it one of the best options on our list for larger scanning projects and similar tasks. All the wireless connectivity you could want is included here, including NFC touch-t0-connect for fast printing, support for printing from cloud services like Dropbox, OneNote, and Google Drive, as well as the ability to easily connect to your desktop, laptop, and other devices.

Unless you do larger printing projects from home, the Brother MFC-L2750DW may be a little too much of a workhouse printer for your needs. It’s a perfect fit for a lobby or front office where speedy printing can be a big advantage but a full laser printer isn’t really needed.

Research and buying tips

Which printer has the cheapest ink?

Affordable ink depends on several different factors: How much the cartridges cost upfront, 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?

Even if you are only printing office documents, you’ll want to stick with the established brands that make durable, dependable printers. We’re talking about Epson Workforce models, HP Officejet printers, and similar brand families.

We’ve found some of the best cheap printers, but you might also want to check out these laser printer deals and Cyber Week deals.

Which printer brand is best?

Everyone’s got a favorite brand, but it’s no accident that names like Canon and HP regularly pop up. These brands produce quality machines and offer something for every printing need, which means you’ll be able to find something in your price range. Brands like Brother aren’t quite as ubiquitous, but they also manufacture high-quality printers worth considering. Epson also is making some excellent photo-quality home printers these days, a departure from the enterprise-level printers the company has previously manufactured.

How many pages per minute (ppm) is good for a printer?

You shouldn’t look at printer speed as much as you should consider its output quality, but you can usually find how fast a printer works by checking out its specs. Anything above about 20 ppm for black and white is good for the average inkjet printer. You can usually bump this number up to about 20 ppm if you’re looking at a laser printer. Printers with 40 ppm aren’t as common, and it’s improbable that you’d need to see this kind of yield for a home printer.

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