Best printer

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Which printer is best?

Printers have become one of the most common home office appliances, especially for those who work remotely. No matter what you plan on printing, from important documents to class notes to high-quality photographs, there is bound to be a printer to meet your needs. 

Many printers available these days will also feature other convenient functions such as copying, faxing and scanning. If your goal is to find a reliable all-in-one option, the HP 1202w Neverstop Laser Printer is a top choice. 

What to know before you buy a printer 

Printer type

When it comes to printers, there are two main styles available — laser printers and inkjet printers.

Laser printers are often much quicker at printing large quantities than inkjet options and can produce clear and precise lines of text. Since laser printers use toner, a powder form of ink, their replacement cartridges can be more expensive. However, a laser printer’s toner will last significantly longer than traditional liquid ink. 

Inkjet printers are slightly slower but still provide a decent output rate for everyday home office use. This style of the printer is preferred for anyone who plans on printing images more often than text, as the final result will be higher quality. Replacement inkjet cartridges are cheaper than toner but won’t last nearly as long. While the price difference overall isn’t huge for laser vs. inkjet models, laser printers do still tend to be more expensive. 

Connectivity 

If you enjoy the convenience of wireless connection, you’ll want to choose a printer with Wi-Fi capabilities, which will allow you to print from your computer, phone, tablet or other smart device without a wired connection. 

For those that prefer a wired connection, many newer printers will feature both Wi-Fi connectivity as well as USB ports so you can choose the most convenient method. 

Color vs. monochrome 

Another decision you’ll need to make is whether you want to spring for a full-color printer or a black-and-white monochrome model. If you plan on printing images, photographs or documents that require colored graphs, titles or other necessary sections, a color printer is definitely your best bet. 

For those who think they will mainly be printing large volumes of black-and-white text, a monochrome printer can prove to be a more compact and efficient option. Most monochrome models will be laser printers. 

Size

Depending on where you plan to store your printer, you’ll want to take the overall size into account. Modern printers are relatively compact and won’t take up too much space on or underneath a desk, but if your space is limited, there are plenty of compact models available. 

What to look for in a quality printer 

Multifunctionality 

The best printers will not only be able to print but will also have the ability to copy documents, scan files directly to your devices and even act as a fax machine when needed. Some basic printers without any extra features may be cheaper, but spending a bit more for the multifunctionality aspect can be worth the extra money. 

Tray capacity 

If you think you’ll be using your printer often throughout the day, you’ll likely want to invest in a model that features a high tray capacity. Some printers may even include more than one paper tray so you can complete large print jobs without interruption. 

Double-sided printing

Printers that sport a double-sided printing feature can help save you paper, ultimately saving you money in the long run. Double-sided printing also leads to less waste, making it more environmentally friendly. 

Printing speed 

Printing speed will be measured in pages per minute, or PPM. As mentioned, laser printers will generally have a higher printing speed than inkjet printers. If you’re someone who only prints a couple pages at a time, printing speed likely won’t be a major factor. 

How much you can expect to spend on a printer 

The cheapest printers generally cost between $30-$100, though they may lack reliability and other important features. High-end models can cost well over $300, but you can usually find quality options for somewhere in between. 

Printer FAQ

What other costs are associated with owning a printer?

A. Other than the initial upfront cost for the printer itself, you should also consider the cost for replacement ink or toner and the cost for printer paper, which can vary depending on quality and finish. Some people prefer to use ink subscription services, which will automatically send ink refills when the printer is running low. 

Which type of printer is best for printing photographs?

A. If you want to achieve the best quality when printing a photograph, you’ll almost certainly want to use a color inkjet printer. You can even find inkjet printers that are designed specifically for printing photos. 

What’s the best printer to buy?

Top printer 

HP 1202w Neverstop Laser Printer

HP 1202w Neverstop Laser Printer

What you need to know: This multifunctional HP laser printer is a heavy-duty workhorse made for those with high-volume printing needs. 

What you’ll love: You can print using a Wi-Fi connection or through the available USB ports. The paper tray can hold up to 150 pages and the long-lasting toner cartridge will provide up to 5,000 pages before needing replacement. 

What you should consider: While it can copy and scan, there is no fax option. 

Where to buy: Sold by HP and Amazon

Top printer for the money

HP LaserJet MFP M234dwe Wireless Printer

HP LaserJet MFP M234dwe Wireless Printer

What you need to know: Simple yet reliable, this affordable black-and-white printer is ideal for a home office.

What you’ll love: Users will enjoy the 30 PPM printing speed as well the large capacity paper tray for efficient printing of large files. You’ll also save money down the line since you won’t need to purchase any color toner.

What you should consider: This printer is not a good option for anyone needing to print images or photographs. 

Where to buy: Sold by HP and Staples 

Worth checking out

Epson EcoTank ET-4760 Wireless All-in-One Color Printer

Epson EcoTank ET-4760 Wireless All-in-One Color Printer

What you need to know: The Epson EcoTank is a high-quality inkjet printer that features refillable ink tanks to help lower costs and reduce unnecessary waste. 

What you’ll love: You can print, scan, copy and fax with this 4-in-1 printer that features a large touch screen and voice activation for easy printing. Plus, the paper tray can hold up to 250 pages, so you won’t be cut short halfway through an important print job. 

What you should consider: As far as inkjet printers go, this model is relatively expensive.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

 

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Matthew Young writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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