The Best Printer Fits Your Needs And Your Budget
Finding the best printer for your business doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. All of the available technologies work adequately or better, so it’s more important to focus on the features and capabilities you need. After identifying several printers that seem suitable, check their ink or toner pricing to minimize your ongoing costs.
Printer Buying Guide: How To Find The Best Model For Your Home Or Office
Top Deals On Great Products
Picked by Techconnect’s Editors
Printers havent changed much, but the tech world around them sure has. People print less frequently, and theyre just as likely to send a job from a smartphone or a tablet as they are from a traditional computer. Todays printers are keeping up as best they can, with mobile printing options and wireless connectivity, and a few models offer new technologies such as NFC .
Before you shop for a printer, sort out who will be using it and for what purposesand of course, how much you can spendso you can find the best model for your needs.
Whats The Best Printer In 2021
Looking for a printer for your home or small office? Then weve got you covered, as weve;reviewed some of the best printer options currently available and ranked them in order of recommendation.
Weve included picks from HP, Epson and Canon, and will be updating this list frequently as we continue our search for the very best printer, whether you need something to print out documents on a daily basis, spit out the occasional parcel label or you fancy a machine that can bring your social media snaps to life.
So without further ado, here are our top recommended printers of 2021.
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Where Can I Buy Printers
Finding a site with the best printer deals can be challenging at times, as printers are often in high demand. To help you find the best printer deals, here are few trusted sites we have selected for you.
- HP Deskjet 2724, £49.99 from Argos – buy here
If you want a printer that does it all, without breaking the bank, you won’t be disappointed with the HP DeskJet 2724. It’s got a built-in scanner, has Wi-Fi connectivity and can be connected to using a variety of apps. The downsides of this printer include having to manually re-insert paper into the tray if you want to print double-sided, and its relatively expensive cartridges. Still, for people who don’t print every day, this printer will cover all of your basic needs at a great price.
Plug The Printer Into Your Router Directly
If you’re flexible about where you store your printer, your best bet is to remove it from the Wi-Fi network entirely and hard-wire it to your router. Connecting it with a wire may not solve all your problems, but it will ensure its connection to the network is much more stable, lessening the number of troubleshooting steps you have to go through every time.;
If you have Ethernet in your home, try connecting it to the network that wayyou may find an Ethernet jack hidden somewhere on your printer . If you don’t have Ethernet in the house, this is one area where powerline adapters can come in handy.;
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The Best 3d Printer Deals This Week*
*Deals are selected by our partner, TechBargains
For this guide, we will focus on 3D printers in the sub-$4,000 range, targeted at consumers, hobbyists, schools, product designers, and other professionals, such as engineers and architects. The vast majority of printers in this range build 3D objects out of successive layers of molten plastic, a technique known as fused filament fabrication . It is also frequently called Fused Deposition Modeling , although that term is trademarked by Stratasys, Inc. A few 3D printers use stereolithographyâthe first 3D printing technique to be developedâin which ultraviolet lasers trace a pattern on a photosensitive liquid resin, hardening the resin to form the object.
What Printer Is Right For You
One way to determine the right printer for you is by understanding your printing needs. Heres a quick rundown based on the environment youll be printing in. We go deeper after this section.
Home PrintingPrinters;built for low volume printing and have the versatility to handle documents as well as colored images are best for;home printing. Inkjet printers were;traditionally the go-to choice by home users but the economy, durability, and improved;performance of laser printers have made it favorable;home printer option as well.
Office PrintingThe go-to option when shopping for a printer for the office is a laser printer. Laser printers can print large volumes of text for a long period of time, making them the;workhorses of the;workplace. You can choose between;print-only printers and multi-function printers that also provide;scanning, copying, and faxing capabilities. Colored laser printers are perfect if you;occasionally need colored prints in addition to the high volume document printing needs of;the office.
Students/School PrintingLow page yield laser printers are best for school use. Theyre more affordable than inkjet printers in the long term, more affordable than office laser printers, but just;as reliable when it comes to producing;documents as you need it.
Do you need a printer for just;printing, or;will;you need it to also have;scanner, fax, and copier capabilities?
Will you print mostly documents or will you print photos and colored images? Will you;print a lot?
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What Is A Tank Printer
Tank printers do away with cartridges. Instead they have refillable tanks of ink, which you replenish with a special kit. As they’re often inkjet models, you’ll find colour tank printers, as well as some mono ones which just print in black and white. They have little windows into the tank on the front of the printer, which you can easily monitor to see whether the ink is running low.
There are only a couple of tank laser printers: HP’s Neverstop Laser range are the first laser models to use cartridge-free technology.
Tank models tend to be more expensive to buy up front than a traditional inkjet model but they’ll make up for it with print-cost savings. Tank printers tend to be extremely economical to run and can save you hundreds over the course of a couple of years.;
- Pros;Extremely low running costs, inkjet models can produce good colour prints
- Cons;Can be expensive to buy;
Find out which printers have the lowest running costs in our guide to the ;best cheap printers to buy and run.
Which Is Better: An Inkjet Printer Or A Laser Printer
At one time, laser printers were considered faster, more reliable, and less expensive to use, and were near-universally lauded for better output quality than inkjet machines. Even though many users and even some pundits still tout these traditional “wisdoms,” theyre far from universally true nowadays. Depending on what and how much you print, today’s inkjet machines can outshine their laser competitors. We bust some printer myths and break down the pros and cons in our inkjet vs. laser comparison.
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Canon Pixma Ts: The Best Budget Printer
Price: £58 |
The Pixma TS205 is one of the cheapest printers you can buy, and when you look at what its missing no Wi-Fi, no scanner, no cloud or smartphone-friendly features its really not hard to see why. All you get is a compact inkjet printer that connects via USB, printing black text pages at a slow-ish 7.5ppm, and pages with colour graphics at a painful 1.6ppm. To make things worse, its noisy while doing so.
However, that doesnt mean the TS205 doesnt have its plus points. It works perfectly well for basic, low-volume home printing and ink costs are lower than for some more expensive printers. Most importantly, print quality is surprisingly good, with bold, punchy graphics, crisp black text and even decent-looking photos despite a slightly warm colour bias. Its both capable and cheap as chips.
Price: £250 | Buy now from Argos
The Canon Pixma G650 takes all the great things about ink tank printers and throws in the ability to print decent photos. On photo paper, at the highest settings, the photos printed by the G650 are almost as good as youd get from the best cartridge-based models.
And with refillable ink tanks running costs are far lower, with A4 mono prints only costing 0.4p each and colour pages costing 1p.
The G650 is a bit on the slow side but, if you can live with that, its combination of low running costs and great print quality is hard to beat.
Price: £90 |
Read our full for more details
Price: £150 |
Price: £117 |
Price: £248 |
Price: £100 |
Best Home Printers: How Did We Test Them
Printers are not like smartphones so don’t expect the ones from five years ago to be significantly different from the ones launched last year. Printing resolutions, connectivity and features haven’t changed significantly and so have our printing tests.
Each printer we source for testing is measured on our test bench and the results are critically compared with every other model we have reviewed. Rather than relying on the manufacturers quoted figures, we time the first page out and print speeds in single sheet and duplex mode using a standard ten-page document and a stopwatch app.
To compare print quality, we print out the same set of test documents on every machine. These twelve test pages include text of varying font sizes and colors, mixed image and text pages, a set of photos and a series of test patterns designed to assess sharpness, color fidelity, contrast and grey scale.;
We also calculate running costs, compare functionality and consider each products versatility, design and build quality. The overall score reflects all of these parameters and overall value for money.
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Do You Need A Closed Frame
Closed-frame 3D printers have an enclosed structure with a door, walls, and a lid or hood. Open-frame models provide easy visibility of print jobs in progress, and easy access to the print bed and extruder. A closed-frame model is safer, keeping kids and pets from accidentally touching the hot extruder. And it also means quieter operation, reducing fan noise and possible odor, especially when printing with ABS, which can exude a burnt-plastic smell.
How Much Do You Plan To Print
If you print only a few pages a day, you don’t have to worry about how much a printer is designed to print, as defined by its recommended monthly duty cycle. If you print enough for the duty cycle to matter, however, don’t buy a printer that doesn’t include that information in its specifications. Figure out how much you print by how often you buy paper and in what amounts. Then pick a printer designed to print at least that much.
Also consider minimum and maximum paper size and whether you need a duplexer to print on both sides of the page. For input capacity, a useful rule of thumb is to get enough capacity so you should need to add paper no more than once a week. If you often print on envelopes, checks, or letterhead, look for a printer with multiple drawers so your printing isn’t slowed down by needing to unload regular paper and load your specialty media.
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Move It Closer To Your Router
I can’t tell you why, but I’ve seen many Wi-Fi printers that just seem to have weak signals, even if all my other devices work fine in the same location. My printer is much more reliable if the router is in the same room, and my father-in-law’s printer only works if he opens all the doors upstairs before trying to print.
Even if the Wi-Fi signal in that room seems fine, try moving your printer closer to the router if youre having connection issues. If your printer has a sub-par Wi-Fi chip, it may need a super strong signal to stay connected.
Printer Size And Connectivity: Do You Have The Space
MFPs tend to be bigger than single-function printers, and even some home MFPs can be tall enough to make you feel like they’re towering over you if you put them on your desk. Be sure to check out the MFP’s size and weight, though chances are you won’t be moving it very often.
Then there’s the connectivity, which might tie in to where you place your printer. In addition to a USB port, some MFPs include an Ethernet port, and almost all but the least expensive support wireless Wi-Fi connections for easy sharing. If you prefer Wi-Fi, keep in mind that if you have a wireless access point on your network, you can print wirelessly to any printer or MFP on that network, whether the printer or MFP offers Wi-Fi or not.
Some MFPs now include support for Wi-Fi Direct , which lets the printer effectively become its own access point so you can connect a phone or computer to it directly, instead of connecting through a wider network. A few offer support for Near-Field Communication , which allows you to initiate printing from a compatible mobile device simply by tapping the printer with the phone or tablet.
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How We Selected And Rated Them
We researched nine expert sources and 20,000 consumer reviews to select the top 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 four out of five stars on retail and review sites like , Best Buy, and Office Depot.
Total Expert Score: 78.5/100 | Consumer Score: 82% give it 4 stars or more
- Type: Inkjet
- Functions: Print, scan, copy, fax
- Print speed : 22 , 18
- Paper capacity: 250 sheets
- Dimensions: 17 x 13 x 11 in.
- Weight: 20 lb
- User-friendly setup and ink replacement
- Small display
HP also makes setting up its printers relatively painless with its EasyStart installer and HP Smart app, and the company offers an Instant Ink subscription service with a variety of tiers and will automatically mail you reasonably priced new cartridges when your ink supply runs low.
Total Expert Score: 80/100 | Consumer Score: 86% give it 4 stars or more
- Type: Inkjet
- 20-sheet auto feeder
- Higher ink costs
Total Expert Score: 77/100 | Consumer Score: 87% give it 4 stars or more
- Type: Laser
- Easy Wi-Fi connectivity
- No automatic document feeder
Total Expert Score: 78/100 | Consumer Score: 81% give it 4 stars or more
- Type: Inkjet
- Type: Inkjet
What’s The Difference Between Inkjet And Laser Printers
There was a time when you could make a clear distinction between inkjet and laser. Inkjets delivered top-quality prints with vibrant colours across a range of paper types , but the ink costs were high and they required regular maintenance.
Laser printers, meanwhile, were the more functional, affordable option designed for pumping out pages and pages of documents on the cheap. The trade-off was lower quality photo prints so they’ve always been the preferred alternative for businesses where text and graphic quality weren’t as important.
But times change. Though ink costs for the most part remain high when using standard cartridges for separate colours, they’ve become much more efficient and affordable; particularly if you use one of the refillable tank systems. Many models are just as fast as one another and both types can handle bulk printing with ease.
Today, you have a range of inkjet and laser options to suit your budget and text/image quality demands. The best way to find the most suitable printer for your needs is to check our test results.
Inkjet printers can produce sharp, vibrant, top-quality prints across a range of paper types. They’re ideal for everything from documents to photos but ink costs can be an issue for some models. However, the introduction of printers from HP, Epson and Canon with refillable tanks deliver some affordable options for those with high print volume needs.
Printer ink can drive up costs over time.
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Well Suited For Hobbyists And Schools
- No misprints in our testing
- Supports multiple filament types
- Includes a 1-kilogram PLA spool
- Useful, professionally printed user guide
- Great support resources
- Supports a variety of filament types
- Useful, professionally printed user guide
- Great support resources
- First-layer calibration can be tricky
- Only includes starter packets of filament
- Requires monitoring if young children or pets are around
Do You Need A Monochrome Printer Or A Color Printer
Without question, color pages are more fun and more attractive than their black-and-white counterparts, and they carry more impact. Color is all but essential when producing your own brochures, flyers, and other promotional material at home, or if printing photos is among your personal printing habits.
But some kinds of documents don’t benefit from color, and sometimes, using color ink in these scenarios is little more than unnecessary expense. Depending on what you print, and on your printer model, each color page can easily cost you three to five times that of a monochrome one, or more.
As we discuss a little further down, though, over the past few years, several printer manufacturers have come out with machines that print both types of documents, monochrome and color, at a much lower cost per page . Some pull that off via making you buy ink in bulk, up front; some sign you up to an ink subscription.
Whatever the scheme, you’ll want to look at your printer purchase with a very clear idea of what kind of output you need, versus what you might need or want. If all you’ll print is reams of text, a monochrome laser might make more sense; if photo printing or colorful workbook sheets are on the agenda, a color inkjet is your main option.
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