First and foremost, to find the best home printer, we were looking for a reliable, fast print that didn’t gobble up ink, forcing replacement cartridges every other week. We also took a long look at additional features, such as the ability to print in color and create photo-quality duplications and, also, whether or not it was tethered to a cable. Finally, we were looking for ease of use. These are printers for the home, so they should be simple, not only to print, but to load paper and ink cartridges. At the end of the day, we chose printers that just did their job as soon as you clicked “print” on your computer, tablet or phone.
Of these seven best home printers on our list, the HP ENVY 5055 Wireless All-in-One Photo Printer was truly the best of the bunch. It produced high-quality, and two-sided, color duplications quickly, with no hassle whatsoever. The unit is able to connect to what you need printed in a variety of ways, including built-in WiFi, Bluetooth and a related app, which makes printing from your phone a breeze.
- 1 Top 5 Best Printer for Home Use Compared
- 1.1 #1 HP ENVY Wireless All-in-One Photo Printer – Top Pick
- 1.2 #2 Brother HL-L2300D Monochrome Laser Printer – Honorable Mention/Best Value
- 1.3 #3 Canon TS5120 Wireless All-In-One Printer – Best Budget
- 1.4 #4 Lexmark MB2236adw Multifunction Laser Printer – Best for Work
- 1.5 #5 Epson Expression Home XP-4100 Wireless Color Printer – Excellent All-in-one
- 1.6 How We Decided
- 2 Home Printer Buying Guide
Top 5 Best Printer for Home Use Compared
#1 HP ENVY Wireless All-in-One Photo Printer – Top PickWHY WE LIKE IT: It’s simply a fantastic product, quickly pumping out two-sided, color prints with a hassle-free interface that can connect via WiFi, Bluetooth and a related app. It also scans, making this the perfect printer for those of you looking for an easy, reliable way to create lots of photorealistic color copies on the fly.
The HP ENVY Wireless All-in-One Photo Printer can handle just about anything you can throw at it, quickly duplicating any color or monotone image, producing gorgeous prints that are truly photorealistic. The unit works with letter, legal, 4 x 6 in, 5 x 7 in, 8 x 10 in, and No 10 envelopes It prints wirelessly, connecting to a device via WiFi, Bluetooth, Alexa and a related app. This app is extremely useful and user-friendly, allowing you to scan something right from your phone and then send it to be printed, all with just one or two button presses.
The company also throws in four months of free ink, as long as you sign up for their Instant Ink service, which is sort of like Netflix, but for ink. It costs around $3 per month and HPwill make sure ink is shipped right to your door, with an additional option for Amazon Dash support. This is a great deal if you find yourself making a lot of prints.
#2 Brother HL-L2300D Monochrome Laser Printer – Honorable Mention/Best ValueWHY WE LIKE IT: The Brother HL-L2300D Monochrome Laser Printer is just a great, no-frills laser printer that quickly makes lovely black-and-white duplications, up to 27 ppm, with a large 250-sheet capacity paper tray and a useful “Toner Save Mode” that helps to save ink. This is the perfect product for homes that want a simple, reliable printer that specializes in text-only documents.
The Brother HL-L2300D Monochrome Laser Printer is a simple device that we had up and running in under a minute, using it to create high quality black-and-white prints at a speedy 27 ppm. It prints sharp, professional pages at up to 2400 x 600dpi resolution, also handling two-sided printing with ease. The included “Toner Save Mode” is of special interest, helping to save ink by turning down the resolution and using fewer dots per inch, increasing a cartridge’s length by up to two times. This feature can be turned on and off, depending on how much resolution you want in a print.
Of course, being a no-frills printer means this product cannot connect WiFi or Bluetooth. It is strictly a USB 2.0 device, though the wired connection does help increase the print speed a bit. Unfortunately, the company does not pack one of these cables in the box, requiring an external purchase.
#3 Canon TS5120 Wireless All-In-One Printer – Best BudgetWHY WE LIKE IT: The Canon TS5120 Wireless All-In-One Printer with Scanner and Copier offers color printing from a wide variety of sources, including mobile devices and the cloud, with built in WiFi and Bluetooth, at an astounding price point. This is the best printer for those of you looking for a cheap option that’ll do the job and do the job well.
The Canon TS5120 Wireless All-In-One Printer is a well-built device that, in addition to color and two-sided printing, offers the ability to scan and make photocopies. The major appeal here is the low price point mixed with the astounding number of features on offer, including quick printing, up to 40 ppm, and the ability to print from a large variety of sources, connecting via WiFi, Bluetooth or printing fight from your phone or tablet using AirPrint 2, for Apple models, and Google Cloud Print, for Androids.
Canon’s product comes with a full set of ink cartridges, including some photo paper. The printer is also compatible with XL ink cartridges, which should maximize your monthly output, limiting trips to Staples for replacement cartridges.
#4 Lexmark MB2236adw Multifunction Laser Printer – Best for WorkWHY WE LIKE IT: The Lexmark MB2236adw Multifunction Laser Printer will finish print jobs quickly, offering a 36 ppm printing speed, and reliably, with a built-in scanner and, due to it being a laser printer, the pages look crisp, with a high resolution(600 x 600 dpi.) This is a great product for folks who work from a home office, requiring more prints per month than the average home user.
The Lexmark MB2236adw Multifunction Laser Printer is a great choice for those needing a home printer with stats that more resemble products found in an office setting. The powerful 1-Ghz processor and 512 MB of memory ensure that your jobs will finish fast, up to 36 ppm. The print yield is also impressive, with around 6000 pages able to be printed with just one toner cartridge and a recommended monthly maximum of 2500 pages. It also is a competent scanner and works via WiFi, so you can print without any cumbersome external cables.
The product is a monochrome-only printer, meaning it can only handle black-and-white reproductions, though the picture quality is stellar, with the documents it produces a cut above similar units. It also connects via WiFi, which makes this an extremely easy product to use.
#5 Epson Expression Home XP-4100 Wireless Color Printer – Excellent All-in-oneWHY WE LIKE IT: The Epson Expression Home XP-4100 Wireless Color Printer is a fantastic all-in-one device that prints in color, scans and copies, completing all of these tasks wirelessly and at an extremely low price point. This is the perfect product for consumers looking for a cheap entry point into home printing, scanning and copying.
The Epson Expression Home XP-4100 Wireless Color Printer is a deliciously simple-to-use printer, easily connecting to your phone, tablet, computer or the cloud to obtain print jobs. The cheaply priced product prints in glorious color, creating photo reproductions with ease. On that note, the printer uses instant-dry Clarian ink, which allows you to touch and manipulate color copies as soon as they exit the unit, with no fear of creating smudges or other unsightly marks. The 2.4” LCD color screen is also a joy to use, further simplifying the product for home use.
This printer only uses Epson brand proprietary ink, which could slightly raise the cost of continual use as third party cartridges are usually cheaper. The paper tray also maxes out at 100 sheets, which is adequate, though lower than many other products on this list.
How We Decided
There have been printers flooding the home market for decades. In order to narrow down the list to these five products, we really set about putting them through their paces, testing cartridge and toner length and print speed by creating dozens of copies at a time, picking only the printers that impressed us in both capacities.
We also wanted units that could handle a variety of print sizes. We weren’t looking for anything too outlandish, like banners, but being as how these printers are for home use, we made sure they could print in standard sizes, such as legal, letter, 4 x 6 in, 5 x 7 in and 8 x 10, with any extra sizes, such as to fit various envelopes, acting as icing on the cake.
We also took a look at additional features, picking a number of products that print in color, scan documents and work wirelessly, streaming print jobs from your phone or tablet. We also wanted to make sure the printers are home-friendly and had a good reputation, with no widespread reports of breaking down, and that quality warranties came packed in.
Home Printer Buying Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
- Print Speed and Quality
The speed at which your printer finishes jobs and the quality of the documents you create are the two most important features to consider as you shop for a home unit. When it comes to speed, you are looking for a minimum of 10 ppm (pages per minute) with color copies and 20 ppm with black-and-white copies. Products that print on both sides of a sheet of paper at once, which most items on the above list do, can also speed up the print time. Print quality is usually measured in dots per inch. Black-and-white printers should have a minimum resolution of 600 x 600 dots per inch and color printers should have a minimum print quality of 1200 x 1200 dots per inch. Every product on this list achieve this threshold and many products cross it. For example, the Brother HL-L2300D makes black-and-white copies with a stunning 2400 x 600 dots per inch resolution.
- Ink Replacement Cost
One of the worst feelings in the world has to be pressing that print button and realizing, too late, that your printer is dangerously low on ink. These replacement cartridges can be expensive but many modern printers use a blend of technologies to maximize cartridge length. Divide the cost of the cartridge by how many pages it is likely to print to create a cost-per-page estimate. On average, ink will cost you around 5.5 cents per page printed for black-and-white jobs and 8.9 cents for color jobs. If you primarily print documents, with no need for photo duplication, you are best off going for a black-and-white printer, just to save on ink cartridges. Buying third party ink cartridges, if possible, is also a good way to save some cash.
- Duty Cycle
A printer’s duty cycle is the maximum number of pages that should be printed per month. For home printers, a monthly duty cycle of 2,000 pages is usually sufficient, a threshold that every product on the above list maintains. Office printers have much higher duty cycles, in the 20,000 to 25,000-page range.
- What’s the difference between an inkjet printer and a laser printer?
Inkjet printers, as the name suggests, use ink, which is perfect for the kind of low volume printing that most home users need. Laser printers, on the other hand, use toner, which is ideal for high volume printing and are mostly, though not always, utilized by offices.