If you need to buy a new printer, you will quickly realize how difficult it can be to make the right purchase decision: there are many different models and types of printers and, with so much variety, it is normal for there to be confusion. When you buy a new printer you will have to take into account different factors. In addition to the price (determining factor for many and many), it will be important to look at the quality of the printing, the price of the ink that this model requires, the printing speed, and other extra tools. The printer market is a market that advances more slowly than other technology sectors (such as smartphones, for example), so sometimes the latest printer models are not much improved compared to their previous models.
Also keep in mind that there are different types of printers, the ones we show you in this article are conventional printers that you can use at home or in the office (depending on the model). However, you may be interested to know that there are portable printers, such as the Zuta Pocket Printer, specific printers to be able to print directly from your mobile or 3D printers such as the XYZprinting. There is even a “skin printer” that can give you temporary tattoos. To put yourself in the situation and to clarify your ideas a bit when buying a new printer, we have created a mini buying guide so that you can choose the best printer according to your needs.
Before continuing, if you are reading this article because your printer has stopped working, you may be interested in reading our tips for trying to fix your printer.
Buying guide to choosing the best printer
There is no unique printer model capable of impressing everyone, which is why in our selection of the best printers we have mixed different models: for home, work, multifunctional, color, mono, etc. Printers are usually divided into two large groups: inkjet printers or laser printers. The second is usually more expensive than the first, but offer better quality and tend to have a faster printing speed. By this, we do not mean that laser printers are always the best since as you will see below, you can find models of inkjet printers that far exceed the quality of laser printers. If your only intention is to print text (and a lot), your best option will be a monochrome laser printer. This is the best combination to print a lot, with quality, and at low cost. However, if what you need more is to print photos, then you need an inkjet printer, that is, a printer with ink cartridges for each color. We would also like you to take into account the following factors: total purchase cost, need or not for a multifunctional printer, print speed, and extra tools.
1. Total cost of the printer
When you decide to buy a printer you have to know that the price you pay for it in the store is only the beginning of the total outlay. Understand that a printer must be maintained: you will have to replace the toner, ink and cartridges throughout the life of your new printing device. Most printer brands offer an estimate of the yield and life of their ink cartridges (the pages you can print with one cartridge). Thanks to this estimate, you will be able to calculate the average cost per page, something that surprisingly varies a lot from one printer model to another, so it is essential to do this calculation before deciding on one printer or another.
Obviously, if print quality matters more to you than product cost, then you can opt for more specialized printers that use up to five or even six ink cartridges to print photos with the highest possible quality Thanks to those extra ink cartridges, you can print impressive photos, but keep in mind that the final cost will increase dramatically.
2. Do you need a multifunctional printer?
Most modern printers are “all-in-one” multifunctional devices, that is, they include scanners and other types of tools. This type of multifunctional printer will allow you to scan photos or any other document and convert them into digital files that you can store on your computer. You can also print copies of your scanned documents as if it were a photocopier. Some models even come with fax. So if you need in addition to a printer, a scanner or a photocopier, we recommend purchasing a multifunctional printer model, since you can save a lot of money by not having to buy each of the devices separately. Obviously, if your only need is to have a printer, it is not worth spending more money on a multifunctional model.
3. Printing speed and extra tools
The printing speeds that brands claim to have never usually corresponded to actual speed. That is why if your main requirement when choosing a printer is printing speed, we recommend that you check reviews of media or users not related to the brand. Extra features that we consider to be taken into account when having a new printer: USB ports and memory card slots to be able to print directly from them. Also high-capacity paper trays, thanks to which you can feed hundreds of pages of paper without having to wait to add more paper so frequently. Also important is the double-sided printing tool, an option that can save you a lot of money on paper, in addition to avoiding unnecessary waste. And finally, it seems necessary to pay attention to the printer software. Some of this software come with editing tools, color adjustment possibilities, etc.
Digitization and the increased presence of devices such as smartphones and tablets may have diminished the prominence of domestic printing, but there are still many who bet on the paper format of a lifetime. Beyond the business and professional niche, the offer of home printers is very varied in terms of performance and cost . Which to choose?
In this home printer buying guide we help you choose the one that best suits your needs and budget.
Choosing the best home printer
Although many of us get carried away by the offer – and there are truly affordable models that make us think if it is more worth it to renew the printer or buy the consumable -, the key factors when choosing a printer are the printing technology that use, print speed, additional features or cost per page. However, factors such as connectivity or the size that we have are also important.
Printing technology is decisive at the cost level, both for printing and for the acquisition of the peripheral in question.
- Inkjet is the most popular technology in this sector, although the laser is gaining ground. The prices of these printers in their simplest versions are usually quite cheap, allowing us not only to print in color, but also to access models that also scan or photocopy. Here we will look at the cartridges included, their capacity and price . Also, it is worth looking at whether there are compatible consumables that lower the investment. Be careful because with this type of printer it is important to consider how much we print: if we are going to use it intensively, the cost per page will be higher than with other technologies. But if we are going to print little, we run the risk of the cartridges drying out.
- Laser printers use toner (powdered pigments) instead of cartridges, offering a generally lower cost per page than ink printing. Monochrome models for this sector are relatively affordable, so they are especially attractive if you are going to print documents in black and white , whether you are going to do a heavy use or if the idea is to print from time to time.
- Ink tank printers are the last to arrive and little by little they are gaining ground. These are inkjet printers but with tanks or tanks instead of cartridges , something that translates into a lower cost per copy, since you only need to refill the ink and not replace the cartridge. They are positioned right in the middle of the previous ones, for those users who need inkjet technology but want to print a high workload. In general they are more expensive and bulky than the standard ones.
Always with “ink”: starter packs and subscription services
Who has not ever experienced that their printer runs out of ink at the most inopportune moment (especially the day before a job is due)?
To alleviate this unpleasant unforeseen event and with the connectivity that these printers include, continuous supply services have emerged that ensure that we print the amount we print – yes, the price will vary – we always have ink. These are some of the plans of the main manufacturers on a domestic scale:
- HP offers for the ENVY or Deskjet families of HP Instant Ink, a subscription service depending on our printing needs. Thus, when the printer runs out of ink, HP receives a notice and sends it to us. From 2.99 euros per month for 50 pages per month (15 pages per month are free)
- At EPSON there is a plan for EcoTank printers with an “unlimited card “, which offers coverage for two years. Another option is ReadyInk for Expression, in this case the printer notifies when the ink level is low and the ink is sent, making the payment at that moment.
- Brother has the All in Box plan, which includes a three-year warranty and consumables included in the initial price on single-color laser models (according to the manufacturer, calculated according to a monthly volume of 138 pages). In this sense, it is not a continuous supply service, but it constitutes an interesting pack to save if we move in those printing volumes.
Printer types by functionality
As we have seen, intensity and application determine which technology to choose, although we can also go further with additional functions.
The starting point is the basic printer, for documents of all kinds, but we are also going to find multifunction models that solve such useful tasks as photocopying or scanning – at a business level, there are still them with fax -. One of the strengths of these multifunction models is that we can find ourselves in the most affordable ranges and in a fairly compact format, meaning that for almost the same price, we can gain in functionality.
Of course, if the idea is that it is not a sporadic use but that we are going to use this multifunction frequently, pay attention to the resolution of the scanner (dpi) and consumption.
If we want it to print photographs, we will also find families that accept photographic paper, higher quality pigment inks, higher resolution, and more refined printing technology.
How is it controlled?
Although we will always have the cable to connect the printer to the computer, there are other ways of handling the printer that can be very useful depending on the location of the printer and where we are going to send the files .
For example Wi-Fi, something that opens the doors not only to use it without cables – with the convenience of not having to have both devices physically close – but also to be able to send files from the tablet or smartphone. However, there are also Bluetooth and NFC, which simplify the procedure with mobile devices.
Within Wi-Fi, it is interesting to bet on those with Wi-Fi Direct, a direct communication protocol between devices that avoids access points, although some manufacturers have similar direct connection technologies.
If it is a very complete or multifunction model, it is also useful that it has a screen that speeds up its use and allows us to put it into action autonomously, without the need for a PC or other device.
From the choice of the type of printer we want and the connectivity we want, there are another series of extras to consider.
- The automatic paper loading is very practical if we are to much print, store enabling role in another repository
- Another very useful feature is the automatic double-sided printing, which will save us from having to wait to do it manually, saving paper and time (because if we have to do it ourselves we will surely be lazy)
- Among domestic printers, the format is A4, but the quality of the supported paper does vary (maximum weight), especially if the idea is to print on photographic paper or cardboard.
- Some manufacturers offer cartridge page yields, data-based on test standards that, while approximate, is far from actual use
- Although it is not decisive, it does not hurt to take a look at the printing speed of each page (both in monochrome and in color, if it allows it)
Printer Buying Guide: Recommended Models
After reviewing what the market for home printers offers us and how it can serve us based on our use, we have compiled a very diverse selection of models in terms of characteristics and price that can serve as a guide.
Printers if you are going to print very little
If the idea is to have a printer at home to use from time to time and not have to go to the copy shop when we need to print, we will generally find affordable multifunction inkjet models (we insist, be careful with the frequency of printing and maintenance, is not going to be that cheap is expensive).
HP DeskJet 2634
The HP Deskjet family stands out for being economical, easy to use and with a compact design, very interesting features for those looking for a peripheral for occasional use. This is the case of the HP DeskJet 2634 ( 57.97 euros ), an ink multifunction model with a scanner and copier that is quite compact, although with a scanning resolution that is not outstanding (1200 x 1200 dpi).
It has a black ink cartridge and a color one, so even if only the cyan one runs out, you will have to replace it completely. However, it has the HP Instant Ink replacement plan, so if you spend less than 15 copies per month it is free.
Another point in its favor is that despite its simplicity, it has Wi-Fi connectivity to print remotely from computers, tablets, or mobiles.
HP DeskJet 2634 – Ink multifunction printer (Compatible with HP Instant Ink, Wi-Fi, Includes a Black Cartridge and a Tri-color Cartridge, 512 MB DDR3, 7-segment LCD, A4) Color White and Purple
Canon PIXMA TS3350
Within Canon’s simple range for printing, this PIXMA TS3350 ( 59.90 euros ) available in three colors.
It is an affordable, compact and functional model with wireless connectivity, a simple 1.5 “monochrome LCD screen to handle scanner and copier (600 x 1200 dpi) independently and two cartridges – color and black – XL.
Epson Expression Premium XP-2100
Another easy-to-use, compact and multifunction color ink printer for the home is this Epson Expression Premium XP-2100 ( 61.10 euros )
This 3-in-1 printer has a copier and scanner (1200 x 2400 DPI) with Wi-Fi Direct to print from any device. It has four cartridges with independent inks, to facilitate replacement as they run out.
Epson XP-2100 Expression Premium – 3-in-1 Multifunction Printer (Printer, Scanner, Copier, Wi-Fi, Single Cartridges, 4 Colors, A4), Black
HP Envy 5032
Another simple and versatile family within the HP home range is the ENVY, a range that is also compact, easy to use and moderately affordable, only in this case a very sharp screen is introduced that allows us to manipulate the copier or scanner more intuitively, as well as including automatic two-sided printing
Otherwise, the technical proposal is very similar: it has a color ink cartridge and a black one, it is compatible with the HP Instant Ink subscription program and it has Wi-Fi connectivity. The HP Envy 5032 is available for 58.90 euros in El Corte Inglés
HP Envy 5032 Thermal Inkjet 10 ppm 4800 x 1200 dpi A4 WiFi – Multifunction Printer (Thermal Inkjet, Color Printing, 4800 x 1200 dpi, 100 Sheets, A4, White)
Slightly larger than the previous ones, the Brother DCP-J572DW ( 96.35 euros ) is a color ink multifunction printer that continues to maintain simplicity of use but goes a step further in terms of details such as the integrated screen, which is color and 4.5 “diagonal and advanced connectivity – WiFi, Wi-Fi Direct, mobile connection, and Cloud – allowing you to do two tasks at the same time.
It features automatic two-sided printing and high-capacity individual cartridges, plus a slot for printing directly from memory cards.
Brother DCP-J572DW – Ink Multifunction Machine (A4, Wi-Fi, Duplex Printing), USB; Wifi; Wi-Fi Direct; Mobile connection and Cloud, Black
If you are printing in black and white: monochrome laser
If you are printing documents in black and white, monochrome laser printers are compact, offer good performance even if you print little, and there are a very affordable models.
Also very compact is this model from HP, which also has wireless connectivity and moves through a print speed of 21 ppm.
Canon i-SENSYS LBP113W
More voluminous is the Canon i-SENSYS LBP113W ( 110 euros ), a monochrome laser for those who print frequently that has a large 5-line screen to view the status, large 150-page input tray, high-efficiency toner and a print speed of up to 22 dpi.
It has Wi-Fi connectivity and is compatible with Apple AirPrint, Canon PRINT Business, Google Cloud Print, Mopria Print Service.
The Brother HL-1210W is another very compact monochrome laser printing model with wireless connectivity and up to 20 pages printed per minute. In addition, we can get hold of it with the All in Box pack. If we do not need Wi-Fi and we are going to print more, the veteran Brother HLL2310D ( 93.99 euros ) also has a larger tray and reaches 30 ppm with double-sided printing.
HP M118dw LaserJet Pro
If in addition to printing, we want to photocopy and scan, we also find versatile and moderately compact models like this HP M118dw LaserJet Pro ( 114.90 euros ), which also offers a fairly high print speed (28ppm).
With wireless connectivity, automatic double-sided printing, and support for different types of papers – laser, normal, photographic, rough, vellum -, it is one of the most complete and attractive models within the domestic range if we do not need to work in color. .
HP M118dw LaserJet Pro Laser Printer (Duplex Printing, Wi-Fi, HP Smart, up to 49 ppm, LED display, USB 2.0), White
Kyocera Ecosys FS-1220MFP
The Kyocera ECOSYS family is located in the entry-level range of the Japanese firm offering models for productivity at very interesting prices for their characteristics, such as this versatile Kyocera Ecosys FS-1220MFP ( 113 euros ).
It prints, scans, copies, and even has faxes, although the resolution of the scanner is quite limited. It has a variety of ports and wireless connectivity to print from various devices, it is silent and reaches 20 ppm. Kyocera Ecosys FS-1220MFP Mono color laser printer. Silent mode and USB
Printers for regular use at home
If you are printing at home fairly frequently and are looking for more speed, resolution, or versatility, these printers are the right fit for demanding home users or even small offices.
HP OfficeJet Pro 9010
If we need to print frequently and we also require that these be in color, the HP OfficeJet Pro 9010 ( 134 euros ) in a moderately contained and easy-to-use format with a color screen.
This model integrates printer, copier, scanner, and fax and has a function to create editable and searchable documents. As for its printing performance, it reaches up to 22 ppm, it has a 250-sheet input tray with an automatic double-sided document feeder.
HP OfficeJet Pro 9010 – Multifunction Printer (Print, Copy, Scan, Fax, Color Touchscreen, 512MB Memory, Duplex Print / Scan, Wi-Fi), Basalt Color
Another compact and versatile model with color jet technology for frequent printing is the Brother MFCJ5330DW ( 152.86 euros ), a high-performance, high-capacity ink MFP that prints double-sided and has a 250-page input tray. .
Among its strengths, Wi-Fi connectivity, the possibility of printing A3, and its 6.8-centimeters color touch screen so that its use is agile and intuitive.
Brother MFCJ5330DW – Professional Inkjet Multifunction Printer, WiFi Connection, with Inkjet Technology, Black
Canon PIXMA TS8350
Compact and minimalist, the PIXMA TS8350 series ( 163 euros ) is a multifunction peripheral – print, copy and scan – geared towards productivity and creativity. And it is capable of offering quality photos thanks to FINE technology and the 6 independent inks it uses.
It prints on a wide range of media and, thanks to its connectivity and ports, we can use it from different devices. With 2-way paper feed, 1.44 “oled screen to handle and automatic two-sided printing.
Epson EcoTank ET-2711
If the idea is to print both in black and white and in color and you want to save on ink, the Epson EcoTank ET-2711 ( 175 euros ) is an ink tank multifunction that prints, copies and scans in a contained format, easy to use and customizable in terms of options and consumption through its screen.
Color laser printers for home if you want to take it seriously
Laser printing is the most recommended for high volume and, if the idea is to also print in color, we will have to go to color laser printers. Of course, if we are looking for quality color prints (for example for graphics), in this segment it is more advisable to bet on inkjet ones (even if they are slower). If we limit ourselves to text, the difference in quality is less noticeable and we gain in speed.
HP Color Laser 150a
This HP Color Laser 150a ( 143 euros ) is one of the simplest, most affordable, and compact printers that we will find in this segment, although it lacks wireless connectivity, having to resort to a USB. However, it is very easy to use and reaches 18 ppm in single color and 4 ppm in color, which makes it highly recommended if we are looking for something basic for frequent and moderately fast printing of all kinds.
HP Color Laser 150a – Laser Printer (18 ppm / 4 ppm, 50 Sheet Output Tray, LED, Hi-Speed USB 2.0), White
Xerox Phaser 6510
Within the simple and domestic-oriented range of color lasers, we find this Xerox Phaser 6510, available both with an Ethernet port ( 185 euros) and with the port and also with wireless connectivity ( 249.90 euros ).
It stands out for intensive use, as well as for its good print quality, its speed – up to 28 ppm – and its compact size.
Xerox Phaser 6510V_N – Laser Printer (LED, Color, 1200 x 2400 dpi, A4, 300 Sheets, 28 ppm)
The Brother HL-L3210CW ( 195 euros ) is a laser model with varied wireless connectivity – WiFi, Wi-Fi Direct and mobile connection – that reaches up to 18 ppm. It has a large paper tray and configuration lock.
Brother HL-L3210CW – Color laser printer (Wifi, USB 2.0, 256 MB, 800 MHz, 18 ppm, 390 W) white
HP Color Laserjet Pro M255DW
For a little more money we can opt for a multifunction model such as the HP Color LaserJet Pro M255dw ( 260.17 euros ), a color laser printer with wireless connectivity, an intuitive touch screen to handle it, and smart notifications.
It allows you to scan, copy, and scan, reaching 21 ppm, it has a large input tray and automatic double-sided printing. A model that combines ease of use, versatility, and possibilities.
Printers for those who want to print quality photos
Perhaps the idea of having a printer focuses primarily on photography, an ambitious goal if we are looking for great results for the quality of the ink, the resolution (at least 2400 x 1200 dots) per inch, and the paper used.
Canon Selphy CP1300
If you want a simple, compact, and easy-to-use printer to print photos up to 10×15 cm by sublimation, the Canon Selphy CP1300 ( 134.90 euros ) is a great option. With it it is possible to print passport photos, it is portable and has Wi-Fi.
Canon Selphy CP1300 – Wireless Photo Printer (Apple AirPrint, Mopria, 8.1cm Flip Up Screen, 3-Color Inks, 300 x 300 dpi) Black
HP Sprocket Plus
The HP Sprocket Plus ( 137 euros ) is an option to consider if ease of use and portability prevail over quality since it is a pocket model for 5.8 x 8.6 cm photos ( with his special role).
In this sense, it is ideal to use from the mobile to print the photos we have taken with it. In addition, it allows up to 5 users to connect via Bluetooth to send files
HP 200874 Sprocket Plus – Portable Photo Printer (Zink Printing Technology, Bluetooth, 5.8 x 8.6 cm Photos), Black
Epson Expression Photo XP-8600
Although a multifunctional is not the best option for photography, the Epson Expression Photo XP-8600 ( 153 euros ) is an option for those who want to print day-to-day documents and obtain photographs at an acceptable quality thanks to the injection to color with Claria Photo HD special ink with a high resolution of 5,760 x 1440 dpi.
In addition, it is a fairly contained model, with mobile printing, a large touch screen, and two paper trays.
Canon PIXMA PRO-100S
If we are looking for a model essentially for photography, the Canon PIXMA PRO-100S ( 409 euros ) offers versatility in terms of sizes and quality, with a resolution of up to 4,800 x 2,400 dpi. It works with 8 independent coloring inks, it is A3 + and we can print wirelessly from the computer, tablet, or smartphone