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Getting the best home printer can be a huge time saver. Even in an era where more and more of our documents live permanently online (and are only exchanged digitally), there are still a huge number of institutions and scenarios that call for hard copy. Some of the best printers available can be had relatively cheaply, so you can avoid trips to the library or the office every time you need to print out a paper, application, or some other necessary document.
Modern printers often offer a bevy of other functionality and features, as well, from scanning and copying to Wi-Fi connectivity or the ability to directly load files via physical storage like the best SD cards. Some are Bluetooth compatible or allow you to directly upload files from your social media accounts. As the technology becomes more antiquated, manufacturers are increasingly struggling to stand out (and justify their price point), which is always a boon for consumers.
Courtesy of Amazon
Affordable ink refills
Not high volume
If you need a general-purpose printer, the HP Envy 5660 is a great all-in-one option. It offers printing, copying, and scanning all at a reasonable price. It’s not a high-volume printer, with an input drawer of 125 sheets and ink cartridges that aren’t massive, but it’ll get the job done. Plus, with HP’s Instant Ink program, you can get relatively affordable ink refills that make it a good deal for modest printing of 50 to 100 color and monochrome pages a month.
The HP Envy 5660 can connect to computers using USB or Wi-Fi, making it easy to print from just about any device in your home. A built-in SD card reader will even let you quickly take photos from a camera and print them out. A 2.7-inch touchscreen color display offers convenient navigation of the menu. And, the 18 x 16 x 6.3-inch dimensions of this printer make it a decently small option if you don’t have a lot of space.
Also does copying and scanning
Supports larger paper sizes
Slightly higher cost per page
The Epson Expression Premium XP-830 is another wonderfully capable all-in-one device that’s ready to tackle just about any general printing job. At 17.2 x 23.5 x 7.5 inches, it’s not the smallest AIO, but that size comes with the benefit of an Automatic Document Feeder that can handle up to 100 sheets of paper and manage duplex printing. The size also helps it handle some larger printing, with the ability to print 8.5 x 14-inch sheets.
Another key benefit of this pick is its ability to print high-quality photos. The per-page cost of printing may be a bit on the expensive side, but if you do a lot of photo printing, you can get good use out of this printer. Since the Epson Expression Premium XP-830 uses dedicated cartridges for each of its main colors, when one color is low, you won’t have to replace all the other colors. The package is rounded out with a 4.3-inch touchscreen, the ability to print onto discs, an SD card reader and USB port, and Wi-Fi connectivity to support Epson iPrint and Apple AirPrint.
Sleek and attractive
5-inch LCD touchscreen
Occasional issues reading SD cards
While many printers offer a lot of functionality, they tend to be eyesores — especially at home. Few of us would think of a printer as a decorative item that adds to our decorative aesthetic, but the Canon Pixma TS9120 is a highly capable printer that's also pretty good looking. It has a clean, rectangular design with gray, gold, or red accents, and a 5-inch LCD touchscreen. When in use, it opens up to look more like a typical printer, but it can collapse back into a simple box shape when you're ready to tuck it away.
Of course, it’s not enough for a home printer to just look good. The Canon Pixma TS9120 is a capable all-in-one model with printing, scanning, and copying support. It also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and support for SD cards. It can print to discs, perform automatic duplex printing, and print a variety of borderless photos. Six separate ink cartridges make color printing more affordable than printers with combined color cartridges. And, there’s support for Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print. Our reviewer, Erik, tested it extensively and loved its exceptional photo-quality prints and reasonable price.
"The Canon Pixma is a great choice for printing high-quality photos directly from mobile phones." — Erik Watson, Product Tester
Great all-in-one functionality
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
For a wonderfully balanced printer that offers general-purpose features at a highly affordable price, the HP Envy 5055 is a solid bet. For combined black-and-white and color printing of around 50 pages each month, HP's Instant Ink program can keep you stocked with budget-friendly ink. Though the service is optional, it takes away one of the major headaches of owning your own printer.
Beyond simply printing, copying, and scanning, the HP Envy 5055 can connect to Wi-Fi networks to handle printing from devices anywhere in your home, including mobile phones and tablets. It also supports Bluetooth connectivity. All functions are manageable via a 2.2-inch mono touchscreen on the front of the printer; a dedicated HP app also allows you to scan documents and print from iCloud, Google Drive, and your social media accounts. If you need to print two-sided documents, the auto duplex printing is a handy tool. Borderless photo printing will also save you trips to get photos printed at a Walgreens or FedEx. The Envy 5055 may not be a compact printer at 17.52 x 14.45 x 5.04-inches, but it’s short enough to tuck away in most cabinets/desks when not in use.
AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, and PictBridge support
Slightly higher per page costs
If you hate the idea of having to clear out space for your home printer, we’ve got a model you won’t have to think about finding space for. Canon’s Pixma iP110 is an incredibly convenient little printer. This isn’t a scanner or copier though, so if you need those features, you will need to see one of our other picks. As long as printing is all you need, the Pixma iP110 is a potent little device. It measures just 12.7 x 7.3 x 2.5 inches and weighs 4.3 pounds. And, with support for an optional battery, that size and portability make it handy to take from room to room or even on the go outside of your home.
Despite its size, the Pixma iP110 still offers a 50-sheet paper tray and lots of connection features. It can connect to Wi-Fi to support printing from computers throughout your home, or from iOS devices using AirPrint and Android devices using Google Cloud Print. Canon’s own PictBridge tool will even let you print directly from certain Canon cameras. Convenience does come at a price though, as the per-page cost of printing is on the high side, especially for color photos. Our reviewer Eric loved this Pixma's speed and the quality of the prints it produced.
"If you’re looking for mobility, and more importantly, the ability to quickly and easily print from any device on your Wi-Fi network with minimal extra features, the Pixma absolutely delivers." — Eric Watson, Product Tester
Great for printing in quantity
20-sheet automatic document feeder
Also scans, copies, and faxes
Older version of the new XL model
If you run a business out of your home, or just happen to do a ton of printing, copying, and scanning, then you’ll definitely want to check out the Brother MFC-J995DW. We’ve reviewed the older Brother MFC-J985DW XL model, which isn’t terribly different from the new non-XL version, and found it an apt general-purpose product for anyone who needs to do a lot of printing (particularly black-and-white) thanks to Brother’s INKvestment service. The service and the ink cartridge printing capacity keep the cost of each page low and this deal is even better with a year of ink included.
The Brother MFC-J995DW is a capable all-in-one with printing, scanning, faxing, and copying options. Its paper tray can hold 150 sheets, it has a 20-sheet automatic document feeder, and it supports duplex printing so you can make the most of each sheet of paper. You also get a lot of options for how to print thanks to Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct connectivity. You can print with Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print as well, or use Brother’s iPrint&Scan.
Only saves scans as PDFs
If you need a small printer that can really do it all, then the Canon Pixma TR4520 is the one for you. While its design doesn’t really seem all that small, it measures just 17.2 x 11.7 x 7.5 inches while still offering the full features of an all-in-one printer. You can print, scan, copy, and fax on the Canon Pixma TR4520 — and that’s just the basics. The 100-sheet paper tray will help with large jobs, and the automatic duplex printing will help even more when you’re trying to maximize the utility of each sheet of paper.
Beyond the standard printing features, the Canon Pixma TR4520 offers great wireless printing and scanning functions. You can print from the cloud, including with Apple AirPrint, and you can even use the Canon Print App to scan documents to the cloud. You also have the option to scan multiple pages of a document and turn them into a single PDF. If you’d like to do some automation with the Canon Pixma TR4520, Amazon Alexa and IFTTT (If This Then That) support will help you along. Considering all that it can do, it’s a surprise it’s as small and affordable as it is.
Big cartridge-free ink tanks
Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi direct connectivity
If you know you’re going to have a lot of printing to do, it’s simply not worth it to fool around with a small, low-budget printer. You won’t want to be re-loading it with paper all the time and burning through expensive and wasteful ink cartridges. That’s where the Epson Expression ET-2750 EcoTank comes in. On paper, it’s a fairly standard all-in-one printer, offering copying, scanning, and printing, and measuring 17.5 x 12 x 6.7 inches. At 10 pages per minute for black prints, it’s speed is modest, and its 100-sheet paper tray isn’t crazy.
But, what is wild is how much ink you’ll get from the cartridge-free ink tanks. Included with the printer are ink bottles offering up to 4,000 pages of black prints or up to 6,500 pages of color prints. And, thanks to the bottles and tanks of ink, there’s not as much plastic waste. On top of that, you also get handy features like printing from the Cloud and wirelessly on Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi Direct. You can also print photos directly from memory cards.
The HP Envy 5660 is an easy choice for all your home printing needs, an extremely capable all-in-one printer that excels at nearly everything it does. If a capacious automatic document feeder is important, however, the Epson Expression Premium XP-830 is a fantastic choice, with its 100-page ADF.
Our expert testers and reviewers have evaluated home printers based on a variety of metrics. First, we look at the design, focusing on the printer’s footprint, how many trays it has, and how much paper and ink it can hold. Next, we look at printing quality and speed, timing how many black and white/color sheets a printer can churn out in a minute. We also look at the fonts, make sure text is crisp, and there are no smudges or legibility issues.
For photo printers, we evaluate much of the same factors, except with a bigger focus on color accuracy. We consider software features and connectivity as an added bonus, though not make-or-break factors by themselves. Finally, we look at price and compare the printer to its rivals to make a final determination. Lifewire purchases its review products; manufacturers don’t provide them.
Mark Thomas Knapp has been covering tech professionally since 2012 and has contributed a number of top tech publications. Amongst his specialties are digital cameras and photography, so he's had a ton of experience with printers, both of the traditional and dedicated photo printer variety.
Erik Watson has been writing for tech and gaming publications for over five years now, and has covered a huge variety of topics and product categories, including printers, smartphones, and consoles.
All-in-one functionality - Many of the top home printers now offer the ability to scan, copy, or even fax documents, so if any of those features is vital to you, make sure you invest in a printer described as an "all-in-one," or that highlights those specific functions in its product description.
Speed - If you print at any volume, you'll want a model that can deliver pages quickly. Even if you're only an occasional printer, you don't want to idly stare at your machine while pages slowly trickle out of it; a PPM (page per minute) rating of at least 20 means a pretty brisk pace, though of course color/photo prints will take significantly longer than black and white prints, generally.
Connectivity - If you've only got a single PC/device you intend to print from and plenty of space near it to setup a printer, connectivity may not be that crucial, but for most users, you'll likely want some other ways to feed documents to your shiny new Canon or Epson. Many modern printers support Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or even have slots for physical media like SD cards and flash drives.