The 7 Best Printers for College Students

Print your term paper right before you head to class

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The Rundown
Our product reviewer found during testing that the print quality was excellent, with vibrant colors and well-defined edges.
The SELPHY CP1300 supports a number of photo sizes and formats, taking a little less than a minute to print a postcard size photo.
It's perfect if you need a reliable solution for printing all your classroom notes, homework assignments, and whatnot.
Although it's a bit expensive for an inkjet printer, the high price is offset by the two years' worth of ink it comes bundled with.
The inkjet printer has a maximum output resolution of 5760 x 1440 dpi and comes with a built-in rechargeable battery.
Best Black and White:
Brother HL-L2300D at Amazon
With a maximum output resolution of 2400 x 600 dpi and a print speed of up to 27ppm, it's ideal for high-volume printing jobs.
Best All-in-One:
Brother MFC-J895DW at Amazon
Our product expert Jeremy Laukkonen found the machine to be an overall balanced performer, with good print quality and decent speeds.

The best printers for college students come with robust printing performance and feature straightforward connectivity (both wired and wireless) with mobile devices, all without costing a fortune. Our product experts tested and reviewed some of the top printers from well-known brands such as Epson, Brother, and Canon to help you pick the best option.

Whether you're planning to go to college soon or are already attending classes online, you need a printer to deal with all those study materials, reference notes, and homework assignments. And although there's no dearth of options on the market, choosing the right printer depends on a number of factors like monthly printing volume, and even the setting you intend to use it in.

For example, Canon's Pixma iX6820 features great print quality and separate ink tanks that are easy to replace, but it's not the most compact option. On the other hand, Brother's HL-L2350DW is a monochrome printer that comes with fast print speeds and an elegant design. You can also go for all-in-one devices like Brother's MFC-J895DW, which have scanning and copying functionalities.

Here are some of the best printers for college students you can buy.

Best Overall: Canon PIXMA iX6820

Canon Pixma iX6820
What We Like
  • Amazing print quality

  • Individual ink tanks for easy replacement

What We Don't Like
  • Somewhat bulky and heavy

Canon's printers are regarded as being among the finest in the business, and the Pixma iX6820 is no exception. Having a maximum output resolution of up to 9600 x 2400 dpi (color) and up to 600 x 600 dpi (black), it lets you print high-quality documents and photos with little to no effort.

Our product reviewer Danny Chadwick found during testing that the print quality was excellent, with vibrant colors and well-defined edges. The inkjet printer is rated for print speeds of approximately 14.5/10.4 ipm (black/color) and supports a variety of paper sizes (e.g. 8 x 10 inches, Letter). The Pixma iX6820 also uses five separate ink tanks, thus making it easier to replace an individual color's ink when it runs out. Among other noteworthy additions are a 150-sheet feed tray and auto power on functionality.

Talking about connectivity options, the Pixma iX6820 includes Wi-Fi 802.11bgn, Ethernet, and USB. You also get Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print support for effortless remote printing. It measures around 23 x 12.3 x 6.3 inches, and weighs about 18 pounds.

Type: Inkjet | Color/Monochrome: Color | Connection Type: Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and USB | LCD Screen: No | Scanner/Copier/Fax: No

"Color, text, and graphics were bold and smooth, and there was no hint of print lines or uneven ink."Jeffrey Daniel Chadwick, Product Tester

Canon Pixma iX6820

Lifewire / Jeffrey Daniel Chadwick

Best for Photos: Canon SELPHY CP1300

What We Like
  • Direct printing from a wide array of devices

  • Built-in photo editing/layout options

What We Don't Like
  • Battery has to be purchased separately

College is all about making memories, and Canon's SELPHY CP1300 allows you to turn those memories into frame-worthy pictures. It comes with a maximum output resolution of 300 x 300 dpi and supports direct wireless printing from smartphones and tablets (using the companion iOS/Android app), as well as digital cameras (via PictBridge).

You can also print photos from SD cards and USB flash drives. The SELPHY CP1300 supports a number of photo sizes and formats (e.g. 2 x 6 inches, 4 x 6 inches, ID photos, and mini stickers), taking a little less than a minute to print a postcard size photo. A 3.2-inch LCD screen lets you make basic edits (e.g. color correction) to your photos before they're printed. While this feature works well, our product expert Theano Nikitas found it to be a tad slow.

Although not as compact as some of its rivals (like the HP Sprocket 2nd edition), the SELPHY CP1300 is still quite portable. That said, you still need to buy the battery pack separately in order to use this thing anywhere.

Type: Dye-sublimation thermal transfer | Color/Monochrome: Color | Connection Type: Wi-Fi and USB | LCD Screen: Yes, without touch support | Scanner/Copier/Fax: No

"Lots of features and really good print quality make this a good fit for consumers who want to get their photos off their mobile devices and computers and into their hands."Theano Nikitas, Product Tester

Canon Selphy CP1300

Lifewire / Theano Nikitas

Best Laser: Brother HL-L2350DW Compact Monochrome Laser Printer

What We Like
  • Great value for money

  • Automatic duplex printing

What We Don't Like
  • Unintuitive buttons and controls

Offering a bevy of practical features at an exceptional price, Brother's HL-2350DW is one of the best laser printers out there. It's worth noting here that it's a monochrome printer and thus, can't be used to print color documents or photos. However, it's perfect if you need a reliable solution for printing all your classroom notes, homework assignments, and whatnot.

Boasting a maximum output resolution of 2400 x 600 dpi and a print speed of 32ppm, the HL-L2350DW supports many paper sizes and media types (e.g. A4, Letter, Envelopes, and Labels). You also get a 250-sheet input tray and a manual feed slot for improved flexibility. Our product reviewer Gannon Burgetts' testing revealed the machine to be a consistent performer, with no paper jams (or other issues) encountered during the entire review period.

The HL-L2350DW packs in Wi-Fi 802.11bgn and USB for connectivity, and supports direct wireless printing (via standards like Apple AirPrint and Mopria) from smartphones and tablets as well. Other features include a one-line LCD panel and a monthly duty cycle of up to 15,000 pages.

Type: Laser | Color/Monochrome: Monochrome | Connection Type: Wi-Fi and USB | LCD Screen: Yes, without touch support | Scanner/Copier/Fax: No

"It’s worth noting I didn’t experience a single jam throughout my more than 500 pages printed, even with the less-than-premium recycled paper I was using." — Gannon Burgett, Product Tester

Brother HL-L2350DW

Lifewire / Gannon Burgett 

Best Splurge: Epson Expression ET-2650 EcoTank

Epson Expression ET-2650
What We Like
  • Two years' worth of ink included

  • 1.44-inch color LCD panel

What We Don't Like
  • High price tag

If you're looking for a powerhouse printing solution and money is no object, check out Epson's Expression ET-2650 EcoTank. Although it's a bit expensive for an inkjet printer, the high price is offset by the two years' worth of ink it comes bundled with. In addition, the use of individual ink tanks (instead of cartridges) makes replacements easier.

Having a maximum output resolution of 5760 x 1440 dpi and print speeds of about 10ppm/4. 5ppm, the Expression ET-2650 EcoTank is an all-in-one device that also incorporates copying and scanning functions. You can copy up to 20 documents (with each copy having a maximum size of 8.5 x 11 inches) at a time, while the flatbed scanner (with a resolution of 9600 dpi) allows documents to be scanned to a PC.

Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11bgn and USB, and there's even a built-in SD card slot that lets you view and print documents without a computer. The Expression ET-2650 EcoTank also supports direct wireless printing from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

Type: Inkjet | Color/Monochrome: Color | Connection Type: Wi-Fi and USB | LCD Screen: Yes, without touch support | Scanner/Copier/Fax: Yes, but no fax functionality

Best Portable: Epson WorkForce WF-110

Epson Workforce WF-110
What We Like
  • Compact and lightweight

  • Rechargeable battery with dual charging options

What We Don't Like
  • Not for heavy-duty printing

Measuring around 12.2 x 9.1 x 8.5 inches and weighing a mere 3.5 pounds, Epson's WorkForce WF-110 is compact and portable enough to be carried anywhere. However, don't let that small size fool you, as it packs quite a punch.

The inkjet printer has a maximum output resolution of 5760 x 1440 dpi and comes with a built-in rechargeable battery that lets you print documents and photos anytime and anywhere. You get decent print speeds of 6.7ppm/3.8ppm (black/color) with external AC supply, and 3.5ppm/2.0ppm (black/color) when the printer is using battery power.

The WorkForce WF-110 supports a number of paper sizes and media types (e.g. 8.5 x 11 inches, 5 x 7 inches, A4, and Envelopes), and its 1.4-inch color LCD panel makes controlling and managing the unit's functions an effortless task.

The WorkForce WF-110 comes with Wi-Fi 802.11ac and USB as connectivity options. Some other noteworthy features are remote printing support (via Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print), and voice-activated printing that works with all popular virtual assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa.

Type: Inkjet | Color/Monochrome: Color | Connection Type: Wi-Fi and USB | LCD Screen: Yes, without touch support | Scanner/Copier/Fax: No

Best Black and White: Brother HL-L2300D Monochrome Laser Printer

What We Like
  • Affordable price

  • Toner Save mode

What We Don't Like
  • No wireless connectivity

Brother's printers are renowned for their dependable performance, and the HL-L2300D is no different. If your printing needs are limited to black and white documents such as homework assignments and classroom notes, this is one of the best printers you can buy.

With a maximum output resolution of 2400 x 600 dpi and a print speed of up to 27ppm, it's ideal for high-volume printing jobs. Measuring around 14 x 14.2 x 17.2 inches, the laser printer has a cuboid-like design that makes it suitable for small spaces like dorm rooms. The HL-L2300D supports a wide array of paper sizes (e.g. legal, executive, A5, and envelopes) and comes with a maximum monthly duty cycle of up to 10,000 pages. Also included in the package is automatic duplex printing, and a 250-sheet input tray with a manual feed slot.

One area where the HL-L2300D is certainly lacking is connectivity, since there's nothing else except USB on board. This means there's no way to wirelessly print from devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Type: Laser | Color/Monochrome: Monochrome | Connection Type: USB | LCD Screen: No | Scanner/Copier/Fax: No

Best All-in-One: Brother MFC-J895DW

What We Like
  • Lots of connectivity options

  • Easy to set up and use

What We Don't Like
  • Some issues with color documents

A printer is essential for college, but what if you need to scan study materials and make digital copies of classroom notes? Say hello to Brother's MFC-J895DW, a powerful all-in-one device that lets you do just that. The inkjet printer comes with a maximum output resolution of 1200 x 600 dpi and is rated for print speeds of 12ppm/10ppm (black/color), complete with duplex printing support.

You can also copy documents at a speed of 6ppm, while the flatbed scanner (having a resolution of 2400 dpi) allows documents to be scanned to popular file formats like PDF and JPG. The MFC-J895DW even has fax functionality. Our product expert Jeremy Laukkonen found the machine to be an overall balanced performer, with good print quality and decent speeds. However, working with color documents often caused the unit to slow down a little.

In terms of connectivity options, the MFC-J895DW features Wi-Fi 802.11bgn, Ethernet, NFC, and USB. Other notable additions include direct wireless printing functionality (via standards like Apple AirPrint and Mopria), a 2.7-inch color touchscreen, and duplex printing support.

Type: Inkjet | Color/Monochrome: Color | Connection Type: Wi-Fi, Ethernet, NFC, and USB | LCD Screen: Yes, with touch support | Scanner/Copier/Fax: Yes

"While the MFC-J895DW ships with standard yield cartridges that are a little light in the ink department, you can buy high yield replacements that help cut down on overall printing costs." Jeremy Laukkonen, Product Tester

Brother MFC-J895DW

Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen

Final Verdict

As awesome as all of printers detailed above are, our top vote goes to Canon's Pixma iX6820 (view at Amazon). Even though it's a bit bulky, goodies like wireless printing support and separate ink tanks more than make up for it. If you don't care about color printing and would rather go for a laser printer that can handle high-volume tasks, Brother's HL-L2350DW (view at Amazon) is an excellent choice.

About Our Trusted Experts

Rajat Sharma is a technology writer and editor having more than seven years (and counting) of experience, and has tested and reviewed numerous gadgets over the course of his career so far. He is an expert in computers and their peripherals, including pritners.

Since 2008, Danny Chadwick has published hundreds of articles, reviews, and videos on Top Ten Reviews. He is an expert in consumer technology, including printers.

Theano Nikitas' interest in technology grew from her love of photography and keeps her ever-curious about the latest products and software that fill both practical and creative needs. She reviewed the Canon SELPHY CP1300, our pick for the best photo printer.

Gannon Burgett is a photojournalist and sports photographer. His work has appeared on Gizmodo, Digital Trends, Yahoo News, PetaPixel, and many other sites. He is an expert in computers and their peripherals, including printers.

Jeremy Laukkonen is tech writer and the creator of a popular blog and video game startup. He also ghostwrites articles for numerous major trade publications. His areas of expertise include consumer technology, such as printers.

FAQs

What is DPI?

DPI stands for dots per inch, which is how the resolution is represented when printing. The more dots there are per square inch, the more densely packed they are and the sharper your printing will be. Higher numbers are better.

What are the advantages of laser printers versus inkjets?

Laser printers use toner, which is a sort of powder instead of ink. Typically, toner is cheaper and the result is less cost per page when printing. Toner cartridges also tend to need replacement less frequently. While black-and-white laser printers are priced competitively with inkjets, color laser printers tend to be much more expensive.

Do you need copying, scanning, and faxing?

That depends on your situation. In a college dorm, the more functions you can pack into a single device the better. Space tends to be at a premium, so the more a single device can do, the less room you'll need for other things.

Canon SELPHY CP1300

Lifewire / Theano Nikitas

What to Look For in the Best Printers for College Students

Extra Functions

When you're in a college setting, you never know what you're going to need for your next class. Sure, colleges have computer labs, but it's a lot better if you can print, scan, copy, or fax from your own dorm. 

Space Considerations

When you're in a dorm room, how much space your printer takes up is also important. But remember, printers also have trays that stick out the front, back, and sometimes to the side.  Knowing your space is just as important as functionality.

Cost Per Page

Many printers will give you an estimated cost per page of printing based on ink/toner used. Obviously, lower is better, but you'd be surprised how low the number can get depending on your needs.

Canon Pixma iX6820

Lifewire / Jeffrey Daniel Chadwick

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