The 8 Best Printers for College Students to Buy in 2018

Print your term paper right before you head to class

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Whether it’s printing reports, homework assignments or photos to hang on a dorm room wall, a good printer is a must for college students. But we all know dorm rooms are tight spaces, so it's important to not only find a printer that doesn’t take up too much space on your desk but one that also doesn't cost a fortune to buy and maintain (refilling ink) – you're a college student after all. To help avoid pesky printing fees at the campus library (they can quickly add up), we put together a list of the best printers for college students to buy today. So keep reading to see which printers are perfect to bring to campus.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Samsung Xpress C430W

Simplify one aspect of college life with the Samsung Xpress C430W wireless laser printer, which allows students to print text or high-quality images as they juggle classes and extracurriculars. Using the free Samsung Mobile Print app, on-the-go students can print straight from their mobile devices, and Android users can take advantage of the NFC capabilities to tap their phone against the Xpress C430W to start printing. Students can save time thanks to a quick and easy set-up process and a 400 MHz processor, which can print up to 19 pages of black-and-white text per minute. The one-touch eco button is designed for cost- and environmentally-conscious users, with settings that include skipping blank pages and printing multiple pages on one sheet.

Measuring 12 x 15 x 8 inches, it can be an unobtrusive addition to even the most cramped dorm rooms and can accommodate a versatile range of needs, whether you have to print out traditional 8.5 x 11-inch essays or want to swap in 3 x 6-inch cardstock to create note cards. Whatever you’re printing, the Rendering Engine for Clean Page (ReCP) technology is designed to create crisp, high-contrast text and images for a professional, clean appearance.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: HP Envy 5055

The HP Envy 5055 offers an optimal balance of quality and price, designed with a number of conveniences to make your life easier. One of the big draws of this printer is HP's optional Instant Ink replacement service, which automatically reorders ink cartridges when your printer is running low. Their most popular subscription plan offers 50 pages of ink for a low flat fee per month, saving you money and eliminating the hassle of replacing the ink yourself.

The Envy 5055 is well-equipped to handle any printing job, but photo-printing is where this product really shines — its printed photographs are borderless, crisp, and brilliantly-colored. This printer supports a variety of paper sizes, from 4 x 6-inch photo paper to 8 x 10-inch letterhead and No. 10 envelopes. It also features wireless printing and connects to a wide range of sources like your phone or tablet, as well as to cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox, or iCloud. As an added bonus, the Envy 5055 is compatible with Amazon Alexa, so you can set it up to operate by voice control.

Best Value: HP Envy 4520

Buying a printer for college shouldn’t cut into your ramen budget. The HP Envy 4520 Wireless All-in-One Photo Printer combines the ability to print, scan, and copy in color with an affordable price. Measuring 17.5 x 14.5 x 5 inches with a matte black finish, it’s inconspicuous in a dorm room or small apartment, and you can send print jobs from iOS devices and Google Chrome Web browsers. The touchscreen HP Envy 4520 can produce borderless photos and print double-sided pages to match your needs. Capable of printing up to 9.5 pages per minute in black and white, it is efficient and fast, perfect for days when you’re running behind.

For more potential savings, the printer also includes an Instant Ink delivery service, allowing HP to track your ink levels and send you a replacement in the mail when needed. The monthly cost varies between free (if you print less than 15 pages a month), to $9.99 (if you print 300), and HP says this service can help you save up to 50% in printing costs. 

Best Budget: HP DeskJet 1112

The very affordable HP DeskJet 1112 is also super compact and great for students who might have really cramped dorm rooms. Operating on both Windows and Mac platforms via USB or wireless connectivity, the DeskJet 1112 measures 16.76 x 8.49 x 4.89 inches. The maximum print size for paper is 8.5 x 14 inches and there is enough room for up to 60 sheets on the input tray. The DeskJet 1112 also adds support for printing on number 10 envelopes. Print speed is up to 5.5 pages per minute in color and 7.5 pages per minute in black. With support for HP’s optional high-yield ink cartridges, students will be able to print up to 480 pages before needing to repurchase an ink refill.

Best Color Printing: Canon Pixma TS9120

When it comes to best-in-class print speeds for both text and photos, you'll want to look at the all-in-one Canon Pixma TS9120. Available in three different colors to bring some extra style to your dorm room, the two-tone gray, gold or red Canon adds six individual color inks to help produce some of the best color quality available at this price point.

Scanning and copy functionality are here, too, plus it's compatible with Apple’s AirPrint and Google’s Cloud Print wireless printing technology. The five-inch LCD touchscreen adds an enhanced user interface for quick setup and extras such as adding creative effects to photo prints prior to printing. For even more utility, the TS9120 supports CD/DVD and Blu-Ray disc printing, business card printing and support for loading files or images directly from a memory card.

Best Laser: Brother Monochrome Laser Printer

The Brother Monochrome Laser Printer HLL2350DW measures 14 x 14 x 7.2 inches and can zip out a speedy 32 pages per minute. The 250-sheet capacity paper tray helps to eliminate the need to often refill trays for both legal and letter- sized papers. Dual-sided printing combines with Brother’s own high-yield ink cartridges to cut down on the number of ink refills. Brother adds additional printing options such as card stock or envelopes to round out a full suite of printing capabilities. Available wireless printing makes it easy to print directly from a laptop, smartphone or tablet without any messy cables or plugs.

Best Splurge: Epson Expression ET-2650 EcoTank

Ideal for students who print a nearly endless stream of term papers, assignments or syllabi throughout the school year, the Epson Expression includes two years of ink or the equivalent of 20 printer cartridges, so it's probably worth ponying up some extra money. To put things into perspective, 20 printer cartridges is enough ink to print to 4,000 pages in black or up to 6,500 pages in color. 

The Epson incorporates built-in wireless printing from mobile devices and Wi-Fi direct technology to print even when a wireless signal is not available. A 1.44-inch color LCD helps to easily navigate the menu for quickly setting up the printer and connecting to a wireless network. The Epson incorporates an SD memory card slot for printing documents and photos directly from the printer without the need for a phone or computer.

Best for Photos: Canon Selphy CP1300

Canon’s Selphy CP1300 Wireless Compact Photo Printer might not get students to give up Instagram for print, but it will provide a compact photo printing solution that’s similar in size to a college textbook. At 7.1 x 5.4 x 2.5 inches and weighing only 1.9 pounds, the Selphy is around half the weight of an average laptop computer. Offered in both white and black color choices, the Selphy adds wireless printing through the company’s PRINT downloadable smartphone app for Android and iOS. A 3.2-inch display helps to select, edit and print photos from a memory card or directly from a USB cable. The Selphy offers a variety of printing choices from postcard-sized to square label prints, as well as traditional 3 x 5 and 4 x 6 prints.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best photo printers