The 8 Best Printers for College Students to Buy in 2018

Print your term paper right before you head to class

Canon TS9120 Wireless All-In-One Printer with Scanner and Copier

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.

Best Overall: HP Envy 5640

Hitting the right balance of price, features and size, the HP Envy 5640 is our top pick for college students. The all-black design is pretty standard, but the 6.3 x 17.9 x 16.1-inch HP Envy 5640 hardware will fit almost anywhere in a small dorm room, including on a desk or dresser. Functionally, the Envy 5640 has support for wireless printing, plus Apple's AirPrint via iOS devices. But there's also USB connectivity for quickly hooking up to either a Windows or Apple computer. College students will welcome the 125-sheet input tray that holds enough paper for printing a full-length research paper. The printer has a built-in duplexer for two-sided printing and a separate photo tray that can hold 15 sheets of 4 x 6 photo paper.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: HP OfficeJet 4650

If you want a do-it-all printer that’s competitively priced and produces a consistently high-quality print, the HP OfficeJet 4650 is a smart choice. Measuring 14.5 x 17.5 x 7.5 inches, the OfficeJet 4650 is a moderately compact printer that fits neatly on a desk or table leaving room for a computer and workspace. It can be hooked up via USB or Wi-Fi for wireless printing from a mobile device, but the OfficeJet 4650 also has copy, scan and fax functions. Managing all its features is the downloadable HP Smart App that easily allows students to print photos quickly or scan a document to e-mail for sending directly to a classmate or professor. It supports photo sizes from 3 x 5 inches and paper up to 8.5 x 14 inches. The OfficeJet 4650 also adds a touchscreen for navigating menu controls and two-sided duplex printing for extra savings on paper and ink.

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

Best Value: HP Envy 4520

The HP Envy 4520 is a capable all-in-one that also doubles as a copier and scanner. Created to help ease the cost of ink refills, the Envy 4520 is compatible with HP’s Instant Ink service that tracks ink levels and can automatically mail a replacement when you’re low. For a college student who might lack transportation or time, this service is a valuable way of ensuring you’re never unable to print before sprinting to class. Printing speeds happen at 9.5 pages per minute for black prints and 6.8 pages per minute for color with a paper tray that can hold up to 100 sheets. Thanks to wireless printing and Wi-Fi Direct, there’s no network required to make prints from a connected phone or tablet utilizing HP’s SMART mobile app. 


At Lifewire, our Expert writers are committed to researching and writing thoughtful and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your life and your family. If you like what we do, you can support us through our chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn more about our review process.