How to Connect a Printer to Wi-Fi

Print wirelessly via Wi-Fi

Since most people use Wi-Fi on their devices, most printer manufacturers now offer Wi-Fi printing on their devices. That makes it easy to print from the dining room, your kid's bedroom, or the living room if you know how to connect a printer to Wi-Fi and get it set up.

Wireless or Wi-Fi Printing

The Advantages to Wireless Printing

Printing used to be a hassle, as you had to send the item to a computer, connect the computer to the printer, then finally print it. Wireless printing, on the other hand, is more convenient, whether you're at home, work, or school. Here are a few of the benefits of wireless printing.

  • Print from any device: Wireless printing is convenient because you can do it from any device connected to the same network. The major printer manufacturers include Wi-Fi in their printer models, often at all price points. You can buy a wireless printer for less than $50.
  • Print from anywhere: With cloud printing solutions like Google Cloud Print or HP ePrint, you can print wirelessly to a printer in another physical location. (Typically, to print wirelessly, the device and the printer must be on the same network.) It makes it easier for people to print because it eliminates the need to install the printer and its drivers beforehand.
  • Eliminate extra cords and cables: A wireless printer is neater than a wired one. It only has the power cord attached to it. It eliminates the extra wires so that you can set it up in a more suitable location. Plus, it frees up a USB port on your computer that you can use for something else.
  • Save on energy and paper costs: A wireless printer saves space and saves energy. Instead of having multiple printers set up wherever anyone needs to print, you can centralize printing to a single wireless printer. Plus, you'll save on paper, toner, and ink costs, because everyone will think twice before printing.

Most new printers can connect to any wireless network. So you can print from your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. For most people, wireless printing refers to Bluetooth-enabled printing or Wi-Fi printing. Both allow you to print without connecting any cables between your device and the printer.

How to Set up a Wireless Printer

The first step is to connect the printer to Wi-Fi, so any device on the network can print to it, including laptops, smartphones, and tablets.

  1. Place the printer within range of the wireless router.

  2. Power on the printer. Because you'll connect to the wireless network from the printer, you don't need to connect the printer to a computer.

  3. Connect the printer to the wireless network. The process for this varies depending on the printer make and model. You'll need to know the Wi-Fi network name (SSID) and password for all methods. 

    Specific directions to connect your printer to the network should be in the box. Usually, it's a simple process of powering on the system and connecting to the network either through the printer interface or through a companion app on your computer or mobile device.

  4. Your printer is now available for use as a wireless printer. However, you're not done. Make sure the printer is connected to the devices that will use the printer wirelessly.

How to Set up Your Mobile Devices to Print Wirelessly

Now that the printer is connected to the network, it's time to set up the device you want to print from.

  • To print wirelessly from your computer: Add the printer to the computer's printer list following the appropriate instructions to add a printer to Windows or to a Mac.
  • To print wirelessly from iOS mobile devices: Use AirPrint if the printer supports it, or a printing app if it doesn't, such as handyPrint or Printopia. The printing apps help the computer receive data from AirPrint, then send it to the wireless printer.
  • To print wirelessly from Android mobile devices: Add the printer to Google Cloud Print, which lets you send print jobs from any app that supports printing, such as Google Chrome.

How to Test Your Wireless Printer

The final step is to test your wireless printer setup to make sure it's correct.

  1. Open a document or file on your computer or mobile device.

  2. Select Print, as appropriate. 

  3. Select the wireless printer (or Google Cloud Print or AirPrint) in the printer list.

    If the printer doesn't appear in the list, restart the printer or the mobile device. If you continue to experience issues, refer to the printer manufacturer's website for help.

  4. Select OK or Print, and the document or file prints after a short delay.