How to Connect a Printer to Wi-Fi

Print wirelessly via Wi-Fi

Wireless or Wi-Fi Printing

Since most people use Wi-Fi on all of their devices, it only makes sense that 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 the printer to Wi-Fi and get it set up. 

The Advantages to Wireless Printing

Printing used to be a hassle, as you had to send the item to your computer, connect your 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 extremely convenient, because you can do it from any device connected to the same network. All the major printer manufacturers include Wi-Fi in their printer models, often at all price points. You can pick up a wireless printer for less than $50 today and start printing immediately.
  • Print from anywhere: With cloud printing solutions like Google Cloud Print or HP's ePrint, you can print wirelessly to a printer in another physical location. (Typically to print wirelessly, your device and the printer need to be on the same network.) This makes it even 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 since it only has the power cord attached to it. They eliminate the extra cords and let you set it up in a more suitable location. Plus, it'll free up a USB port on your computer that you can use for something else.
  • Save on energy and paper costs: Not only will a wireless printer save you space, but it can also save you energy. Instead of having multiple printers set up wherever anyone needs to print, you can centralize printing to a single wireless printer. Additionally, you'll save on paper, toner, and ink costs, because everyone will think twice before printing. 

How to Set up a Wireless Printer

Most newer printers can connect to any wireless network so you can print from your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. For most people, when they say "wireless printing," they're referring to Bluetooth-enabled printing or Wi-Fi printing. Both allow you to print without connecting any cables between your device and the printer. 

Here's how to set up a wireless printer so you can print via Wi-Fi. You'll first need to set up the wireless printer on your network and then, your devices.

Add Your Printer to a Wi-Fi Network

The first step is to connect your 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 your wireless router. 

  2. Power on the printer. Because you'll be connecting to the wireless network directly from the printer, you don't need to connect it to your computer first.

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

    The exact directions to connect your printer to the network should be included in the paperwork that came in the box. Usually, it's a simple process of powering on the system and connecting to the network either via 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, but you're not done just yet. You also need to make sure the printer is connected to the devices that will be using 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 your computer's printer list following the appropriate instructions for Windows and Mac.
  • To print wirelessly from Android mobile devices: Add the printer to Google Cloud Print, which will let you send print jobs from any app that supports printing, such as Google Chrome.
  • To print wirelessly from iOS mobile devices: Use AirPrint if your printer supports it, or a printing app if it doesn't, such as handyPrint or Printopia. The printing apps will help your computer receive data from AirPrint, then send it to the wireless printer.

How to Test Your Wireless Printer

The final step is to test your wireless printer set up to make sure you've done it all correctly.

  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, try restarting the printer or your mobile device. If you continue to experience issues, refer to your printer manufacturer's website for help.

  4. Select OK or Print again and your document or file should print after a short delay.