Update: If you're on the prowl for a minimalist printer with lightning-fast scanning capabilities, you may want to turn in the direction of our Visioneer Patriot D40 hands-on review. The HP DeskJet 3720, on the other hand, gives you cheap printing in a fun-sized package. Plus, if you're urging for a new printer for the office, check out our best business printers guide.
What's the best printer to buy? All-purpose printers are a booming market, and you're spoilt for choice, so here's our pick of the best printers on the market right now.
In choosing the best printer your first decision is whether to go for a standard printer, or a multi-function device which includes a scanner and which can also work as a standalone copier.
These aren't much larger than regular printers, but they're a whole lot more versatile, especially when you need to keep a copy of a letter, a bill or any other important document, so our first list includes the best inkjet printers and best multi-function devices.
You should also think carefully about whether to invest in an inkjet or a laser. Lasers are usually associated with office environments, where they produce sharp, smudge-free printouts quickly, quietly and economically, but this can be just as useful at home or in a home office.
And don't imagine that mono laser printers are the only option - colour laser printers are now very affordable, and you can even get get multi-function laser printers, too. So we've also come up with a list of the best laser printers, and not just for office users with budgets to burn, but home users looking for value, quality, compactness and ease of use.
So let's firstly look at the best inkjet printers around before looking at the best laser printers.
Best inkjet printers
1. HP Deskjet 3630
Small, affordable and smartly designed
Print speed: Varies depending on document | Paper sizes: A4, A5, A6, B5, Borderless A4, Borderless A5, Borderless B5 | Paper capacity: 60 sheets | : | Weight: 4.2kg
The Deskjet 3630 is a decent printer for the price, offering reasonable print speeds and the ability to connect to mobile devices without breaking the bank. Just be wary as its ink cartridges can be priced when picked up from shops. It doesn't quite have the build quality of HP's more expensive Envy models, but if you're looking for an initially cheap model that catches the eye when sat on a shelf, the Deskjet 3630 is a great option.
Read the full review: HP Deskjet 3630
2. Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4630 review
Economical print costs for volume printing
Print speed: ISO 20 ppm in black or colour | Print resolution: 4,800 x 1,200 | Paper sizes: A4, A5, A6, B5, C4 (Envelope), C6 (Envelope), DL (Envelope), No. 10 (Envelope), 9 x 13 cm, 10 x 15 cm, 13 x 18 cm, 13 x 20 cm, 20 x 25 cm, 100 x 148 mm, 16:9, LT, HLT, LGL, User defined | Paper capacity: 330 sheets | Dimensions: 461 x 422 x 342 mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 14.35 kg
The WorkForce Pro WF-4630 is a solid printer for small businesses and workgroups given its fast print speeds, solid print qualities and remote printing and scanning capabilities. Using the larger XL print cartridges, the WF-4630 delivers economical print costs that rival laser printers.
Read the full review: Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4630
3. Epson WorkForce WF-100
A portable and easy-to-use printer
Print speed: ISO 7 ppm black, 4 ppm colour | Print resolution: 5,760 x 1,440 | Paper sizes: A4, A5, A6, B5, C6 (Envelope), DL (Envelope), No. 10 (Envelope), Letter Legal, 10 x 15cm, 13 x 18cm | Paper capacity: 20 sheets | Dimensions: 309 x 154 x 61mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 1.6kg
Great for the traveling professional or someone who needs a small printer for occasional use. Not for those looking for a heavy duty printer or for someone who cares about high image quality.
Read the full review: Epson WorkForce WF-100
4. HP OfficeJet Pro 6830 e-All-in-One
Cheap colour all-in-one for the small business
Print speed: ISO 18ppm black, 10ppm colour | Print resolution: 4,800 x 1,200 | Paper sizes: A4, A5, A6, B5(JIS), 13 x 18cm, 10 x 15cm, Envelope C5, Envelope C6, Envelope DL | Paper capacity: 225 sheets | Dimensions: 461.85 x 387.65 x 224mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 8kg
A very quick colour all-in-one bristling with print, copy, scan and mobile printing options the Officejet Pro 6830 is also very affordable, especially if you opt for the pay-per-page Instant Ink service.
Read the full review: HP OfficeJet Pro 6830 e-All-in-One
5. Epson WorkForce WF-2660
A small investment for a feature-rich printer
Print speed: ISO 13ppm black, 7.3ppm colour | Print resolution: 4,800 x 1,200 | Paper sizes: A4, A5, A6, B5, C6 (Envelope), DL (Envelope), No. 10 (Envelope), Letter, Letter Legal, 10 x 15cm, 13 x 18cm, 16:9, User defined | Paper capacity: 150 sheets | Dimensions: 425 x 360 x 230mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 6.7kg
Though some of its mobile and wireless features don't always work as well as advertised, the Epson WF-2660 all-in-one still offers a good balance between print quality, features and price.
Read the full review: Epson WorkForce WF-2660
6. Canon Pixma MG7150
An affordable all-in-one photo printer with Wi-Fi connectivity and a touchscreen
Print speed: ISO 15ppm black, 10ppm colour | Print resolution: 9,600 x 2,400 | Paper sizes: A4, A5, B5, Letter, Legal, Envelopes (DL size or Commercial 10), 20 x 25cm, 10 x 15cm, 13 x 18cm | Paper capacity: 145 sheets | Dimensions: 466 x 369 x 148mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 8.2kg
If you're looking for a great all-round printer which doesn't skimp on print quality for your photographs, then I don't think you will be disappointed by what the MG7150 has to offer.
While it's certainly more expensive than some of the cheap two in one printers you can pick up, it's not a bad price for something which produces high quality prints, especially if you only need to print at A4 or below.
Read the full review: Canon Pixma MG7150
7. Brother DCP-J4120DW
Brother's entry-level A3 printer is a good bet for the occasional big print
Print speed: Up to 35ppm black, 27ppm colour | Print resolution: 6,000 x 1,200 | Paper sizes: A4, LTR, EXE, A5, A6, Photo, Indexcard, Photo-2L, Com-10, DL Envelope, Monarch | Paper capacity: 150 sheets | Dimensions: 480 x 290 x 163mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 8.1kg
You might not always want to print on A3 paper, but when you do, many conventional inkjet printers aren't up to the task. Brother's DCP-J4120DW can, in addition to being able to do duplex and colour printing without breaking the bank.
Currently on sale for a fair chunk below its official £120 price tag, this printer comes with an impressive feature set. It can scan, copy, connect via Wi-Fi and print directly from SD, SDHC, SDXC, memory sticks and flash drives. Its touchscreen might not be the best, but it's a quiet, fast and consistent little performer that's well worthy of your attention.
Read the full review: Brother DCP-J4120DW
8. HP Envy 5540 All-in-One printer
A cheap and cheerful colour inkjet for low volume printing
Print speed: ISO 12ppm black, 8ppm colour | Print resolution: 4,800 x 1,200 | Paper sizes: A4, A5, B5, DL, C6, A6 | Paper capacity: 125 sheets | Dimensions: 454 x 503 x 156mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 6.82kg
We've come to expect simple setup and operation from Envy printers, and this one is no exception. It's quiet, packs in a lot of features and delivers excellent print quality, especially on photo paper. We particularly like the ability to use smartphones as well as computers, and to connect wirelessly without a router.
Read the full review: HP Envy 5540 All-in-One printer
9. Epson PictureMate PM-400
The easiest printer to use. Ever.
Print speed: 36 seconds for 4 x 6-inch borderless photo | Print resolution: 5,760 x 1,440 | Paper sizes: 3.5 x 5-inch (8.89 x 12.70cm), 4 x 6-inch (10.16 x 15.24cm), 5 x 7-inch (12.70 x 17.78cm) | Paper capacity: 50 sheets | Dimensions: 249 x 384 x 200mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 1.81kg
Once you've got the PM-400 up and running, you'll have a ton of fun running off image after image. Although the print quality won't win any awards for print quality, you'll be proud to hang any of its prints on your wall or sit them on your desk.
The PM-400 is a delight to look at – not that this should heavily factor into which printer you should buy. It's got a pretty bone white frame that tucks away neatly, and the 4-pound printer can be easily transported wherever you go.
Read the full review: Epson PictureMate PM-400
10. HP DeskJet 1010
This printer is as cheap as the replacement ink
Print speed: ISO 7ppm black, 4ppm colour | Print resolution: 600 x 600 | Paper sizes: A4, A5, A6, B5, DL envelope | Paper capacity: 60 sheets | Dimensions: 423 x 509 x 254mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 2kg
You won't get fancy features like wireless printing, duplexing or scanning, but if you don't need all the frills of an all-in-one printer, the HP DeskJet 1010 offers solid print performance and quality at an unbeatable price in a compact package.
Read the full review: HP DeskJet 1010 review
Best laser printers
1. Samsung M2885FW 4-in-1 Multifunction Xpress
Excellent image quality, connectivity and flexibility for a low price
Print speed: 28ppm | Print resolution: Effective 4,800 x 600 | Paper sizes: A4, A5, A6, Letter, Legal, Executive, Folio, Oficio, ISO B5, JIS B5 | Paper capacity: 250 sheets | Dimensions: 401 x 362 x 367mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 11.3kg
This temptingly priced printer offers 28ppm printing at up to 4,800 x 600 dpi (effective, rather than optical, resolution). With wired (Ethernet/USB) and wireless (Wi-Fi/NFC) connectivity, duplex printing, decent eco settings and support for a wide range of media, the Samsung is an excellent all-rounder, although the multi-purpose tray can only handle one sheet of media at a time. The main cassette has a more useful capacity of 250 sheets.
2. Samsung Xpress M2070W
A wallet-friendly MFP with a smart Eco system
Print speed: 20ppm | Print resolution: Effective 1,200 x 1,200 | Paper sizes: A4, A5, Letter, Legal, Executive, Folio, Oficio, ISO B5, JIS B5, Envelope (Monarch, Com10, DL, C5), Custom | Paper capacity: 150 sheets | Dimensions: 406 x 359.6 x 253mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 7.4kg
The M2070W delivers a lot of bang for your business buck – there's NFC printing from compatible smartphones, online document sharing, and a clever Eco system that supplements the usual toner saving mode with a feature to remove images from documents by replacing bitmaps with sketches.
Factor in claimed speeds of 20ppm, a clever scan to mobile feature and an effective print resolution of up to 1200dpi and you've got a multifunction printer that's well worth considering.
3. Brother DCP-9020CDW
An excellent all-rounder for mono and colour printing
Print speed: 18ppm | Print resolution: 600 x 600, Effective 600 x 2,400 | Paper sizes: A4, Letter, B5 (JIS), A5, A5 (Long Edge), A6, Executive, Legal, Folio | Paper capacity: 250 sheets | Dimensions: 410 x 483 x 410mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 23.2kg
The DCP-9020CDW is a baby Brother – it's an entry-level all-in-one aimed at small offices, and with claimed speeds of 18ppm and a resolution of up to 2,400 dpi (effective) it has a decent spec for the price. It can upload to cloud services such as Dropbox and OneNote, it's wireless with WPS authentication and wireless direct printing, and its running costs are competitive. It also offers automatic duplex printing and its colour screen makes it easy to install and operate. This device is a solid all-rounder for PCs and mobile devices alike.
4. Dell S2810dn
Despite its size, this Dell is a good business buy
Print speed: 35ppm | Print resolution: 1,200 x 1,200 | Paper sizes: A4, A5, A6 | Paper capacity: 350 sheets | Dimensions: 410 x 438 x 273mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 12kg
Dell isn't going to win any design awards for its mono laser printers – they're uniformly hideous and the 2810 series is laughably large – but as office workhorses they're good value for money if you go for the high-yield cartridges, which brings per-page costs down to 2.4p.
Print quality is 600dpi by default and you can up it to 1,200dpi, print speed is a claimed 35ppm, it holds up to 350 sheets and the drum lasts for 85,000 pages. It's not remotely pretty but it's a pretty good office printer.
5. Brother HL-3140CW
A budget bargain if you don't need Ethernet or duplexing
Print speed: ISO 18ppm | Print resolution: 600 x 600, Effective 600 x 2,400 | Paper sizes: A4, Letter, B5 (JIS), A5, A5 (Long Edge), A6, Executive, Legal, Folio | Paper capacity: 250 sheets | Dimensions: 410 x 465 x 240mm (Width x Depth x Height) | Weight: 17.4kg
At the time of writing (January 2016), this Brother was Amazon's best-selling laser, and with good reason – for very little cash you're getting a superb wireless colour laser. However, at this price don't expect rock-bottom running costs – it's a printer for livening up documents with the occasional flash of colour, not constant photo printing.
It doesn't have automatic duplexing or an Ethernet port, but the HL-3140CW delivers superb print quality, reasonable mono running costs and good wireless features for a very low price.