This article was recently updated.
Best printer: best inkjet printers
What's the best printer to buy? All-purpose printers are a booming market, and you're spoiled with the number of choices available, so here's our pick of the best printers on the market.
In choosing the best printer your first decision should be whether to go for a standard printer, or a multi-function device that includes a scanner and that 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 - color 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 - hit the second page for the best laser printers. Please remember that the prices shown here are for guidance only.
1. HP DeskJet 1000 – $29
How do they do it for the money? It's not just that this printer is cheap, because with most budget printers you get stung later on with high-priced consumables, but the black and tri-color ink cartridges for the DeskJet 1000 are pretty reasonably priced, and you can get XL high-capacity versions too.
And for a budget printer, it's pretty fast, with a quoted maximum of 16ppm mono, 12ppm color. There are no fancy extras - you even have to supply your own USB cable - but it does exactly what it says on the box, providing low-cost, fuss-free printing for as little money as possible.
2. HP Photosmart 7510 - $150
With print quality very high and prices ultra-low, what can multifunction printer manufacturers do to improve on previous models? This new HP Photosmart 7510 sets itself apart by offering a huge range of features, but it also leaves a few behind.
The HP Photosmart 7510 uses five ink tanks: CMYK, plus a pigmented black for clear, waterproof text. It connects to your Mac through USB or to your home network using Wi-Fi b/g/n, and has AirPrint for printing from iOS devices.
3. Lexmark Genesis S815 - $90
Lexmark's Genesis S815 is full of fresh ideas. Instead of a standard flatbed scanner, this multifunction device uses an image capture system based on a digital camera. It can capture an entire page in three seconds. It boasts a range of integrated mini-applications too. Downloadable apps include a calculator, clock, Facebook and Twitter integration, graph or music paper printing and there's even an app to display news and sports feeds from Apple, ESPN and the BBC. Overall print quality is good, too.
4. Canon Pixma MX870 - $100
If you're looking for a stunning printer for your small office or home office, the Canon PIXMA MX870 is for you. Like most recent Canons, it uses a five-tank system with pigmented black for crystal-clear and waterproof text printing. It can't print directly onto optical discs, but its fax facilities and 35-sheet document feeder are probably more use for a small-office machine.