In choosing the right printer, your first decision should be whether to go for a standard printer, or a multifunction 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.
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. If you use a ton of ink, manufacturers like HP are offering services that mail you new ink cartridges every month.
With that being said, here are our picks for the best printers in each class.
1. Canon Pixma MG7520
Great for offices and amateur photographers
Print speed: 15 black ipm | Nozzles: 5,632 | Print resolution: 9600 x 2400 dpi | Paper sizes: Up to Legal | Paper capacity: 145 | Dimensions: 17.2" (W) x 14.6" (D) x 5.9" (H) | Weight: 17.4 lbs.
The Canon Pixma MG7520 is a steal for photography enthusiasts who don't need to print large documents or in high-volume. This 17.4 pound printer is only 17.2" wide and 5.9" tall, so it isn't exactly compact, but it is pound-for-pound a solid device. The prints it produces are exact replicas of their digital files. You'll spend hours printing photos and loving every minute of it.
Read the full review: Canon Pixma MG7520
2. Brother MFC-J4620DW
A bulldog that does it all
Print speed: 35 black ipm | Print resolution: 6000 x 1200 dpi | Paper sizes: Up to 11" x 17" | Paper capacity: 150 | Dimensions: 18.9" x 11.4" x 7.4" | Weight: 20.6
Brother has packed a lot of features into this device, and it has also managed to keep the price low. Ink prices aren't too frightening if you go for the high capacity cartridges, and like Brother's other inkjets it can perform at very high speeds if you're not too bothered about print quality, or produce high quality output if you're willing to be patient.
Read the full review: Brother MFC-J4620DW
3. Epson WorkForce WF-100
Tiny, but all you really need
Print speed: 6.7 black ipm | Print resolution: 5760 x 1440 optimized dpi | Paper sizes: Up to A6 | Paper capacity: 20 sheets | Dimensions: 12.2" x 9.1" x 8.5" (W x D x H) | Weight: 3.5lbs.
The Epson WorkForce WF-100 is perfect for the user who travels, or even for the space-conscious or low-printing consumer. The built-in WiFi makes it easy to print on multiple devices and the built-in rechargeable battery is very impressive.
Read the full review: Epson WorkForce WF-100
4. Canon Maxify MB5320 review
The only All-in-One you'll need
Print speed: 23 black ipm | Nozzles: 3,072 | Print resolution: 600 x 1200 dpi | Paper sizes: Up to Legal | Paper capacity: 250 | Dimensions: 18.3" (W) x 18.1" (D) x 13.9" (H) | Weight: 28.8
The MB5320 is a wireless inkjet all-in-one printer that is available in the US only for $399.99. It comes with a stacked feature set and robust paper handling that should limit paper jams and spills. The price is a bit steep for the target market (small businesses), and users looking to get high-quality graphic and photo creation, might be disappointed by the quality.
However, the Canon MB5320 would be a sound addition to any small or home office looking for an efficient printer that can handle large volumes of paper without a ton of maintenance.
Read the full review: Canon Maxify MB5320
5. Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4630
Economical print costs for volume printing
Print speed: 20 black ipm | Print resolution: 4800 x 1200 optimized dpi | Paper sizes: value | Paper capacity: 330 sheets | Dimensions: 18.1" x 25.8" x 15.1" (W x D x H) | Weight: 31.3
There's a lot to love about this multifunction printer - it superbly handles office print jobs, and print quality rivals those of color laser printers. The automatic document feeder can handle double-sided scans and copies, and a specialty rear paper tray offers added convenience to the front-loading 250-sheet tray. If you need massive amounts of ink, and don't mind slow print speeds, a similar version of this printer is available in Epson's EcoTank line.
Read the full review: Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4630