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Best printer for students in 2020: top picks for printing out coursework

Student in lecture hall
(Image credit: Pexels)

Buying the best printer for students is one of the most important purchases you can make for the student in your life.

No matter if you're a student yourself, or you know one, it's important students get the best equipment possible to help them with their studies and coursework, and that's where our best printer for students guide comes in.

By picking the best printer for students, it means they don't need to go to an internet cafe, office or library to print out documents and work, which can help save time, money and stress when those deadlines loom.

There's some important things to keep in mind when looking for the best printers for students. First, you'll want something that doesn't cost too much, both with the initial outlay and when it comes to running costs. The best student printers will be affordable, then, but without sacrificing print quality.

Students won't have a huge amount of space, either, so the printers in this guide are compact as well.

With our list of the best printers for students, we've put together our top picks that will suit a student's needs, no matter what educational institute they are at.

If you're also looking for a laptop, make sure you check out our best laptops for students guide.

Brother DCP-J1100W

(Image credit: Brother)

1. Brother DCP-J1100W All-in-box

Includes enough ink and service to cover a 3-year course

Category: colour 3-in-1 inkjet printer | Print speed: 12ppm | Paper sizes: A4 | Paper capacity: 150 | Weight: 8.8kg

3yrs of ink included 
Touchscreen interface
High initial cost     
Slow to print

By providing three-years worth of ink and three years service in the price, Brother’s unique proposition would suit students on a three-year course well. The printer itself is a capable three-in-one inkjet device that can print, scan and copy at a fairly high resolution and turn out crisp and colourful duplex pages at a reasonable rate. It’s not as fast as Brother’s other business-oriented printers, but with four such high capacity ink cartridges installed it is way more economical to run. It comes with Wi-Fi Direct connectivity and a colour touchscreen interface for easy operation.

Brother DCP-J774DW

(Image credit: Jim Hill)

2. Brother DCP-J774DW printer

Inexpensive and effective inkjet all-in-one

Category: 3-in-1 colour inkjet printer | Print speed: 12ppm | Paper sizes: up to A4 | Paper capacity: 100 | Weight: 6.6kg

Compact and affordable   
SD Card and USB ports
Not fast 
No fax facility

Brother’s entry-level inkjet 3-in-1 bundles all of the features a student could need in one compact and compact unit. With USB ports front and rear, an SD Card slot and Wi-Fi, it’s well connected, with high print and scan resolutions and a low price point. It prints somewhat slowly at 12ppm in mono, but duplex documents appear crisp and consistent and photos on glossy paper look lifelike enough for a budget model.   

Read the full review: Brother DCP-J774DW

Canon Pixma TS5351

(Image credit: Canon)

3. Canon Pixma TS5351

Stylish all-in-one printer for the small student digs

Category: colour 3-in-1 inkjet printer | Print speed: 13ppm | Paper sizes: A4 | Paper capacity: 100 | Weight: 6.3kg

Small, stylish design 
Wi-Fi ad Bluetooth 
Costly cartridges      
Small paper tray  

This neat three-in-one printer provides virtually every feature a student is likely to need and a few more besides. Colour printing, scanning and photocopying are a given, but you also have an auto-duplex mode so that you won’t waste paper and both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built in for easy wireless connection to a laptop and/or smartphone. It can print on a particularly wide variety of media up to A4 in size and that includes Canon’s own magnetic photo paper and fabric iron-on patches. It’s an impressively compact unit, so there’s only room for 100 sheets of A4 inside and it’s not the cheapest inkjet out there, but by upgrading the cartridges to XL-capacity carts you can bring down the running cost to a competitive level.

Epson Expression Premium XP-6105

(Image credit: Epson)

4. Epson Expression Premium XP-6105 printer

A compact and stylish AIO for the discerning student

Category: 3-in-1 colour inkjet printer | Print speed: 23ppm | Paper sizes: up to A4 | Paper capacity: 500 | Weight: 12.1kg

Sleek design  
Great price
Costly cartridges
No touchscreen

As the smallest member of Epson’s Premium range of home printers, the XP-6105 is well suited to student accommodation. Apart from a fax facility, it is fully featured with Wi-Fi, auto duplex printing, USB and SD card slots all built in and the ability to print on any kind of media from blank CDs up to A4 photo paper. It lacks a touchscreen display, but it’s easy to use and the for the money, the performance is impressive.

HP Tango

(Image credit: HP)

5. HP Tango printer

HP’s smart printer adds voice control

Category: 3-in-1 colour inkjet printer | Print speed: 11ppm | Paper sizes: up to A4 | Paper capacity: 50 | Weight: 3kg

Alexa enabled    
Seamless cloud services
No USB port  
Expensive ink

Thanks to its two-way cloud-based network connection, you can operate this ‘smart printer’ from your mobile device with or without a Wi-Fi network. It has no USB or Ethernet ports and no scanner either. Instead it relies on wireless connectivity while the Tango companion app harnesses your smartphone’s camera to scan and straighten images for printing. All this allows the Tango X to be smaller than other inkjets and cheaper too. It is particularly user friendly, thanks to the excellent app and can even be voice controlled with the assistance of Alexa. Replacement ink cartridges are rather costly, but you can sign up to HP’s Instant Ink program to make some saving while having replacements sent in the mail. 

HP Envy 5030

(Image credit: HP)

6. HP Envy 5030 All-in-One printer

Student-friendly all-in-one with all-round appeal

Category: colour 3-in-1 inkjet printer | Print speed: 7ppm | Paper sizes: A4 | Paper capacity: 100 | Weight: 5.41kg

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 
Low price
Expensive ink     
Slow to print

This inexpensive AIO has all of the features you could need to complete your course, with automatic dual-sided printing, an A4-sized scanner and a copy function. In addition to the USB port, you can connect wirelessly with or without a router using thanks to the inclusion of a Dual-Band Wi-Fi module and Bluetooth. It can print on envelopes, glossy photo paper or any size paper up to A4. As is usually the case, a cheap printer means expensive ink, but a subscription to HP’s Instant Ink service, you can brink the running cost down to a reasonable level and never run out if ink. 

HP Envy 5010

(Image credit: HP)

7. HP Envy 5010 printer

HP’s cheapest Instant Ink compatible printer

Category: 3-in-1 colour inkjet printer | Print speed: 9ppm | Paper sizes: up to A4 | Paper capacity: 80 | Weight: 5.41kg

Low price point   
Instant Ink included
Slow to print 
Expensive ink

At less than £50 (around US$64, AU$90), this fully featured three-in-one printer looks like a steal. It can print scan and auto duplex print and has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built in for easy mobile operation. It can handle all kinds of paper up to A4 size and has a clear, albeit mono, display. Ink refils, as you probably guessed, are expensive, but HP’s Instant Ink subscription service eases the cost and currently, a 12-month free trial is included with your purchase.   

Canon Pixma GM2050

(Image credit: Canon)

8. Canon Pixma GM2050 printer

High capacity refill printing at a low cost

Category: 3-in-1 mono inkjet printer | Print speed: 13ppm | Paper sizes: up to A4 | Paper capacity: 250 | Weight: 6kg

Economical ink 
Neat refill system
High price point 
No NFC, or fax

Canon’s latest range of cartridge-less inkjets includes this entry-level mono printer that’s well suited to student life. Although the initial cost is rather high, the box includes enough ink for 6,000 pages and refills bottles have a much higher yield than cartridges. Perfect for churning out that dissertation. Despite the small size, it can hold 250 sheets of paper in the main tray and another 100 in the rear tray. Duplex printing is quite quick and with Wi-Fi built in, you can scan and print wirelessly using AirPrint and Canon’s excellent PRINT app. 

Canon Pixma G4510

(Image credit: Jim Hill)

9. Canon Pixma G4510 printer

Canon cuts ink cost with its cartridge-less solution

Category: 3-in-1 colour inkjet printer | Print speed: 10ppm | Paper sizes: up to A4 | Paper capacity: 100 | Weight: 5.4kg

Low ink cost  
Plenty of ink included
High price point 
Small display 

By swapping ink cartridges for bottled ink, this printer has a far higher page yield and much lower per page cost. You can clearly see when the ink reservoirs are running low and with Wi-Fi built in, it’s easy to scan and print using your mobile device. It can auto duplex print and includes an automatic document feed and fax facility. 

Epson EcoTank ET-M1120

(Image credit: Epson)

10. Epson EcoTank ET-M1120 printer

Refillable tank is the secret to affordable pages

Category: mono inkjet printer | Print speed: 15ppm | Paper sizes: up to A4 | Paper capacity: 150 | Weight: 3.5kg

Very economical refills 
Simple/pleasing design
Slow print speed
High initial cost

If you need to print a lot of black and white pages and space and money are limitning factors, this compact print only device has the answer. The up-front price might seem daunting, but it includes enough black ink for 6,000 pages. That’s because instead of a cartridge, you will be filling up a reservoir from the supplied ink bottle yourself and replacement bottles are far cheaper. Wi-Fi is built in and it can turn out duplex pages at a somewhat slow, but steady rate of 15ppm and there’s room in this streamlined machine for 150 sheets of paper. 

  • Check out our list of the best printers, no matter if they are inkjet or laser