The printer world isn’t exactly huge, but three companies continue to come out on top. Canon’s pedigree in the digital camera world allowed it to produce the most color-accurate photo printers. HP’s computing background and dabbles in photography allowed them to understand the needs of small business owner’s who operate from home. And Epson’s expertise in both printers and ink technology has continued to make them a leader. Here are some of the best options from those three companies.
TL;DR – These are the Best Home Printers:
1. HP OfficeJet 5255 All-in-One Printer
Best Home Printer
One of the best things about HP’s multifunction printers is that they last years longer than most consumer products. For the past eight years, we’ve been using the same HP home office printer and OfficeJet 5255 is the latest evolution of just that. It prints, scans, copies, and faxes and does each task equally well. For that reason, it’s best for the home office user that sometimes needs hard copies or to fax into the new decade. To make your life even easier it only uses two ink cartridges: there are black and color. That’s it.
2. Epson Expression Photo XP-970 Small-in-One Printer
Best Inkjet Printer
Of course, we needed a photo printer on this list. In this segment, Epson is arguably making the best option without getting too large. Even though most folks print no bigger than 8×10 inches, it’s nice to know that you can print photos on legal-sized paper using the XP-970. Part of what makes this Epson Expression Photo Printer so special is the fact that it has six ink tanks instead of the standard black ink and single color ink tank.
That’s right, it doesn’t just print with the three basic primary colors and black—but instead, there are six tanks so it can mix the most intricate of hues. That lets you get more accurate color prints. Of course, it also means that you have more ink to replace overtime or to get refilled. But that’s often worth it for every budding creative.
Pro Tip: Before you print images, let your monitor warm-up for at least a half-hour. That way you’ve got a better chance at getting colors more akin to what you’ll see from your printer.
3. Canon Color imageCLASS MF743Cdw
Best Laser Printer
If you’ve got a lot of printing to get done, the Canon Color imageClass MF743Cdw is a capable champ. This is a hefty printer and can have an extra paper cassette added to the bottom, dramatically expanding the paper capacity from 300 sheets to 850 sheets. That can cut down on time wasted restocking during major printing loads. Despite being a laser printer, this model can handle both monochrome and color printing.
A 5-inch touchscreen display helps make setup and use of the printer that much easier. And, support for Wi-Fi Direct makes sending files to the printer simple. You won’t need to connect computers with USB cables to print, and can even easily print from smartphones and tablets.
4. Canon MAXIFY MB5420
Best Home Office Printer
When Canon announced their Canon MAXIFY MB5420, they targeted small business owners with several features. For starters, it’s got a big emphasis on connectivity. Using Google Cloud Print, Apple Air Print or Canon’s own printing app it’s pretty easy to use no matter which device you’re printing from. You’ve also got black, magenta, yellow and Cyan ink types with the option of going for XL size cartridges if you’re a power user. If you’re in a rush and printing out a ton of FedEx labels, you can be confident that the MB5420 is going to do it quickly.
The Canon Maxify MB5420 also has a built-in scanner. That’s nice for folks that don’t like using scanning apps on their phone like CamScanner. And if you’re interested, Canon makes some class-leading Pro Luster Paper for gorgeous prints to adorn your home.
5. HP Tango
Best Smart Home Printer
While folks traditionally connect their printer to their computer, the HP Tango was designed for the new type of family. These folks either don’t have a home computer or they just barely use it. Instead, because everyone is connected using their smartphones and tablets, they’ve started to use those.
The HP Tango removes the complete need for a computer and instead brings higher-end studio features down to the consumer. You can print to it using the cloud and connect via your smartphone or a tablet. And if you’re getting lonesome from the winter blues, you can talk to it.
6. HP LaserJet Pro M404dn
Best High-Output Printer
If you’re one of those people who never has a major need to print color, then the HP LaserJet Pro M404dn is worth it for you. It’s yet another laser printer and arguably the fastest one on this list. It’s pretty simple too. There is one toner cartridge and it’s black. You can print with it connected to your computer or you can use AirPrint or CloudPrint (though the latter will be going away by the end of 2020). Quite honestly, those are your best bets as it’s otherwise got a fairly old USB port connectivity option.
7. Epson SureColor T3170
Best High-End Photo Printer
The Epson SureColor T3170 comes at a high price point of around $1,000. If you’re spending this much cash, you should know that you’re almost spending as much as professional photo printers. This printer makes prints at a 2400 x 1200 dpi resolution–which is far more than most folks need. And when printing at the best quality, it’ll probably take a few minutes. With Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black ink options, it’s well equipped to print most documents with graphs.
Another reason why’s it so pricey? Well, it’s got a router built into it. That means you can skip buying one or a Wi-Fi Mesh system and use your printer to connect all your devices. Of course, it can hook onto your existing Wi-Fi network as well using its touchscreen interface, which also makes it easy to print from a tablet or a smartphone. Once you set it down, you’re probably not going to want to move it around. It’s heavy!
What to Look For in a Home Printer
When you’re looking for a printer, you should really ask yourself about what features you’re going to need. Some printers are better for home business owners while others make more sense for families.
Laser printers are usually best for the folks who mostly print text documents and don’t have any major reason to print in color. So an accountant printing tax documents have a bigger need for a laser printer than a Real Estate agent for example.
Realtors prefer to put color photos to accompany their listings in the window of their offices to attract those who don’t spend their money on avocado toast. For that reason, Realty companies could make the most of an inkjet printer. Plus, there are lots of connectivity options.
The cool thing about modern printers is that printer manufacturers realize folks are printing less and less across the board. This goes for both the photo space and the work environment. So while the market has been shrinking, printer manufacturers are trying their damndest to get you to buy their products. There’s a lot of innovation happening right now and the consumer ultimately benefits from the strongest surviving options.
Chris Gampat is a level 75 Author Bard with over a decade of experience. Most of his focus has been on tech, photography and men’s lifestyle. He eats nutella from the jar like a real grown up.
Mark Knapp is a regular contributor to IGN and an irregular Tweeter on Twitter @Techn0Mark