HomeBuying GuidesComputersHow To Buy The Best printer

How To Buy The Best printer

Looking to buy the best printer? Check out our guide below and you’ll be well-placed to select the correct one for your needs.

The difficulty in determining which printer is the best on the market is that there are so many factors to consider.
Is it better to use an inkjet printer or a laser printer?
Is it better to use cartridges or tanks that can be refilled?
Do you require a multifunction printer (MFP) that can also scan and copy, or do you only require a printer that can print?
How much do you need to pay when similar-looking printers range from £30 to £300?

How do you pick the best printer for your needs?

What is the distinction between a laser and an inkjet printer?

Inkjet printers make prints by scattering hundreds of tiny dots across the paper.
Printers with higher resolutions (measured in dots per inch (dpi)) may print more dots per inch (dpi) on a page.

Inkjet printers are slower than laser printers because their print heads must move around to cover the entire page.
Also, because ink takes a second or two to dry, duplex (double-sided) printing may be even slower.

Laser printers work by negatively charging an optical photoconductor (OPC) drum, which is a light-sensitive surface.
The image of the page to be printed is then “drawn” onto the drum’s surface by a laser, which discharges the areas it strikes.

Negatively charged toner is subsequently sprayed onto the drum’s surface.
The positively charged backdrop repels this, which is attracted to the discharged patches drawn by the laser.
The toner is transmitted by passing a positively charged piece of paper over the drum.
To create the final colour image, this process is repeated on all four drums – cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.
Finally, a fuser heats the paper, melting the toner to the page.

For rapid, high-quality document printing, a laser printer used to be the only option, but inkjet printers designed for the office have been catching up in terms of speed and quality in recent years.
Inkjet printers, contrary to popular assumption, are often less expensive to operate than laser printers.
Inkjet printers, on the other hand, can get blocked nozzles if they aren’t used frequently, and flushing them out consumes ink, so if you spend weeks without printing, you’re still better off with a laser printer.

If you plan to print frequently, choose a device with a high duty cycle.
This is the maximum number of prints a device can produce in a single session, not the number of pages it can print on a regular basis, so always choose a printer with a duty cycle that surpasses your needs.
Some manufacturers also provide a recommended duty cycle figure, which is useful to know if you plan to use your printer frequently and don’t want it to wear out too rapidly.

Does a higher print resolution imply a higher level of quality?

The greater the resolution, the sharper the print, although other elements have an impact on the final product.
A smaller droplet size on an inkjet printer helps to eliminate grit – tiny bits of colour that might otherwise show up in lighter regions of a graphic or photo.
Extra colours are used in some photo inkjets to minimise grain even further or print increase neutral tones or the colour spectrum (gamut) in images.
Inkjet printers are quite sensitive to paper quality; you’ll get better documents if you avoid using lightweight papers, and you’ll get far better images if you use coated photo paper.

When it comes to laser printers, higher resolution (1,200dpi or more) usually appears better.
You’ll notice it primarily as enhanced visuals and smoother text outlines — the latter can appear jagged at the 600dpi resolution typical of entry-level machines, but only if you have exceptionally sharp eyes.
It’s worth noting that the quoted resolution of a laser may be the result of interpolation rather than the native or “actual” resolution of the print engine.
A print with an interpolated resolution of 1,200dpi, for example, will likely look better than a 600dpi print, but not as good as a true 1,200dpi print.

In actuality, you can’t always rely on a printer’s specifications to anticipate print quality.
Our reviews show you how well a printer performs in a variety of tests, as well as the kinds of strengths and shortcomings that can only be discovered through hands-on comparisons.

Do I require a multifunction printer (MFP)?

Compared to a single printer and scanner, MFPs offer a number of benefits.
They’re wonderful for saving space, and you can use them to produce photocopies without having to use your computer.
Scanning and copying may normally be done straight from the MFP’s control panel, albeit the ease of use varies.
Our reviews describe how easy it is to use a printer’s built-in control panel for simple operations.
It’s fine if we don’t mention it.

Scanners in office MFPs can be disappointing; they’re normally good for archiving documentation at low resolution, but they won’t be perfect for generating a lasting digital duplicate of your favourite slides or images.
Scanners in home-focused gadgets do a little better on average, although there are good and awful instances of each.
In our reviews, we discuss the scanners’ and software’s pros and weaknesses.

If you’ll be scanning, faxing, or copying multi-page documents frequently, an automated document feeder (ADF) will save you time.
If you work with double-sided originals and perform a lot of office work, a duplexing ADF will come in handy.
The best MFP scanners will capture vintage images well, but you’ll need a specialist scanner to scan slides or negatives.

What are the different print speeds?

Printing speeds differ significantly between models.
Inkjet printers are faster to start printing, while laser printers are faster once they’re up and running.
We measure the number of pages per minute (ppm) a device can print when printing a 25-page text document and a sophisticated 24-page colour document with a mix of text and graphics.
We also time how long it takes each printer to print a page from sleep.
A quick warm-up is more significant than the indicated speed for shorter jobs.

How can I get my printer to work?

Almost all printers and multifunction printers (MFPs) can connect to a single PC through USB, but most can also connect to your wireless network these days.
A wired Ethernet port may be found on office printers.
A network connection, regardless of the technology, allows you to share a printer across several PCs or other devices in your home or office.
Almost all network-capable printers now allow direct printing from iOS (iPhone, iPad) and Android smartphones, as well as indirect printing through cloud services like Google Cloud Print.
Some printers also include NFC technology that allows you to connect a smart device; this is very beneficial for guests to a workplace who may not have access to the main network.

Additional connections, such as a front USB slot for printing from or scanning to an inserted USB stick, are available on some printers and MFPs.
A memory card slot for direct photo prints may be found on home devices with a creative bent – it’s a useful function, but printing from a PC gives you more flexibility.

The print and scanning software that comes with a printer or multifunction printer makes a major difference in how easy it is to use.
Each device is tested on a PC and at least one mobile platform (Android, iOS), and any connectivity or usability concerns are noted.

How about toner and ink cartridges?

Inkjet printers require periodic ink cartridge change and, on rare occasions, a waste ink box replacement – or even a new print head.
Laser printers can be just as simple, although the most advanced machines can require ten or more consumables.

One (mono) or four (colour) toner cartridges with an integrated OPC drum are used in the simplest lasers.
These make it easier to maintain the printer, but they can lead to high print prices.
The lack of other user-serviceable parts can significantly shorten the life of your printer.
Other laser printers have separate OPC drums, waste toner bottles, and even fuser units, which can add up to a lot of hidden expenditures, even if the toner cartridges themselves are inexpensive.

These parts come in a variety of prices and lifespans, but if you do enough printing, they’ll all need to be replaced.

The best printers to buy

Bestseller No. 1
HP Envy 6020e All in One Colour Printer with 6 months of Instant Ink included with HP+, White
  • BEST FOR BUSY FAMILIES – Print documents, borderless photos, homework and creative projects
  • KEY FEATURES – Print, copy and scan in colour, plus auto 2-sided printing and mobile and wireless printing
  • ONE ADDITIONAL YEAR WARRANTY COVERAGE WITH HP+ ENROLLMENT – Just signup and activate HP+ to receive 1 additional year of HP warranty coverage on your HP Printer, 2 Years Total
  • 6 MONTHS OF INSTANT INK INCLUDED– Print up to 700 pages a month free when you enrol in Instant Ink. Ink is delivered automatically before you run out at no extra cost. Credit card required; change or cancel anytime
  • ACTIVATE HP+ AND INSTANT INK AT PRINTER SETUP – Once HP+ is activated, your printer must be connected to the internet and requires Original HP Ink Cartridges to operate for the life of the printer
Bestseller No. 2
Epson Expression Home XP-4150 Print/Scan/Copy Wi-Fi Printer, Black
  • This affordable model efficiently uses your space combining print, scan and copying facilities in one unit.
  • With a range of essential and easy to use features, the XP-4150 is flexible with Wi-Fi for printing and scanning wirelessly around the home and Wi-Fi Direct for printing without a wireless network. Its 6.1cm LCD screen makes it easy to copy and print without a computer and double-sided printing reduces paper usage.
  • Print, scan and more, directly from your phone or tablet using the Epson Smart Panel app1. Plus, with the Epson Creaive Print app, you can print photos directly from FaceBook, create greeting cards and more.
Bestseller No. 4
Epson Expression Home XP-5155 Print/Scan/Copy Wi-Fi Printer, Black
  • This affordable model efficiently uses your space combining print, scan and copying facilities in one unit.
  • The XP-5155 is versatile with Wi-Fi for printing and scanning wirelessly around the home and Wi-Fi Direct for printing without a wireless network. Print photos without a computer using its memory card slot and 6.1cm LCD screen, and use paper efficiently with A4 double-sided printing and minimise refills with the 150- sheet paper cassette.
  • Print, scan and more, directly from your phone or tablet using the Epson Smart Panel app1. Plus, with the Epson Creaive Print app, you can print photos directly from FaceBook, create greeting cards and more.
  • Epson’s four-colour 502 ink set provides reliable, vibrant and clear prints with minimal outlay. With a combination of pigment black and dye colour inks it produces defined and colourful prints in addition to reducing your printing costs with affordable, individual inks in standard and XL cartridges.
Bestseller No. 6
Epson Expression Home XP-2100 Print/Scan/Copy Wi-Fi Printer, Black
  • Elegant 3-in-1: Save money, space and time
  • Mobile printing: Freedom to print from almost anywhere
  • Individual inks: Save money by only replacing the colour used
  • Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct: Wireless printing with or without a network
  • Compact: Small and lightweight design
SaleBestseller No. 7
HP DeskJet 2720e All-in-One Colour Printer with 6 months of instant Ink with HP+, White
  • BEST FOR BASIC PRINTING – Print basic colour documents like recipes, forms and travel documents
  • KEY FEATURES – Print, copy and scan in colour, plus mobile and wireless printing
  • HP+ SMART PRINTING SYSTEM – The optional HP+ system enables your printer to think ahead so it's more secure, more productive and ready when you are. Requires an HP account, internet connection and use of only Original HP Ink for the life of the printer
  • 6 MONTHS OF INSTANT INK INCLUDED & AN EXTRA YEAR OF HP WARRANTY – when you activate optional HP+ and Instant Ink when setting up your printer. Only with HP+
  • EASY SETUP – Get started fast on any device with the HP Smart app that guides you step by step
Bestseller No. 8
Brother HL-L2310D Mono Laser Printer - Single Function, USB 2.0, 2 Sided Printing, 30PPM, A4 Printer, Small Office/Home Office Printer, Light Grey/Black
  • MAXIMUM VALUE FOR MONEY: Reduce running costs with low cost per page prints. With our optional 3,000 page high yield toners, you can easily reduce the cost of each print job
  • IDEAL FOR THE HOME OR SMALL OFFICE: Compact, stylish and desktop friendly, the HL-L2310D mono laser printer is a perfect home printer or for the small office environment
  • PRINT SPEEDS UP TO 30 PAGES PER MINUTE: Increase efficiency around the home or small office with print speeds up to 30ppm. Print high quality documents in no time at all
  • USB CONNECTIVITY: Designed to be set-up and ready to use in minutes, the HL-L2310D can be connected via the USB 2.0 Hi-Speed ​​interface
  • FASTER, HIGH-QUALITY PRINTS: Built with a 250-sheet paper capacity that helps improve efficiency due to less time spent refilling trays. It also handles both letter and legal-sized paper
Bestseller No. 9
Epson Expression Home XP-3105 3-in-1 Wireless Inkjet Printer - Color: black
  • Stylish 3-in-1 with LCD screen: Save money, space and time
  • Mobile printing: Freedom to print from almost anywhere1
  • Individual inks: Save money by only replacing the colour used
  • Wi-Fi & Wi-Fi Direct: Wireless printing with or without a network
  • A4 double-sided printing: Automatically print on both sides to reduce paper usage
Bestseller No. 10
Brother DCP-1612W Mono Laser Printer - All-in-One, Wireless/USB 2.0, Compact, A4 Printer, Home Printer, UK Plug
  • COMPACT PRINTER, IDEAL FOR THE HOME: The compact design of the DCP-1612W mono laser printer makes it an ideal home printer.
  • QUALITY MONO PRINTS: No time wasted hanging around for your documents to print with print speeds up to 20 pages per minute.
  • PRINTER, SCANNER, COPIER: Together with copy and scan functionalities, the DCP-1612W is an all in one compact and desktop friendly device.
  • WIFI CONNECTIVITY: Print wirelessly from your laptop, tablet or smartphone around the home or office
  • QUALITY GENUINE SUPPLIES: The DCP-1612W comes with a 700 page inbox genuine Brother toner, with 1,000 page replacement supplies available. Print quality documents with Brother Genuine Supplies.

Honest Bob is committed to providing genuine guides from a panel of experts. As an Amazon affiliate Honest Bob earns commission from any qualifying purchases.Thank you for your support!

Must Read