Best printers in 2021 | Laptop Mag

Having one of the best printers in your home office is downright essential, but there are more options than ever in this rapidly evolving market. Plus, like the rest of our new tech toys of late, the darn things keep getting smarter. From function-forward touchscreen displays to extremely travel-friendly form factors, finding the right printer is, by no means, a one-size-fits-all process.

Whether you’re most concerned about print quality, printing speeds, or plain ol’ portability, we’ve got your tech covered. Read on for our top picks for the best printers.

Here are the best printers:

At the top of our list, you’ll find the Canon Pixma TR8620. Thanks to a beautiful-yet-functional touchscreen, ADF and duplexer capabilities, and zippy printing/copying speeds, most consumers can’t go wrong with this smart home-friendly all-in-one printer. It uses five ink cartridges to maximize color accuracy, and you can even control it via Alexa or Google Assistant.

Next up is the Brother INKvestment MFC-J995DW, which is as good at printing as Brother’s marketing department is good at wordplay. They’re not joking about this printer being an investment in ink, though: it comes with an (estimated) year’s supply of ink right in the box. You can expect top-quality duplex jobs and speedy prints. As far as we’re concerned, it’s a solid investment for any small business.

The Canon ImageClass MF743Cdw takes the cake for laser printers, and its 5-inch color touchscreen makes finding hidden print functions a cinch. It’s a reliable machine for any home office, and downright ideal for any small business. (Heck, medium-sized ones, too.)

(Image credit: Canon)1. Canon Pixma TR8620

A smart(er) inkjet printer for any home office

Printer Type: Inkjet | Features: Print, copy, scan, fax | Display: 4.3-inch color touchscreen | Ink/Toner: Five cartridges (black, pigment-black, cyan, magenta, yellow) | Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB 2.0

Large consumer-friendly touchscreen display

Excellent image quality

ADF and duplexer included

Fast copying and photo printing

Higher-than-average ink costs

We live in the future now, and so should your printer. From scanning and faxing to printing and mailing, the Canon Pixma TR8620 has all the main features you’d expect from an inkjet all-in-one printer, and then some. Add in smart home support (via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant), and you’ve got yourself a digital taskmaster for the home office. There’s also a duplexer for double-sided printing; a 20-page automatic document feeder (ADF); and a slick 4.3-inch color touchscreen. 

The 5-cartridge ink system (as opposed to four, like many competitors) pumps out highly accurate colors, details, and image transitions. The ink costs are higher than some competitors, but that shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for most. In short, there’s not much this printer can’t do for the average techie, and it’s one of the best printers you can buy today.

(Image credit: Brother)2. Brother INKvestment MFC-J995DW

A best-in-class all-in-one that can seriously do it all

Printer Type: Inkjet | Features: Print, copy, scan, fax | Display: 2.7-inch color touch screen | Ink/Toner: Four cartridges (black, cyan, magenta, yellow) | Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB 2.0

Low cost per page

Efficient printing speeds

Speedy scanning and copying

So-so color-photo scans

Cannot make two-side scans/copies via ADF

Looking to keep ink costs low and printing speeds zippy? Look up to the Brother INKvestment MFC-J995DW, an affordable laser printer that won’t let you down when push comes to shove. Thanks to the MFC-J995DW’s extra-large ink cartridges (plus an estimated year supply of ink that comes right in the box), you shouldn’t have to negate any up-front savings with extraneous ink costs in the long term. 

And not for nothing, this is one of the fastest inkjet printers you’ll find for two-sided printing. (That goes for scanning and copying, too; the 2.7-inch color touchscreen helps out big-time in that regard.) Plus, the printing quality is top-notch. Color scans are somewhat lackluster, according to some reviews, and you can’t make two-sided copies or scans via ADF. Nevertheless, unlike your other siblings, you won’t find much to complain about with the Brother INKvestment MFC-J995DW.

(Image credit: Canon)3. Canon ImageClass MF743Cdw

The laser printer your small biz has been waiting for

Printer Type: Laser | Features: Print, copy, scan, fax | Display: 5-inch color touch-screen | Ink/Toner: Four cartridges (black, cyan, magenta, yellow) | Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB 2.0

Easy-to-navigate 5-inch touchscreen

Speedy prints, copies, and scans

High-capacity toner cartridge cuts down on costs

Bulky, heavy

Slower duplex printing

One of the best parts of the Canon ImageClass MF743Cdw printer is practically right in the name: the beautiful, highly functional 5-inch color touchscreen is sure to catch your eye right off the bat. But that’s not all. You can expect top-quality performance for prints, copies and scans across the page. Speaking of which, the 4,000-page monthly page volume is perfect for any small business. But it might be a tad bulky for your home office. The 50-sheet automatic document feeder and 550-sheet paper cassette were built for efficiency, and it shows. 

Just like most of the printers on this list, you’ll get faster printing, copying and scanning speeds than the average office printer, along with sharp text and crystal-clear graphics. There’s no doubt about it: the Canon ImageClass MF743Cdw is best-in-class when it comes to the best laser printers, and your coworkers will thank you for the investment. (Perhaps with colorful, custom printed stationery.) 

(Image credit: Epson)4. Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000

A solid bet for budding photographers

Printer Type: Inkjet | Features: Print, copy, scan, fax | Display: 2.4-inch color touch screen | Ink/Toner: Six cartridges (black, cyan, magenta, yellow, gray, red) | Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB 2.0

Six ink cartridges cover the whole color gamut

Excellent photo printing

Accurate, clear colors 

Easy setup

Some reviews report microbanding in grayscale

Finding an inkjet printer that can deliver fantastic photos — without breaking the bank — is a real challenge for any photographer on a budget. For less than $400, however, the Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 printer is a great choice for anyone dipping their toes into the world of photography. (Or even if your feet are already fully submerged.) You won’t get the same image quality as more expensive photo printers, of course, but for the price, you can’t go wrong with the XP-15000. 

Capable of rendering prints up to 13 x 44 inches, the XP-15000 is impressive for its size; it’s also a fine choice for panoramic photos. Colors come out rich and vibrant, and Epson’s extra-broad ink palette (featuring six cartridges as opposed to a paltry four or five) is put to excellent use in every photograph, no matter the size. Black and white prints are also great, though some reviewers reported minor microbanding in grayscale. All in all, this printer is a solid value for multimedia mavens of all types. 

(Image credit: Xerox)5. Xerox WorkCentre 6515 printer

This all-in-one workhorse is ideal for any office

Printer Type: Laser | Features: Print, copy, scan, fax | Display: 5-inch color touch screen | Ink/Toner: Four cartridges (black, cyan, magenta, yellow) | Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB 2.0

Large 5-inch touchscreen

Single-pass, dual-sided scanning

Fast duplex printing

Some reviewers report color banding in photos

Slower print speeds than the competition

Targeting the small- to mid-sized biz sector, Xerox has something for everyone with the WorkCentre 6515 printer. The brand has traditionally been aimed at the business crowd, so you can expect top-quality text on every page, not to mention better-than-average graphics. The oversized, smartphone-esque touchscreen makes every print function easy to access, even for those with poor eyesight. 

The ADF holds up to 50 sheets of paper, while the main paper tray below holds another 150. Another perk: you can scan both sides of a single document without having to turn it over. Photo quality is predictably subpar, but the WorkCentre 6515’s overall functionality far supersedes any shortcomings you may find. 

(Image credit: HP)6. HP DesignJet T210

A fantastic large-format printer for larger-than-life projects

Printer Type: Inkjet | Features: Print | Display: N/A | Ink/Toner: Four cartridges (black, cyan, magenta, yellow) | Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB 2.0

Quick setup

Best for larger projects 

Impressive printing size

Slim size for a wide format printer

Relatively expensive

If your printing needs are more robust (read: professional and specific), the HP DesignJet T210 is worthy of your consideration. This is aimed at AEC, GIS and MCAD professionals who need their office tech to print out maps, technical drawings, posters and more without compromising on quality. This printer is more expensive than others on this list, but if you need it, you need it. Plus, HP touts their latest model as the world’s smallest wide format printer, which is no simple feat. 

When it comes to printing sizes, the DesignJet T210 supports up to 24 x 74.7-inch print paper rolls, which are fed through the printer and snipped with an automatic horizontal cutter. Reviewers consistently report crisp, accurate colors, and surprisingly zippy printing speeds; it’s easy to set up, too, and the included software sweetens the deal.

(Image credit: HP)7. HP OfficeJet Pro 8035 All-in-One Printer

A best-in-class all-in-one that won’t break the bank

Printer Type: Inkjet | Features: Print, copy, scan, fax | Display: 2.7-inch color touch screen | Ink/Toner: Four cartridges (black, cyan, magenta, yellow) | Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB 2.0

Affordable

Quick print speeds

Built-in touchscreen

Instant Ink cuts down on operation costs

Just one paper input source

If budget is your biggest concern, check out the HP OfficeJet Pro 8035. This affordable all-in-one printer is perfect for students and small business owners alike, depending on your stationery needs. The OfficeJet Pro has a 225-sheet input tray paired with a 60-sheet output tray, though only one input source means reconfiguring the paper drawer whenever you need to swap out regular paper for checks, envelopes or labels. 

In addition to Wi-Fi connectivity, HP’s Smart App utility lets you manage all HP printers and scanners across any Windows, Mac, Android or iOS machine. According to recent reviews, the OfficeJet Pro 8035 can pump out quality prints in a hurry, which should be first and foremost on your hunt for the best printer. 

(Image credit: HP)8. HP Tango X

High-quality prints in a sleek, portable package

Printer Type: Inkjet | Features: print, copy, scan (via smartphone app) | Display: None | Ink/Toner: Two cartridges (black & tri-color) | Connectivity: Wireless, Wi-Fi Direct

Fast speeds, great print quality

Alexa and Google integration

Reasonably priced

No LCD controls

Higher-than-average ink costs

It usually takes two to tango, but in this case, it just takes the one. HP’s Tango X is about as slick as it gets when it comes to printer designs, but it comes at a price. In order to look this good, the Tango X is completely devoid of controls on the printer itself; all commands are done through your laptop or phone. You won’t find any USB or Ethernet ports on this one, folks. If you’ve already got half of your home hooked up to Alexa or Google Assistant, the Tango X will fit right in. 

While ink cartridge costs are on the higher end, printing quality is quite good, and the Tango X can churn them out in a hurry, too. (11 pages of plain black text per minute, and 8 ppm for color, according to HP.) When you’re done using it, the printer can be tucked away inside the included wrap-around cover — a nice touch for that extra panache your home office was missing.

(Image credit: Brother)9. Brother PocketJet 773

A get-up-and-go printer for the jetsetting crowd

Printer Type: Direct thermal | Features: Print | Display: None | Ink/Toner: N/A (Uses thermal paper) | Connectivity: USB 2.0, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct

Diminutive size

Multiple accessories 

Runs on lithium-ion battery

Limited printing capabilities

Black-and-white printing only

If portability is top-of-mind when it comes to your printing needs, the Brother PocketJet 773 packs a surprising punch, considering its modest size (10 x 2.2 x 1.2 inches and just 1.3 pounds). This on-the-go printer is limited in what it can do — like printing black-and-white prints only — but the tradeoffs net you an incredibly compact printer that you can take just about anywhere. Also, it comes with both a power adapter and battery pack, which is minimalist enough to toss in a backpack.

This is the only printer on our list to feature inkless printing (which may have something to do with the higher price tag), and the technology relies on fewer moving parts. The thermal printing paper is more expensive, sure, but for pure portability in a premium printer, this little Brother is big enough to bully its older siblings. 

(Image credit: Kodak)10. Kodak Smile Instant Printer

An instant pocket printer in the palm of your hand

Printer Type: Mobile photo printer | Features: Print | Display: None | Ink/Toner: ZINK Zero-Ink photo paper | Connectivity: Bluetooth

Extremely compact

Super simple pop-up design

Augmented reality support

Can only hold five photo sheets at a time

Expensive photo paper

In the interest of Ant Man-ing this article, let’s take it down a notch or two. At a miniscule 4.6 x 3.2 x 0.9 inches, the Kodak Smile Instant Printer is even smaller than the Brother PocketJet 773 above, although it’s conversely designed for printing 2 x 3-inch color photos at the drop of a hat (as opposed to just black-and-white prints). Since most of us are tethered to our smart-tech anyway, this is a great option for on-the-go mobile mavericks who still have the itch for physical media. There’s nothing wrong with going analog these days when you can, and the Kodak Smile’s pop-up design is straight-up neat-o. 

Connecting directly to your phone via Bluetooth, the Kodak Smile’s proprietary app handles all the connectivity, allowing you to select, edit and print photos at will; you can print pics instantly from your phone’s camera, or tie them to your social media accounts. The Zink photo paper is more expensive than that used with traditional printers, but the whiz-bang nostalgia factor makes it a solid entry for casual artists, social media folks, and…well, anyone who owns a smartphone.

How to choose the best printer for you

Choosing the right printer is a fairly subjective process; everyone has different printing needs, so the odds of finding a one-printer-fits-all situation are fairly low. For example, someone in the market for a pocket-friendly photo printer is probably going to have different expectations than someone on the lookout for a wide format printer. As you peruse the features list of any given printer, here are some things to look for: 

Size — This is where you should start before making any home office accessories purchase. Some printers were built for extreme mobility, while others were designed for the exact opposite. If space is tight, take some mindful measurements before pulling the trigger on a potentially cumbersome machine.

Inkjet vs. laser — Inkjet printers have broader capabilities when it comes to producing accurate colors, which is best suited for graphics and photo printing. Laser printers are best for speedy text documents, and usually come with a lower cost per page. 

All-in-one vs. anything else — Not every printer is an all-in-one, but the ones that are do a whole lot more than just print. They can scan, copy, fax and email documents in a snap, and are capable of most home office admin chores.

Printing speed — This is measured by “page per minute,” and the PPM for most prints tends to fall between the 15 to 20 range for black-and-white, and 10 to 15 for color. Manufacturers tend to hype these numbers, so take them with a grain of salt until you’ve tested those speeds for yourself.

Print quality — For those who care more about quality over quantity, look for a higher “dots per inch” measurement in the printer specs. The higher the DPI, the better; most printers are capable of at least 300 dpi, but some photo printers are capable of 600 or even 1,200 dpi. 

Ink costs — Do some extra Googling before pulling the trigger on that awesome printer you just found on sale. The upfront costs might be tempting, but if you accidentally purchase a printer with uber-expensive ink cartridges, you might end up spending more in the long run after one too many flyer printouts for your annual company BBQ.  

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