When shopping for a printer, it's difficult not to notice the same names popping up. However, a shorter list of companies doesn't make shopping for a new printer any easier since they all make a wide range of options that cater to different needs, making it difficult to determine the overall best printer brands. That said, each company has its take on the same technology, and each has its strengths and weaknesses.
We've tested over 75 printers, and below are our recommendations for the best printer brands to buy from. Their position on the list isn't indicative of any type of ranking; they're merely listed alphabetically. You can also check out our recommendations for the best photo printers, the best all-in-one printers, and the best home printers for other options.
Brother is a Japanese company that started out making sewing machines under the name Yasui Sewing Machine in the early 1900s. The Brother name has been around since 1955, and the company has since expanded its portfolio to include products like typewriters, desktop computers, and of course, printers. Currently, their printers are separated into two categories: home and business. Most of their home printers are inkjet due to their versatility and lower cost, and business-oriented printers are mostly laser, as they're usually better at handling big print jobs quickly. Brother printers have cartridges that generally last a long time, making them cost-effective options for those who print a lot.
The best Brother printer we've tested is the Brother MFC-J995DW. It's an all-in-one inkjet model with a high-resolution flatbed scanner and a sheetfed scanner that can automatically process multi-page documents. It has an outstandingly high page yield for both black and color ink, which keeps its cost-per-print exceptionally low. If you like printing out photos, it produces impressively detailed images, with only some fine banding in shades of gray. Unfortunately, while it has a good variety of connectivity options, it doesn't support Bluetooth, and we couldn't print through the Mopria Print Service app during testing. Also, it can't automatically process double-sided scans, but if you need to scan these often, the Brother MFC-L2750DW can perform duplex scanning. All in all, the J995DW is an excellent inkjet model, and it's the best Brother printer for family use we've tested.
Canon is a Japanese company, and although they're best known for their cameras and lenses, they also sell projectors, printers, and even MRI machines worldwide. Their printers are aimed at both home and office use, and even though they offer mainly inkjet options, they have some laser printers, like the Canon imageCLASS MF644Cdw. Their PIXMA inkjet printers are usually great for home use, and they print photos in impressive quality, although their color accuracy isn't the best. Their high-end options use supertank ink systems that have a high page yield, but as you go further down the lineup towards the more budget-friendly options with cartridges, the page yield tends to be lower. Also, the Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY companion app is excellent and allows you to print different types of files.
The Canon PIXMA G7020 is the best Canon printer we've tested. This all-in-one inkjet model has an outstandingly low cost-per-print thanks to its supertank ink system that yields many pages for both black and color ink cartridges. It has great connectivity options, and it's compatible with the fantastic Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY app from where you can print, scan, copy, and check ink levels with the tap of a finger. Unfortunately, it doesn't support Bluetooth or printing off an external storage device, and its printing speed is disappointingly slow. It prints good-looking and detailed photos, although the colors look a little oversaturated and inaccurate. If this is important for you, the Canon PIXMA TR4520 has better-looking photos with more accurate-looking colors. Overall, Canon has a diverse lineup of printers for different uses, and the G7020 is the best we've tested.
Epson is another Japanese electronics company that's part of the Seiko group. The company started making printers in 1964 when Tokyo hosted the Summer Olympics, and Seiko, the official timekeeper for the games, needed to make an electronic printer for timesheets. By 1975, Seiko came out with the name Epson, which is short for Son of Electronic Printers, and since then, they've been a leader in the world of printing. Their printer lineup features a wide range of models aimed at home or business use, and they even have dedicated photo printers. Their supertank lineup is very popular because instead of using more traditional cartridges, they use refillable ink tanks, which yield an incredibly high page yield and don't cost much to replace. It's also less wasteful because each ink bottle replaces a few cartridges.
The best Epson printer we've tested is the Epson EcoTank ET-4760. This all-in-one inkjet model has four ink tanks that yield an outstanding number of pages, which results in an exceptionally low cost-per-print. Even if you print often, you shouldn't need to refill the tanks often, let alone buy new ink bottles. It offers a great variety of connectivity options, and it's also compatible with the Epson iPrint mobile app where you can print, scan, copy, check ink levels, and perform maintenance tasks. It features a flatbed scanner with high resolution and color depth, as well as a sheetfed scanner that can automatically process large documents. If you want to save some money, the Epson EcoTank ET-3760 is a very good alternative, but it lacks a fax feature. Unfortunately, the ET-4760 isn't ideal for photos since the quality of produced images is only okay, and color accuracy is unremarkable. Also, it doesn't support Bluetooth or printing directly off a USB thumb drive. Nevertheless, it's a versatile option with many different features and should be suitable for most uses.
Hewlett-Packard, better known by the initials HP, is an American company that was founded in 1939. They began by producing electronic test and measurement equipment, moved onto other types of tech like audio oscillators and atomic clocks, and finally expanded their portfolio to include laptops, monitors, and computers. They introduced the first desktop laser printer in 1984 with the HP LaserJet, and although they continue making inkjet models today, they've also expanded to make laser printers for office solutions. HP makes printers for home or office use, and they also make cheap options for students, like the HP DeskJet 3755. The HP companion app, HP Smart, doesn't allow you to print Microsoft Office files like some other companies' apps, but it still allows you to manage your ink subscription and order new cartridges directly from the app.
The best HP inkjet printer we've tested is the HP OfficeJet Pro 9025. It's great for nearly all uses, whether for a small office or home. Its user-friendly design gives you easy access to ink cartridges and paper jams, and its excellent cartridge system lets you print many pages before the black or color ink runs out. The cost-per-print is exceptional, especially for black only documents, but the color document cost rises much faster the more you print. It also has great connectivity options, allowing you to print directly off a USB key, connect via Wi-Fi, or even print to and from your mobile device. Unfortunately, its photo printing quality is only decent, and its color accuracy is mediocre at best. If photo quality and color accuracy matter a lot to you, check out the HP ENVY Photo 7855/7858. Overall, the 9025 is a great option thanks to its versatile features and good performance, and it's among the best HP printers that we've tested.
Feb 12, 2021: Updated text for accuracy and clarity; no change in product picks.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best printer brands and the best printers for most people. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability.
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here's the list of all our printer reviews for these four brands. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no printer is perfect for every use, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.