When shopping for a printer, it's difficult not to notice the brand 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 company. That said, each company has its take on the same technologies, and each has its strengths and weaknesses.
We've tested over 130 printers, and below are our recommendations for the best printer brands to buy from. Their position on the list doesn't indicate any ranking; they're listed alphabetically. You can also check out our recommendations for the best printers, the best all-in-one printers, and the best home printers for more options.
Brother is a Japanese company that started 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 printers. Currently, their printers are in two categories: home and business. Most of their home printers are inkjets due to their versatility and lower cost, while their business-oriented printers are mostly laser models, which are better at quickly handling big print jobs. Brother printer cartridges generally last a long time, making them cost-effective options for those who print a lot.
We recommend the Brother MFC-J4335DW, an all-in-one inkjet model, for everyday home use. It produces outstanding-quality documents and prints quickly at 17 black or 15 color pages per minute. It isn't a bad option for photo printing either; while it doesn't have the widest color gamut or the best color accuracy, printed photos still look good and are extremely detailed. The ink cartridges yield a large number of prints and are relatively inexpensive, so you don't have to worry about high maintenance costs. The scanner produces amazing quality scans and processes multi-page documents quickly through its automatic feeder, but it doesn't support automatic double-sided scanning.
If you need something for a small or home office, check out the Brother MFC-L8905CDW, an all-in-one color laser unit. It also produces sharp documents, prints quickly at 32 pages per minute, and has tons of features, including single-pass duplex scanning. The toner cartridges are expensive, and you have to factor in the cost of the drum as well; however, they last a long time, so your running cost will remain low. The downside is that laser printers aren't ideal for photo printing, so it's best to stick with an inkjet model if you need to print photos. See our recommendations for the best Brother printers here.
Canon is a Japanese company that's been in the imaging business for a long time, producing numerous products like cameras, lenses, projectors, and printers. Given their expertise in photography, it isn't surprising that their printers are generally better at printing photos, with their PIXMA line being the most popular. Canon makes a wide range of printers, including inkjet models for general home use, professional photo printers, laser printers for small offices, and even portable ones like the Canon IVY Mini Photo Printer.
Since Canon makes so many types of printers, it's hard to say which is the best, as it depends entirely on your usage. Among the inkjet models, the Canon PIXMA TR8620a stands out as a great option for general home use. It's an all-around good printer that produces crisp, fairly natural-looking photos and sharp, detailed documents. Unfortunately, it just doesn't print very fast and lacks more advanced features like duplex scanning. A set of ink cartridges has sufficient yield for 220 black and 320 color prints, which isn't a whole lot, but thankfully, replacements are pretty cheap.
For small or home offices that require more features, higher page yields, and faster printing speeds, it's best to go with a laser model. We recommend the Canon Color imageCLASS MF753Cdw/MF751Cdw. It produces exceptionally sharp documents, prints quickly, and doesn't require much maintenance. It has wide connectivity options and an ADF-equipped scanner with automatic duplex scanning. If you want to print photos, the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 is the one to get. It isn't cheap, though, and it can get very expensive to maintain if you print a lot. See our recommendations for the best Canon printers here.
Epson, another Japanese electronics company, is 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, short for "Son of Electronic Printers," and since then, they've been a leader in the printing world. 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 the most popular, with models in this lineup having refillable ink tanks with a significantly higher page yield than traditional inkjet printers that use ink cartridges.
The best Epson printer for most people is the Epson EcoTank ET-3850. This supertank model yields thousands of pages from a single set of ink, making it a superb choice for high-volume printing. It produces sharp documents and is decently fast, pushing out 15 black or seven color pages per minute. Printed photos look very detailed and colorful, although they aren't color-accurate, as the printer tends to oversaturate colors to make them look more vibrant and punchy. It has a scanner with an automatic feeder to process multi-page documents quickly, but it doesn't support duplex scanning.
If you need duplex scanning and don't mind paying more, go with the Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850. Its page yield isn't as good as the ET-3850, but it produces higher-quality color documents and photos and prints faster at 25 pages per minute. If you want the best printer for printing photos and posters, then the Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550 would be the best option, as it has a wider color range and produces pictures with less grain. The cheaper Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8500 variant is a good choice, too. It provides the same print quality but only supports up to 8.5" x 11" paper. See our recommendations for the best Epson printers here.
Hewlett-Packard, better known by the initials HP, is an American company founded in 1939. They began by producing electronic test and measurement equipment, then moved on to other technologies like audio oscillators and atomic clocks before expanding their portfolio to include laptops, monitors, and computers. They introduced the first desktop laser printer in 1984 with the HP LaserJet. Although they continue making laser models like the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M479fdw, they've also expanded to make inkjet printers for office solutions. HP makes printers for home or office use and cheap options for students, like the HP DeskJet 3755.
If you're looking for a general-purpose printer for home or office use, we recommend the HP OfficeJet Pro 9025e, an all-in-one inkjet model. It produces incredibly sharp documents and prints quickly at 16 black or 14 color pages per minute. Its scanner has an automatic document feeder that can process up to 10 pages per minute and scan double-sided sheets in a single pass. That said, scan quality isn't class-leading by any means, as it has trouble capturing fine details, so it isn't the best for digitizing graphics and photos. It comes with six months of ink through HP+, HP's ink replenishment subscription service, but know that if you subscribe to it, you can't use third-party cartridges in the future, even if you unsubscribe from the service.
For a small or home office, go with the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M283fdw, a color laser all-in-one. It's just as good as the 9025e in document printing quality, and it prints faster at up to 22 pages per minute. Its toner cartridges are expensive, but they last a long time, and they contain the drum unit, making maintenance easier since you won't need to replace the drum separately. Plus, unlike inkjet printers, you won't have to worry about the printheads clogging if you don't print for an extended period. That said, it's a poor fit for printing photos. See our recommendations for the best HP printers here.
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'd 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 it might be impossible to say exactly which is the best printer company, it's equally important to keep in mind that 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.