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 105 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 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 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, as they're 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-J4335DW. It's an all-in-one inkjet printer that uses the INKvestment Tank, a hybrid cartridge–tank system that yields an amazing number of pages at an incredibly low cost-per-print. While it doesn't yield as many pages as the higher-end Brother MFC-J995DW, it's much easier to find in stock. The J4335DW has a high-resolution flatbed scanner with hinges that can rise to fit thick items under the lid, and there's an automatic document feeder to process multi-page documents. Unfortunately, its ADF can't automatically scan double-sided pages, so you'll have to manually flip over the pages. The printer has a great overall printing speed, and the warm-up time for the first page to come out is especially quick. During our photo printing quality test, photos had a significant amount of banding when printed with the 'Normal' quality setting. That said, printing with the 'High' setting resolved the issue. If you're looking for a more office-oriented printer, the Brother MFC-L2710DW is an excellent monochrome laser model that prints amazingly fast. However, if you want a good family option, the J4335DW should satisfy your needs.
Canon is a Japanese company best known for cameras and lenses, but they also sell projectors, printers, and even MRI machines worldwide. Their printers are aimed at home and office use, and even though they offer mainly inkjet options, they have some laser printers, like the Canon imageCLASS MF743Cdw. Their PIXMA inkjet printers are usually great for home use and print photos with impressive quality, although their color accuracy isn't the best. Their high-end options use supertank ink systems with 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.
The best Canon printer we've tested is the Canon MAXIFY GX7020. This all-in-one inkjet printer is designed for offices that frequently print large quantities. Instead of using disposable cartridges, it has four refillable ink tanks that hold a lot of ink. This system yields an incredible number of pages at an exceptionally low cost-per-print. Both color and black documents come out at a good speed, and even the first page doesn't take too long to print out. The printer has an automatic document feeder that supports duplex scanning, as well as a flatbed scanner with lid hinges that you can lift to scan thicker items, like a textbook or manual. Unfortunately, its photo printing quality and color accuracy are decent at best. If you want an inkjet model that produces better-looking photos, the Canon PIXMA TR8620 is a great option, although it doesn't yield nearly as many pages as the GX7020 since it isn't a supertank printer. That said, if you need a model that can print many pages at a very low cost for your small business, the GX7020 is an incredible choice.
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 popular since its refillable ink tanks yield significantly more pages than ink cartridges, which is also less wasteful.
The best Epson printer we've tested is the Epson EcoTank ET-4760. It uses a supertank system with four refillable high-capacity ink tanks that yield an incredible number of black-and-white and color documents, which results in an exceptionally low cost-per-print. Its scanning features are very good, including a flatbed scanner with a good scan resolution and color depth. However, while it has an automatic document feeder, it can't duplex scan. It has great connectivity options, including Wi-Fi Direct, Apple AirPrint, and Mopria Print Service, but it can't print via Bluetooth or directly off a USB flash drive. Unfortunately, it isn't a good choice for photos despite its good reproduction of details due to its mediocre color accuracy, banding, and flat tone. If you want a similar printer but want to save some money, the Epson EcoTank ET-3760 is a very good alternative, though it lacks a fax feature. That said, it's a great choice and has many different features that should be suitable for many uses.
Hewlett-Packard, better known by the initials HP, is an American company founded in 1939. They began by producing electronic test and measurement equipment, moved onto other technologies 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 laser models today, they've also expanded to make inkjet 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 best HP inkjet printer we've tested is the HP OfficeJet Pro 9025e, the successor to the discontinued HP OfficeJet Pro 9025 that now comes with six free months of HP's Instant Ink subscription. The scanning features are fantastic, with a high-resolution flatbed and an automatic document feeder that supports double-sided scanning. It has outstanding connectivity options, including printing directly off a USB flash drive and support for Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service. The four-cartridge system has a great overall page yield and a remarkable cost-per-print, and printed photos have decent enough color accuracy and photo quality for casual use. However, if you want better overall photo prints, check out the HP ENVY Photo 7855. Unfortunately, like its predecessor, the 9025e's ADF scanner produces tilted scans, and there's no support for Bluetooth printing. Overall, the 9025e has good performance overall which makes it a great option for a variety of uses.
Oct 08, 2021: Replaced the Brother MFC-J995DW with the Brother MFC-J4335DW due to the former's reduced availability. Also replaced the Canon PIXMA G7020 with the newer Canon PIXMA GX7020.
Aug 09, 2021: Added the Brother MFC-L2710DW alongside the Brother MFC-L2750DW as the latter has been difficult to find in stock at a reasonable price at the time of writing. Replaced the Canon PIXMA TR4520 with the Canon PIXMA TR8620, and the Canon imageCLASS MF644Cdw with the Canon imageCLASS MF743Cdw.
Jun 10, 2021: Replaced the HP OfficeJet Pro 9025 with the HP OfficeJet Pro 9025e as the former has been discontinued. Verified availability and accuracy of picks, and updated text for clarity.
Apr 13, 2021: Verified that picks were still available and relevant.
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.