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The 5 Best Printers For College Students - Spring 2022 Reviews

Best Printers For College Students

If you're a college student looking for a printer, the good news is that there are many choices out there. There are a variety of models that are well suited for producing detailed photos, quickly printing out many black-and-white sheets, or giving you the lowest cost-per-print possible. It's important to choose the printer that's best suited for your needs so that you don't end up spending more on replacement cartridges than the printer itself or too much for an expensive printer you only plan to use a few times a year. It's good to consider the printer's printing speed, connectivity options, and mobile app support. We've included both inkjet and laser options while keeping your budget in mind.

We've tested over 120 printers, and below are the best printers for college students that we recommend. You can also check out our recommendations for the best all-in-one printers, the best home printers, and the best printers under $100.

  1. Best All-In-One Printer For Students: Brother MFC-J4335DW

    The best all-in-one printer for students we've tested is the Brother MFC-J4335DW. This all-in-one unit is the replacement for the Brother MFC-J805DW INKvestment Tank, and, like its predecessor, it uses the INKvestment Tank system for excellent page yields at an outstandingly low cost-per-print.

    The design allows easy access to paper jams, and it feels well-built. It warms up very quickly to print out the first page, and the overall printing speeds are fast. The scanning features include a flatbed with an outstanding scan resolution and an automatic document feeder for multi-page documents, perfect for scanning handwritten notes, sketches, or long articles. It connects wirelessly via Wi-Fi Direct, Apple AirPrint, and Mopria Print Service, or you can use the companion app to print, scan, and copy from your phone.

    Unfortunately, it doesn't support Bluetooth, which might be inconvenient for some. The photos it prints look only okay, with washed-out blacks and plenty of grain throughout the photo. It also takes a long time to print them. Fortunately, colors have decent accuracy, which should be fine for casual. All in all, it's a great all-in-one printer that should fit the needs of any student, and it's also one of the best printers with cheap ink that we've tested.

    See our review

  2. Best Cheap Printer For Students: Brother MFC-J1205W

    If you're on a budget and are looking for a low-cost unit to print out essays or notes for a presentation, the best printer for college students that we've tested is the Brother MFC-J1205W. Despite the low price point, it's an all-in-one unit that offers an exceptionally low cost-per-print for both color and black and white documents.

    It uses the INKvestment Tank system, a hybrid cartridge-tank system that produces high page yields, so you won't have to worry about constantly replacing the ink, even if you print a lot. Its compact size is perfect if you're low on space, and it even has a high-resolution flatbed scanner to digitize notes and course packs. Also, you can connect to it using Apple AirPrint, Mopria Print Service, or Brother's Mobile Connect App, which allows you to perform maintenance tasks and order supplies right from your mobile device.

    Unfortunately, its print speeds are slow overall, so you may be waiting around a while if you print long research articles or courseware. Also, it lacks an automatic document feeder, which could be a dealbreaker if you tend to scan multi-page documents, as you'll have to manually place each page on the flatbed. With that said, it's a fantastic choice if you're looking for a budget-friendly printer.

    See our review

  3. Best Black And White Printer For Students: Brother HL-L2390DW

    If you tend to print out a lot of text documents and don't want to worry about the extra costs of replacing colored ink, the best printer for students that we've tested is the Brother HL-L2390DW. This laser printer prints only in black and white, and its black toner cartridge yields a superb number of pages before needing to be replaced.

    Thanks to the relatively inexpensive cost of the toner cartridge and its high page yield, the cost-per-print is outstanding. It prints very quickly, so there's very little waiting time for long documents. The flatbed scanner can digitize notes, drawings, or print materials with a high resolution, and the lid's hinges raise to about an inch above the scanner to easily fit thick items like textbooks or manuals. Also, you can easily connect to the printer wired with a USB connection to your computer or wirelessly using Apple AirPrint, Mopria Print Service, or Brother's iPrint&Scan app.

    Unfortunately, you have to replace the toner and drum separately, which could add on an additional expense. However, Brother claims the drum unit lasts for up to 12,000 pages, so you won't have to replace it often. Also, it's a bit tall for a printer, so it's not great if you're short on space or need a more compact size. With that said, it's a very good option if you tend to print many documents and don't need color.

    See our review

  4. Best Photo Printer For Students: Canon PIXMA TR4720

    The best printer for students for printing photos that we've tested is the Canon PIXMA TR4720. It's a budget-priced all-in-one designed for home office use. It prints excellent-looking photos with vibrant, accurate-looking colors that you wouldn't feel uncomfortable framing or putting onto a photo wall.

    Because it's marketed as a home office printer, it has a decent array of scanner features, including a high-resolution scanner, an ADF, and built-in OCR. It means that you can also use it to scan a variety of documents, like handwritten notes or copies of textbook pages, and save them as searchable PDFs so you can easily search for keywords or phrases. Also, you can easily print from your phone or tablet thanks to its support for Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service.

    Sadly, it has awful black and color page yields, a poor overall cost-per-print, and very slow print speeds. It's best to watch how often you print to make sure you don't end up paying the cost of the printer in replacement cartridges, and you'll likely want to put aside time waiting for your assignments to print. The Canon PIXMA TR4520 is the older version which performs a bit better, but it's discontinued and difficult to find at a good price. The TR4720's high-quality photos make it an excellent choice for students in photography or graphic design, especially at its price point.

    See our review

  5. Best High-Volume Printer For Students: Epson EcoTank ET-2850

    The best high-volume printer for students we've tested is the Epson EcoTank ET-2850. It replaces the discontinued Epson EcoTank ET-2760, and it features fantastic black and color page yields at an outstandingly low cost-per-print. It makes it a great choice if you have lots of projects or need to make hard copies of assignments or textbook pages.

    It prints very good-looking photos, making it handy for printing colored flyers in bulk for clubs or organizations. There's also a high-resolution flatbed scanner with software-based OCR, allowing you to save physical copies as searchable documents that you can easily search through for keywords or important passages. Its support for Wi-Fi, Apple AirPrint, and Mopria Print Service means it's easy to print from a variety of devices.

    Unfortunately, it prints at a mediocre speed overall, taking a minute to print a typical essay and more for longer research papers. It also feels a bit cheap and flimsy, so it's best not to move it around too often, especially since it uses refillable ink tanks. That said, it's a great option for students who need to print in high volumes, thanks to its superb cost-per-print and outstanding page yields.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3820: The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3820 is an all-in-one inkjet that's very good for student use. It has both a flatbed and ADF, and it produces decent-quality photos; however, its page yields, cost-per-print, and print speeds aren't nearly as good as the Brother MFC-J4335DW. See our review
  • Canon imageCLASS MF743Cdw: The Canon imageCLASS MF743Cdw is an excellent color laser printer with various features suitable for a student. However, it's expensive and is better suited as a small or home office printer. See our review
  • Canon imageCLASS MF445dw: The Canon imageCLASS MF445dw is a good black and white laser printer with an incredible black page yield. However, it's more expensive than the Brother HL-L2390DW, and its flatbed scanner resolution is worse. See our review
  • Canon PIXMA MG3620: The Canon PIXMA MG3620 is a cheaply priced all-in-one inkjet with a good amount of features. However, its page yields and cost-per-print aren't nearly as good as the Brother MFC-J1205W, making it more expensive in the long run, and since it doesn't have Wi-Fi Direct, it's difficult to print from your laptop if you don't have your own router. See our review
  • HP DeskJet 3755: The HP DeskJet 3755 is a very cheap and compact printer that prints better-looking photos with significantly more accurate colors than the Brother MFC-J1205W, but its page yields and cost-per-print are far worse. See our review
  • Canon PIXMA TR4520: The Canon PIXMA TR4520 was replaced by the Canon PIXMA TR4720 and is more difficult to find at a fair price at retailers. However, the TR4520 has a better color page yield, and it prints photos more cheaply. See our review
  • Epson EcoTank ET-2760: The Epson EcoTank ET-2760 was replaced by the Epson EcoTank ET-2850 and is more difficult to find at a fair price at retailers. The ET-2760 yields far more color pages, and it has an SD card slot for printing files, but it prints worse-looking photos than the ET-2850. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Apr 06, 2022: Made the Epson EcoTank ET-2850 'Best High-Volume', and the Canon PIXMA TR4720 'Best Photo'. Moved the Epson EcoTank ET-2760 and the Canon PIXMA TR4520 to Notable Mentions. Refreshed picks for Notable Mentions to line up better with newer models and availability. Verified availability and accuracy of picks.

  2. Feb 03, 2022: Text updated for clarity and accuracy; no changes to picks.

  3. Dec 07, 2021: Moved the Epson EcoTank ET-2760 from 'Alternative With Supertank' to 'Best Supertank Printer For Students.' Removed the Brother HL-L2370DW due to lack of relevance.

  4. Oct 08, 2021: Made the Brother MFC-J4335DW 'Best All-In-One', replacing the Epson EcoTank ET-3820. Added the Canon PIXMA TR4720 to Notable Mentions. Verified accuracy and availability of picks, and updated text for clarity.

  5. Aug 10, 2021: Made the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3820 'Best All-In-One', and the Canon PIXMA TR4520 'Best Photo', as the Brother MFC-J805DW INKvestment Tank and the Canon PIXMA TS6320 are difficult to find in stock at a reasonable price. Made the Brother MFC-J1205W 'Best Cheap' as it has much better page yields than the HP DeskJet 3755. Moved the Brother MFC-J805DW INKvestment Tank, the Canon PIXMA TS6320, and the HP DeskJet 3755 to Notable Mentions.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best printers for most college students. 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. 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.