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The 6 Best Printers For College Students - Summer 2024 Reviews

Updated Jun 20, 2024 at 02:52 pm
Best Printers For College Students

If you're a college student looking for a printer, there are many excellent options to choose from. You can find a variety of models 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 spend 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. To cover all your bases, we've included both inkjet and laser options while keeping your budget in mind.

We've tested over 145 printers, and below are the best printers for college students you can buy. 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 Printer For College Students

    The best printer for college students we've tested is the HP OfficeJet Pro 9135e. This all-in-one inkjet model has nearly everything you would need to get through your college years. It has Wi-Fi, USB, and Ethernet connectivity, as well as support for Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service, so you can easily connect to the printer on whatever device is most convenient for you. The scanner produces decent scans, and there's an automatic document feeder to process long, multi-page documents. Scanning via the ADF is a little slow, though, as it can only process up to six pages per minute. The scanner's lid hinges are extendable to accommodate thicker items like textbooks.

    Printing-wise, this model produces amazingly sharp documents. It prints quickly at up to 23 black or 15 color pages per minute and supports automatic double-sided printing. With a paper capacity of 500 sheets, you likely won't need to refill the input tray unless you have a large print load. This printer yields a large number of prints, and the ink cartridges are relatively cheap, so you won't have to spend much on replacement ink. It also comes with three months of ink via HP's ink replenishment service; however, if you accept the offer, you can't use cheaper third-party ink in the future. Also, the printer must remain connected to the internet to function.

    If you're a teacher and need to print in bulk for your students, get the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 instead, the best printer for teachers we've tested. Its ink tank yields significantly more prints (over five times more), and its replacement ink is inexpensive, making it easier and cheaper to maintain. However, there are a couple of tradeoffs, like its slower printing speeds and the lack of duplex scanning.

    See our review

  2. Best Mid-Range Printer For College Students

    If you have simpler needs and want a more modest mid-range model, the Brother MFC-J4335DW is one of the best printers for students we've tested. It produces nice documents and photos, doesn't take long to wake from sleep, and prints quickly at 17 black or 15 color pages per minute. Its cost of ownership is very low, as it yields a large number of prints, and replacement cartridges aren't expensive. The scanner has extendable lid hinges and processes up to 20 pages per minute through the feeder; however, it doesn't support automatic double-sided scanning like our top pick, the HP OfficeJet Pro 9135e.

    Connectivity options include Wi-Fi and USB, and support for Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service is present. It works with Brother's Mobile Connect app, which you can use to print, scan, copy, and perform maintenance tasks from your smartphone. This model's input tray holds 150 sheets of paper, which is likely big enough that you wouldn't need to refill it regularly. If you have a larger print load, you can get the slightly more costly Brother MFC-L4535DW variant, which has an additional 250-sheet tray for a total capacity of 400 sheets. It also has a larger control panel and more connectivity options, including an Ethernet port and NFC support.

    See our review

  3. Best Budget Printer For College Students

    For those on a limited budget, go with the Brother MFC-J1205W, also sold as the Brother MFC-J1215W at Walmart. Its compact size is perfect for tight spaces, and the printer feels impressively well-built. It has a high-resolution flatbed scanner to digitize notes and class handouts, as well as USB and Wi-Fi connectivity. It's also compatible with the Brother Mobile Connect app, which you can use to perform maintenance tasks and order supplies from your mobile device.

    You can print over 1,000 black or 750 color pages before the ink cartridges run low, and the cartridges are cheap, so the maintenance costs remain low even if you print a lot. It prints up to nine black or six color pages per minute, which is a little slow, so you may wait around a while if you print long research articles or papers. That said, it's still a fantastic choice if you're looking for a budget-friendly printer.

    See our review

  4. Best Cheap Printer For College Students

    Prime Day Deal: The Canon PIXMA MG3620 has dropped in price by $20 at Amazon.com.

    If you need something cheap to simply get the job done for those occasional projects, the Canon PIXMA MG3620 is your best option. Its build quality isn't that sturdy as it's made from cheap plastic, and it lacks some nice-to-have features like an automatic document feeder. But it does what it's supposed to do and prints good-quality documents and photos. It is a little slow, but this is to be expected at this price point, pushing out only nine black and three color pages per minute.

    The main drawback of a cheap model like this is its low page yield and potentially high ownership costs. It only yields about 200 black or color prints, meaning you'll have to replace them often, and since it uses a tri-color cartridge, you'll have to replace the entire cartridge even if just a single color runs out. The cartridges aren't expensive, but your maintenance cost will still add up quickly if you print a lot. This printer is only a good option if you print occasionally. Otherwise, you're better off with the more expensive Brother MFC-J1205W because you'll likely save money in the long run.

    See our review

  5. Best Monochrome Printer For College Students

    If you only need to print black-and-white documents, get the Brother MFC-L2750DW. It has Wi-Fi, USB, and Ethernet connectivity and supports Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service. This all-in-one model also features an ADF capable of single-pass, double-sided scanning at up to seven pages a minute; while scans look a bit faint, they are exceptionally clear and detailed. Print quality is also outstanding, and the prints come out at an amazing pace, up to 36 pages per minute.

    The standard-format toner cartridge yields around 2,000 prints, and XL-format cartridges are available to further increase the yield. You need to replace the drum separately, but you likely won't need to do it often, as it's usually good for about 12,000 prints. Cheaper variants exist, like the Brother MFC-L2710DW, which lacks duplex scanning and prints a little slower at 32 pages per minute. See our full review for more details.

    See our review

  6. Best Budget Monochrome Printer For College Students

    Our budget monochrome pick is the Brother HL-L2460DW. This print-only model feels well-built and sports all the common connectivity options like USB, Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Direct, and Ethernet. It prints quickly at up to 34 pages per minute, supports automatic duplex printing, and costs little to maintain, thanks to its high page yield and cheap replacement toner. It's also fairly compact, so it fits nicely into a dorm room or small office space. The main drawback in terms of features is the lack of a scanner, so you have to be sure you won't need to scan anything when choosing this model.

    There's one important difference between this version and previous generation Brother printers at this print point: out of the box, the printing quality isn't up to par with what you would expect from a Brother laser printer. However, you can still produce sharp-looking documents by changing the printer's settings—it just takes some work. There are cheaper variants if you want to save some money, like the HL-L2400D, which prints marginally slower at 32 pages a minute and only offers USB connectivity. See our review for more details.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw/MF654Cdw: If you need color printing but want all the benefits of a laser printer, then the Canon imageCLASS MF656Cdw is a good alternative to the Brother MFC-L2750DW. It offers the same features, including a faster ADF capable of single-pass duplex scanning. However, the printer itself is slightly more expensive, and naturally, you'll have to spend more on toner since there are more cartridges to replace than a monochrome model. See our review
  • Canon PIXMA TR8620a: For anyone who mainly prints photos, the Canon PIXMA TR8620a is a good mid-range alternative to the Brother MFC-J4335DW. It produces higher-quality pictures with a wider range of colors and better accuracy; however, it's slightly more expensive, and its ink cartridges yield far fewer prints, only around 200 black and 300 color prints. See our review
  • Brother MFC-L2820DW [DCP-L2640DW, HL-L2480DW]: The Brother MFC-L2820DW is a cheaper alternative to the Brother MFC-L2750DW for anyone who wants to maintain the convenience of an all-in-one model but only needs to print in black and white. It produces incredibly sharp documents but doesn't yield as many prints, and its toner cartridge costs more, resulting in a slightly higher cost-per-print. The MFC-L2820DW also lacks duplex scanning, though you can get a variant that supports it. See our full review for more details. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jun 20, 2024: Due to availability, we've replaced the Brother HL-L2350DW with the Brother HL-L2460DW and removed the HP DeskJet 3755/3772 from the Notable Mentions. We've also updated the text for clarity and accuracy.

  2. Mar 26, 2024: Replaced the HP OfficeJet Pro 9025e with the HP OfficeJet Pro 9135e because the 9025e is discontinued and harder to find. Added the Brother MFC-L2820DW as a Notable Mention.

  3. Jan 26, 2024: We've verified that all picks are valid and available. Our recommendations remain the same.

  4. Nov 28, 2023: Minor text changes to improve clarity. No change in recommendations.

  5. Oct 02, 2023: Small text changes to improve clarity. Added the Canon imageCLASS MF656Cdw and the Canon PIXMA G3270 as Notable Mentions. No change in recommendations.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best printers for college students. In addition to the test results, 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.