If you're searching for the perfect printer for your home or office, the right choice will depend mostly on your needs and habits. The type of printer that's best for you depends on how many pages you print, how often you print, and the type of media you print. For example, if you're shopping for your small office, features like a high page yield at a cheap cost and an automatic document feeder are good to have. On the other hand, a color printer that produces good-looking photos and is compatible with photo paper is ideal if you want to print pictures.
We've tested over 135 printers, and below are our recommendations for the best you can buy. You can also check our picks for the best home printers, the best all-in-one printers, and the best small business printers.
The best printer we've tested is the Brother MFC-L8905CDW, an all-in-one laser model designed for small and home offices. It produces amazingly sharp and detailed documents, doesn't take long to warm up, and prints quickly at up to 32 pages per minute in either black or color. Its wide array of connectivity options makes it easy to access for anyone in an office or home environment, with Wi-Fi, USB, and Ethernet. The flatbed scanner is large enough to process Legal-size sheets (8.5" x 14"), and there's an automatic feeder with single-pass duplex scanning, letting you quickly scan multi-page and double-sided documents.
This printer yields a large number of prints, around 2900 black and 1400 color pages. The toner cartridges aren't overly expensive, but you'll have to spend extra to replace the drum. Thankfully, you won't have to do that often, with the drum being good for around 30,000 prints. If you want to save money and don't mind compromising on features, you can go with the Brother MFC-L8900CDW variant, which performs identically but has a smaller display. The Brother MFC-L8610CDW variant is another cheaper alternative; it has an 8.5" x 11" flatbed scanner and doesn't support duplex scanning.
Our best upper mid-range pick is the Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw. This color laser all-in-one has all the same features as the Brother above and produces documents that look just as good. Plus, it yields significantly more color prints and is easier to maintain, as its toner cartridges contain the drum, meaning you don't have to replace the drum separately. However, it prints slower at 22 pages per minute, and that's only achievable via a wired USB or Ethernet connection, which is inconvenient if you don't have space near your computer or router to place the printer. Scan speed is also slower but respectable at 14 pages per minute. If you don't need an ADF, duplex scanning, or fax functionality, you can save money with one of its cheaper variants, like the Canon Color imageCLASS MF654Cdw. See our full review for more details.
For black-and-white-only printing, get the Brother MFC-L2750DW. It produces high-quality documents, warms up quickly, and prints up to 36 pages per minute. It doesn't cost much to maintain, as it yields a large number of prints, and replacement toner is cheap, not to mention that there's only one cartridge to replace. You'll have to replace the drum separately; it's usually good for around 12,000 prints. The scanner only processes up to seven pages per minute through the feeder but supports single-pass duplex scanning. The main tradeoff is the lack of color printing, so ensure you won't need to print any color documents. There are less expensive variants without duplex scanning or Ethernet if you want to save more money, and you can also get this printer bundled with high-yield cartridges.
If you want something more modest for home use, we recommend the Brother MFC-J4335DW, one of the best color printers we've tested. This well-built inkjet all-in-one has plenty of features and uses cartridges with a high page yield to help keep your maintenance costs low. You can connect to the printer via USB or Wi-Fi, and it's compatible with Brother's mobile companion app, which you can use to print, scan, copy, and perform maintenance tasks.
It produces high-quality documents, and while it doesn't have the best color accuracy or color range, printed photos still look very sharp and detailed. Printing speed is great; it doesn't take long to initialize and get a single page out, and it prints multi-page documents quickly at 17 black or 15 color pages per minute. Its ADF-equipped scanner scans up to 20 pages per minute but doesn't support duplex scanning, so you'll still have to flip the pages manually when scanning double-sided sheets.
Our best budget printer pick is the Brother MFC-J1205W, also sold as the Brother MFC-J1215W at Walmart. This inkjet all-in-one produces very sharp black and color documents and detailed and reasonably color-accurate photos. It also costs little to maintain as it yields a large number of prints, and the cartridges are relatively cheap. Connectivity options include USB and Wi-Fi, and there's support for Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service. Unfortunately, this model only has a flatbed scanner, so scanning multi-page documents can take a lot of time. Another downside is that it prints slowly at nine black or six color pages per minute and doesn't support automatic duplex printing.
If you want a monochrome laser model in the same price range, get the Brother HL-L2350DW. It produces incredibly sharp documents, prints quickly, and is cheap to maintain. It's also a great choice if you don't print often, as there's no risk of printhead clogging, which happens on inkjet printers left unused for a long time. The tradeoff is that it lacks a scanner, so you must be sure you won't need to digitize anything. The Brother HL-L2325DW variant is a good option, too. It's cheaper but doesn't print as quickly and is harder to find due to low availability.
If you only need to print once in a blue moon, a cheap printer like the Canon PIXMA MG3620 will do. Although it doesn't feel particularly well-built and only has a basic flatbed scanner, it still prints good-quality documents and photos. It takes a little longer than most inkjet printers to initialize and prints only nine black or three color pages per minute, so patience is necessary when printing longer documents. Thankfully, it still offers USB and Wi-Fi connectivity, not to mention Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service support.
Like most printers in its price range, the main drawback is its low page yield. It only has two ink cartridges—one black and one tri-color—and they're only good for around 200 black and color prints. Replacement ink is relatively cheap, so maintenance cost isn't the issue; it's just inconvenient because it requires a lot of maintenance, and you might end up with lots of faded or incomplete prints. Also, since it uses a tri-color cartridge, you have to replace the entire cartridge if a single color runs out.
If you're a photographer who needs high-quality prints, the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 is a great option and is among the best color printers we've tested. This professional-grade photo printer produces incredibly detailed, sharp, and color-accurate photos. It supports borderless printing and paper sizes up to 13" x 19". It uses nine cartridges, including specific photo cartridges that work only on glossy photo paper, so you won't have to worry about depleting the photo ink when printing documents. The downside is that it only yields around 400 color prints, and the cartridges are costly, so the printer can become expensive to maintain if you print a lot. Also, this is a print-only model, meaning it doesn't have a scanner.
If you only print photos casually and want something cheaper, get the Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550. The print quality is very similar to the Canon; it just isn't as color-accurate as it tends to oversaturate the colors. However, it has a scanner and costs less to maintain over time, as its supertank design gives it a much higher yield than the Canon, which uses slightly more conventional cartridges. Like the Canon, it also supports wide format printing up to 13" x 19". If you don't need to print on wide format paper, you can save money with its cheaper variant, the Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8500. It has the same print quality but has a smaller 8.5 x 11.7" flatbed scanner and only supports paper sizes up to 8.5" x 11".
For on-the-go printing, get the HP OfficeJet 250. It's a great option if you travel a lot for work or run a kiosk and need to print out receipts. It has a rechargeable battery that lasts about 225 prints and takes around two hours to fully charge. Despite its compact size, it still manages to pack an ADF scanner with a maximum scanning resolution of 600 DPI, which is more than enough for text documents and photos. It also has an optical character recognition (OCR) feature, allowing you to scan documents into PDFs for quick keyword searches.
Unfortunately, it prints slowly at one page per minute for black and color documents. It's faster when plugged in, but not by much. Also, it can only print 100-150 pages before the ink runs out, meaning you might need to carry a few extra cartridges. The cost per print is okay, though color printing can get expensive if you print a lot. On the upside, you can get XL cartridges that'll last longer, and it also accepts third-party ink, which can be cheaper in the long run.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best overall 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. 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.