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HP DeskJet 4255e/4252e Printer Review

Tested using Methodology v1.2
Reviewed Jun 18, 2024 at 09:32 am
Latest change: Writing modified Jul 04, 2024 at 11:34 am
HP DeskJet 4255e/4252e Picture
5.6
Family
4.9
Small/Home Office
5.5
Student
5.0
Black & White
5.6
Photo
4.8
Color Quality
6.0
Document Quality
6.5
Scanner
5.0
Speed

The HP DeskJet 4255e/4252e is a budget all-in-one inkjet printer. It replaces the HP DeskJet 4155e, and like its predecessor, it's an HP+ model that comes with three months of free ink via HP Instant Ink, HP's ink replenishment service. It uses HP 67 ink cartridges and is compatible with the high-yield 67XL versions as well. Connectivity options include USB and Wi-Fi, and there's support for Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service. It has an ADF-equipped scanner with no fax functionality and only supports manual duplex printing.

This printer is part of the HP DeskJet 4200e series of all-in-ones. All of the variants in this series are identical in performance, but the model number changes slightly depending on the region and retailer. See more details in the Differences Between Variants section.

Our Verdict

5.6 Family

The HP DeskJet 4255e is sup-par for family use. Its page yield is low, resulting in a high cost per print. Moreover, if you print frequently, you can expect to buy and change cartridges regularly, resulting in high operating costs. As for print quality, color documents look decent, but black and white documents are mediocre; text looks sharp enough, but images or visual elements like graphs look fuzzy. Photos also don't look great, as a narrow color gamut and poor color accuracy give them an overly cool appearance. Scan quality is similarly unimpressive as the image processing removes fine details, but it does have an ADF, which makes scanning longer documents convenient. As a positive, there are plenty of wired and wireless connectivity options, which makes accessing this printer easy for the whole family.

Pros
  • Prints decent looking color documents.
  • ADF-equipped scanner.
  • Wired and wireless connectivity options.
Cons
  • Low page yield, high cost-per-print.
  • Slow printing speed.
  • Narrow color range, poor color accuracy.
  • Printing pattern is visible.
  • High levels of expected maintenance.
4.9 Small/Home Office

The HP DeskJet 4255e is bad for small or home office use. While this printer comes with an ADF for scanning multipage documents, it's slow, and the scan quality isn't great. Print speeds are slow as well, pushing just eight black and five color pages per minute. Print quality is decent for color documents, but black & white documents appear mediocre as any charts or graphs come out fuzzy. Moreover, you can expect to frequently change the ink cartridges or add paper to the paper tray if you print regularly, as cartridges have low page yields and the paper tray only holds 60 sheets. The low page yield also makes running costs add up quickly. As a positive, there are wired and wireless connectivity options, which makes printing convenient.

Pros
  • Prints decent looking color documents.
  • ADF-equipped scanner.
  • Wired and wireless connectivity options.
Cons
  • Low page yield, high cost-per-print.
  • Slow printing speed.
  • Printing pattern is visible.
  • High levels of expected maintenance.
  • Sub-par build quality.
5.5 Student

The HP 4255e is middling for student use. While start-up costs are low, the cost-per-print is high; you can expect to buy replacement ink cartridges frequently if you print regularly for classes. Printing speeds are slow at just eight black pages and five color pages per minute, so it's best not to wait till the last minute to print term papers or important lab reports, and print quality is decent at best, as charts and graphs aren't particularly clear when printing in black & white. But you can print over Wi-Fi or with a wired connection, and there's support for Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print services to print from mobile devices.

Pros
  • Prints decent looking color documents.
  • ADF-equipped scanner.
  • Wired and wireless connectivity options.
Cons
  • Low page yield, high cost-per-print.
  • Slow printing speed.
  • Printing pattern is visible.
  • High levels of expected maintenance.
5.0 Black & White

The HP DeskJet 4255e is poor for black & white printing. Cost-per-print is high, as black ink cartridges have a low page yield. You can expect to change the ink cartridges regularly if you need to print frequently. Black & white documents look mediocre; while text is clear and easy to read, other graphics or charts lack detail and look fuzzy. Moreover, printing speeds are slow, and it takes a while for the first page to print. If you want to perform duplex printing, you will need to manually flip the pages.

Pros
  • Prints decent looking color documents.
Cons
  • Low page yield, high cost-per-print.
  • Slow printing speed.
  • Printing pattern is visible.
  • Manual duplex printing only.
5.6 Photo

The HP 4255e produces disappointing photos. This printer has a narrow color gamut and poor color accuracy; in practice, skin tones appear unnatural, and colors are noticeably different from the originals, giving photos a poor appearance overall. There's a wide range of photo printing sizes, but know that photos print with larger borders. Finally, the cost per print is very high with this printer.

Pros
  • Prints decent looking color documents.
Cons
  • Slow printing speed.
  • Narrow color range, poor color accuracy.
  • Printing pattern is visible.
4.8 Color Quality

Pros
  • Prints decent looking color documents.
Cons
  • Slow printing speed.
  • Printing pattern is visible.
6.0 Document Quality

Pros
  • Prints decent looking color documents.
Cons
  • Slow printing speed.
  • Printing pattern is visible.
6.5 Scanner

Pros
  • Prints decent looking color documents.
Cons
  • Slow printing speed.
  • Printing pattern is visible.
5.0 Speed

Pros
  • Prints decent looking color documents.
Cons
  • Slow printing speed.
  • Printing pattern is visible.
3.6 Recurring Costs

Pros
  • Prints decent looking color documents.
Cons
  • Slow printing speed.
  • Printing pattern is visible.
  • 5.6 Family
  • 4.9 Small/Home Office
  • 5.5 Student
  • 5.0 Black & White
  • 5.6 Photo

Performance Usages

  • 4.8 Color Quality
  • 6.0 Document Quality
  • 6.5 Scanner
  • 5.0 Speed
  • 3.6 Recurring Costs
  1. Updated Jul 04, 2024: Added mention of the Canon PIXMA TS3720/TS3722 as an alternative with better color accuracy in the Color Accuracy section.
  2. Updated Jun 18, 2024: Review published.
  3. Updated Jun 12, 2024: Early access published.
  4. Updated Jun 11, 2024: Our testers have started testing this product.
  5. Updated May 27, 2024: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  6. Updated May 09, 2024: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the HP DeskJet 4255e. The HP DeskJet 4200e printer series includes many variants, which you can see in the table below. All variants have the same features and advertised performance; the model number changes depending on the region, retailer, and color of the printer.

Model Region/Retailer Product Number
DeskJet 4210e Asia and Europe 588S0B (white)
DeskJet 4220e Asia and Europe 588K6A (white, Asia); 588K4B (grey, Europe)
DeskJet 4222e Europe 60K29B (light blue)
Deskjet 4223e Hong Kong 60K40A (light blue)
DeskJet 4230e Europe 60K30B (dark blue)
DeskJet 4252e Asia & North America 60K44A (white)
DeskJet 4255e North America 588S6A (white)
DeskJet 4258e North America - Sam's Club 60K45A (grey)
DeskJet 4275e Taiwan 6W7F8A (grey)

See our unit's label here.

Compared To Other Printers

The HP DeskJet 4255e/4252e is a poor offering, even in the budget all-in-one inkjet printer category. With its low page yield, high cost per print, slow printing speeds, and generally mediocre print quality, there are much better options. In this regard, the HP is only suitable if you want to spend as little as possible to print once in a blue moon.

See our recommendations for the best inkjet printers, the best home printers, and the best printers under $100.

HP DeskJet 4155e [4133e, 4152e, 4158e]​

The HP Deskjet 4255e/4252e is the newer version of the HP DeskJet 4155e. They're almost identical printers, although the new version performs slightly worse overall as its cartridges yield fewer prints. Moreover, HP has removed the ability to produce text-searchable PDFs from scanned documents on the newer version, which is a shame. Both printers come with a free ink supply through HP+, HP's ink subscription service.

Canon PIXMA TS3720/TS3722

The HP DeskJet 4255e/4252e and the Canon PIXMA TS3720/TS3722 are similar budget all-in-one inkjet printers. While neither printer performs particularly well overall, the Canon is the better choice for photo printing. Photos look better with the Canon, with vibrant colors that, although visibly different than the original, still look pleasant and are fairly accurate. By contrast, if you scan a lot, then the ADF-equipped scanner on the HP gives it an advantage. Scans don't look great on either printer, though, as the image processing on both removes almost all fine details and background elements.

HP ENVY 6055e

The HP ENVY 6055e is slightly better overall than the HP 4255e/4252e. It prints faster, supports automatic duplex and borderless printing, produces better photos, and has a somewhat lower cost per print. The DeskJet 4255e has an automatic document feeder, which the ENVY 6055e lacks, but it's slow, as it only scans three pages per minute.

Brother MFC-J1205W/MFC-J1215W

The Brother MFC-J1205DW is vastly superior to the HP DeskJet 4255e/4252e. It yields more than ten times the number of prints, produces much nicer-looking documents and photos, and has better scan quality. While it's more expensive up front, the lower running costs make the Brother much more affordable over time if you have a high print load. But the HP has an ADF-equipped scanner, a feature that's missing on the Brother. You can load up to 35 pages at a time, making scanning multi-page documents much easier.

Brother MFC-J1010DW

While both the Brother MFC-J1010DW and HP DeskJet 4255e/4252e are budget all-in-one inkjet printers, the Brother is much better in almost every way. Its four-cartridge system yields much more prints, prints much nicer-looking documents and photos, and has much more robust build quality. The only advantage the HP offers is its ADF-equipped scanner; this is convenient for scanning multi-page documents, as you can load up to 35 pages at a time. Just know the scan quality of the Brother is superior.

+ Show more

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
5.0
Design
Build Quality
Type All in One

The build quality of the HP DeskJet 4255e/4252e is poor. Though the plastic body feels solid, and the power cord is removable (making it easy to replace if it gets damaged), the way the scanner lid connects to the printer feels fragile. If you apply any pressure with the lid open, the plastic on the back of the printer body lifts. Also, the scanner hinges aren't height adjustable, so you can't easily scan thicker documents without putting pressure on the hinges.

Design-wise, it's difficult to access the internals as there's only a small opening in the front. The lack of space may particularly be an issue for anyone with larger hands, as the front opening is the only access you have for replacing ink cartridges (which you will need to do frequently if you print with any regularity) or for dealing with paper jams. Also, the printer must be on to access the ink cartridges. There's only a rear paper feeder with a small 60-page capacity, so you will need to add sheets often. Finally, there's no menu on the printer itself; if you need to access the settings or perform maintenance tasks, using your PC or mobile device is your only option.

Design
Dimensions
Height 7.8" (19.9 cm)
Width 18.1" (46.0 cm)
Depth 13.1" (33.2 cm)
Height When In Use
10.3" (26.1 cm)
Width When In Use
16.9" (43.0 cm)
Depth When In Use
22.8" (57.9 cm)
Weight
10.6 lbs (4.8 kg)
5.5
Design
Expected Maintenance
Ink Related Maintenance
Expected
Drum Unit
No Drum Unit

The HP 4255e requires frequent maintenance. Most of the maintenance involves changing the ink cartridges, which have a very low yield and will need frequent replacement. Accessing the ink cartridges is rather difficult, as you can only get to them via a narrow front door. Similarly, you can only access the sheet rollers via the same narrow door on the front, with no other access anywhere on the printer. You'll have to refill the paper tray often since it only holds 60 sheets. Beyond this, as an inkjet printer, there's a risk of clogging if the printer sits unused for extended periods of time. If you experience clogging or other print quality issues, there are a few maintenance functions that can help resolve them, like printhead cleaning, printhead alignment, and smear cleaning.

See the user manual here.

3.0
Design
Display Screen
Display Screen Yes
Display Screen Size
1.4" (3.6 cm)
Touchscreen No

The HP 4255e has a bad display. It's a small LCD with seven physical buttons for managing printer functions. There are also two ink alert lights to indicate low ink levels or cartridge problems. There's no tilt or swivel adjustment for the display, and viewing angles are poor as you need to stand directly over the display to view it clearly.

2.4
Design
Cartridge
Technology Inkjet
SuperTank
No
Photo Cartridge
No
Color Yes
Number Of Color Cartridges
1
Black Cartridge Model
HP 67 Black
Tested Black Page Yield
4.75 prints
Estimated Black Page Yield
90 prints
Color Cartridge Model
HP 67 Tri-Color
Tested Color Page Yield
2.27 prints
Estimated Color Page Yield
52 prints
Third Party Cartridge
Purchased One Worked
Ink Type
Dye And Pigment
High Yield Cartridge
Yes

The HP DeskJet 4255e has an awful ink cartridge system. Both the black and color page yields are low, so you need to replace the cartridges very frequently, even if you have moderate print loads. Also, since this printer uses a tri-color cartridge, you need to replace the whole cartridge even when one color runs out. You can increase the yield slightly with high-yield cartridges (67XL) to around 240 black and 200 color prints, but it still won't match other budget all-in-one printers with a better cartridge system. There's an LED light that illuminates when ink is low, and you also receive a message on your computer or mobile device.

While you can use third-party cartridges with this printer, this is only the case if you don't subscribe to HP's ink subscription service, HP Instant Ink. Once you enroll in Instant Ink, the printer receives continuous firmware updates, blocking third-party cartridge use; as a result, you also need to have a constant internet connection to use the printer.

7.0
Design
Scanner Features
Scanner
ADF + Flatbed
ADF Capacity
35 pages
Scan Speed
3 PPM
Duplex Scanning
No
Max Flatbed Scan Size
8.5" x 11"
Max ADF Scan Size
8.5" x 14"
Flatbed Hinge Adjustability
0.00" (0 mm)
Fax
No
Copy
Yes
OCR Included
Third Party Only

Unlike its predecessor, the HP DeskJet 4155e, you can't save a scan on the HP 4255e as a text-searchable PDF directly from the printer or app.

6.0
Design
Scan Quality
Max Scan Resolution
1,200 DPI
Max Scan Color Depth
24Bit

The scan quality is mediocre. While text and larger images are clear, the colors are overexposed. Moreover, the image processing removes almost all fine details and background elements, resulting in scans appearing noticeably different from their source materials. Using the Photo preset restores some of these elements, but they're still quite faint, and using the ADF doesn't improve the quality but introduces the risk of crooked scans.

Design
In The Box

  • Documentation
  • Power cable
  • Set of HP 67 starter cartridges
    • 1x Black
    • 1x Tri-Color

Design
Battery
Advertised Battery Life
N/A
Tested Charging Time
N/A
Document
6.0
Document
Black & White Documents
Color Ink Needed For Black & White
No

This printer produces mediocre black-and-white documents. While text is relatively clear, the print quality is quite fuzzy, and you can visibly see the direction of the printhead on the page; this results in bars or graphics looking like a freshly mowed lawn. Printing in high quality alleviates some of the issues. You can also print in high-quality grayscale if you run out of black ink.

7.0
Document
Color Documents

This printer produces decent-quality color documents. The text is clear and easy to read, but fine details appear faint.

3.6
Document
Cost-Per-Print
Black Cartridge Price
17.99 US$
Color Cartridge Price
18.99 US$
Black-Only Printing Cost
0.200 US$/print
Color Printing Cost
0.365 US$/print
Photo Printing Cost
0.863 US$/print
Ink Subscription
Optional

This printer has a bad cost per print. Each cartridge has a low page yield, so you'll have to change them frequently. There are three months of ink included with the printer through HP's subscription service, HP Instant Ink. However, once you use this service, you can no longer use cartridges from third-party manufacturers. If you need to print more than once in a blue moon, you can find other printers in the budget all-in-one printer category with much lower operating costs, like the Brother MFC-J1205W/MFC-J1215W.

5.0
Document
Printing Speed
Black Only Text Document
8 PPM
Color Document
3 PPM
Photo Printing Time
59.4 s
Single Page Out Time (Black Only)
14.2 s
Duplex Printing
Manual
Input Tray Capacity
60 pages

When duplex printing, the printer completes all pages on one side first and then sends a prompt instructing you how to reinsert the paper to complete printing the other side. Finally, the output tray has a 25-sheet capacity.

Document
Document Printing Sizes
Letter (8.5" x 11") Yes
Legal (8.5" x 14") Yes
Tabloid (11" x 17") No
A6 (105mm x 148mm) Yes
A5 (148mm x 210mm) Yes
A4 (210mm x 297mm) Yes
Max Paper Weight
300 g/m²

You can print custom sizes from 3.5" x 5" (88.9mm x 127mm) to 8.5" x 14" (215.9mm x 355.6mm).

Photo
5.5
Photo
Color Gamut

This printer has a poor, narrow color gamut, which results in a significant loss of fine details; for example, the feathers in the parrot photo appear indistinguishable. There's also visible graining and banding in the transitions from one color to another.

4.1
Photo
Color Accuracy
Average Color dE
11.13

This printer has bad color accuracy. Printed colors appear noticeably different from their original, and the temperature is overly cool, making skin tones appear unnatural. While you may be content to print a photo now and again, anyone needing a printer for professional photo printing should look elsewhere. Consider the Canon PIXMA TS3720/TS3722 if you want a cheaper printer with better color accuracy.

6.5
Photo
Small Details
Max Print Resolution (DPI)
1200 x 1200

This printer is decent at reproducing small details. Fine elements are clear enough in the foreground, but the printing pattern produces a textured appearance that significantly obscures background elements.

7.0
Photo
Photo Printing Sizes
Glossy Paper (4" x 6") Yes
Glossy Paper (5" x 7") Yes
Glossy Paper (8" x 10") Yes
Glossy Paper (8.5" x 11") Yes
Glossy Paper (13" x 19") No
Borderless Printing
No
Mobile App And Connectivity
7.0
Mobile App And Connectivity
Connectivity
Ethernet
No
USB Input To Computer
Yes
Wireless Yes
Bluetooth
No
Wi-Fi via Router
Yes
Wi-Fi Direct
Yes
External Storage Support
No
Apple AirPrint
Yes
Mopria Print Service
Yes
10
Mobile App And Connectivity
Mobile App
Mobile App Yes
App Name HP Smart
iOS Yes
Android Yes
Photo (JPEG, PNG)
Android and iOS
PDF
Android and iOS
Microsoft Office Files
iOS Only
Text Files (TXT)
iOS Only
Webpages (HTML)
iOS Only

This printer is compatible with the HP Smart app. You can use this app to order ink or manage your ink subscription, access 'printables' (templates for crafts, calendars, etc.), send mobile faxes (with a paid HP+ subscription), scan documents with the camera on your device, initiate scans, and run various maintenance tasks. However, you can only print Microsoft Office, TXT, and HTML files directly from the iOS version of the app.

Mobile App And Connectivity
OS Compatibility
Windows Fully
macOS Fully
Chrome OS Fully

While you need to install drivers on Windows devices to use the printer, you can print without drivers on both macOS and Chrome OS. On macOS, you need to install drivers if you want to scan, whereas you can scan without drivers on Chrome OS. The HP Smart App is available on Chrome OS with the same compatibility as if you were using an Android device.

You can get the drivers here.