We’ve looked at a lot of printers over the past few months. Most have been selected based on their usefulness in traditional workspaces and home offices. This time, however, we decided to take a look at printers most appropriate for home use, whether working from home or for fun, crafting, school, or general household operations.
We’re trying a new approach. Rather than work from data and experience gathered by our editorial team, we’re going to tap into the crowd. For each of the three categories (inkjet, photo, and laser printer), we’re going to list the top three printers based on Amazon reviews. The way we’re doing this is by multiplying the number of reviews by the number of stars, to give a sentiment rating.
This process tends to self-select slightly older models that have been around long enough to accrue a great many reviews. But since you want a solid machine that will last, this approach is a great way to pick reliable, rugged contenders.
The top three actively sold printers with excellent sentiment ratings in each category are shown below.
Since we last updated this guide, we’ve had a reversal of sorts. Last time, most sentiment leaders were HP machines, but the top slot was held by a Canon printer. This time, the very top score was held by an HP printer, with Canon and Epson devices following right behind:
Epson EcoTank ET-2760 Wireless Color All-in-One
We’re going up in price, but we’re getting away from cartridges. The EcoTank printer comes with ink tanks that you refill from bottled ink. Epson estimates a set of ink bottles provides the equivalent of about 80 cartridges. If you’re printing a lot, especially color, this cartridge-free approach can save you a lot of money.
Print speed is 10.5ppm for black and white, and half that for color. Connectivity is via Wi-Fi and this unit includes Wi-Fi direct so you can run this without connecting it to a router. A big win is it includes enough ink to print 6,500 pages black/5,200 color, which alone may justify the increased price of the printer.
HP DeskJet 3755 Compact All-in-One Wireless Printer
Best value inkjet printer
While the standout fact of this printer is price, it’s worth noting that it comes in more than just white. There’s a blue and white, and a flashback-to-the-70s sea green as well.
We’d classify this as an almost all-in-one. It’s got the usual print, copy, and scan features, but leaves out fax. Clearly, most buyers don’t care about fax (none of our top three printers include it), but there still are faxes out there. In fact, fax machines are still a billion dollar market, and they’re expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 4.93% over the next five years.
As for this Deskjet 3755 printer, it’s cloud-enabled and connects over Wi-Fi. You can scan straight into Google Drive, Dropbox, and iCloud. It prints from 3.5″ all the way up to 8.5×14″, and it will do envelopes. It has a 60 sheet paper tray and can print at 8 ppm black, 5.5 ppm color. One big win: it comes with two full print cartridges in the box.
Canon Pixma MG3620 Wireless All-In-One Color Inkjet Printer
Best budget inkjet printer
At $89, this is a happy little printer. You can print from your Android or iOS device, as well as your favorite computer over your local Wi-Fi connection. It also includes scan, copy, and print capabilities.
This little guy actually prints a tad faster than our top contender, at 9.9 ppm for black and white and 5.7 ppm for color. It’s also got a slightly larger 100 sheet paper tray. So if the feeds and speeds are better than the top-rated HP, why is it lower? First, this is an older printer, but second, the HP has a “never run out of ink” program that makes ink replacement automatic and a bit less expensive.
Photo printers offer a wide variety of formats as well as some unexpected gimmicks. In this listing, I’m showing you three very popular printers, but I’d like to give honorable mentions to the following two additional printers:
- KiiPix Smartphone Picture Printer: Had I included this, it would have been No. 2 on our sentiment rating with 34,590 points. But this 3 1/2 star-rated “printer” isn’t exactly a printer. It’s much more a modern take on the old-school Polaroids. It holds photo-sensitive paper (that’s all it does). You point your smartphone screen at the paper and it exposes. For $35, it’s popular.
- HP Sprocket Select Portable: This $99.99 printer prints tiny 2.3×3.4-inch images. It didn’t make our sentiment list, but it shows the kind of specialty options you can find with photo printers.
Interestingly, two of our top photo printers are sporting livery from the classic old school film camera days: Fujifilm and Kodak. Somehow, that’s comforting. One other thing worth noting is that none of our top three are what we’d normally think of as a photo printer — that is, a full-page printer that prints glossy images. These are, instead, smaller form factor prints more aligned with the idea of classic “photos” than traditional inkjet printers.
Let’s kick off our list of top-sentiment photo printers with this Fujifilm winner:
Fujifilm Instax Mini Link smartphone printer
Best photo printer
At $126, this isn’t winning the sentiment races based on price. In fact, this product averages 5-stars with more than 10,000 ratings. Think about that. It’s a printer with more than 13,500 ratings and a five-star average. That’s almost absolutely, totally, and in all other ways inconceivable. For. A. Printer.
But folks love this thing. It’s a portable printer that spits out snapshot-sized prints. It’s just the sort of thing you could take to a party (when we’re allowed to have them again) or on a trip, and print out small hand-sized images. It uses the same film as the Fujifilm Instax camera line. Clearly, this is meant to appeal to a certain type of user, but if you’re that user (or you want to buy a gift for them), this will undoubtedly bring some level of joy and happiness, again not a phrase one would associate with a printer.
Canon Ivy Mobile Mini Photo Printer
Price: $99 | Sentiment: 37,265
This is the first of two sticker printers that print 2×3″ sheets. This one also prints little circular stickers. What makes this printer stand out over the Kodak next on our list is that you can print Instagram and Facebook images right from your smartphone.
Be aware that this is a smartphone-only printer. it will print from Android and iOS, but not from Windows or MacOS. This little inexpensive printer prints on 2×3-inch sticky-backed paper that can be stuck to just about anything. It’s a bit of a novelty printer, but with a smartphone in every pocket, it makes sense that there’s an inexpensive printer that can move the moment from your phone’s memory into the real world.
Kodak Step wireless mobile photo mini printer
The Urban Dictionary defines Kodak as “Something old, outdated, unfashionable, out of style, irrelevant, passe. Makes reference the film company which transcended from a large, well-known brand to obscurity. An adjective that is an insult.” Ouch! Even so, something’s clearly happening for Kodak, because the brand has picked up its second win in the sentiment contest for photo printers.
That would be the Kodak Step. Despite its obvious enormous popularity, I had my doubts as to why anyone would use a printer that prints stickers. But then I started working on a project where this printer’s services would be ideal. I reached out to Kodak and they sent one. My ultimate USB charging tower prototype was the result, and the Kodak Step was instrumental in making it come together.
As much as I expected HP to have a strong presence in the sentiment olympics, it turns out that Brother smoked their competition, especially when it comes to the number of reviews.
Brother HL-L2350DW compact monochrome laser printer
Best laser printer
This is a monochrome laser printer. That’s it. There’s no faxing or copying or any of that fancy stuff. Just print lots of pages nice and fast. The printer itself is relatively compact, offers a 250 sheet paper capacity, and 32 pages per minute print speed.
All that’s left to say about this simple, powerful little beast is it connects via USB or Wi-Fi and you can print directly from your smartphone.
Brother HL-L2300D monochrome laser printer
Best budget laser printer
This is an inexpensive workhorse. Honestly, if you need to print out a lot of black and white pages, that’s all you need to do, and you don’t want to spend much, this is the printer for you. At about $100 for a 27 page per minute, duplex printing printer with a 250 sheet paper bin, it’s a pretty capable beast for the money.
Oh, and it connects via USB 2.0. Just USB 2.0. No Wi-Fi. No AirPrint. No Google Cloud Print. Not even Ethernet. Nada. Just plug in a USB cable from your computer to the printer and print.
HP LaserJet Pro M15w Wireless Monochrome Printer
Best wireless laser printer
A nice little HP monochrome laser printer managed to show on our sentiment list this time. When we previously updated this guide, Brother completely monopolized this segment of our guide. But now, the M15w is giving Brother a run for its money.
It connects over Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and USB, and can print up to 221ppm. But I think what sets this apart from others in its class is its small form factor. Most other laser printers are much larger. This gets the job done without using up half your desk.
What is the best printer?
The Epson EcoTank ET-2760 Wireless Color All-in-One is the best printer. Whether you are looking for a laser, photo or inkjet printer, Epson EcoTank ET-2760 Wireless Color All-in-One has it all!
How to buy a printer
My standard buying device fits here as well: Decide what you need and buy what fits your needs best. Only you will know if you need the workhorse capabilities of a monochrome laser printer, the fun of an on-the-go photo printer, or the general-purpose usefulness of an inkjet. Only you know how much you’re going to print and what you’re going to print.
The one thing I’d recommend is to buy not only based on the price of the printer, but on the consumables. Figure out what consumables you’re likely to use, think about how often you’re going to need to replenish them, and then factor that into your overall cost. That should give you a much better idea of which printers are best for your budget and needs.
Do you own any of these printers? Let us know in the comments below.
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