Printers might be one of the most unexciting devices in the tech world but we all need one at some point and that’s more true than ever with the increase of working from home. Printers can be quite hard to find in the current climate, but we have rounded up the best we’ve managed to test.
You might want to print a calendar, gig tickets, a boarding pass or some photos you’ve taken on your phone. Many printers are multi-function and therefore also handy for scanning and copying, too.
Whatever your needs, buying a new printer can be a confusing process. Not only do you have to worry about the upfront cost and whether it can print a good photo, but you’ve also got to consider print speeds, ongoing costs and a host of potential features.
We cover all these areas in our full reviews, which you can read if you want to read more about each printer.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the printer market moves slowly, and the latest printers aren’t always the best. Printer tech moves slowly so reviews might not be from this year or even the year before that but they stay on sale for a long time unlike categories like phones or laptops.
Read on below our chart for more in-depth printer buying advice on things like whether to choose inkjet or laser.
Best printers 2023
1. Canon Pixma TS7450/1 – Best Overall
- Prints quickly
- Excellent quality
- Inexpensive to buy and run
- Mobile apps aren’t always intuitive
- Bulky design
- Photos need glossy paper
Printers are hard to even find in stock right now so a great value all-rounder from Canon at under £100 is worth snapping up, even though it is quite heavy.
This is a great value all-in-one printer that’s easy to set up and use. It’s also no slough with lots of features and versatile printing including documents and photos. Cheaper printers can be expensive to run but the TS7450 doesn’t even fall into this category.
The mobile apps are a little frustrating at times but print quality is good, although you’ll want to stick to proper glossy paper for photos. Note that the TS7451 is the same printer, only in white.
2. HP Envy Inspire 7220e – Best Compact Family Printer
- Attractive price
- Fast printing speeds
- 2-sided printing
- Good text and photo quality
- No ADF
- Can’t print on A4 glossy paper
Those looking for a compact and easy-to-use printer for the whole family might have just found it.
The Envy Inspire 7220e is an excellent all-rounder for those needing to regularly print text and photos at good speeds and affordable costs. The printer looks nice, has wide support for different wireless printing services and offers high-quality results.
It doesn’t have an automatic document feeder but that’s normal, so as long as you don’t need to print on A4 glossy paper, it’s a bit of a steal.
3. HP DeskJet Plus 4120 – Excellent Value Inkjet
- Very cheap
- Easy to use
- Good photo & graphics quality
- Average text quality
- Needs Instant Ink to keep running costs down
Those on a budget needing a printer for a mix of different tasks should consider the DeskJet Plus 4120 – known as the 4155 in the US.
It’s basic in style and design with things like a simple LCD display but keeps costs down, especially if you use HP’s Instant Ink subscription service.
Despite the low price, it can print on both sides of the paper and also has Amazon Alexa compatibility. middling text quality and misaligned photos stop it from scoring higher.
4. Epson EcoTank ET-3850 – Best Ink Tank Printer
- Cost per page is very low
- Good print speed
- Excellent print quality
- Pigment black isn’t ideal for photos
- Lack duplex copying
- One year warranty
Anyone against traditional cartridges should consider this EcoTank model from Epson. The ET-3850 offers high-quality printing at decent speeds while keeping the cost down, even if you’re printing A4 colour pages on a regular basis.
It’s more expensive to buy the device itself than cartridge rivals but may well work out better value in the long run. And it has virtually the same specs as higher-end EcoTank models, including the PrecisionCore print head.
One of the main practical downsides is that it doesn’t offer duplex printing and Epson only offers a one year warranty or 50,000 pages – whichever comes first.
5. Brother MFC-J5340DW – Best A3 Inkjet
- Painless setup
- Versatile, multi-function device
- Fast print speeds
- Large footprint
- Scanner is A4, not A3
- A full set of genuine cartridges is expensive
It’s not much to look at and it’s a bulky 17kg but the MFC-J5340DW will be a solid choice for certain users.
Those needing a reliable workhorse for the home or office will get a printer that’s fast, versatile with various functions and can be easily controlled and managed from your phone.
It also offers reasonable running costs if you buy XL cartridges but bear in mind the genuine ones are costly and the scanner available is limited to A4 size.
6. Canon Pixma TS3350 MkII – Best Budget
- High quality printing
- Slow printing
- Expensive ink
If you’re looking for a cheap printer to handle day-to-day tasks then the TS3350 MkII (or TS3320 in the US) is an excellent choice.
This is not only affordable but offers great quality printing for a range of jobs, including colour images. This is even a copier and scanner too so you’re getting a lot for your money.
It’s quite slow so isn’t a workhorse and you’ll want to get XL cartridges to keep running costs down. For printing the occasional letter, boarding pass or family photo without breaking the bank it’s perfect.
7. Brother DCP-L3510cdw – Best Laser
- 2-sided printing
- Decent performance
- Single-sheet scanning
- No colour screen
- Running costs
If you don’t need to print photos on photo paper but instead need a printer primarily for documents then a laser is a great choice.
The Brother DCP-L3510cdw uses LEDs instead of a laser, but it’s very similar and can reliably handle lots of printing with crisp quality at a decent speed.
You’ll need more room for it than a typical inkjet printer but running costs over the long term are more affordable and with Brother’s EcoPro subscription you get the printer for just £1.20!
This model has a basic LCD screen but still has useful features including 2-sided printing, a single-sheet scanner and Wi-Fi, complete with AirPrint support.
8. HP Envy Pro 6420 – Inkjet with ADF
- Excellent print quality
- 2-sided printing
- Scanner with ADF
- No screen
- Paper pickup & feeding issues
Here HP offers an all-in-one inkjet printer at under £100 making it a tempting buy for a home office or similar.
Like other HP printers, the value is best when used with the Instant Ink cartridge subscription.
The Envy Pro 6420 (or 6455 in the US) has lots of things to like including excellent print quality, two-sided printing and an automatic document feeder (ADF).
However, there’s no screen but worse is that it struggles to cope with heavier weight paper if that’s something you plan to use.
9. Epson EcoTank ET-1810 – Best Budget Ink Tank
- Low cost per page
- Cheap within EcoTank range
- Excellent print quality
- Sublimation possibilities
- Flimsy build
- Won’t print A4 borderless
- One year warranty
Those wanting an ink tank printer don’t have to spend as much as the EcoTank ET-3850. The ET-1810 is a very affordable option and still offers you low-cost printing and it’s readily available at prices much lower than its RRP.
It still offers excellent printing quality and could be used for sublimation too, although can’t be reverted back. There are a few things to bear in mind with this cheaper EcoTank model, though.
It won’t print borderless, the black tank is no bigger than the others, the plastic build is basic and it doesn’t offer duplex printing either. if none of this matters to you then it makes for a good value option in the ink tank market.
10. Epson Workforce WF-110W – Best Portability
- Lightweight portable design
- USB charging
- Expensive black ink
- Small paper capacity
- No multi-function
There’s a premium cost for the portable design but with almost all printers being bulky and heavy if you need one to travel around with you then the Workforce WF-110W is the best option.
It’s not particularly fast and replacement black ink is expensive but the quality is as good as a conventional rival.
There’s also USB charging so you can even print when away from mains power.
How to choose a printer
There’s no single printer that will suit everyone, so while the list below is ordered it’s best not to worry too much about the number beside it. We’ve mixed together home and business printers, multifunction, colour and mono.
They’re all good and we keep an eye on the best printer deals here.
Inkjet vs laser
Printers come in two main forms: inkjet or laser, with colour and mono flavours of each. Lasers tend to be more expensive to buy, but provide better quality output, particularly where lots of text is involved. And they can be faster. Notice we said ‘tend’ – lasers aren’t always best.
As a basic rule, if you need to print only text, and a lot of it, a mono laser printer will offer the crispest text output and the best combination of fast page-per-minute output and low ink costs. If you need to print photos, choose an inkjet printer. A dedicated photo printer with individual cartridges for each colour will suit those who print only photos.
If you’re working from home and need to print a lot, a laser printer is likely going to be a better option.
You can also read our more in-depth comparison of the pros and cons of each type of printer.
What are printer running costs?
When buying a printer, remember that the price you pay in the store is just the beginning. Be sure to consider the cost of replenishing toner and other consumables over the lifetime of the printer. This is particularly important if you print a lot. A set of toner cartridges can easily approach the cost of a colour laser printer.
Most manufacturers quote a ‘page yield’ estimate for their ink cartridges, which is the typical number of pages you can expect to print before the cartridge runs out of ink. You can use the page yield to calculate the average cost per page and you’d be surprised to find how much this can vary from one printer to another.
Of course, if output quality matters more to you than cost, scoot over to the other end of the cost spectrum where there are more specialised printers that use five or even six inks for printing photographs. Those additional inks can produce excellent results for your photo prints, but they add to the cost, sometimes pushing the cost for photos up to 10p or more per page.
Some brands offer a cartridge subscription service, like HP’s Instant Ink, to keep costs to a minimum.
What is a multifunction printer?
Most modern printers are multifunction ‘all-in-one’ devices that include a scanner too. This allows you to scan photos and other documents and convert them into digital files that you can store on your computer or share with friends or colleagues. You can also print copies of your scanned documents, allowing the printer to stand in for a photocopier too.
Some models even include a fax machine. If you require a scanner and a photocopier as well as a printer, you’ll save money by buying in all-in-one – but if a standalone printer suits your needs, you may be able to spend less.
What about print speed and features?
Speeds quoted by manufacturers are almost never matched by real-world performance. If you often need to print in a hurry, look for independent reviews when choosing your printer.
Other useful features to look out for include additional USB ports and memory card slots that will allow you to print photos direct from a camera.
High-capacity paper trays capable of holding hundreds of sheets of paper, or an automatic document feeder that can handle scanning and copying work while you go and do something more important, might be worth looking out for.
Double-sided printing is handy for halving your paper usage.
It’s also worth thinking about the bundled software that comes with your printer. Some printers include software that provides basic editing features, such as red-eye removal or adjusting the colour balance – some even allow you to perform simple editing tasks using controls on the printer itself.