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The best printer 2018: the best inkjet, laser and wireless printers for your home

What’s the best printer for home use? Whether you’re a freelancer who needs to print, scan and copy documents, a keen photographer looking for a photo printer, or an artist or designer after an A3+ printer that will give accurate test proofs of your poster designs or large-scale vector art, you’ll find the best laser, inkjet and all-in-one printers available here.

As you'll see in the list below, we think the all-in-one Canon Pixma TS8050 inkjet is the best printer for the home you can get right now. Its six-ink system produces vibrant, crisp and professional-looking colour documents and photos, and the space-saving design will fit in a desk drawer. 

For the best balance of quality, speed and cost, the Epson EcoTank ET-3600 (at number 03) scores highly too. It’s one of the cheapest printers to run – and it comes with a two-year supply of ink cartridges. Bargain. 

Choosing the best printer for you

Of course, the best printer for you depends on what you’ll be using it for. Anyone looking to print professional-quality photos, prints or banners, for example, will need a high resolution inkjet model like the Epson SureColor SC-P800 A2 printer (number 06), which boasts stunning detail from its nine-ink jet system. 

If you'll be doing high-volume business printing instead, a laser printer might be better-suited. And look out for Duplex printing – automatic double-sided printing, which will save time, paper and money if you do a lot of printing.

Happily, most printers today have all the mod-cons, including AirPrint (which lets you print wirelessly from Apple iOS products), Google Cloud Print (wireless Android device printing) and SD card readers.  

The main thing to remember is that a cheap printer doesn’t always mean a good value printer, so check the ink technology and costs of cartridges before you make a purchase. If you print a lot, it can be worth purchasing a more expensive printer to buy into a cheaper line of cartridges. 

Whatever you need though, we’ve got you covered here. Read on for our list of the best home printers available now. 

Canon Pixma TS8050

01. Canon Pixma TS8050

The best printer for home right now – and a great photo printer too.

Print technology: Inkjet Colour | Features: Wireless smartphone printing, SD compatible, print, copy and scan | Max Print Resolution: up to 9600 x2400 dpi | Print Speed: 15 ipm (B&W), 10 ipm (Colour) | Paper Sizes: A4, A5, B5 | Weight: 6.5kg | Best for: Colour document printing; photo printing

Great for colour printing
Compact size for desks
Impressive connectivity
Wi-Fi connectivity not always strong

The Canon Pixma TS8050 is a versatile inkjet printer that packs a surprising range of useful features into a relatively compact body. For home-workers, it offers all the standard functions – high-res printing, copying and scanning – plus three in-trays that let you print onto envelopes and any-sized paper. However, the main attraction is its cutting-edge six-cartridge ink system, which gives the Canon Pixma TS8050 an edge when it comes to printing professional full-colour documents and stunning photos. Connectivity-wise, it's also impressive: alongside an SD card slot and USB ports, it connects via Wi-Fi to Android, iOS and Windows – making it simple to print pictures or documents directly from your phone. And while it isn’t the fastest inkjet printer you can get, print speed is impressive and the touchscreen software responsive. Throw in its desk-friendly design, and the Canon Pixma TS8050 is easily one of the best printers for home-workers, freelancers, photographers and creatives.

HP Envy 5540 All-in-One printer

02. HP Envy 5540 All-in-One printer

A brilliant budget printer for low-volume home printing.

Print technology: Inkjet Colour | Features: Print, scan, copy, photo, Wi-Fi, Airprint, | Max Print Resolution: 5,760,000 ppi | Print Speed: 22ppm (B&W), 8ppm (Colour) | Paper Sizes: A4 | Weight: 6.8kg | Best for: Home workers on a budget

Affordable ink
Airprint function
Only holds one cartridge

With impressive print resolution and a raft of features on top of the usual scan, copy and print functionality, the HP Envy 5540 is one of the best budget all-in-one printers for home use you can buy. Print quality is excellent, and although it can only hold one cartridge at a time, the ink it takes is cheap and, says HP, could save you up to 70 per cent on your printing costs. There’s also no faffing around with this model: it features AirPrint and e-printing, as well as Wi-Fi connectivity to print from any of your devices. The compact design makes it a popular choice for home offices, and while it isn’t designed for demanding workplaces, if you print a modest amount of documents and photos the HP Envy offers you the best of both worlds. For under $75/£70, it’s great value for money: this is one of the best budget colour inkjet printers on the market right now. 

Epson EcoTank ET-3600

3. Epson EcoTank ET-3600

An incredibly economical home printer for high-volume printing.

Print technology: Inkjet Colour | Features: Card reader, wireless printing, print, copy, scan Duplex | Max Print Resolution: N/A | Print Speed: 14 ppm (B&W) 7ppm (Colour) | Paper Sizes: A4 | Weight: 5kg | Best for: Higher volume colour printing

Cheap to run 
2 years worth of ink supplied
Not the quietest 
Not recommended for pictures

The Epson EcoTank 3600 is one of the most highly praised printers on the market – by both tech geeks and technophobes alike. It earns its place on our best home printer list because it comes ready to use and supplied with two years’ worth of ink – that's enough for up to 4,000 pages in black and white, and 6,500 pages in colour. It’s also incredibly cheap to run, with Epson claiming you can save up to 70 per cent in printing costs with its duplex system. Of course, you’ll need to print enough to justify the higher purchase price, but if you do then this printer offers fantastic value. Design-wise, the EcoTank is sleek and professional (albeit a little noisy) with an LCD display. We'd have like to see a touchscreen display too, but for anyone printing on a daily basis, the EcoTank 3600 is one of the best printers for home you can get.

Epson Expression Premium XP-830

04. Epson Expression Premium XP-830

A versatile all-in-one home printer - and fantastic photo printer.

Print technology: Inkjet | Features: Print, scan, copy, fax, SD slot, Wi-Fi, Mobile printing, Airprint | Max Print Resolution: 4,800 dpi | Print Speed: 9.5 ppm (B&W) 9ppm (Colour) | Paper Sizes: A3, A4, 4x6, 5x7 | Weight: 9.62kg | Best for: Photo printing; colour document printing

Print onto Blu-Ray and DVD discs
Print directly from any device 
Can be tricky to initially connect to Wireless
A3 paper requires manual feeding

The Epson Expression Premium XP-830 is one of the most versatile home printers out there. As you'd expect, it can print, copy, scan and fax, and it's able to print instantly from both wired and wireless connections on a variety of mediums, making it a top choice for home use. You can print directly onto card, thick papers and even CDs, while two media trays let you print in a range of sizes as well. Apart from some initial teething issues with Apple connectivity and limited paper capacity, the Epson Expression Premium XP-830 is a great-value, well-rounded home printer that delivers decent print quality, although it's better for photos (where it excels) than for text (where it’s beaten by Canon and HP’s thermal inkjets). 

05. Ricoh SP150

The best laser printer for quick and quiet document printing.

Print technology: Laser | Features: Wireless, print, copy, scan | Max Print Resolution: 1,200x600dpi | Print Speed: 22ppm (B&W) | Paper Sizes: A4 | Weight: 7.5kg | Best for: High volume black-and-white printing

Tiny footprint
Quick and quiet
Scanner not that impressive
Costs more to run than an inkjet

The Ricoh SP150 is a compact A4 mono laser printer that quietly and efficiently proves there’s still an argument for lasers over inkjets. Despite the running costs being a little higher than some models, the low initial price of the SP150 is what makes it an attractive buy – and why we’ve included it in our list of the best printers for home. It’s also incredibly small and looks smart, too; and whether you’re printing or scanning documents or images, it’s quick and reliable in terms of connectivity. In short, if you're looking for a fast, high-quality printer that's primary for black-and-white documents, this is the best-value printer you can get. 

Epson SureColor SC-P800

06. Epson SureColor SC-P800

The best printer for pro photographers and artists.

Print technology: Inkjet Colour | Features: Paper roll media unit, Wi-Fi, Nine-colour ultra chrome HD inks | Max Print Resolution: 2880x1440 | Print Speed: 3ppm | Paper Sizes: A4, A3, A2 | Weight: 19.5kg | Best for: Professional prints; A3+ printing

Stunning detail 
Produces large prints
Pretty bulky for a home printer
Not the fastest

The Epson SureColour SC-P800 is a professional A2+ printer that’s particularly well-suited to illustrators, artists and photographers who need to produce large, limited-edition prints for exhibition or sale. Print quality is superb – its nine-colour UltraChrome HD ink cartridges deliver impressive detailing and vivid colours – and the model can handle card. In addition, not only does the SureColour SC-P800 print at A4, A3 and A2 sizes, it features a paper roll unit as well so you can print large banners. Connectivity is good: you can print wirelessly from your phone or any other device. And the touch screen system is intuitive to use, but bear in mind that you’ll need a fair amount of desk space to allow room for the large paper trays. For us, the two biggest downsides are that the print speed isn’t overly impressive (still 3ppm), and it’s expensive. But with a wide range of features and professional colour calibration on offer, the SureColour SC-P800 is one of the best printers you can buy if you make a living from your images. 

Brother MFC-J5330DW

07. Brother MFC-J5330DW

The best A3 printer for your larger documents.

Print technology: Inkjet colour | Features: Print, scan, copy, Wi-Fi | Max Print Resolution: 1200 dpi | Print Speed: 35ppm (B&W) 20ppm (Colour) | Paper Sizes: A4, A3 | Weight: 16.9kg **Best for:** A3+ printing; high volume printing

250 sheet paper input
Zero warm up time
Quite large
Not the most user-friendly set up

Brother printers are loved for their speed and reliability, and the workhorse Brother MFC-J5330DW is no different: when it comes to printing documents on mass, it’s one of the best A3 printers out there. Well-suited to small businesses or busy freelancers working from home, the MFC-J5330DW boasts a deep 250-sheet paper input, rapid duplex (two-sided) print speeds, a 50-page automatic document feeder and zero warm up time, so you can print a high number of pages with no hassle at all. It’s larger than some models but not unreasonable for a printer with A3 capabilities, and once it’s set up, it’s super easy to print your documents from any device using Wi-Fi. This is a four-colour inkjet printer, so it can handle graphics and photo prints as well, and running costs are average. 

Canon Pixma PRO-10S

08. Canon Pixma PRO-10S

This printer has stunning accuracy and pigment for A3 photo prints.

Print technology: Inkjet Colour | Features: Wi-Fi, Apple AirPrint, | Max Print Resolution: 4800x2400 dpi | Print Speed: Varies depending on size and document | Paper Sizes: A3+, A3, A4, A5,B4, B5, custom sizes | Weight: 2.5kg | Best for: A3+ prints; photo printing

Superb photo printing
10-ink system
Ink is expensive
No scanner

You can expect excellent quality photos with the mid-range Canon Pixma PRO-10S, which boasts a 10-ink jet system. Able to print at a whole range of sizes, from 10x15 to A3+, the printer produces grain-free, gallery-worth images in your home. Ink can become expensive, and it doesn’t come with a scanner – so this printer is best-suited to a photographer or artist who mainly wants to use it for large print jobs. Speed is impressive: you can have an A3 borderless image in front of you in less than four minutes. The Pixma PRO-10S is also incredibly convenient to use, with AirPrint letting you print directly from any Cloud-based platform – think Facebook, Dropbox or Flickr – saving you both time and storage space on your desktop.

How to choose the best printer for you

The printer market is bursting with different options. If you’re not sure exactly what you want, it can be confusing. Here, we’ll answer some typical questions to help you make sure you’re investing in the right printer for the job.

What’s the difference between a laser and inkjet printer?

The main difference between laser and inkjet printers is that inkjets use ink, while laser printers use powdered ink (toner). Laser printers are generally quicker, and designed for more frequent and demanding office use. They work by melting the toner in the paper so the print is less likely to smudge or run, and are best suited to black and white documents and high-volume printing. 

Inkjets produce better quality colour prints, and even the budget models can print decent photos. They’re usually initially cheaper too (although ink cartridges can need replacing more frequently than laser cartridges) and in recent years have become a lot faster. If you’re looking for an all-round printer for home, an inkjet is a solid bet. 

Which ink type is best?

For inkjet printing on paper, the main choice is between dye-based and pigment-based inks. Dye-based inks are traditionally cheaper, brighter and offer a wider range of colours, while pigment-based inks are more expensive and fade-resistant. Both will run when wet. Where it can become confusing is that printer specs don’t always highlight which ink the model takes. As a rule, black inks are usually pigmented, and colour inks dye-based – the best photo printers will use pigment-based inks, though, so that the photos don’t fade.

Do I need an all-in-one printer?

All-in-one printers offer a scanner, copier and printer – and occasionally still a fax – to give you everything you need for home printing. Higher-end printers will also have duplex printing, where the printer is able to print on both sides of the paper. You can get both inkjet and laser all-in-one printers. 

Whether you need one or not depends on what you need it for. Are you just looking to print documents or photos, or do you have a range of office needs you could hit with one purchase? 

Illustration of a printer and cartridges

Illustration: Ciara Phelan

Which extra features should I look for?

Network connectivity – via a cable (Ethernet) or Wi-Fi – is the most useful extra feature to consider when you’re choosing your printer. Wireless printing in particular is handy, letting you connect your laptop or computer to your printer using your home WiFi network and access it anywhere in your house, so you don’t even have to be in the same room to print.

If you want to wirelessly print from your tablet or smartphone, you’ll need to look out for a printer that features:

  • AirPrint – lets you print directly from Apple iOS products
  • Google Cloud Print – lets you print from Android tablets and smartphones
  • Email printing – provides wireless printing from any email-capable device, and is available on selected HP printers 

A card reader, too, is handy for anyone looking specifically for a photo printer. And if you choose printer with PictBridge, you’ll be able to 'talk' directly to certain cameras.

What paper do I need?

Paper plays an important role in determining print quality. With the right kind of premium papers, even a basic printer can produce good results, so if you’re planning on printing your CV, say, choose better quality, thicker paper. If you have a lot of black-and-white documents, a basic paper stock will normally do the job; or for photo printing, choose a glossy photo paper.

Manufacturers tailor their paper stock to their printers, so using own-brand paper is a simple way to guarantee good results. However, using printer profiles allows you to achieve equally good results with paper from different manufacturers – useful for more creative projects for which you need a special stock.

I'm an artist/designer/photographer – what printer features should I look for?

If you're looking to produce professional-quality prints of your work, or generate accurate proofs, then the larger and higher-quality your printer, the better. Larger printers let you reproduce a wider range of work, and also give you the option to produce art prints on canvas to order (selling these is a good way to help the printer pay for itself).

Also, the higher the print quality, the more accurately you will be able to reproduce fine details – and, crucially, colours. Colour reproduction is the single most important aspect of print management. Proofs must be as accurate as possible, and contain the widest possible range of colours.

This is particularly important for projects using Pantone or similar standardised colour-matching systems. It isn't always possible to achieve perfection, as anyone who has had a run-in with a commercial print shop knows, but some of the newer Epson printers achieve 98 per cent Pantone colour coverage, certified by Pantone itself, so look for this in the specs.

In practice, for really accurate proofing, you will probably need a 12-ink system capable of generating at least A3 prints: ideally, A2, A1 or larger. While high-end printers represents a significant initial outlay, the more you use a printer, the better value it becomes.

Paper and ink typically become cheaper when bought in volume, so if you use your printer heavily every day, it may be cheaper in the long run to buy a larger unit – even if you never use its maximum print size.

Some printers now track the cost of each job using built-in cost-management software so you can calculate your ROI, but realistically, you won't get a good estimate of running costs until you've been using the printer for a while. Ask around. If studios, designers or photographers similar to you have a printer they like, find out which model it is and how much it costs them to run.

Finally, remember to check whether you have space for the printer you're thinking of buying: models capable of generating A2 or larger take up a fair amount of room. Check the printer's dimensions with all the extras fitted, including roll feeders and trays. Remember that a big printer can be noisy too, and weighs around 50kg.

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