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Best Printers 2020: Home & Office, Laser & Inkjet

Printers are a pretty boring section of tech, but let’s face it we all need one at some point. You might want to print a calendar, a boarding pass or some photos you’ve taken on your phone. Many are also handy for scanning and copying, too. It’s a tough job but we review and rank the best printers around.

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, you’ve also got to consider print speeds, ongoing costs and a host of potential additional features.

We cover all these areas in our full reviews, which you can click through to if you want to read more.

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.

Best printer reviews

1. Epson Expression Photo XP-8600 – Best Overall

2. HP Tango – Best for Smartphone Printing

3. Canon Pixma TS3350 MkII – Best Budget

Canon Pixma TS3350 MkII

4. Canon i-Sensys LBP623Cdw – Best Laser

Canon i-Sensys LBP623Cdw

5. Epson Workforce WF-110W – Best Portability

Epson Workforce WF-110W

6. Epson EcoTank ET-3750: Best Running Costs

Epson EcoTank ET-3750

7. Brother DCP-J572DW – Best Connectivity

Brother DCP-J572DW

8. Canon Pixma TR8550 – Best for XXL toner

Canon Pixma TR8550

Your buying guide to the best printers in 2020

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.

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.

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.

Do I need 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.

Print speed and additional 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, may 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.

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