You may recall a time when printing a simple piece of paper meant heading into the office or asking someone with access to one for a little help in getting the job done. Nowadays, there’s no need, as printers have evolved to become so compact and user-friendly, they’re practically a home office essential. Just like a sturdy desk or a good supportive work chair, these handy little devices can serve to make your life far easier — if you know how to use them. Read on for the best home printers around for which setup and operation will be a total breeze.
What is the best home printer?
The technical jargon surrounding printers can seem a little daunting to those that are less than familiar with the lingo. You’ve likely heard terms such as laserjet, inkjet, and all-in-one being tossed around with regard to home printers, for instance, but figuring out what it all means? That can be a different story. We’ve created a brief guide that explains everything you’ll need to know before purchasing the best home printers — plus advice on which one to choose for your specific needs.
- Laser printer: Laser printers and LaserJet printers produce high-quality, high-resolution documents at very high speeds and use toner rather than printer ink — something that can prove to be more economical in the long run. These are typically used in office settings due to their high-volume capacity.
- Inkjet printer: Inkjets, meanwhile, work by spraying ink onto the paper. These printers have a small footprint and require very little warm-up time. Inkjets are best for printing smaller documents and photographs, but may need a little bit of “drying” time after printing.
- Document printer: If you regularly print a lot of forms, you’ll likely want to opt for a document printer that can hold a greater capacity of both paper and ink and performs its duties quickly.
- Photo printer: With a photo printer, you can print pictures from the comfort of your own home in whatever size you choose straight from your computer, phone, or tablet.
- Multi-purpose printer: This all-in-one printer typically boasts many additional features, such as a scanner, photocopier, fax, and photo options.
When making your final home printer selection, it’s wise to consider the main reason you’ll be needing it. Do you want to print copious of documents or just the odd piece of paper here and there? Would you make use of a scanner or photocopier feature? Would you like a printer primarily for photographs? Most of the latest printers feature an impressive array of capabilities, including double-sided printing, wireless and Bluetooth abilities that will allow you to print from any device.
You’ll also want to consider its ease-of-use: That fancy device won’t do you a whole lot of good if it’s too confusing to figure out.
Whatever it is you need it for, there’s a comprehensive printer out there for you, and we know where to find it. We searched though a vast array of the top machines currently available for the most straightforward, and user-friendly printers on the market. Keep scrolling for FIRST’s picks for the best printers.
We write about products we think our readers will like. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the supplier.
1. Best Printer for Home Office — Samsung Xpress Laser Printer
Best Wireless Home Printer— Samsung Xpress Laser Printer
Where to buy: $179.99, Amazon
Whether you spend a lot of time in your home office for work or for pleasure, the Samsung Xpress laser printer can help you get stuff done in less time — and with less hassle. Its most attractive feature is its wireless capability, which allows you to operate it without lifting a single finger when you set it to print from your computer, phone, or tablet. In addition, it doubles up as a photocopier, fax machine, and a scanner all in one.
2. Best Voice-Activated Printer — HP Laserjet Pro Monochrome
Best Voice-Activated Home Printer — HP Laserjet Pro
Where to buy: $148.90, Amazon
In addition to its printing, scanning, copying, and faxing abilities, the HP Laserjet Pro all-in-one wireless printer can be activated using voice commands via your virtual assistant (Alexa, Google Assistant, or Microsoft Cortana). Talk about ease of use! As an added bonus, it also has an automatic double-sided printing feature, which will save you paper, and consequently, money.
3. Best Budget All-in-One Printer — HP ENVY Photo Printer
Best Affordable Home Printer — HP ENVY Photo
Where to buy: $59.99 (Originally $119.89), Amazon
If you like the idea of having an all-in-one printer in your home office but have been thinking twice about shelling out for one, allow us to introduce you to Amazon’s über affordable pick — the HP ENVY photo. This little guy, which rings in just under $60, can print, scan, and copy, and features wireless capabilities that allow you to print photos or documents from social media right to your home devices. It can even do double-sided printing!
4. Best Printer for Photos — Epson PictureMate Color Photo Printer
Best Home Printer for Photos — Epson PictureMate
Where to buy: $225.58 (Originally $249.99), Amazon
We may be taking more pictures than even before on our mobile cameras via cellphones, tablets, computers, and even smart watches, but there’s still something special about flicking through old photo albums. A photo printer, such as the Epson PictureMate, is an easy way to keep that tradition alive and well. Wireless, lightweight, portable, and operable from your handheld devices, this simple machine produces water and fade-resistant photographs in as few as 36 seconds to give you top-quality, auto-corrected photographs that will last for years to come.
5. Best Pocket Photo Printer — HP Sprocket Plus Instant Photo Printer
Best Pocket Photo Home Printer — HP Sprocket Plus
Where to buy: $99.85, Amazon
Remember how easy it was to use Polaroid camera back in the day? The HP Sprocket Plus — aka the thinnest photo printer on the market — works a little bit like that. To operate it, simply snap a photograph with your phone, then send it to this mini printer to get your own hard copy. Perfect for parties, get-togethers, and special occasions, this gadget is sure to impress your friends and family. You can even get sticky-back photo paper for making photo stickers!
6. Best Double-Sided Printer — Brother Compact Laser Printer
Best Double-Sided Home Printer — Brother Compact Laser
Where to buy: $139.99 (Originally $169.99), Amazon
If you need to print a lot of documents, you’ll want your printer to (a) be quick, (b) have economical ink, and (c) come with the ability to print double-sided pages to save money and paper. The Brother Compact wireless laser printer has all of those capabilities, plus more. Scanning, photocopying, and printing at a speed of 30 pages per minute is a breeze with this device, which has been reviewed by more than 2,200 customers.
"Printer was exceptionally easy to set up," wrote one happy buyer, with another noting, "It's [so] easy to use, even my 60+ friends have no problem using it after a week."
7. Best Inkjet Printer — Canon PIXMA
Best Inkjet Home Printer — Canon PIXMA Pro-100
Where to buy: $333.75, Amazon
If you’re all about quality over quantity, the Canon PIXMA Pro-100 wireless inkjet could be just the printer for you. It provides incredible detail that's ideal for photographs and artwork, making it a DIY and craft enthusiasts' dream. You can print own wrapping paper, tags, labels, and cards, and buyers say it's "Very easy to understand and use."
8. Best Small Printer — HP LaserJet Pro
Best Small Home Printer — HP LaserJet Pro
Where to buy: $78.90 (Originally $98.90), Amazon
For a straightforward printing machine without all those confusing bells and whistles that’s also easy on the pocketbook, you can’t go wrong with the monochrome HP LaserJet Pro. This wireless number was "designed for simplicity" and lives up to that sentiment as the world’s smallest laser printer in its class (35 percent smaller than the average laser printer, to be precise). It can be operated from your computer or via a user-friendly phone app and comes with a one year warranty.
9. Best Printer with Cheapest Ink — Epson EcoTank
Best Home Printer with Cheap Ink — Epson EcoTank
Where to buy: $249.99 (Originally $299.99), Amazon
Simply by using low-cost replacement ink bottles instead of cartridges, the Epson EcoTank ET-2760 printer can save you up to 90 percent on your printing fees when compared with other types of printer ink — a single fill can last you up to two years! It will also save you a headache when it comes to messing around with ink cartridge swaps. “The lack of hassle from not having to constantly replace cartridges makes this a huge winner in my book,” explained one reviewer, “and [proves] extremely economical over time.”
Better yet, there are wireless, color printing, scanning, and photocopying capabilities to boot, satisfying all your home printing needs in one extremely efficient — and easy-to-use — model.