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The top printers you can buy


A good printer should be a key consideration for any office. Whether you’re shopping for your business or upgrading the one at home to keep up with your work, studies, and everyday printing needs, we’ve got you covered. 

Getting the best value for your money can be a bit more complicated when buying printers than other devices. This is because you need to factor in the long-term running costs of that printer, including the price of the specific ink it requires. 

Of course, there are other key factors you need to consider as well, such as print quality, printing speed, and what it is that you’re going to be printing. For example, some printers excel at printing high-quality photos, while others offer a variety of functions, like the ability to scan and fax documents. 

The good news is that we’ve compiled a list of the best printers we’ve reviewed at a variety of price points and for different purposes. Use this guide to find the best printer for your specific needs and budget. 

Keep reading to find a list of our favourite printers at a glance with links you can click to buy them, or scroll down further to read a summary of each with pros, cons, and links to our full, in-depth printer reviews. 

If you’re still not taken by any of the printers on this list, don’t worry. We’ll be updating this page as more printers come through our office, so make sure to bookmark and check back for our latest favourites.

We’ve also created a guide to the best photo printers which we’d recommend checking out if you’re looking for a printer to preserve your memories on paper or film.

Best printers at a glance 

How we test

Learn more about how we test printers

Every printer we review goes through a series of uniform checks designed to gauge key things including print quality, speed and cost. These include first-time setup, changing respective cartridges, and measuring key things such as print speed and quality with a range of different paper types, including plain and photo.

We’ll also compare the features with other printers at the same price point to see if you’re getting good value for your money. We’ve also calculated how much it would cost to replace the cartridge or refill the ink in order to see how much the printer will cost you in the long term.

HP Smart Tank 5105

Best overall printer

Pros

  • Decent features
  • Great plain paper print quality
  • Very low running costs

Cons

  • Slow colour printing
  • Ink bottles could be mis-inserted

The HP Smart Tank 5105 is our top recommended multifunction printer for a number of reasons. It can print, scan and copy (although lacks any fax functionality), its small size is easy to accommodate in a home office and its low-cost printing makes it a great value option in the long run.

HP typically uses cartridges in its printers, which are renowned for expensive running costs. But the Smart Tank 5105 uses highly efficient ink bottles instead, resulting in ink costs of just 0.7p per colour page – few printers have better running costs than this. HP even ships its printer with 6,000 pages worth of ink, so it’s possible you won’t even need to buy more ink.

Our tests showed the printing speeds to be reasonable at 10.9 pages per minute, while we were very impressed with the print quality on plain paper. This printer is not recommended for photo prints, with imperfect colour accuracy and loss of detail with dark colours. The Canon PIXMA G650 and Instax Square Link are better options for those who want to print photos.

But if you’re happy to stick to printing documents and fancy a great value all-purpose home multifunction printer, then the HP Smart Tank 5105 is our top recommendation.

Reviewer: Simon Handby
Full review: HP Smart Tank 5105 Review

Canon PIXMA Pro-200

Best photo printer

Pros

  • Exceptional photo prints up to A3+
  • Eight-ink print engine for less grain in colour photos
  • Grey inks for neutral black and white prints

Cons

  • Expensive to run
  • Not great for plain paper

The Canon PIXMA Pro-200 has no equal if you’re looking for high-quality photo printing. Whether you’re looking for fantastic portraits, vibrant and detailed group shots or breathtaking landscapes, the PIXMA Pro-200 has you covered.

This A3+ printer features a straightforward design, inviting the average user to take full advantage of its tremendous photo printing capabilities. Canon’s printer innovates with an eight-cartridge approach, adding two shades of grey as well as lighter shades of magenta and cyan to the traditional set of four. This decision makes for finer control over colour, ideal for photo prints.

Along with showing its class when it comes to finer details, the PIXMA Pro-200 provides luxurious mid and dark tones as well as more than holding its own with contrasty subjects. Consistency was also top-notch in our testing, with only one photo in our entering testing period coming out with a flaw.

You’d think this high of a standard of print may take some time, right? Not with this Canon, speedily dishing out your prints even at sizes beyond A3. This printer is an ideal package for those looking for top-tier A3+ photo prints.

Reviewer: Simon Handby
Full review: Canon PIXMA Pro-200 review

Epson EcoTank ET-18100

Best A3 printer

Pros

  • Very good photo print quality
  • Less cost and hassle thanks to bottled ink
  • Surprisingly compact

Cons

  • Underwhelming plain paper printing
  • Expensive to buy

Not all printers are created equal, and some focus on value over luxurious quality. The Epson EcoTank ET-18100 is the former, offering a great all-around experience that keeps the burden on your wallet low, with low-running costs.

The low-running costs really are the star of the show here, with the EcoTank ET-18100 donning refillable ink tanks. These tanks not only save time on refilling compared with cartridges but they are typically cheaper to run. You’d get a full set of these bottles in the box too. The replacement ink costs up to £12 per colour, with Epson saying a full tank will get you around 2,100 prints – coming in at 3.3p per postcard print.

The Epson is a photo printer at heart but it performs to an acceptable level with plain paper. When tackling photos, the results are speedy and impressive. This is a key selling point, as this is a printer for those who will make plenty of use of its photo capabilities. Its low-running costs will only negate its high £600 price if you’re going to print a lot.

Its quality isn’t up to the pro levels of the Canon PIXMA Pro-200, which will better suit professional photographers but, if you’re a very keen amateur photographer, it’ll be hard to find better. The EcoTank ET-18100 excels with sharpness and vivid details in its photos – you won’t be disappointed.

Reviewer: Simon Handby
Full review: Epson EcoTank ET-18100 review

Epson EcoTank ET-2830

Best for low running costs

Pros

  • Generous inks and extremely low running costs
  • Surprisingly affordable for a refillable MFP
  • Reasonable quality and speed

Cons

  • Basic features
  • One-year warranty only

If you’re planning on printing a lot of documents every day, then the printing costs will become even more important than a printer’s upfront fee. Our tests show that the Epson EcoTank ET-2830 multi-function printer costs just half a penny per page, which is one of the best running costs we’ve ever seen from a printer. Epson even bundles in around 6000 pages’ worth of ink in the box, so some owners may never even need to buy more ink in the future.

As a multifunction printer, it’s capable of both printing and scanning although it doesn’t support duplexing. Scans and copies from the Epson EcoTank ET-2830 were all impressive too, and are easily good enough for day-to-day use.

Features are a little limited here, as the printer has no display or card slots. It’s also fairly slow, with average printing speeds of 15 pages per minute in black, and 8 pages per minute in colour.

However, all of its limitations are forgiven when you remember just how cheap the running costs are with the Epson EcoTank ET-2830, saving you a fortune in the long-term.

Reviewer: Simon Handby
Full review: Epson EcoTank ET-2830 review

HP OfficeJet Pro 9012e

Best home office printer

Pros

  • A great set of features
  • Reasonable running costs
  • Quite fast, with good results

Cons

  • Not brilliant at photo prints

More and more people are now working from home, which means home office printers have never been more important. The HP OfficeJet Pro 9012e is a superb option, as it’s extremely versatile. It can print, scan, fax and copy, despite having an affordable price.

We also found the HP OfficeJet Pro 9012e to be a speedy printer, capable of producing 21 pages per minute for simple black-and-white documents. Print quality was excellent on plain paper, creating dark and crisp text, while even graphics had fairly punchy colours. It’s not so good at printing photos, so you’ll need to look elsewhere if that’s a priority.

Running costs are reasonable for a cartridge printer at 6.3p per colour page, although you’ll get far better value from an ink bottle printer. That said, HP’s Instant Ink service can drop running costs down to 3.2p per page if you’re happy to pay a monthly fee. It’s also important to remember that this printer’s upfront cost represents absurdly good value when you consider how many features it’s packing.

So if you’re looking for a home office printer that can do it all, while also posting great results for printing speeds and print quality, then the HP OfficeJet Pro 9012e is our top recommendation. Alternatively, if you want a home office printer that has cheaper running costs but a higher upfront fee, then check out the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 – although the lack of faxing functionality is a drawback.

Reviewer: Simon Handby
Full review: HP OfficeJet Pro 9012e review

Canon PIXMA TS5350i

Best cheap printer

Pros

  • Good specification at this price
  • Strong plain paper print quality
  • Fairly good photos

Cons

  • Expensive ink unless you sign up to a subscription
  • Not an especially fast printer

The Canon PIXMA TS5350i isn’t going to win the race for best overall printer, but if you’ve got a tight budget to spend on a printer, the TS5350i is the one for you.

It may be cheap, but it comes with a bunch of features and gets the job done to a suitable standard at a decent speed. The range of specs are surprisingly good for the low price and it does a strong job when it comes to photo printing as well. Being a three-in-one multifunction printer, you’ll find printing, scanning and copying all onboard this cheap device.

What slightly damages this low-cost printer’s value proposition is the cost of ink, which isn’t the cheapest on the market. Thankfully, Canon’s printer ink subscription service eases the blow and is your best option if you are going to get plenty of use out of this printer.

Reviewer: Simon Handby
Full review: Canon PIXMA TS5350i review

Best portable instant photography printer

Pros

  • In-app editing tools give saturation and contrast a boost
  • Only Instax Link printer to use square film
  • AR Print and Instax Connect aren’t available on other printers

Cons

  • Limited editing tools
  • QR codes are too big
  • Film development takes slightly longer than advertised

The Instax Square Link is one of three instant “Link” printers sold by Fujifilm. While each printer in this series has its own unique feature set, the deciding factor here ultimately comes down to film size – that is if you want to print mini, wide or, in this case, square photos. 

The Square Link makes it easy to print bright and detailed 6.2 x 6.2cm images on the go with help from the smartphone app. Photos take just 15 seconds to print, though we found film development lasted a few minutes once the paper was ejected from the printer. 

The editing controls in the app are very basic, but offer a convenient way to crop and rotate your images and boost the brightness, saturation and contrast before you hit print. You also have the option to edit the images in a third-party app before uploading them. 

There’s a good range of features available through the Instax Square app, including stickers, filters, collage templates and themed frames. 

There’s also an AR Print option not found on other Instax printers. This feature allows you to attach secret augmented reality messages and animations that can be unlocked by scanning the QR code on the print. 

Instax Connect is another Square Link-exclusive feature that gives you the ability to decorate images before sending them to friends and family to print. There’s even a calendar to make sure you don’t miss any important birthdays or holidays. 

The printer itself is quite chunky, but still small enough to slip into most small bags, making it a great option for taking on the go. 

Of course, being an instant printer (and not an instant camera) also means you also have the option to snap photos when you’re out and wait until you get home to print them, making the Square Link a convenient gateway into instant photography. 

Reviewer: Hannah Davies
Full review: Instax Square Link review

We also considered…

FAQs

What is better: inkjet or laser?

For those printing large volumes with no real budget constraints, then laser printers are the way to go, given their high capacities and great reliability. However, for most people, inkjet printers are likely to suffice given that they’re more affordable and perfectly serviceable for day-to-day usage.

Which printer is most economical for ink costs?

In our experience, the Epson EcoTank printers are some of the most economical, given their large ink wells that are user-refillable with bottles that results in printing costs several times cheaper than more standard cartridge-based printers.

Is toner or ink better?

Generally speaking, toner is better, given it lasts longer and may not dry out as easily as ink does. However, it is more expensive than ink, alongside the fact it works with laser printers, which are traditionally dearer than their inkjet counterparts.

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Quiet Mark Accredited

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Release Date

First Reviewed Date

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Scanner?

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Trusted Reviews test data

Energy consumption

Printing A4 mono speed (single page)

Printing A4 mono speed (5 pages)

Printing A4 mono speed (20 pages)

Printing A4 colour speed (single page)

Printing A4 colour speed (5 pages)

Printing A4 colour speed (20 pages)

Printing A4 colour photo speed (20 pages)

Scanning speed test (single page)

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