Despite everyone's move to digital paper, digital photos, and the cloud, we still all need to print a few things once in a while, and some of us need to print a whole lot all the time! To help you find your way through the maze of printer options available, we've compiled this Home and Small-Business Printer Buyer's Guide, which profiles the best inkjet and laser models. As a rule of thumb, inkjets are great for small-volume printing that requires color, and are the only printers to consider for album-worthy photographs. Meanwhile, laser printers are vastly superior for large-volume printing, with color laser models suitable for business presentations.

Canon

For Spring 2019, we've updated this guide with a number of new models from Brother and Canon, which replace models we previously recommended, offering enhanced features and speed for around the same price. Our favorite printer is Canon's wonderful G4210 Megatank printer, shown here. It's a breath of fresh air in the printer business, with honest printing, no tricks or scams. It holds enough ink to print 6,000 pages, and replacement ink costs next to nothing. Yes, the printer is more expensive than comparable standard inkjets, but we believe transparency in pricing is important for consumers, and the high introductory price of this printer is offset by running costs of about half a cent per page, rather than the 25 cents most inkjets cost.

With that said, anyone needing ultra-fast or high-volume printing should absolutely go with a laser printer. Based on our extremely-positive experience with every Brother model we've tested, we've decided to recommend Brother laser models exclusively, including its feature-packed MFC-L8900CDW small office model shown below, which offers mind-blowing value for a true business-class model.

Printers

Note that we continue to take a stand on a subject that has caused a lot of consumer frustration over the years. Traditional inkjet printers have been sold at a loss by manufacturers, but they've been extremely profitable overall due to grossly-overpriced inkjet cartridges that were marketed with highly-inflated page output ratings. While we're still recommending one traditional inkjet to meet the needs of users who need the lowest cost of entry possible, anyone who prints regularly should skip traditional inkjets all together, going either for a Canon Megatank or a Brother laser printer. Note that because HP went the furthest in its attempts to defraud consumers by remotely disabling printers that had been loaded with generic inks, we've removed all HP printers from this guide, and likely won't consider recommending HP again for a long, long time!

We use Amazon's real-time pricing engine, so displayed prices are always up-to-date. If you decide to purchase any of the products listed below, please support this website by using the links provided, which we provide for the US, Canada, UK, and Germany, with regional substitutions made where necessary.

The Printer Buyer's Guide - Spring 2019

Inkjets

    Personal Multi-Function Inkjet:

    Canon TS3120

    If you just need a printer at home for the very occasional printout, as well as for use as a scanner and copier, this is a great ultra-low-cost pick. Plus, it's attractively styled and incredibly small, and thanks to its wireless capability, you can put it just about anywhere!

    The Guru's Tip:

    We're going to make something very clear: if who need to do a lot of printing, move on to one of our other selections. The ink prices for low-cost inkjets make printing extremely expensive. The high-yield black cartridge is $25 and the high-yield color ink cartridge is $30. They will last for about 100 pages, meaning each page costs about 25 cents. Note that Canon no longer rates these cartridges for print output as the previously-published ratings were so wildly inaccurate.

    Home Office Photo Inkjet:

    Canon PIXMA G3200

    Inkjet printer manufacturers have come under scrutiny over the past few years for their tendency to sell printers at a loss, and then make up for that with sky-high ink costs. Well, Canon is looking to shake things up a lot with its MegaTank series. With four huge ink tanks, this machine can print up to 6,000 color pages before running out of ink! Adding another 6,000 pages worth of ink will only cost around $30 per bottle. With printing costs around half a cent per page, this is absolutely the cheapest printer to operate on a per-page basis. Learn all about it in our full hands-on review!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This model is only available in the U.S. and Canada as of our most recent update, so we've provided links to a comparable model from Epson for readers in other countries.

    Home Office Photo All-in-One:

    Canon PIXMA G4210

    Want all the features of the G3200 above, but with the added benefit of an automatic document feeder and fax capability? Then step up to the G4210. It still features four huge ink tanks, allowing up to 6,000 color pages before running out of ink!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This model is only available in the U.S. and Canada as of our most recent update.

Laser Printers

    Personal Monochrome Laser:

    Brother HL-L2350DW

    The HL-L2350DW didn't take long to become the #1 top-selling laser at Amazon. Why? Simple - it has the right combination of features at the right price. Ultra-fast 32 page per minute printing, a text-based LCD display, built-in duplexing, wired and wireless networking, and a 250-sheet paper tray plus manual feed slot. While its "starter" toner cartridge is rated for just 700 pages, the TN760 high-yield toner cartridge provides 3,000 printed pages and only costs about $75. That works out to 2.5 cents a page, a true bargain in the printer world, where vendors often get you on ink/toner costs!

    The Guru's Tip:

    As you skim through this guide, notice the codes used to indicate features in Brother printer models: "D" is for duplex, "N" is for wired networking, "W" is for wireless plus wired networking, and "C" is for color. This model therefore offers duplexing and wireless capability, but not color printing.

    Personal Multi-Function Monochrome Laser:

    Brother MFC-L2710DW

    As much as we like the  Brother HL-L2350DW listed above, if you have the space for it, there's almost no reason not to step up to the multi-function version of that printer, the MFC-L2710DW. It offers a similar print speed of 30ppm, as well as built-in duplex and wireless networking, but adds a scanning bed with a handy 35-page automatic document feeder, as well as a flatbed for irregularly-sized sources. This allows it to provide copying, scanning, and fax functionality. In terms of paper handling, it has both a 250-page paper tray and a manual feed slot.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This model uses the same toner as the HL-L2350DW profiled above - we recommend that once the 700-page starter cartridge runs out, you go straight to the high-yield toner cartridge for about $75, which is good for 3,000 pages.

    Home Office Color Laser:

    Brother HL-L3230CDW

    If you'll be doing a lot of non-photo color printing at home, you really want a laser printer for the job, rather than an inkjet. Color lasers are generally much faster, and quite a bit more economical as well, at least for large-volume color document printing. The 3230CDW is a dedicated low-cost color printer with no multi-function features. But at 25ppm it's very fast, and features automatic duplexing and a number of wireless printing options.

    The Guru's Tip:

    High-yield TN-227BK black cartridges for this model are rated at 3000 pages and cost about $70, while each of the three high-yield color cartridges is rated at 2300 pages and cost about $90 each. Running costs will therefore be around 4 cents per color page and 2.3 cents per b&w page.

    Home Office Multi-Function Color Laser:

    Brother MFC-L3750CDW

    Rated at a fast 25ppm b/w and 22ppm color, this printer is a true small office workhorse! Unless you have a dedicated copier and/or scanner available to you, this model will likely be a better overall pick than print-only models, since it offers four functions instead of one. The tradeoff is greater bulk, and a lot more controls to figure out! Here's just a brief list of its features: built-in duplex printing, built-in automatic document feeder with duplex scanning, copying, and faxing, a 250-sheet paper tray, and a 3.7" color touchscreen control panel. It of course has built-in wired and wireless networking as well.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This model uses the same high-yield TN-227BK black cartridges as the printer listed above, again rated at 3000 pages and cost about $70, while each of the three high-yield color cartridges is rated at 2300 pages and cost about $90 each. Running costs will therefore be around 4 cents per color page and 2.3 cents per b&w page. But take note: if on average you print more than 50 pages per day, please step up to the model listed below. It has a much higher duty cycle, which really does make a difference. Cartridges aren't the only thing that wear out over time!

    Small Office Multi-Function Color Laser:

    Brother MFCL8900CDW

    New flagship printers don't come around all that often, and this model, released in 2016, continues to offer the very best value in a small office model. It's so feature-packed that no small business would need anything more. Rated at 33ppm for either color or black & white, this printer features built-in wired and wireless networking, automatic duplexing printing as well as duplex copying and scanning, a legal-sized flatbed and 70-page automatic document feeder, fax capabilities, and a huge 5" color touchscreen. And take note - it can process multiple jobs simultaneously, such as printing while scanning, making it a true workgroup printer.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Replacement super-high-yield TN436BK black toner is about $80, and super-high-yield cyanmagenta, and yellow toner cartridges cost about $175 each, or $600 for all four. Rated at an amazing 6,500 pages, that's just 1.2 cents per b&w page and 2.7 cents for color, making this model a true bargain to operate.

  1. Personal Multi-Function Inkjet Canon TS3120 ($40.00)
  2. Home Office Photo Inkjet Canon PIXMA G3200 ($230.00)
  3. Home Office Photo All-in-One Canon PIXMA G4210 ($300.00)
  4. Personal Monochrome Laser Brother HL-L2350DW ($100.00)
  5. Personal Multi-Function Monochrome Laser Brother MFC-L2710DW ($130.00)
  6. Home Office Color Laser Brother HL-L3230CDW ($230.00)
  7. Home Office Multi-Function Color Laser Brother MFC-L3750CDW ($344.00)
  8. Small Office Multi-Function Color Laser Brother MFCL8900CDW ($455.00)