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Yes, printers are still a thing. Despite the near ubiquity of digital displays -- from phones to laptops to TVs -- there are still times when you need a hard copy. Shopping for a printer can be a bewildering process, however, given the sheer number of them the market. The labyrinth of arcane model names and numbers, technical specs and variables can make printers particularly challenging to compare and contrast.
And if that weren't enough, prices are all over the place. This is a highly dynamic market, where prices can change from day to day. During our testing period, for example, we saw the price of the HP OfficeJet Pro 9025 selling for as low as $100 and as high as $250. The takeaway: Unless you have an urgent need, it's worthwhile to identify one or two models that would work for you, keep an eye out for deals and discounts -- and jump on a good price when you see it. Our list of the best printer options below is designed to help you do just that.
The good news: Every printer profiled below can handle the basics. They can handle mobile printing from a phone or any PC, Mac or Chromebook, print over a cabled connection and through wireless connectivity. (Note that some -- but not all -- printers support Apple's AirPrint and Google's Cloud Print protocols, which are usually less onerous than the printer vendors' proprietary solutions.)
But what you print will determine which model is best for you. If you're mostly working with travel itineraries, concert tickets or shopping lists, print quality is arguably less important than price and speed. If you're using your printer for photo printing or professional materials, quality and color accuracy will be primary considerations.
We've tested and reviewed the top models for home and small office use from the four major vendors -- Brother, Canon, Epson and HP. Whether you print for business or personal use, at home or in an office, we've got the perfect one for you. Check out our favorites below. Best home printerBrother MFC-J895DW
Amazon In our search for an affordable color printer that does everything well, the Brother MFC-J895 came out on top. It's reasonably priced, easy to set up and use -- and it's speedy, delivering both documents and photos faster than the average printer. It can scan, fax and copy and it features a 2.7-inch color touchscreen, a 150-page cassette capacity and an auto-document feeder.
Best of all, it's efficient: The four included ink cartridges -- each of which is twice the size of the typical cartridge -- lasted longer than any other inkjet we tested. As a result, after identical workloads, the J895 still had 40% of its ink after the competition had run low or dry. And the MFC-J895's thoughtful design offers access to the ink cartridges through a front panel, making them easy to swap out. The cherry on top: Brother offers a two-year warranty while the others give you just a single year of coverage.
Our only quibble is image quality -- an important consideration to be sure. Photos, in particular, looked a smidge less colorful and high-contrast than those produced by similar models from Epson and Canon. Still, for everyday use, the Brother MFC-J895 offers the best combination of price, performance and ease of use. Read more. $130 at Best Buy$364 at AmazonBest color document printerCanon Color imageCLASS LBP622Cdw
Amazon If you need to produce reams of professional-caliber documents -- market research reports, business proposals or brochures -- you'll want a laser printer. These higher-end devices deliver near-professional quality that's noticeably superior to what you'll get from an inkjet. And they're less expensive than you might expect.
The Canon LBP622Cdw is a bit of a one-trick pony, but it handles its one trick well. There's no scanning or copying capabilities, but this color laser printer prints vivid text and color graphics with high levels of contrast and range, on both white and colored paper. And it's not exorbitantly expensive to run, thanks to its high-capacity toner cartridge -- a rarity among laser printer options in this price range. On average, black and white documents cost about 3 cents a page and color docs cost 3.8 cents a page. Speed-wise, it's about average.
The LBP622Cdw features a single-sheet feeder that can take in envelopes and photos while leaving your regular 250-sheet paper tray undisturbed. And you can stack up to 10 envelopes in the main paper tray, which is more than twice as many as most other laser printer options.
And though this printer's five-line LCD isn't a touchscreen, it's easy to navigate and provides helpful information including the name of the job and person who sent it. There's also a USB port that allows you to connect and print if the network goes down. Read more. $231 at Walmart$184 at Amazon$184 at AdoramaBest photo printerCanon PIXMA iP8720
Amazon If you're looking for a printer that can do it all, keep looking. But if you're looking for one that delivers photos that are colorful and vivid, with natural tones, high contrast and terrific detail, the Canon PIXMA iP8720 is a great choice.
Measuring roughly 23x13x6 inches, this Canon printer is big enough to accommodate six ink cartridges -- and print 13x19-inch photos. This Canon printer has no physical controls or LCD screen, so you control it via the printer dialog box on your device. Instead of a traditional paper tray, you simply stack your media of choice into a rear document feeder, which makes it easy to swap out different-sized and types of papers. (You'll get the best results from Canon photo paper; most printers deliver the highest-quality output when they're matched with their own brand of paper.)
The Canon iP8720's ink cartridges lasted longer than its photo-centric competition, even taking into account the additional ink necessary to produce 13x19-inch prints. And it's fast: It printed an 8.5x11-inch photo in just over 2 minutes -- 30 seconds faster than the runner-up. Again, this Canon printer is not an all-in-one. This printer doesn't scan or copy. If that's a dealbreaker, saham TGRA
check out our other picks below. Read more. $250 at Best Buy$270 at Walmart$215 at AmazonBest black-and-white printerBrother HL-L2395DW
Sarah Tew/CNET If you don't care about color graphics or photos, there's a very good reason to buy a black-and-white printer: There's only one toner or ink cartridge to refill, which is going to keep your cost per page down.
When Dan Ackerman reviewed this printer in 2018, he found it noteworthy for its combination of low price (at least when it's on sale for $100), painless setup and operation, and nearly-universal customer approval. It's a monochrome laser printer -- so you can't print color images or photos -- but the Brother HL-L2395DW will masterfully handle any black-and-white job. (Its sibling, the HL-3170CDW, adds color capabilities but has no scanner or touchscreen).
This printer is easy to connect to a Wi-Fi network, and it supports Google Cloud Print and network printing whether you're using a PC or Mac. And it's quick: Printing 10 pages from a MacBook took 27 seconds. A seven-page webpage
from the Edge browser on a Windows laptop took 36 seconds. Copying a single sheet of paper took 9 seconds.