10 Best

Home Printers

of October 2023

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Economical Printers for Home Use

Yehudah Posnick

Whether you need to print documents, such as school projects or assignments, a copy of your resume for a job interview, or even something as informal as an announcement, you’ll undoubtedly want a printer in your home. You’ll find many printers that are intended just for light use in the home. They aren’t for printing heavy jobs of hundreds of pages per month--just an occasional document or graphic.

But there are some things to consider. Do you want to print in color as well, or is it enough just to print in black-and-white? Perhaps you’ll want to use your printer as a copier on occasion or to scan documents. Then you’ll need an all-in-one that takes care of all three functions. And then there’s the cost of the ink: do you want to buy an inexpensive inkjet, and then spend more on ink later, or do you want to lay out more initially for a laser printer, and then save on toner cartridges?

We’ve composed this buyer’s guide to help you make the right decision when selecting a printer for your home use. It'll help you:

  • Choose the right type of home printer for your preferences,

  • See useful tips about that particular type of home printer,

  • Read reviews of different home printers, and what customers are saying,

  • Select the right brand of a home printer, and

  • Compare prices and find the best deals.

Types of Home Printers

  • Single-function: These will only print documents and other content for you, without the ability to copy, scan, or fax. For home use, this might actually be sufficient, especially considering that you can scan documents with a tablet or smartphone nowadays.

  • All-in-one printer: These offer the options of copying, scanning, and perhaps even sending faxes--although faxes have become somewhat outdated. As for scanning: Some printers also allow you to scan to a number of destinations, including scanning directly to Google Drive or your Dropbox. This is preferable to first scanning to your computer’s hard disk and only then uploading it to the cloud.

  • Inkjet: These will use ink cartridges, which deposit the ink either by thermal printing or by piezoelectric printing. Depending on the model, you’ll have to purchase a black cartridge and a color cartridge, or separate color cartridges, such as cyan/magenta/yellow.

  • Laser: Laser printers use a large toner cartridge that can print thousands of pages. Though laser printers are considerably more expensive than inkjet printers initially, they are more economical since you don’t have to replace ink cartridges so often.

What reviewers say

  • Recycled cartridges: Some customers save on inkjet printer cartridges by using recycled cartridges. But the experience with these cartridges is mixed. A Canon customer said that he felt no difference between original cartridges and recycled ones.

  • Operating system: It’s very important to check that the printer will work with your computer’s operating system. For example, older printer models may not have full functionality with newer operating systems, such as Windows 10.

Important Features

  • Wireless printers: Many printers nowadays print wirelessly, so that you can print from a mobile device, or from any computer configured to print with the wireless printer.

  • What if you don’t buy a wireless printer: But, if you buy a simple printer that doesn’t print wirelessly, there are still methods to attach your computer to a router with an Ethernet cable, or by enabling “File and Print Sharing” over a network.

  • Double-sided printing: Many times, you’ll want to print on both sides of a page, to save paper and get a more compact printout. There are printers with auto-duplex printing. (Without it, you’ll have to go through the tedious steps of printing the odd-numbered pages, reinserting the pages, and then printing the even-numbered pages--without messing up the order.) Duplex printing is convenient and saves paper.

  • Ink options: Replacing ink cartridges on inkjet printers tends to be expensive--not to mention the amount of environmental waste that accrues. Printers typically are sold with the “razor and razor blades principle”: The razor can be sold at a cheap price because the manufacturer expects you to buy razor blades on a regular basis--and all of the profit is made off of the razor blades. Along the same lines, a good printer for home use can be as little as $100--but you’ll find that you’ll need to buy replacement ink cartridges regularly. You’ll see companies offer a service where you can order a new ink cartridge automatically when your printer senses that the ink level is getting low. Such is the case with HP’s Instant Ink program, where you pay $3/month, and you’re allotted a quota of 50 pages and $1 more for every additional 15 pages (rates may change). That’s convenient, but not necessarily more economical.

  • Printers that allow you to refill the cartridges: For substantial savings, there are printers that allow you to refill ink yourself, such as the Epson EcoTank series. You inject the ink into the cartridges yourself using a syringe. Each bottle of ink has the equivalent of 79 ink cartridges from the competition!

Top-Rated Brands

  • Not wireless: The Canon MG Series Pixma MG2525 Inkjet Photo Printer is a simple all-in-one printer that is compact and very affordable. It hooks up to your computer with a USB cable, and doesn’t have wireless or Bluetooth connectivity--but that might be enough for a house with only one computer. It’s able to print envelopes and on glossy photo paper.

Canon MG Series Pixma MG2525 Inkjet Photo Printer

  • Wireless: The Epson Expression Home XP-4100 Wireless Color Printer is an inexpensive all-in-one printer that can perform two-sided printing as well as wireless printing from a tablet or smartphone. It’s even capable of voice-activated printing.

Epson Expression Home XP-4100 Wireless Color Printer

  • Uses HP SmartApp: The HP DeskJet 3755 is a compact, All-in-One WiFi printer that is AirPrint compatible, so you can also print from iOS devices wirelessly. You can use HP’s Smart App to set up a printer, scan from smartphone, order toner, or print from the cloud. It is also eligible for the Instant Ink program, allowing you to get replacement ink shipped to your home. It can print on plain paper of various dimensions, as well as on stiff media.

HP DeskJet 3755

  • The Canon Image Class LBP6230dw Wireless Laser Printer is an economical laser printer, which saves you from having to buy inkjet cartridges every month or so. It is a monochrome printer, and only prints--it doesn’t have options to scan, copy or fax. It has the toner cartridge and drum in one unit so that it is simple to replace.

Canon Image Class LBP6230dw Wireless Laser Printer

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