When choosing a printer for home use, there are several key factors to consider to find the best option for your needs and budget. This comprehensive guide examines the most important features of home printers to help you decide.
One of the most significant considerations is print quality. Most modern printers can produce documents and photos good enough for basic home use. However, if you plan to print high-quality photos or graphics, you’ll want to look for a printer with higher maximum DPI (dots per inch), more ink cartridges, and the ability to print borderless photos.
Print speed measures how fast a printer can produce a page of text or graphics. Printers designed for home offices usually print 15 to 30 pages per minute. Faster print speeds are better for handling multiple print jobs. Slower printers around 10ppm may be suitable for light home use.
Many modern home printers connect via Wi-Fi for wireless printing from anywhere in your home. Some also offer ethernet, USB, Bluetooth, and cloud connectivity. If you need to print from multiple devices, prioritize options with wireless networking. Wired connectivity limits printer placement but offers faster, more reliable data transfers.
The two main printer types use either laser/toner or inkjet ink cartridges. Laser printers have higher upfront costs but lower long-term ink expenses for black and white printing. However, color lasers remain considerably more expensive. Inkjet printers are more affordable to purchase, but refilling cartridges has high operating costs, especially for color photo printing.
Home printers offer extra functions like scanning, copying, faxing, duplex printing, mobile printing apps, cloud storage, and more. Consider which features would add value for your needs as increased functionality often raises prices. An all-in-one inkjet can satisfy most home office needs for lower costs than buying separate devices.
How much you plan to print is vital for deciding print technology, ink costs, and long-term reliability. Laser printers with separate toner cartridges handle high monthly print volumes more cost-effectively. Inkjet printers offer affordability for light home use but their constantly moving print heads are prone to clogs and failures from disuse.
Taking these factors into account, here are the best home printers in popular categories:
Best All-In-One Printer: Canon PIXMA TR4720
- Print quality up to 4800 x 1200 DPI
- Print speed 20 ppm black, 17 ppm color
- Wi-Fi, ethernet, USB connectivity
- Inkjet cartridges
- Low operating costs for moderate use
- Scans, copies, wireless printing
- Compact 18-inch footprint
The Canon PIXMA TR4720 hits the sweet spot of quality, performance, and value for general home use. It produces excellent text and graphics while keeping ink costs low for medium print volumes. The sleek design saves shelf space, and it includes versatile scanning/copying and wireless functionality.
Best Photo Printer: Epson EcoTank ET-8500
- 6 color Claria ink for vibrant graphics
- 5760 x 1440 DPI borderless photos
- Prints up to 13 x 19 inches
- Ink tanks instead of cartridges
- Much lower color printing costs
- Large LCD screen and memory card slot
The EcoTank ET-8500 delivers stunning quality across photos, artwork, and creative projects. It switches to super tank ink reservoirs that offer thousands more prints over the lifetime use compared to standard cartridges. The wide format printing, versatile connectivity, and convenient tablet-like interface also make it ideal for photography enthusiasts.
Best Budget Printer: Brother HL-L2395DW
- Print resolution up to 2400 x 600 DPI
- 32 ppm print speed
- Reliable laser printing
- Wireless networking
- Automatic 2-sided printing
- Ultra low printing costs
- 250-sheet paper capacity
This affordable Brother laser printer provides grayscale office printing and copying with extremely low maintenance costs, making it the top budget option. The toner cartridge offers years of pages between changes. It connects via Wi-Fi and USB to provide labeling, documents, and more in professional quality at home or a small office.
Other Notable Options:
HP OfficeJet Pro 9015 – Robust color inkjet all-in-one with lower ink costs
Canon ImageCLASS MF236n – Feature-packed monochrome laser printer and scanner
Epson WorkForce WF-2860 – Fast color inkjet with large capacity ink tanks
HP Tango X – Voice-activated, system-connected compact printer
- Prioritize print quality, operating costs, and connectivity options that match your primary usage
- Inkjet printers offer affordability for moderate home use
- Laser printers handle high print volumes more cost-effectively
- All-in-one devices provide versatile functionality for home offices
- Carefully consider ink and toner expenses based on your monthly print needs
- Wireless networking provides flexible printing from multiple household devices
Determine your home printing requirements and preferred features before deciding which printer best suits your needs and budget. All-in-one inkjets like the Canon PIXMA TR4720 present outstanding overall value for everyday document and photo printing. Or choose a specialty printer like the photo-centric Epson EcoTank ET-8500 if focused on graphics quality. Considering these factors will help you select reliable, cost-effective printing tailored to home use.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the most reliable home printer brand?
Major manufacturers like Canon, Epson, and HP have comparable reliability for consumer models. Professional-grade office brands like Brother, Konica Minolta, and Xerox offer increased durability.
- Do printers use a lot of electricity?
Printers have relatively low energy consumption, using around 2-4 watts in standby. Energy use spikes briefly during active printing before returning to standby levels. Inkjets use slightly more due to print head movements.
- Is a laser or inkjet printer better?
Inkjet printers provide better graphics quality, especially for photos. But laser printers have much lower operational costs for black and white document printing. Laser toner also allows higher print volume and speed.
- What is the average print volume for home use?
Typical household printing falls within 150-400 pages per month. Moderate home office use ranges from 400-800 pages. Printers designed for 1,500+ pages monthly handle the needs of most busy home-based businesses.
- What paper types can I use in a standard home printer?
Basic copy paper works for all printers. Inkjet printers also generally support photo paper, matte/glossy media, envelopes, labels, and specialty paper types. Laser printers require thicker paper to withstand higher heat from toner fusion.
- How do I connect my printer wirelessly?
Most Wi-Fi-enabled printers can be set up directly through your device settings or manufacturer’s software after selecting it on your home network. This allows printing from any connected laptop, phone, or tablet in range.
- What supplies do printers require?
Inkjet printers use disposable ink cartridges that require periodic replacement. Laser printers use toner powder topped up from reservoirs or all-in-one cartridges. All printers need compatible printer paper and may also use ancillary parts like fusers and imaging drums.
- How do I choose print resolution quality?
600 x 600 DPI delivers normal text document quality. 1200 DPI produces sharp standard graphics and photos. Printers with 4800+ DPI allow extremely detailed photographic reproductions for gallery prints and artproofing.
- Why does my printer jam so frequently?
Frequent jams usually occur from using improper paper types that the printer cannot pull smoothly through its paper path. Check guidelines for paper weights your printer can handle and avoid paper sizes not designed for its specifications.
- How can I reduce my home printer operating costs?
Choosing laser over inkjet cuts long-term supply costs for black and white documents. Refillable ink tank printers offer lower color printing costs over cartridges. Selecting models with individual cartridges only replaces empty colors. Generic and high-yield branded supply options reduce costs over manufacturer cartridges for some printer models.
- What maintenance should I do to extend my printer’s lifespan?
Keep your printer clear of dust/debris in a climate-controlled space. Only use compatible high-quality paper types to avoid jams from poor quality materials. Perform regular print head cleanings and nozzle checks on inkjets. Replace toner and critical parts as needed when print quality declines.