Buying one of the best printers isn't as easy as it should be: you can't just turn up at your favourite store and buy the first model that meets you budget, because there are so many other factors to consider. In this best printers guide we'll get you asking the right questions. How are you going to your printer, and how often? What are you printing? What features do you need and how fast do you need your printouts?
Fortunately, our expert team knows its printers, and we've picked out all the best models right here for you – we've factored in costs, features, design and everything else that matters, though you'll still need to do a few calculations yourself.
For example, good-looking printers are perfect if they're going to sit on a prominent desk. Wireless printers are able to do the business while tucked away, so aesthetics might not be quite as big a consideration. Think about who's using your printer too – a model with a built-in screen and memory card support is good for those in a hurry who want to keep it simple. Heavy-duty users might need something with more features, like a scanner.
And so we've rounded up the best home printers to suit all styles and budgets, from printing large quantities of documents, to making memories for the family photo album. Read on for the best printers of 2021.
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These are the best printers to buy in 2021
Ink is, famously, more expensive than gold. And it seems that Epson is aware of quite how ridiculous this fact is, as its Ecotank system (which stores liquid ink in refillable tanks, rather than relying on expensive cartridges) proves.
The company reckons this multi-function printer will cut down on your ink spending by up to 90%, and bundles an estimated three years worth of ink (equivalent to 88 cartridges) along with the printer.
There's no touch screen, although there are on-device buttons to help you scan and copy documents, and while the print quality and speed might not be up to the same standard as some much pricier models, the economics of the ET-2750 are such that it pays for itself before it's even left the box.
Nobody wants to give up 50% of their desk to a printer. Not even us. Canon's versatile all in one has the smallest footprint a decent printer could realistically muster, and crams a huge number fo features into that space.
It's high on connectivity options, supporting Airplay, Bluetooth, cloud printing and more, and does the usual combination of printing, scanning and copying through a 7.5cm touchscreen. Photo printing is a neat extra.
It's a little slow to print, and ink isn't the cheapest, although you can save a little, and prolong the time between changes, by opting for XXL cartridges.
Large scale printing isn't the easiest thing. If you need to print A3 pages, but can't stand the hassle of heading to your local print shop for posters or other large documents, a large home printer could be a great solution.
Epson's option, which is surprisingly affordable, can print documents up to A3 size, great for (light) business use or home users who want a little more than the usual. Instructions are a little on the light side, and you'll need a hefty desk, but once you've found the space and figured it out it's reasonably intuitive.
There are plenty of connectivity option in there - we're particularly taken by the NFC printing option, which will drag files from your phone when you place it on the appropriate spot.
If you've got a lot of printing to do, the best printer for you might be a laser printer – like the Samsung Xpress C430W. You pay more for your cartridges but they tend to last longer than the inkjet equivalents, and generally speaking they're better for heavy duty tasks (which is why you find them in offices).
The Samsung Xpress C430W sticks to the basics in a lot of ways, with no touchscreen or memory card slot, but it has everything you're likely to need – fast printing in mono or colour, duplex printing, support for Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print... and the price is great too.
If you're looking for an inoffensive printer, or just want a splash of colour to enjoy while you're waiting for your documents to be done, HP's amazingly cheap little all-in-one is the printer for you.
We're amazed at what it can do; this model steps up from its predecessors by adding wireless and Airprint capabilities, and offers up good-quality colour prints, scanning and copying with the scanner on top, and a three-month subscription to HP's Instant Ink program. This means that, should your cartridge run low, the printer will automatically order up a new one and have it sent to you.
There's only one cartridge, though, so you'll either need to waste a little ink or make sure every single document you print is equally balanced between all colours. Wastage it is, then.
Into photography? You need a printer that can print physical versions of those photos, and do it well. That's what you get here; in the he Epson Expression Premium XP-830's photo printing mode, which can automatically pull photo paper from one of its dual paper trays, you get high quality prints with a professional sheen.
Naturally, photo paper isn't cheap. Neither is the copious volumes of ink required to print on it. And while it takes a little while to get set up, switching modes and sources is quick and easy when you're up and running. You don't even need a PC or Mac to get it done - plug your phone or camera in, or insert an SD card, and you can print directly from there. This very well could be the best home printer for photos.
If you can get over its one big drawback - the single cartridge system, which means you'll need to replace everything if you run out of a single colour- this is a decent printer indeed. There's a surprising number of features, high quality photo printing, scanning and copying, and a setup which absolutely anyone can do. That latter feature and the single cartridge match up, really: if every there were a beginner printer, this would be it.
Not that it's totally basic. If you want to take things further, Airprint support means you can print from your phone, and the LCD touch screen is a very nice touch. Printing isn't super-fast, though, so this is more for occasional use than a home office situation.
Some of us don't need to scan or photocopy. If you're not fussed about having a machine that can do it all, particularly if you'll only ever use a third of its features, then Canon's basic model will serve you well for a vastly reduced outlay.
Not that its price means it's basic. The Canon Pixma IP7250 is slim, it looks damn sleek, and it's surprisingly capable, with a speedy output and the chops to print photos to a high standard. It has twin trays to make that easier, and wireless printing so you can tuck it away in a corner. Best hope this is your pick for an occasional use printer, though: ink is expensive.