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Need a printer? We ranked the best inkjet, photo, and laser printers

We compared the top printers and broke them into categories: Inkjet, photo, and laser printers. Our research found that the best home office printers include high-tech features like Wi-Fi printing, voice-assistant compatibilities, zero-waste cartridges, and more.

We've looked at many printers over the past few months. Most have been selected based on their usefulness in traditional workspaces and home offices. This time, however, we decided to take a look at printers most appropriate for home use, whether you need one for work, school, crafts, or general household operations.

We're trying a new approach. Rather than work from data and experience gathered by our editorial team, we're tapping into the crowd. For the three primary categories (inkjet, photo, and laser printer), we're ranking the top three printers based on Amazon reviews. To calculate a sentiment rating, we've multiplied the number of reviews by the number of stars.

This process tends to self-select slightly older models that have been around long enough to accrue abundant reviews. But since you want a reliable machine, this approach is a great way to pick the top contenders.

More: The best cheap printers make affordable, quality prints at home

ZDNET experts have analyzed the top three printers with excellent sentiment ratings in each category:

Inkjet printers

An inkjet printer is simply a printer that uses ink to print documents. However, these devices have come a long way from the frustrating days of frustration when you ran out of ink. Now, inkjet printers have zero-waste cartridges, connection to Wi-Fi and cloud services, and the ability to print directly from your smartphone. 

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Long-lasting ink bottles
  • Zero cartridge waste
  • Smartphone and tablet printing
cons
  • No automatic document feeder feature
More Details

Features: Scan, copy, and print two-sided | Voice-activated printing | 10.5 pages per minute

The EcoTank printer comes with ink tanks that you refill from bottled ink. Epson estimates that one set of ink bottles provides the equivalent of about 80 cartridges. If you print often, especially in color, this cartridge-free approach can save you a lot of money.

The EcoTank's print speed is 10.5ppm for black and white, and half that for color. Plus, this unit includes Wi-Fi direct so you can print without connecting to a router. A big win is it includes enough ink to print 6,500 pages black and 5,200 color, which may justify the printer's price upfront.

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Mobile printing with HD smart app
  • Ink delivery to your home
  • Copy and scan
cons
  • Not touchscreen
  • Low paper capacity
More Details

Features: 3 color options | 60-sheet input tray and 25-sheet output tray | 19 pages per minute 

While the standout fact of this printer is price, it's worth noting that it comes in more than just white. There's a blue and white, and a flashback-to-the-70s sea green as well.

We'd classify this as an almost all-in-one. It's got the usual print, copy, and scan features, but leaves out fax. While most buyers many not care about fax, fax machines are still a billion dollar market -- and it's expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 4.93% over the next five years.

This Deskjet 3755 printer is cloud-enabled and connects via Wi-Fi. You can scan documents straight to Google Drive, Dropbox, and iCloud. It prints from 3.5" all the way up to 8.5 x 14", and can even handle envelopes. Plus, it features a 60 sheet paper tray and can print at 8 ppm black, 5.5 ppm color. One big win: it includes two full print cartridges in the box.

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Mobile device printing
  • Lightweight
  • Fast scanner
cons
  • Two-sided printing could be higher quality and faster
More Details

Features: 3 color options | Auto 2-sided print | 9.9 pages per minute

At $89, this is a happy little printer. You can print from your Android or iOS device and computer via Wi-Fi. Plus, you can also scan and copy documents quickly.

The Canon Pixma actually prints faster than our top contender, at 9.9 ppm for black and white and 5.7 ppm for color. It also has a larger 100 sheet paper tray. So that begs the question, if the feeds and speeds are better than the top-rated HP, why is it ranked lower on Amazon? Well, this printer is an older model, and HP's "never run out of ink" program is hard to compete with -- HP simply automates ink replacement for a lower price.

Also: See how the top 10 inkjet printers compare: Epson, HP, Brother, and more

Photo printers

Photo printers offer a wide variety of formats along with some unexpected gimmicks. Interestingly, two of our top photo printers are from the old school film brands: Fujifilm and Kodak. Somehow, that's comforting. 

However, these machines don't print full-page glossy images. Instead, these are small form printers that produce classic film photos.

Let's kick off our list of top-sentiment photo printers with this Fujifilm winner:

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Print photos from camera roll
  • Add filters and frames to photos
cons
  • Small photos
  • Pricey film
More Details

Features: 3 color options | Bluetooth compatible | 12-second printing

This photo printer averages five stars with more than 10,000 ratings. Think about that. It's a printer with more than 13,500 ratings and a five-star average. That's almost absolutely, totally, and in all other ways inconceivable. For. A. Printer.

Folks love this thing. It's a portable printer that spits out snapshot-sized prints. And it's portable, so you can bring it to parties or on vacation for hand-sized images everywhere. Plus, it uses the same film as the Fujifilm Instax camera line. Clearly, this is meant to appeal to a certain type of user, but if you're that user (or you want to buy a gift for them), this Fujifulm will undoubtedly bring some level of joy and happiness -- again, not a phrase one would associate with a printer.

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Bluetooth compatible
  • Print from social media
  • AR Live filters
  • Collage and tile prints
cons
  • Uses report app connection issues
  • Limited battery life
More Details

Features: Photos with peel and stick backing | 1 page per minute | Weight: 0.35lbs

This printer makes sticker sheets with the option to print circular stickers. What makes this printer stand out over the Kodak next on our list is that you can print Instagram and Facebook images right from your smartphone.

Beware: this is a smartphone-only printer that connects to Android and iOS, but not Windows or MacOS. This small, inexpensive device prints on 2x3-inch sticky-backed paper that can adhere to just about anything. It's a bit of a novelty printer, but with a smartphone in every pocket, it makes sense. You can surround yourself with memories or scrapbook special moments easily with this niche device.

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Easy to use
cons
  • Photo quality could be better
More Details

Features: 4 color options | 1 page per minute | Zero-ink technology printing 

Urban Dictionary defines Kodak as "Something old, outdated, unfashionable, out of style, irrelevant, passe." Ouch! Even so, something's clearly working for Kodak, because the brand has picked up its second win in the sentiment contest for photo printers: The Kodak Step.

Despite its enormous popularity, at first I doubted the appeal. Who needs a printer for stickers? But then I started working on a project where this printer's services would be ideal. I reached out to Kodak and they sent one. My ultimate USB charging tower prototype was the result, and the Kodak Step was instrumental in making it come together.

Laser printers

As much as I expected HP to have a strong presence in the sentiment olympics, it turns out that Brother smoked their competition -- especially in the number of reviews. 

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Great ppm rate
  • Voice-assistant compatible
  • Decently priced
cons
  • No scanner
More Details

Features: 32 pages per minute | Amazon Alexa compatible | Wi-Fi printing 

This is a monochrome laser printer. That's it. There's no faxing or copying or any of that fancy stuff. Just print lots of pages nice and fast. The printer itself is relatively compact, offers a 250 sheet paper capacity, and 32 pages per minute print speed.

This powerful little beast connects via USB or Wi-Fi, and you can print directly from your smartphone.

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Compact
  • Fast
  • Easy to set up
cons
  • No Wi-Fi connection
  • Doesn't copy or scan
More Details

Features: Amazon Alexa compatible | 27 pages per minute | Automatic 2-sided printing

This printer is an inexpensive workhorse. If you need to print a lot of black and white pages for a decent price, this is the printer for you. This Brother printer costs roughly $120, and it offers duplex printing at 27 pages per minute. With a 250 sheet paper bin, it's a capable device.

However, it only connects via USB 2.0 -- no Wi-Fi, no AirPrint, no Google Cloud Print. Not even Ethernet. Just plug in a USB cable from your computer to the printer, and print away.

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Simple to use
cons
  • Resolution isn't the best
  • Wi-Fi connection issues
More Details

Features: 21 pages per minute | HP Smart app | Weighs 8.34 pounds

An HP monochrome laser printer managed to show on our sentiment list this time. When we previously updated this guide, Brother completely monopolized this segment of our guide. But now, HP's M110ww is giving Brother a run for its money.

It connects over Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and USB, and can print up to 21ppm. But what sets this apart from others in its class is its small size. Most laser printers are much larger. This gets the job done without occupying half your desk.

Also: See how we rank the top 9 laser printers: HP, Canon, Xerox and more

What is the best printer?

The Epson EcoTank ET-2760 Wireless Color All-in-One is the best printer based on Amazon review. Whether you are looking for a laser, photo or inkjet printer, Epson EcoTank ET-2760 Wireless Color All-in-One has it all! 

Printer

Price

Speed (pages per minute)

Type

Epson EcoTank ET-2760

$350

10.5 ppm

Inkjet

HP DeskJet 3755

$85

19 ppm

Inkjet

Canon Pixma MG3620

$69

9.9 ppm

Inkjet

Fujifilm Instax Mini Link

$100

12-second printing

Photo

Canon Ivy Mobile Mini 

$100

1 ppm

Photo

Kodak Step 

$70

1 ppm

Photo

Brother HL-L2350DW 

$159

32 ppm

Laser

Brother HL-L2300D

$120

27 ppm

Laser 

HP LaserJet M110w 

$169

21 ppm

Laser

Which printer is right for you?

While each of these printers is a great pick for your home office, it ultimately depends if you want an inkjet, photo, or laser printer. Plus, is speed or printer size more important to you? Consider how you'll use the printer and how much you're willing to spend, too.

Choose this printer...

If you want...

for a 27 page per minute, Epson EcoTank ET-2760

The best overall option

HP DeskJet 3755

An all-in-one inkjet printer

Canon Pixma MG3620

A budget-friendly inkjet printer that prints fast

Fujifilm Instax Mini Link

A fast photo printer

Canon Ivy Mobile Mini 

A sticker printer that prints photos from social media

Kodak Step 

A cheap mini photo printer

Brother HL-L2350DW 

The best laser printer you can buy. 

Brother HL-L2300D

A laser printer with solid features at low price

HP LaserJet M110w 

A compact and wireless laser printer

How did we choose these printers?

We chose these printers through a combination of extensive research and testing the products ourselves. We paid attention to customer reviews and ratings, pricing, renowned brands, and different features each printer has.

How to buy a printer?

My standard buying advice applies here well: Consider what you need and buy what best fits that need. Do you need the workhorse capabilities of a monochrome laser printer, the fun of a portable photo printer, or the general usefulness of an inkjet. Only you know what and how often you're going to print.

I'd recommend not basing your decision solely on printer price. Consider the cost of ink and how often you'll need to replenish ink source. If you factor that into overall cost, you'll get a better idea of which printers are best for your budget and needs.

Are there alternative printers worth considering?

Here are a few other options to look into: 

You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz, on Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtz, and on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV.

Editorial standards

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