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After extensive research of hundreds of printers, we bought 10 of the best home printers and thoroughly tested them side-by-side in our lab. Whether you're a part of the remote work renaissance or are just in need of a reliable printer for your home or small office, we've got you covered. We tested everything from printing speed, text quality, picture quality, ease of use, and setup, to lifetime and operating costs. We put together this comprehensive review to help you cut through the noise and make the most informed purchase for your printing needs.
Editor's Note: We updated this review for Home Printers on June 14, 2022, with additional information about our in-depth testing process, an unbiased assessment of value, and a section that highlights products we would recommend to a friend (that includes you!)
Cassettes: A4, A5, B5, Letter, Legal, Statement, Executive, Envelope: COM10, Monarch, C5, DL, Custom (Min. 3" x 5" to Max. 8.5" x 14")
Stack Bypass: Letter, Legal, Statement, Executive
Envelope: COM10, Monarch, C5, DL
Custom (Min. 3" x 5" to Max. 8.5" x 14")
3.5" x 5", 4" x 6", 5" x 7", 8" x 10", Letter, Legal, A4, A6, Half Letter, Executive, User-definable (3.5" — 47.2" L), Oficio 9; 8.5" x 13"; Mexico Oficio
Tray 1: A4; A5; A6; B5 (JIS); Oficio (216 x 340 mm); 16K (195 x 270 mm); 16K 16K (197 x 273 mm); Japanese Postcard; Double Japan Postcard Rotated; Envelope #10; Envelope Monarch; Envelope B5; Envelope C5; Envelope DL; Custom Size; 4" x 6"; 5" x 8"; Statement; Tray 2 & Tray 3: A4; A5; A6; B5 (JIS); Oficio (216 x 340 mm); 16K (195 x 270 mm); 16K (184 x 260 mm); 16K (197 x 273 mm); Custom Size; A5-R; 4" x 6"; B6 (JIS)
Letter, Legal, Government Legal, Executive; Statement, 3" x 5", 4" x 6", 5" x 7", 13 x 18 cm, 8" x 10", 10 x 15 cm, Photo L, Photo 2L, Envelope( #10, Monarch, 5.5 bar), Card (3" x 5", 4" x 6", 5" x 8")
Letter, A4, Legal, Mexico Legal, India Legal, Folio, Executive, A5, A6, Envelopes (C5, Com-10, DL, Monarch), Photo (4" x 6")/(10 x 15 cm), Photo L (3.5" x 5")/(9 x 13 cm), Photo 2L (5" x 7")/(13 x 18 cm), Index card (5" x 8")/(13 x 20 cm)
Dimensions (excludes extensions)
18.8" x 18.8" x 18.4"
16.7" x 15.3" x 10.9"
16.5" x 15.4" x 12.7"
17.3" x 13.5" x 10.9"
17.1" x 14.2" x 7.1"
Paper Handling Input (sheets)
Monthly Duty Cycle
Ink Cost per Ream: B/W
Ink Cost per Ream: Color
Estimated Lifetime Cost of Ownership
Claimed Pages Per Minute
25 (Black) / 12 (Color)
Measured Pages per Minute: Single-Sided B/W
USB 2.0 x2 (Host), USB 2.0 x1 (Device) High-Speed, 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet (Network), Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Wi-Fi® Direct Connection
WiFi, Ethernet, USB 2.0
1 Hi-Speed USB 2.0; 1 rear host USB; 1 Front USB port; Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000BASE-T network; 802.3az(EEE); 802.11b/g/n/2.4/5 GHZ Wi-Fi radio
Windows 7/Windows 8.1/Windows 10/Windows Server 2008/Windows Server 2008 R2/Windows Server 2012/ Windows Server 2012 R2/Windows Server 2016 / Mac OS X v10.9.5 (or later)
Windows 10, Windows 8, 8.1 (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows 7 (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows Vista (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows Server 2003 SP27 — Windows Server 20197, Mac OS X 10.6.8 — macOS 10.15.x8
Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows Client OS, Android, iOS, Mobile OS, macOS 10.12 Sierra, macOS 10.13 High Sierra, macOS 10.14 Mojave
Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Server, ChromeOS
Linux, macOS (12), macOS (11), macOS (10.15), macOS (10.14), Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008
Google Cloud Print
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The Canon Color imageCLASS MF741Cdw is the king of the hill. This machine can do it all and do it all the better than the rest. From text quality to speed to image quality, the MF741Cdw beat out nearly every other model in our lineup for every metric. This printer is faster than any other that we tested. It can produce lightning-fast, stunning, high-resolution color images, a feat that none of the other products in our lineup came close to (in terms of speed). The interface is notably easy to use, boasting a large touch display with built-in adjusters that we were able to use to correct initial saturation issues during setup.
The size and price of the MF741Cdw are the only things we don't love about it. Its boxed weight is a hefty 76 pounds, and the unit itself is 64 pounds, so you may need to enlist some help when setting it up or moving it. The size of this unit is something to consider if you're in a smaller office or home setting where space or the need for mobility is an issue. The MF741Cdw is also currently one of the most expensive models in our lineup. Put simply, this is the best printer we tested, with a price to match its performance. Whether you work from home and simply want the best of the best, or you're in an office setting that demands high quality and high output, this is a fantastic option to consider.
The Epson Workforce Pro WF-4820 is the most well-rounded printer we tested. It does everything you could want a printer to do in this day and age, and it's reasonably priced. Our testing demonstrated that the WF-4820 balances fast reproduction of text and photos without sacrificing quality. We consistently saw crisp text and vivid colors without striping or artifacts and consistently put up some of the fastest printing speeds in our lineup. The setup is intuitive and quick, and the interface is awesome, hosting a range of helpful troubleshooting capabilities that can quickly help you resolve any issues.
The biggest drawback to the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4820 came from a recent update to the software that prevents using anything other than proprietary Epson ink cartridges. But Epson's cartridges are averagely priced, coming in at around $20 per replacement. Another minor flaw to consider is that the WF-4820 cannot duplex scan (it will not automatically scan both sides of a document). To scan both sides, you have to flip it over manually. However, these are small gripes when considering the fantastic overall value-to-performance that the WF-4820 provides.
While the Brother MFC-J4335DW has some weak points, its overall performance stood out in the pack. It has among the lowest operating costs in our lineup and is fast and easy to use. Its cost-to-performance ratio sets the MFC-J433DW apart from the rest. It doesn't do any one thing superbly but can pump out documents at a decent speed for a very affordable price, making it a great choice for a home office where cost and efficiency are the deciding factors.
It's worth mentioning that the MFC-J433DW had some issues with photo and graphic reproduction. While it did a decent job across various photo prints, nothing stood out as exceptional. The graphics had some noticeable blurriness in parts of the text, but the resolution was overall sharp. The text also appeared to lose clarity at smaller scales, and lighter grayscale shades printed notably faint. Otherwise, the printer had exceptional affordability considering both buy-in and lifetime costs. Value is where the MFC-J433DW shines: cartridge replacements are affordable relative to the number of pages you can print per, and the overall quality metrics of this machine are above average across the board. A fantastic buy for the home office in need of decent, fast prints at a great price.
Clocking in at one of the fastest printers in our lineup, the HP LaserJet Pro M428fdw makes quick work of even the biggest jobs. This machine's forte is fast printing and heavy workloads, making it a great pick for those who work from home. In our 9-page print test of mixed color media, this printer shot out the entire document in an incredible 28 seconds. Only one other model in our lineup was marginally faster in the same test. The M428fdw does not sacrifice text quality for fast print times. Its prints are crisp and clear every time. It also scored highly across the board, with an easy-to-use interface and low operating costs.
The notable detractors for the HP LaserJet Pro M428fdw are its high price and average, black-and-white only image quality. This printer is a fantastic choice for a small office that needs to print many text documents, but if your priority is high-quality images, there are better choices in our lineup. While the time savings come at a high buy-in price, this is a great option if your office needs a high-quality, easy-to-use, fast printer.
If quality and affordability are your top two considerations for a new printer, look no further than the HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e. This model offers reasonable printing speed, high-quality text, vibrant colors, and a solid, app-controlled UI. While not the absolute best at any single metric we tested, the 9015e performed nearly as well as products that cost twice the price. With such solid performance and a small form factor, this printer is a great option for home offices that aren't relying on super high-output day-in and day-out but still want good quality prints when needed.
The drawbacks to the 9015e are notable but not deal-breakers. While the proprietary HP app that controls setup and troubleshooting is easy to use, it's quite slow, which results in a clunky feel. Though, the in-app live chat proved responsive and helpful. The printer's built-in touch display was a little haphazard, occasionally registering the wrong input. As far as picture quality, the 9015e also had some faint striping when printing graphics, but the colors were exceptionally vibrant. Overall, the noted detractors here were slight compared to the overall solid package that the 9015e provides at an affordable price. We think its ability to perform well across the board, and its small form factor and reasonable price point make this a winner for any home office.
Even when authors Alex Hocevar-Smith and Genaveve Bradshaw aren't on the job, they're researching and comparing their potential purchases, whether it's tech, outdoor gear, or the groceries at their local co-op. With so many companies and products vying for our attention and capital, we either need to invest our own valuable time and energy into vetting every purchase for ourselves or looking for a third party to help us out. That's where we come in. We see you, we see the clutter, and we're here to help sort through it all to make sure you never feel like you're wasting your hard-earned dollar. We hate that feeling too, and our goal is to be the best resource for you to come to when you're looking to make a purchase but don't know where to start.
When it comes to printers, we've researched hundreds and tested dozens over the years and selected 10 of the best home printers to test side-by-side for this update. We spent excessive hours comparing and contrasting every metric that makes a printer worthy. We print thousands of pages to compare A/B text, photo, and graphics quality among the competitors. We compare form factors and ease of setup, use, and connectivity. Overall, our team conducted more than 170 individual tests to help you find the perfect printer to match your needs and budget.
Our in-depth testing process of printers breaks down into five rating metrics:
Text Quality (25% of overall score rating)
Operating Cost (25% of overall score rating)
Ease of Use (20% of overall score rating)
Graphics and Photos (15% of overall score rating)
Printing Speed (15% of overall score rating)
Anything you could want to know about one of these devices, we've tested it against every other printer we found worthy of comparison. We want a printer that will strike a balance between performance and value. So each printer we test undergoes 5 specific tests that evaluate text quality and compares that to the ink cost — for black and white and color cartridges — and a calculated lifetime cost of ownership. The results of the Text Quality and Operating Cost scores account for 25% of the overall score, respectively. We're proud of our efforts and this comprehensive article highlighting the best home printers on the market. We hope you can use the information here to select the perfect product to fit your needs and budget.
Analysis and Test Results
Printers may not be the most glamorous or exciting piece of tech in our homes or offices, but they're an essential tool in our society. How much longer we'll need to rely on them seems dubious, but for now, they remain a staple in our homes and offices. It's important to own one that you can rely on to perform the tasks you need without hindrance or failings. While they can be frustrating when they don't perform how we expect them to, they've come a long way over the years in terms of convenience, reliability, and ease of use. We think our analysis and test results demonstrate some very strong performers in today's market.
The front-runners we uncovered perform exceptionally well at the metrics we've outlined for you here. Even outside of our awards, there were strong performers amongst the ten models that we tested side-by-side. We're confident that our weeks of testing, analysis of results, and explication in these reviews can lead you to a purchase you feel good about. Our expert advice will save you research time and can potentially save you from wasting money on a product that doesn't fit your needs.
The value of any particular piece of office equipment will vary depending on your needs. If you're running a small office with a high output of printed documents and graphics or images, a printer that performs fast with exceptional quality may be valuable and worth a larger investment. If your child prints the occasional essay at home, an award-winning machine with perfect, crisp text is probably not worth much to you. Beyond these meta considerations of value, we've also analyzed each model's estimated lifetime and operating costs in our lineup. So, once you've decided what type of printer you need for your situation, you can look at our cost analysis of each model that you've honed in on. For example, maybe the graphics quality is more valuable to you than the cost of cartridge replacements. Regardless of your needs, we hope to provide you with all the information here that will help you find the product most valuable to you.
Some of the best value printers in our current lineup include the Epson EcoTank ET-4760, the Brother MFC-J4335DW, and the Canon ImageClass MF741Cdw. While these are different in their initial purchase price and overall function, they each provide a great value to their target audience. The Epson EcoTank has incredibly low operating costs and is super unique in how Epson has gone about manufacturing a printer that prioritizes economics. The Brother fits into a different bracket of initially affordable and inexpensive to maintain. While not the best at its printing functions, it's a very cost-effective solution for the small home office. Finally, the ImageClass provides incredible value to the high output small or home office that needs quality prints every time. While not inexpensive, its overall package is stellar for those that need a printer with great all-around performance and affordable lifetime costs.
Above all, the most important feature of your everyday printer is its ability to print clear text. If the text is blurry or illegible, it's not performing its most basic function. A model that scored 10 out of 10 in this metric has flawless text quality; a score of 1 means the text is ineligible. We printed thousands of pages of text of various sizes and densities to sort from best to worst. After printing, we then studied the text in both dim, natural, and artificial lighting before arriving at our final score. Our two points of analysis on printed text were Black and White Text Quality–how consistently black was the ink within each character under various lighting conditions–and Text Resolution–the sharpness of each character, looking carefully for bleeding or blemishes.
Our top three contenders were the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4820, the Canon ImageClass MF741Cdw, and the HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e, with the latter two tying for first place. Essentially, all produced exceptional black and white quality and text resolution with minor blemishes. The HP and the Canon were extra sharp with unwaveringly great pigmentation. We've noticed an advancement in technology since the last time we reviewed printers because inkjets are performing very close to the top laser printers in both text quality and even speed. We now have a mix of both inkjets and lasers in this best-of arena, whereas laser printers previously dominated this space.
Closely following our top three models was the HP LaserJet Pro M428fdw. It marginally lagged behind the Epson WF-4820 in the text resolution metric, showing occasional faintness, but otherwise performed just as well. The Brother HL-L2300D also had identical scores with the LaserJet Pro, demonstrating consistently good quality black and white saturation, with occasional fuzz on individual characters.
The weakest performer in the text quality metric was the Brother MFC-J4335DW. Smaller text sizes lost clarity and lighter grayscale shades printed notably faint, and there was also some blurring for thinner fonts.
Generally, most people want to print documents and forget about their printers. Constantly needing to buy expensive ink cartridges isn't worth it for most consumers unless you're running an office that requires the highest quality prints. Likewise, it's not in everyone's best interest to buy the cheapest printer with the cheapest cartridges they can find and constantly have to deal with subpar prints or errors.
That's why we spent the time and calculated the exact cost per page of every printer on our list: so you can decide where your price point sweet spot is. We also calculated each printer's estimated 3-year lifetime cost by adding the MSRP to our cost per page analysis. This way, you won't have any surprise costs when considering one of the printers in our lineup, and you can make the best decision for your specific needs.
With a perfect score in this metric, the Epson EcoTank ET-4760 allows a whopping 7,500 printed pages per replacement cartridge(s). Its cost per printed page is so low — a fraction of a cent — that it was effectively $0 for our per page yield calculations. That fraction eventually adds up to about $1.33 per 500 pages (the next closest printer was $5.50 per 500 pages for reference). Compared to every other printer we tested, the ET-4760 is the least expensive to operate and makes it a fantastic choice for buyers looking for the best bang for their buck.
The Brother MFC-J4335DW came next, which missed a perfect score of $0.50 per 500 pages. Still not on the same level of day-to-day affordability as the Epson EcoTank, the Brother has very low operating costs. When you factor in the MSRP, it has the lowest lifetime cost of our tested printers at $250 per 3 years of ownership. While both are great options for affordable printers, our top two contenders here performed disparately in other metrics worth considering and should help you decide which would best suit your needs.
Most of the rest of our lineup falls in a range of $11 to $30 per 500 printed pages (a ream) of black and white text. The HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e comes in at about $11.25 per ream, the Brother HL-L2300D comes in at $16.66 per ream, the HP LaserJet Pro MFP M428fdw and the Canon ImageClass MF741Cdw both follow at around $18 per ream, and finally the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4820 settles at $28.56 per black and white ream.
The color cost per ream ranges vastly, starting as low as $0.87 with the category winner, the Epson EcoTank ET-4760, and goes up to $84.95 per color ream with the HP DeskJet 4155e. When factoring in any of these operating costs, each printer's performance in black and white and photo/graphics print quality needs to be considered. So while the Deskjet 4155e might have the highest cost per color ream, it also scored third highest in the photo and graphic print quality. Again, ultimately, you have to pinpoint your top priorities for your personal printer needs and use our analysis to settle on the best performer for your situation. Something more to consider here is that there are local printing services available to you in your area. So, ideally, if you plan on printing lots of quality photos at home, you want to make sure it costs less than going to, say, your local CVS and paying to have them printed for you.
Another consideration is how all of these costs accrue over the lifetime ownership of each printer. While each model varies in operating and purchase costs, each performs different functions better or worse than the other. If you're in a situation where having the lowest-priced product available is the most important factor, then something like the Brother MFC-J4335DW is a great choice. However, if having the best photo print quality available on the market is your key factor, then paying a lifetime cost of $789 for the Canon ImageClass MF741Cdw might be worth it. Hopefully, our cost analysis can provide enough compiled data to help you quickly sort through the overall costs of owning and operating each of these printers and make the best choice for your needs.
Ease of Use
There's been a great deal of progress in user interfaces and software design over the past decade. From WiFi connectivity improvements to the advent of touchscreens and supplementary mobile apps to speak to and navigate printer settings, most printers have come a long way from esoteric, slow, and clumsy onboard menus. We found that many of the printers in our lineup were quite easy to set up and pleasant to use and troubleshoot. However, as with any field of tech gadgets these days, we still ran into our fair share of setbacks and head-scratchers.
If not for its mammoth size and weight (64 pounds), the Canon ImageClass MF741Cdw would've scored near perfect in this metric. The setup was painless, the WiFi connection uncomplicated, the touch display was large, and the sub-menus contained accessible adjusters to help dial in prints. Our only real complaint, beyond its cumbersome size, was a few random WiFi dropouts that we couldn't seem to pinpoint any obvious issue. Otherwise, the ImageClass MF741Cdw was an absolute pleasure to use and set the bar for our lineup.
All of the next five printers experienced a few various hiccups, from wireless setup complications with the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4820 to some basic cartridge alignment issues with the HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e. However, each performed well enough to garner strong scores. The HP LaserJet Pro MFP M428fdw shone more brightly than the rest on every tested metric–initial setup, wireless setup, customer service, and interface ease of use.
It is worth noting that the Epson EcoTank ET-4760 and the Brother HL-L2300D were significantly more challenging to use than the rest of our lineup. The EcoTank has a bizarre initial setup in which you empty bottles of ink in tanks that are housed in the printer. There is some opportunity for a mess here, but it is fairly straightforward and just a bit of a time sink if you're careful. It took the printer ten minutes to decide that its tanks were full enough to allow printing. The first print we attempted jammed, and then it took another significant chunk of time to follow alignment procedures to get it to print properly. Beyond this initial setback, the EcoTank also struggled with jamming easily. While jams don't take terribly long to clear, they are a nuisance to deal with and definitely detract from its overall package. If you plan on doing a lot of printing, you may want to consider a model with a higher monthly duty cycle.
The Brother HL-L2300D had a hard time. The initial setup was easy, albeit a little slow, but this printer seems to be stuck in the previous decade regarding driver installation. We found that the only way to install wireless drivers was to use a supplied CD-ROM However, if you're like us, none of our computers on hand have CD drives anymore. For whatever reason, Brother does not supply this printer's drivers on their website, so setting up its WiFi connection became impossible. While timely in their responses, Brother's customer service was never helpful in resolving any of our issues. Thus, we were confined to a hard-wired USB connection; this obviously resulted in a very low wireless ease of use score.
Graphics and photos are not everybody's top priorities, but if it's important to you to be able to produce high-quality photographs at home or in your office, we put our lineup through its paces to help you make the most informed decision. We printed hundreds of graphics, charts, and photos and compared them side-by-side. We organized them from the best to the worst quality; while there were several very strong contenders, most printers performed above average.
There were a few printers for this category that impressed us. The Canon ImageClass MF741Cdw, the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4820, and the HP Deskjet 4155e excelled at printing high-quality color photos. Each had a sharp resolution and a beautiful, wide color display. The ImageClass led the pack, with every metric being measured slightly better than its direct competitors. The only drawback to these machines was that each slightly struggled when printing graphics with hard edges and sharp contrast. Here, we noticed a little bit of fuzz or very faint color striping, but none so bad as to detract from the overall score too much. If photos are a priority for you, you couldn't go wrong with any of these top contenders, but it is worth considering purchasing a photo-specific printer.
The HP Envy 6055e came in closely behind the front runners and displayed sharp graphics better than any other printer. It notably struggled with striping and color banding in black parts of images and a general lack of consistency in color across our printing tests; thus, it earned a slightly lower score. However, overall, the 6055e performed fantastically and excelled at textural displays and subtle color variation in richly saturated images.
The Brother HL-L2300D scored lowest in this metric, unsurprisingly. As the lowest-priced monochrome laser printer in our lineup, its priority is speed, and it is not a machine you should be looking to for photo printing needs.
Not everyone will find it important for their printer to shoot out documents at lightning speed. Still, for those consumers who print a high volume of documents and are time-crunched, high-speed printers might be a valuable resource. We put our lineup through the wringer, printing mixed text and photos, high res photos, 10-page documents duplex, and simplex (double and single-sided). We then tallied up the speed of each test to arrive at our overall scores. The lasers, as expected, excelled in this category; however, some of the inkjets performed strongly as well.
Our King of the Hill, the Canon ImageClass MF741Cdw, again knocked it out of the park with this test. It spits out mixed and standard text documents at an incredible 23 to 26 seconds and produces gorgeous, rich, full-page color photos in just 6 seconds. No, that's not a typo. Though the images were a bit fainter than how they appeared on our computer screen, the speed they printed was truly impressive. The HP LaserJet Pro MFP M428fdw performed marginally better in this category, boasting slightly faster duplex and simplex print times than the Canon. Its print quality was noticeably inferior, but its speed in every metric was best in class.
Next in line was the other laser, the Brother HL-L2300D, and one of the inkjets, the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4820. Both had strong performances, though the Brother was faster across the board, as we'd expect from a laser vs. inkjet speed comparison. Still, the Workforce Pro did surprisingly well with a nice balance of speed and quality images and text. The Brother, on the other hand, while very fast, had striping and generally subpar quality. Again, the deciding factor here is really what your top priorities are for your specific printer needs.
The HP LaserJet Pro M428fdw dominated our single-sided black and white print speed test, pumping out almost twice as many pages per minute as the next best, the Canon ImageClass MF741Cdw. So, if your situation is such that you have a high output of single-sided text copy day in and day out, there's a very clear winner in this category.
We hope that our efforts have produced valuable data and guidance for you as you hunt for the perfect printer for your personal needs. We made sure to highlight the most important factors and detractors for each printer here for you to compare and contrast. Ultimately you can't go wrong with any of these printers, as they all perform well in one metric or another.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.