While 3D printers may garner more attention, reliable inkjet printers keep getting better and better. The best inkjet printers today print photos that will make creatives ‘ooh’ and ‘ah,’ and can keep up with laser printers in speed and quality when it comes to text. They’ve also become steadily more efficient and economical, putting pressure on their laser printing cousins to compete.
These printers come in a wide range of prices, from under $100 to over $1,000. Some models can print, scan, copy, and fax, while others are specialized for photo printing or portability. Your copy volume, intended use, and price determine the inkjet printer size and type that you’ll need. Take a peek at our top picks and get a few tips on choosing the best inkjet printer for your photos and documents below.
— Best Overall: Epson EcoTank ET-4760
— Best All-In-One: HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e
— Best Portable: HP OfficeJet 250 All-in-One Portable Printer
— Best For Photos: Epson Expression Photo XP-970 Printer
— Best Budget: HP DeskJet 2755e
How We Picked the Best Inkjet Printers
Printers are growing increasingly sophisticated devices. When looking for the best of the best, we looked at print speed, print quality, functionality, connectivity, and lifetime efficiency.
Printing Speed: No one wants to wait around for hours while a big document prints. We looked for printers with fast printing speeds (over eight pages per minute) that work for home and/or small business use.
Print Quality: Many people use inkjet printers to print their photos at home. We examined the quality of those prints, looking for sharpness, color clarity, and depth of contrast. Text clarity was also considered.
Functionality: Models that offer both printing and scanning led the way, but models that add faxing and other functions got bonus points.
Connectivity: In today’s world where you may need to print from a phone, laptop, tablet, or desktop, the more connectivity options a printer has, the better. We prioritized options with good connectivity.
Lifetime Efficiency: A printer may not cost much upfront, but if the cartridges are expensive, it could cost you far more over the life of the printer. We looked at the overall cost of each printer we reviewed, not just how much it cost at the initial purchase.
Related: Save your best images with the best photo printers.
THE BEST INKJET PRINTERS: REVIEWS & RECOMMENDATIONS
Best Inkjet Printer Overall: Epson EcoTank ET-4760
Why It Made The Cut: The EcoTank 4760 balances quality and long-term running expense, while delivering impressive quality and providing great mobile connectivity.
— Type: All-in-One
— Color or monochrome: Color
— Connection options: Ethernet, USB, wireless
— Low running costs
— Impressive print quality
— Varied connectivity options
— Relatively low duty cycle
The Epson EcoTank ET-4760 stands as the best inkjet printer overall in its class due to its combination of print quality, connection options, and low running costs. At 10 inches long by 16.4 inches wide by 19.8 inches high and weighing only 15 pounds, this model comes in a relatively small package. Most inkjet printers of a similar price point are much bigger and heavier. Yet the EcoTank 4760 can still hold 250 pages in its single drawer. It produces excellent text and photos at a decent speed. However, creatives or those with a discerning eye might notice a slight quality deficiency in photo printing when compared to other models designed specifically for photo printing.
A touchscreen display manages all of the walk-up functions, like configuration changes, making copies, or scanning to or printing from the cloud. It also includes a built-in website (a feature pretty common to most printers these days), which makes it easy to check paper and ink usage.
This model can connect via ethernet, USB, or wireless. This offers plenty of options for home use or a small office. The machine’s connectivity also includes peer-to-peer protocol, so you can connect it to a smartphone and other mobile devices for direct printing. You can also “teach” the printer voice commands for use with Alexa or Google Assistant.
The only downside to this model is its relatively low duty cycle. It’s only rated to print 800 pages per month. For home use, that’s fine, but for some offices, that might not be enough.
Best All-In-One Inkjet Printer: HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e
Why It Made The Cut: The HP Pro 9015e produces quality prints at an affordable per-page cost and comes at an affordable starting price for home use or small businesses.
— Type: All-in-one
— Color Or Monochrome: Color
— Connection Options: Wi-Fi, USB, ethernet
— Fast printing with good quality
— Borderless printing options
— Relatively low running costs
— 35-sheet auto-duplexing abilities
— Single paper input source
The HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e is one of the best all in one inkjet printers, and that’s because of the print quality, print options (borderless anyone?), low running costs, and extra features — like the ability to auto-duplex up to 35-page print jobs. It also comes in a compact design that doesn’t hog office space, whether that space is at home or in the office.
Take note that this model is identical to the 2019 model except that it now comes with a 6-month Instant Ink trial, which gets you six months of free ink, as well as an extra year on the warranty. And this model can cloud print from mobile devices using the HP app paired with an auto document feeder.
With respect to production, this printer puts out 22 pages per minute printing black and 18 pages per minute printing color, which is more than enough for most small businesses. With the HP subscription, the running costs stay relatively low. And the 9015e also offers great connectivity options using Wi-Fi, ethernet, and USB. The only downside to this model is the single paper input source, which could slow things down in a busy office.
Best Portable Printer: HP OfficeJet 250 All-in-One Portable Printer
Why It Made The Cut: The OfficeJet 250 lets you take your business on the road with scanning, copying, and easy connectivity from almost anywhere.
— Type: All-in-one
— Color Or Monochrome: Color
— Connection Options: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
— Large touchscreen display and controls
— Prints from mobile devices with HP app
— Easy setup and quiet printing
— Long battery life
— Some units have connectivity issues
The best portable printer has to be compact but offer office-quality printing. That’s what the OfficeJet 250 does. This small printer runs off a battery (with excellent battery life) and is small enough at 15 inches long by 8 inches wide by 4 inches high to fit in a backpack or put in the trunk of a car. Students and business people alike can take this model to school, trade shows, or on the commute to print, fax, and scan.
A large 2.65-inch touchscreen lets you scroll through and choose options. This printer also offers Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Direct, which makes it compatible with most mobile devices using the HP app. It’s ease of setup gets a big thumbs up. And users also report that it’s quiet, which is useful for a portable model.
The downside of this model is that every now and then a unit shows connectivity issues. However these issues tend to be few and far between.
Best Photo Printer: Epson Expression Photo XP-970 Printer
Why It Made The Cut: This Epson prints gorgeous, borderless photos in sizes up to 11 by 17 inches, with voice activation, a large touchscreen, and mobile printing options.
— Type: Photo
— Color Or Monochrome: Color
— Connection Options: Wi-Fi
— Works with mobile devices using app
— Prints beautiful, professional-quality photos
— Fold-over scan lid
— Works with a variety of papers
— Expensive replacement inks
Professional and amateur photographers alike will appreciate pro-quality photos from home (or the office) with the XP-970, the best photo printer out there. The Epson Expression XP-970 connects to laptops, desktops, and mobile devices using Wi-Fi. Mobile devices can use a mobile app for better functionality. And the large 4.3-inch touchscreen offers easy-to-see (and use) controls.
The device includes a fold-over lid that holds originals in place while copying. This model can produce 4 x 6 prints up to 11 x 17 prints with or without a border. Get creative and use different types of paper to create different effects—even watercolor paper will work.
The downside with this model is the expensive replacement inks. This Epson also has a frustrating feature that halts printing if it detects low ink, even when more prints could be printed.
Best Cheap Printer: HP DeskJet 2755e
Why It Made The Cut: This printer stands out for its low upfront price and dependable performance for basic printing needs.
— Type: All-in-One
— Color Or Monochrome: Color
— Connection Options: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB
— Easy setup
— Can print photos
— Can connect to the HP+ system
— Prints from mobile devices with app
— Can have connectivity issues
The HP DeskJet 2755e is the best cheap printer because it costs less than $100 and offers reliable print quality and color at that. It sticks to the basics but does those things well. Those basics include printing (photos and text), scanning, and copying.
It’s also capable of connecting to HP’s HP+ system for extra support, but you’ll need an account. The Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and USB connectivity works with iOS and Android devices for improved connectivity.
However, that price can be a little too good to be true in some cases. This model can function beautifully and print passable photos. But there are a number of units that have connectivity issues, especially if your operating system is older.
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THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BUYING AN INKJET PRINTER
Text and Graphics Quality
Graphics aren’t a problem for most inkjet printers. They’ve been good at them for years, and many of today’s models are up to snuff for graphic quality. Text is another thing however. Laser printers still reign supreme for crisp, clear text. However, inkjet printers have come a long way. Some models create text that rivals laser printers. But if you’ll mostly be printing text, then make sure to check the text quality of the printer you choose.
Most inkjet printers can print photos that rival commercial processing. Inkjet printers aimed at businesses may be designed to prioritize speed rather than photo quality, so make sure the printer you choose can handle the medium that’s most important to you. Many speedier options deliver lower quality photo prints. Both machines designed for home use and the models designed specifically for photo printing can offer excellent quality.
If you’re looking to cut down on the cords in your office or home, a wireless printer that uses either Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or NFC can enable you to print from almost anywhere within range. Some models also connect to mobile devices through manufacturer apps or air printing. NFC models connect by touching the mobile device to a certain spot on the printer.
A high-quality inkjet printer can cost over $1,000, while budget models go for under $100. Consider the quality you need, how often you’ll use the printer, and your printing volume to determine the features you must have versus those that you could sacrifice for a lower price. Higher quality photo printers and business models with quick printing times top out the price range. However, models in the mid and lower price range can still offer excellent quality, though you may have to sacrifice speed and extra features like double-sided printing.
Q: Do all inkjet printers use the same ink?
No, all inkjet printers do not use the same ink. Each manufacturer designs each model to be used with a few cartridge options. However, some third-party companies make all-purpose inks that can be used with specified models at a lower price than manufacturer-made and approved inks.
Q: What is the main advantage of inkjet printing?
The main advantage of inkjet printers comes down to their affordable upfront price. In the past, inkjet printers have been very expensive to operate in the long run. However, manufacturers are now making models that use ink with greater efficiency, decreasing the running cost.
Q: What are the disadvantages of an inkjet printer?
Disadvantages lie in the price of inkjet printer cartridges and the speed with which they go through them. Inkjet printers themselves are relatively inexpensive upfront, but the cartridges can be pricey, especially if the printer goes through them quickly. However, some manufacturers have drastically improved efficiency to reduce running costs.
The Epson EcoTank ET-4760 is the best overall inkjet printer for the quality, speed, and extra features that it offers. For heavy home use or light-to-medium business use, it’s an investment worth making. However, if you’re on a tight budget, the HP DeskJet 2755e offers an all-in-one design that does all of the basics well. You might lose some quality when printing photos, but the rest won’t disappoint.
Related: Expand your creative horizons with the best 3D printer for beginners.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.