For centuries, printing was usually done on paper, but with recent technological advancements, 3-D printers can now print virtually anything the imagination can conceive. Beyond 3D printers, traditional computer printing devices include inkjet printers, laser printers, thermal printers, photo printers, and so on — and they all come with their unique properties and capabilities.

Inkjet printers use cartridges containing liquid ink, while laser printers use toner cartridges filled with powdered ink. These are just two of many types. During the printing process, the laser printer’s drum unit mechanism works by fusing the powdered ink into paper. And while inkjet printers generally come with the lowest upfront costs, the cartridges are more expensive. On the other hand, laser printers are initially more pricey but print more cost-effectively long term.

And that’s just the beginning. With so many different types of printers available, shopping for one that best meets your needs can be overwhelming. To help sort through it, we’ve compiled a guide to some of the best printers on the market. These printers perform a variety of functions, so you’ll be printing away in no time!

Best Overall: Epson EcoTank ET-3760 Cartridge-Free Supertank Printer
Best Laser: Brother Compact Monochrome HL L2395DW Laser Printer
Best 3D Printer: Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer
Best for Photos: Canon IP8720 Wireless Printer
Best All-In-One: HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e All-in-One Printer

How We Chose the Best Printers


With so many different kinds of consumer printers available to perform a range of functions, we made sure to create a list representative of the gamut. To choose five of the best printers from among many categories (including: laser printers, inkjet printers, 3D printers, photo printers, and more), we evaluated approximately two to three dozen products. We assessed products based on a few criteria. One criteria was  product rating. We chose only products with a minimum of four stars. We also thoroughly combed through customer reviews to ensure against any recurring manufacturer defects, as printers tend to be highly complicated devices.

As such, excellent customer service was one feature we honed in on, because a printer is only as good as your ability to troubleshoot when issues arise. Most of the products chosen for this list come with excellent customer service, with the majority of users reporting success with resolving their issues after having tapped a customer service representative. When applicable, we honed in on products that had eco-friendly and cost-effective features, such as ones that eschew ink cartridges for bottled ink.

The Best Printers: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Epson EcoTank ET-3760 Cartridge-Free Supertank Printer

Eco-Friendly And Economical. Epson

Why It Made The Cut: Low-cost replacement ink bottles will save you up to 90 percent, costing as little as one cent per color printout compared to 20 cents with standard inkjet cartridges.

— Printing Technology: Inkjet
— Connectivity Technology: WiFi, USB, ethernet
— Printer Output: Color
— Pages Per Minute (PPM): 15 black, 8 color

— Economical cartridge-free printing
— Outstanding print quality
— Robust 250-sheet paper tray

— Doesn’t have a touchscreen
— No USB port to print from

We all know that inkjet cartridges can be expensive and wasteful. That’s why the Epson EcoTank ET-3760 Cartridge-Free Supertank Printer was designed to save money (and the environment!) by using exclusive EcoFit ink bottles to make filling ink tanks easy, making it the best printer overall. Anyone accustomed to normal cartridges will quickly appreciate the dramatic savings on replacement ink. You can save up to 90 percent simply by switching to replacement ink bottles — or enough to print up to 7,500 pages in black and 6,000 in color, which is equivalent to about 90 individual ink cartridges.

And the print quality is likewise impressive. Epson's Unique PrecisionCore Heat-Free technology paired with Claria ET pigment black ink produces exceptionally sharp text, as well as outstanding color photos and graphics, on virtually any type of paper. It also features robust paper handling with an auto document feeder that feeds from a 250-sheet paper tray, with automatic double-sided printing to save even more money and resources.

The only real downside to this machine is its lack of a touchscreen, which comes standard with most printers today. Others wished that the printer had a USB port, as sometimes wireless printing can glitch due to poor WiFi strength or other connectivity issues.

Best Laser: Brother Compact Monochrome HL L2395DW Laser Printer

Laser Fast. Brother

Why It Made The Cut: This upgraded wireless laser printer was developed with time and money-saving features, making it the best laser printer ideal for the home office or small business owners.

— Printing Technology: Laser
— Connectivity Technology: WiFi, USB, ethernet, NFC
— Printer Output: Black and grayscale
— PPM: Up to 36

— Print up to 36 pages per minute
— Wide mobile device compatibility
— Cloud-based printing and scanning

— Doesn’t work well with Mac OS X
— Not great for printing graphics

Featuring a lightning-fast speed of up to 36 high-quality prints per minute, the Brother Compact Monochrome laser printer was engineered for convenience. The flatbed scan glass allows for quick scanning and copying directly from most smartphones, laptops, desktop computers, and tablets using wireless connectivity. Likewise, mobile device compatibility includes AirPrint, Google Cloud Print 2.0, Brother iPrint and Scan, Mopria, and Cortado Workplace.

Another great feature is Cloud-based printing and scanning, which allows you to connect to popular Cloud services using the 2.7-inch color touchscreen: possibilities include Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, OneNote, and more. For even faster high-quality prints, the monochrome laser printer is built with a 250-sheet paper capacity that prints both letter and legal-sized paper, helping improve efficiency with less time spent refilling trays. 

However, as some users have noted, the wireless connection doesn’t usually work as well with Mac OS X operating systems, although this issue could potentially be solved with future software updates, or a simple driver install. And although most users won’t be buying a monochromatic printer for extensive graphics printing, the graphics print quality has much to be desired. However, if your primary purpose for your printer is to print text documents, this deficiency shouldn’t be an issue.

Best 3D Printer: Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer

Imagination Comes To Life. Monoprice

Why It Made The Cut: Anyone can get into 3D printing with this easy-to-use option, which comes with a simple menu system displayed on a 2.8-inch color touch screen.

— Printing Technology: Filament
— Connectivity Technology: USB, WiFi
— Printer Output: N/A

— Quick change nozzle
— Flexible, removable build plate
— Auto feed with filament sensor

— IP address changes when powering off and on for MAC users
— Touch screen not ideal for large fingers

As the best 3D printer, the Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer brings 3D printing to the masses with beginner-friendly, unique features and an easy-to-use menu system displayed on a 2.8-inch color touch screen. The assisted auto-leveling system reduces calibration to a single tap of the screen. Furthermore, the quick-change print nozzle can be swapped out in seconds without the need for tools, unlike other 3D printers, which may require over 30 minutes for a nozzle replacement.

Another great feature is the heated, flexible, and removable build plate, which makes removing models a breeze. Like the nozzle, the build plate is easily replaced if it becomes damaged, or alternatively, can be swapped for a second build plate if you wish to start a new print as soon as the first build plate completes. And best of all, the printer ships fully calibrated and ready to print out of the box, so you can get started immediately.

As with any gadget, customers who have purchased the Voxel have reported some minor issues. People with larger hands and fingers may have more difficulty using the touch screen, for instance. Another common problem is that Mac users have found that the printer is configured to change its MAC address every time the power switches off and on. Unfortunately, that means you have to reconnect with the new IP address every time you start the printer.

Best for Photo: Canon IP8720 Wireless Printer

Picture Perfect. Canon

Why It Made The Cut: Whether you plan to frame your photos or collect them in a scrapbook, you’ll be able to print those special moments exactly as you remember them.

— Printing Technology: Inkjet
— Connectivity Technology: WiFi, USB, ethernet
— Printer Output: Color
— Print Speed: 14.5 images per minute

— Prints borderless photos up to 13 x 19 inches
— Six individual ink tank system
— Ink droplets as small as one picoliter

— Double-sided printing is manual
— Connecting to WiFi can be difficult

Print gorgeous, full-color borderless photos up to 13 x 19 inches with the Canon IP8720 Wireless Printer, our pick for the best photo printer. You’ll see incredible quality and amazing detail like never before at 9,600 x 2,400 maximum color dots-per-inch, thanks to full photolithography inkjet nozzle engineering and a patented print head firing ink droplets as small as one picoliter. And it’s fast too — it takes approximately 36 seconds to print 4x6 inch photos.

The high-performance six color discrete ink tank system includes cyan, magenta, yellow, and gray ink for superior color quality, with a pigment-based black ink that produces exceptionally crisp text. In addition, with features like AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, and PIXMA Printing Solutions, you can print photos and documents right from any compatible mobile device. However, the wireless connectivity may require some troubleshooting as some users report difficulty getting the printer to recognize a WiFi network. 

Since this printer’s function is primarily photo printing, the printer does not have a double-sided printing feature and must be turned manually to print both sides of a page. If this is a dealbreaker, you may want to look into an all-in-one inkjet printer instead.

Best All-In-One: HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e All-in-One Printer

Does It All. HP

Why It Made The Cut: This versatile all-in-one printer delivers upgraded features, including faster color printing, automatic double-sided scanning, and enhanced security features.

— Printing Technology: Inkjet
— Connectivity Technology: WiFi, USB, ethernet
— Printer Output: Color
— Print Speed: Up to 22 pages black, 18 color

— Automatic double-sided printing and scanning
— Prints up to 22 pages per minute
— HP Smart App for wireless printing

— Free ink deal isn’t worth it
— Smart tasks only work from a computer or app

Ideal for small businesses and home offices alike, the HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e All-in-One Printer prints professional-quality color documents such as presentations, brochures, flyers, and more, making it our pick for the best all-in-one printer. Newly upgraded features include copy, fax, auto double-sided printing and scanning, mobile and wireless printing, an auto document feeder, and the ability to print directly from a USB connection. Ultra-fast print speeds can also churn out an impressive 22 pages per minute in black ink and 18 pages per minute in full color.

For added convenience, the proprietary HP+ Smart app enables your printer to think ahead, so it's more secure, more productive, and ready when you are. It also allows you to print, scan, and copy from your phone or mobile device and includes advanced features for 24 months. However, some users were dismayed to learn that the Smart tasks work only from your computer or app and not the printer itself.

Customers are also eligible for six months of free Instant Ink and an extra year of warranty when signing up for HP+ service. But unfortunately, many customers find that the deal is not worth it because the usage is based on 300 pages per month, which most casual users won’t even come close to reaching.

Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Printers

When deciding which model is the best printer for you, the first and foremost consideration is your essential printing needs. For making standard copies, scanning, and printing documents or photos, an all-in-one inkjet printer is likely going to be your best choice. However, inkjet cartridges tend to be pricier and more wasteful than, say, toner cartridges used for laser printing. Though laser printers and toner cartridges are typically more expensive than inkjet printers and cartridges, toner tends to last longer than ink. Toner also tends to have a longer shelf life than ink cartridges, which can quickly dry out in storage.

Beyond standard desktop publishing, however, you may need a printer to perform specialty functions, such as photo printing or 3D printing. In those cases, you’ll want to research the features that are your main priority and pinpoint which printers are most capable of performing these functions. For example, with photo printing, you may want borderless prints or the ability to provide incredible dot-per-inch detail. With 3D printing, it’s a good idea to thoroughly read specs to make sure that the build area is as large as you need it to be, and so on.


Q: Which type of printer gives the best quality printout?
Laser printers are generally faster, printing more pages per minute, producing higher quality results, and are better suited for high-volume printing than inkjet printers — with a few exceptions. Likewise, laser printers also print in better detail, with much sharper lines that perform better for text, logos, and simple business graphics.

Q: What type of printer is the quietest?
In addition to being the fastest, laser printers are also the quietest type of printer. One might assume that fast printing would equate to louder operation; however, laser printers still reign supreme due to their smooth and swift printing technology.

Q: What's the difference between inkjet and Deskjet?
In a nutshell, Deskjet printers and inkjet printers are the same types of printers. Deskjet is the Hewlett Packard (HP) brand of inkjet printer and is simply a proprietary term. So while all Deskjet printers are inkjet, not all inkjet printers are Deskjet.

Final Thoughts on the Best Printers

When it comes to printers, the most significant expense is the ink, which is why our top pick is a no-brainer: the Epson EcoTank ET-3760 Cartridge-Free Supertank Printer. The innovative  EcoTank ink refill system is so cost-effective and eco-friendly that it’s endorsed by none other than Shaquille O'Neal himself and can save big money in the long run. If printing high-quality color photographs is your priority, however, we can’t say enough good things about the Canon IP8720 Wireless Printer, which makes ordering prints from your local pharmacy chain or big box store a thing of the past.

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. 

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