Printers have evolved from giant and noisy machines used mainly for printing black-and-white documents to devices of all sizes that allow users to print high-quality documents and images as well as send and receive faxes, scan documents and make copies.

Printers are available in a range of styles, sizes and features. Consumers should consider what they will print and how much they’ll print to choose a model that does everything they want, without using an excessive amount of ink or energy.

Top 7 Best Rated Printers

Known for their reliability, Brother Printers are designed to offer good print quality at an affordable price. They have integrated features that make them workable for small businesses, like BR-Script 3 compatibility.
With an established reputation for quality printing products, Xerox Printers are the gold standard. They put innovation at the front and center of product development, making them a worldwide industry print leader.
Canon Printers offer quality consumer products, along with a line of professional grade printing products designed for larger scale items. Their flexibility makes this line of printers one of the most accessible for consumers.
HP Printers are some of the most popular for consumer printing needs. They offer everything from direct connect inkjet printers to larger laser printers with extensive network capability, depending on printing needs.
As the top name in label printing, Epson is the go-to brand for businesses. They also offer a fully stocked line of consumer products from all-in-one inkjets to photo printers that bring the darkroom to the desktop.
Lexmark Printers offers in-house publishing solutions for businesses of any size. Their networked devices can serve multiple offices based on company print volume, which can help businesses save on maintenance expenses.
Dell Printers come in both laser and several inkjet options, designed for home and office use. They began working with Lexmark in 2003 to develop these printers, so consumers who like Lexmark should enjoy Dell just as much.

The ConsumerAffairs Research Team believes everyone deserves to make smart decisions. We aim to provide readers with the most up-to-date information available about today's consumer products and services.

Want your company to be on this guide?

What features matter most?


While most printers have the same intended use, they are made in a range of sizes, and they can differ in weight, height and more.

  • Portable printers: Some printers are small, lightweight devices that are easily moved from place to place.
  • Standard printers: Standard printers are often placed on a surface and left there; while they can usually be lifted by a person with regular strength, they are often too heavy to be moved comfortably, or often.
  • Heavy, commercial-size printers: There are some printers that are intended for high-quantity, heavy-duty use, and these printers are often placed on the floor and too heavy to be moved by an individual.


Printers must receive information from computers or devices in order to print images or text, and they can connect in a variety of ways.

  • Wireless printers: Wireless printers have the ability to receive information from computers via wi-fi or Bluetooth, and they can print without needing to be connected to any other device with cables.
  • Wired printers: Wired printers must be connected to a device by a wire in order to print anything from that device; usually, wired printers are connected to the device they are printing from by USB cable or firewire.
  • Web connected printers: Some printers that are connected to the Internet can receive information via the cloud and print images or documents from it.

Ink type

Printers transfer output from devices onto paper via ink, and there are a range of ink types that printers can use.

  • Laser printers: Laser printers use lasers to transfer images onto paper, and the ink the laser uses is called toner.
  • Inkjet printers: Inkjet printers use ink cartridges that have liquid ink inside of them that is sprayed onto paper.
  • Solid ink printers: Some ink printers use solid ink, which is a black or colored waxy substance that can leave marks on the paper it touches.


One important characteristic of printers is the speed with which they can transfer text and images onto paper.

  • Slow printers: Older, inkjet printers tend to be the slowest kind of printers, and they can print anywhere from one to 20 pages per minute.
  • Average speed printers: Average speed printers, including both laser and inkjet printers, print around 10 pages per minute.
  • Fast printers: The fastest printers are usually laser printers, and they can print about 50 pages per minute.


Printers can be used for a variety of purposes, and their technology varies based on their use.

  • Text printers: Printers that are primarily used to print documents are text printers, and they often require a certain kind of paper and ink for printing.
  • Photo printers: Photo printers are used by people to print photos, and they also require a specific kind of photo paper and ink.
  • Combination printers: Combination printers are used to print both text and pictures, and many have additional features like scanning or faxing. These devices are sometimes called multi-function printers.


Since printers can be used in a range of settings, they also can vary from one another based on the capacity of jobs they can handle.

  • Low capacity printers: Low capacity printers were designed to handle a minimal number of jobs at a time, and these printers are usually found in homes and home offices.
  • Average capacity printers: There are some printers that were designed to handle more jobs than homeowners often send to printers, and these printers can be found both in homes and in commercial or office spaces.
  • Large capacity printers: Large capacity printers are those that are created to handle many jobs consecutively, and they are often found in busy offices.

What are different types of printers?

Inkjet printers

Inkjet printers are the most common and affordable printer type. These printers are created both for offices and for in-home use, and they are often the smallest of printers.

Laser printers

Often relied upon for heavy duty use, laser printers are more expensive than inkjet printers, and they are often used in busier settings, like offices. Laser printers rely on toner instead of liquid ink to print.

Multifunction printers

Full-service printers do much more than just print. They also scan, copy, fax and more.

Photo printers

Photo printers were created to effectively print photos, and they often require specific ink and paper in order to do so effectively. Photo printers are often not effective document printers.

Who is searching for printers?

Large offices

Large offices often have a regular need to print things like documents, contracts and more. These offices rely on printers to transfer important text from the computer to paper documents.

Homeowners with computers

Homeowners with computers often use printers in their daily life to print information. Homeowners usually rely on small, low-capacity printers, and don't typically require a fast printing speed.


Many photographers send their photos out to a lab to be processed and printed. However, photographers who choose to print their own photos often invest in a dedicated photo printer. High-quality photo printers can make a photographer's job simpler, more convenient and cost effective.


Students frequently require printers to print out assignments they have done in order to turn them into teachers or professors. Having a printer on hand eliminates the need to use public devices, or those supplied by the school.


Printers are invaluable to schools and teachers because they allow teachers to create tests, worksheets and more. They also allow students to create work (documents, images, etc.) on a computer to display or submit to teachers. Schools can use printers in individual classrooms or offices, or they can be used to equip a school's dedicated computer lab or library.

Company reviews

  • Lexmark Printers

    Lexmark is a technology company that makes a wide variety of products and devices, including printers. The company was founded in 1991, and it is currently headquartered in Lexington, KY.

    • Best for Large offices and schools.
  • HP Printers

    HP Printers are created by Hewlett-Packard, a large technology company founded in 1929 and headquartered in Palo Alto. The company manufactures and sells a wide range of printers in addition to laptops, desktops, tablets and more.

    • Best for Large offices, homeowners with computers, photographers, students and schools.
  • Canon Printers

    Canon is a Japanese company that is primarily focused on creating camera-based products, in addition to selling printers and photocopiers. Founded in 1937, the company's U.S. headquarters are in Melville, NY.

    • Best for Large offices, homeowners with computers, photographers, students and schools.
  • Epson

    Epson, formally known as Seiko Epson Corporation, is a Japanese technology company known for producing high-quality printers. The company, which is headquartered in Shinjuku, was founded in 1942.

    • Best for Large offices, homeowners with computers, photographers, students and schools.
  • Dell Printers

    Dell is one of America's largest and most popular computer and technology companies, and was founded in Round Rock, TX in 1984. While Dell became famous for selling PCs, the company also sells a wide range of printers and printer-related products.

    • Best for Homeowners with computers and students.
  • Brother Printers

    Brother is a technology company that was originally developed and headquartered in Nagoya Japan in 1908. Today, the company is known for making imaging devices, including printers, faxes and more.

    • Best for Large offices, homeowners with computers, photographers, students and schools.
  • Xerox

    Xerox is an American technology company headquartered in Norwalk, CT that was founded in 1906. The company is best known for their photocopiers, though they also create and sell high-quality printers and printing presses, as well as supplies for them.

    • Best for Large offices and schools.