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Tests in the Consumer Reports lab to find the best printers.

Best Printers to Buy Right Now

These models stood out in Consumer Reports' testing

Shopping for a printer can be as tricky as buying a car. Between the countless features and hidden costs, it’s easy to drive off with an ink-guzzling lemon, paying for your indiscretion for years to come with refill fees and heartache.

Laser or inkjet? Regular or all-in-one? Auto-duplexing? These are just a few of the decisions you’ll have to consider. To help you make a more informed choice, here are the best printers in Consumer Reports’ latest ratings, all graded by our testers on nearly 250 data points.

Each model prints high-quality text and connects to devices such as laptops and smartphones over WiFi. To make sure the one you buy is no different from the one we’ve tested, we purchase every specimen that enters our labs from a retailer—just like you.

Before breaking out your credit card, you may also want to consult our printer buying guide and our report on the high cost of wasted printer ink.

1
The Versatile Choice
Epson Expression Premium XP-830
Epson Expression Premium XP-830

    Epson Expression Premium XP-830

    This $130 inkjet printer is a solid all-around pick. According to our testers, it produces high-quality text, graphics, and photographs. It even has a special tray for snapshot-sized photo paper.

    The Expression Premium XP-830 offers wireless printing from a PC or mobile device, and auto-duplex printing, which is a fancy way of saying it uses both sides of the paper. The built-in scanner comes in handy when you need to email documents or archive pictures. And the device doesn’t waste too much ink to maintain the print heads.

    When you factor in replacement ink cartridges, we estimate the annual upkeep to be $110, which is typical for this printer type.

    2
    Just the Words, Please
    Canon imageCLASS MF249dw
    Canon imageCLASS MF249dw

      Canon imageCLASS MF249dw

      If you don’t need charts, graphs, and color printouts, there’s no need to pay extra for them. Like most laser printers, this $300 all-in-one produces black-and-white text with excellent quality and speed.

      And because toner is cheap and doesn’t dry out like inkjet cartridges, the Canon imageCLASS MF249dw won’t hurt the bottom line much once you take it home. Our cost-of-ownership estimate adds only about $40 more per year.

      This model also comes with many useful features, including WiFi connectivity, fax capability, and auto-duplex printing.

      3
      Long-Term Savings
      Canon Pixma G4210
      Canon Pixma G4210

        Canon Pixma G4210

        Don’t let the $300 price scare you off. If you’re shopping for an inkjet printer that’s destined for heavy use—churning out memos, recipes, book reports, airline tickets, sports schedules, graphics-heavy school projects, and the like—the Pixma G4210 will save you cash in the long run.

        As with other reservoir models, it dispenses with pricey replacement cartridges in favor of tanks that can be replenished with low-cost bottles of ink. According to our estimates, the cost to keep this printer running is a paltry $10 per year in ink, compared with the $110 of the inkjet printer above.

        "The G4210 is the first reservoir-based printer that really shines as a printer, not just a money saver," says Rich Sulin, who leads CR’s printer testing program.

        In fact, unlike earlier tank-based models, the G4210 is very good at printing text, graphics, and photos.

        4
        Ideal for Tight Spaces
        HP Officejet 200 Mobile
        HP Officejet 200 Mobile

          HP Officejet 200 Mobile

          If you dread the thought of introducing a big, ugly printer to your home décor, this $280 mobile inkjet model may put you at ease. Simple to close up and tuck away, it offers WiFi networking and can be powered by a plug or a battery (sold separately), making it possible to move the unit about the house. 

          A no-frills solution, the Officejet 200 Mobile doesn’t have a scan or copy function, not to mention USB PictBridge for direct printing from cameras. The approximately $120 per year cost of ownership is a slight drawback, too.

          But the printer excels at producing graphics, offers high-quality text and photos with admirable speed, and doesn’t waste much ink to maintain the print heads. So if portability is what you want, this is a smart option.

          Consumer Reports is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to helping consumers. We make it easy to buy the right product from a variety of retailers. Clicking a retailer link will take you to that retailer’s website to shop. When you shop through retailer links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission – 100% of the fees we collect are used to support our mission. Learn more. Our service is unbiased: retailers can’t influence placement. All prices are subject to change.
          Tercius Bufete

          I'm an avid photographer and tech nerd with a passion for writing about gadgets and consumer technology. Originally from Los Angeles, I'm now an East Coast resident searching for the perfect burrito in Brooklyn. Follow me on Twitter (@tercius).