Most and Least Reliable Printer Brands

CR's exclusive survey reveals wide differences in reliability—especially among inkjet printers

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printer illustrations Chris Philpot

There’s a lot to consider when you’re shopping for a new printer. To help you make an informed choice, Consumer Reports runs each model through a battery of tests to determine how new printers will perform out of the box, covering print quality, speed, ink costs, and more.

But it’s also important to know how reliable a printer will be once you get it home.

Every year, Consumer Reports conducts surveys of our members to gather data about printer reliability and owner satisfaction. To derive our predicted reliability ratings, CR analyzes the data we collect using a statistical model to estimate how likely a particular brand and type of printer is to experience problems by the end of the fourth year of ownership. That’s about halfway through the life span that people say they expect from their printers.

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“Reliability is important,” says Rich Sulin, who leads CR's printer testing program. “The last thing you want is to find yourself back on the market because your last purchase turned out to be unreliable—and it turns out, when it comes to printer brands some are far more likely to cause problems than others.”

In our most recent survey, CR members told us about their experiences with 113,959 individual printers. One key finding is that predicted reliability for any brand can vary from one type of printer to another.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of who makes the most and least reliable printers in each major model category, from all-in-one inkjets to single-purpose black-and-white laser printers.

Want to know more about printer performance?

Consumer Reports members can check our ratings for test results.

Become a member to read the full article and get access to digital ratings.

We investigate, research, and test so you can choose with confidence.