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Best Home Printers for 2018

Best Home Printers for 2018

Choosing the best printer for home use can be a bit unnerving.  Like most tech available these days, there are an endless amount of options, each with their own unique features and selling points.  Jumping on the latest printer deal of the week is understandably enticing, but when consumer printing habits vary just as much as the printer models do, it’s hard to know whether you’re buying a printer that truly has your best interests in mind.  In this guide, we will help you focus your search and explore a handful of top-rated picks for 2018, so you can find a machine that fits your needs and budget.

Let’s start by covering a couple of pre-purchase questions…

What kind of printing will you do?

Printing the occasional family photo and daily expense reports obviously require two very different printers.  To figure out what you are looking for in a printer, make a list of what you plan to print regularly, semi-regularly and not at all.  When you are researching new printers look for features that meet those printing requirements. For an in-depth guide on what to look for in a new printer, check out our “What Printer Should I Buy?” guide.  In our printer recommendations further down the page, we cover some of our latest favorites for a range of uses.

How often do you print?

Every printer uses cartridges that offer a specific page yield. The yield determines how many pages a cartridge can print, and subsequently, how often you will need to replace your cartridges.  Page yield can vary drastically from printer to printer, so you will want to look for a printer that offers an acceptable yield for your needs. Consumers that only print occasionally might be perfectly happy with a cartridge that only prints 200 pages. However, that same cartridge would not be a good fit for someone that prints 1,000 pages a week.

How much do you want to spend on printer cartridges?

Knowing what it costs to print is just as important as cartridge page yield.  A cartridge with high operating costs can quickly break your budget. You can get the best value from a printer that uses cartridges with low operating costs.  Now I am sure you may be wondering how operating costs are determined. Of course, you can look at cartridge price and conclude that a cheap printer cartridge is likely a smart buy.  There are tons of printer cartridges out there that run for $10-$15, which sound like a good deal on the surface. Unfortunately, not all printer cartridges are created equal, and while the initial cost of the cartridge might be reasonable, the real value is in the number of pages you get from the cartridge at that price point.  That value is called the cost per page, and with it, you can truly figure out whether a cartridge is a smart buy or not.  Determining the cost per page is relatively easy; just divide the printer’s page yield by the cost of the printer cartridge.  For example, the Brother LC20E XXL black ink cartridge that we talk more about later in this article offers a yield 2,400 pages and an original Brother brand version sells for $23.59.  After you do a little math, you’ll find that the cost per page is .98 cents, which is super affordable and why we named it one of our favorite budget friendly printers. On the flipside, if you look at a cartridge like an HP 63XL black ink cartridge, the cost per page is a completely different story.  The yield for this cartridge is 480 pages and HP sells the cartridge for $35.99, giving you a ccp of 7.4 cents, or almost eight times more expensive to operate than the Brother cartridge. The take home lesson is, before buy, calculate the cost per page of the cartridges that come with the printer. If operating costs are high, keep looking!  To cut back on printing costs even more, consider purchasing compatible cartridges. Compatible (and remanufactured) printers cartridges offer the same number of prints and the same standard of quality as an original brand cartridge for a fraction of the price, bringing your cost per page down even further.

What features do you need?

From single-function printers that only print to all-in-one machines with print, scan, copy and fax capabilities, you will need to decide which features are essential.  Read up on the specs of your prospective printer before you buy and make sure they line up with your needs. Find the basic specs on the manufacturer’s website!

Best Budget Inkjet Printer

Brother® MFC-J985DW – $185.99 on Amazon*

The Brother MFC-J985DW is a budget friendly all-in-one printer that offers a low-cost per page and a number of convenient features for everyday use.  It’s super high yield cartridges are priced very reasonably for the generous amount of ink that is included in each one, keeping your print budget low and cartridge replacement something of a rarity.  The LC20E black cartridge lasts up to 2,400 pages and the 3 LC20E color inks (cyan, magenta and yellow) print up 1,200 pages apiece. Brother sells two different versions of this printer, the MFC-J985DW and the MFC-J985DW XL.  For roughly $85 more, 12 super-high yield cartridges are included with the XL printer, or 3 times more ink than what is included with the standard model. Print, copy, scan and fax capabilities come standard and an automatic duplex function makes it easy to print on both sides of the page.  On the go, computer-free printing is easy too with built-in wireless functionality and an SD card reader/USB drive on the front of the machine. Just insert your stick drive and print! The printer’s paper capacity is a bit small at 100 pages but photographers will appreciate the bonus second paper tray designed for 4”x6” prints.  To bring your printing costs down even further, consider LD brand compatible LC20E ink cartridges. At just $8.49 for the black cartridge and $7.49 for each color cartridge, the savings are tough to beat.  4 pack and 9 pack bundles are also available!

 

Cartridge Model Number Page Yield
Brother LC20E XXL Extra High Yield Black  Ink Cartridge ~ 2,400 pages
Brother LC20E XXL Extra High Yield Cyan Ink Cartridge ~ 1,200 pages
Brother LC20E XXL Extra High Yield Magenta Ink Cartridge ~ 1,200 pages
Brother LC20E XXL Extra High Yield Yellow Ink Cartridge ~ 1,200 pages


Best Home Office Inkjet Printer

Canon® PIXMA TR7520 – $129.99 on Amazon

Canon updated their PIXMA printer line just last fall, hoping to replicate the success of the incredibly popular PIXMA MX-922.  Home and small office customers loved the MX-922’s countless features and streamlined functionality. Easy all-in-one print options and a faster engine make the compact TR-7520 a worthy successor.  The printer uses five cartridges offered in three sizes (standard yield, high yield and extra high yield). Two of those required cartridges contain black ink, with the larger PGI-280 pigment black cartridge handling text and the CLI-281 dye-based cartridge covering photo prints.  Frequent users will get more value from the extra high yield option thanks to its higher ink capacity. The extra high yield PGI-280XXL offers the ability to print 600 pages and the CLI-281XXL color cartridges print roughly 800 pages each. Front and rear paper trays can handle up to 100 sheets of legal sized paper or 20 sheets of 4”x6” photo paper, offering a high output quality.  Accessing the paper tray can be a bit of an inconvenience, you will need to lift up on the front printer face and keep it open for the duration of your print job, but the automatic document feeder makes up for it, saving paper and time in the process. LD Products will be offering low cost compatible versions of the PGI-280/CLI-281 ink cartridges soon. Stay tuned!

 

Cartridge Model Number Page Yield
Canon PGI-280XXL Extra High Yield Black  Ink Cartridge ~ 600 pages
Canon CLI-281XXL-281 Extra High Yield Cyan Ink Cartridge ~ 820 pages
Canon CLI-281XXL-281 Extra High Yield Magenta Ink Cartridge ~ 760 pages
Canon CLI-281XXL-281 Extra High Yield Yellow Ink Cartridge ~ 824 pages
Canon CLI-281XXL Extra High Yield Black  Ink Cartridge ~ 6,360 pages


Best Photo Inkjet Printer

Epson® Expression Photo XP-8500 – $199.99 on Amazon

Epson’s Expression Photo XP-8500 is an all-in-one printer designed for the home photographer, offering attractive, full color photo prints and print/scan/copy options at a compelling price.  The XP-8500 uses 6 dye-based Epson 312 ink cartridges to bring family memories to life: 5 colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, light cyan and light magenta) and one black.  If you are new to photo printers, you may be wondering why there are two different cyan and magenta cartridges.  The light cyan and light magenta help produce a wider range of color in your prints, providing more accuracy and improved detail.  Sold in a standard yield and high yield cartridge size, the 312XL cartridges include almost twice as much ink as their standard counterpart. The printer includes three separate paper trays, including a 20-sheet 4”x6” tray for snapshots, a 100-sheet tray for everyday prints and a 30-sheet capacity output tray for quick one-off prints.  A scanner makes archiving old photos a breeze and scans can even be shared and sent to the cloud for safekeeping.  The SD card and USB drive are welcome extras, perfect for printing quick, computer-free photos.  LD Products will be selling both compatible and original Epson brand 312XL cartridges soon, find out more here.

 

Cartridge Model Number Page Yield
Epson 312XL High-Capacity Black  Ink Cartridge ~ 500 pages
Epson 312XL High-Capacity Cyan Ink Cartridge ~ 830 pages
Epson 312XL High-Capacity Magenta Ink Cartridge ~ 830 pages
Epson 312XL High-Capacity Yellow Ink Cartridge ~ 830 pages
Epson 312XL High-Capacity Light Cyan Ink Cartridge ~ 830 pages
Epson 312XL High-Capacity Light Magenta Ink Cartridge ~ 830 pages


Best Monochrome Laser Printer

Brother® HL-L6200DW – $199.99 on Amazon

Home offices with strictly monochrome printing needs will love Brother’s HL-L6200DW printer.  Priced at just $199.99, it is built to do one thing: print black text. Sometimes that’s all you need and this printer does it very well.  Brother offers three different toner cartridge options that are designed with the heavy-duty user in mind. The TN820 standard yield prints 3,000 pages, the TN850 high yield prints 8,000 pages and the super high yield TN880 cartridge prints 12,000 pages.  The TN880 cartridge is by far the most cost-effective option of the three, offering a 1-cent cost per page if you buy the original Brother brand. At $17.99 per cartridge, LD brand compatible TN880 cartridges can bring your total cost of ownership down even further, just .14 cents!  A 520-sheet paper tray keeps you printing longer with less frequent paper changes and an automatic duplexing option makes dual-sided prints in just one click.  The printer is speedy too, printing up to 48 pages per minute and first page out time of less than 7 seconds. Wireless connectivity lets you print from any device in the home, or, print directly via USB for that rare occasion when the internet gets spotty.  All things considered, this is a reliable little workhorse that puts a value on your budget and your bottom-line.

 

Cartridge Model Number Page Yield
Brother TN880 Super High Black Toner Cartridge ~ 12,000 pages
Brother TN850 High Yield Black Toner Cartridge ~ 8,000 pages
Brother TN820 Standard Yield Black Toner Cartridge ~ 3,000 pages


Best Color Laser Printer

HP® LaserJet Pro M180nw – $219.99 on Amazon

The LaserJet Pro M180nw is a multifunction laser printer that is a smart buy for any home office looking to add some color to their monthly budget reports.  Designed for work teams of 1-5 people, users can easily print, copy and scan via the printer’s 2.7” color touch screen. Download HP’s smart app to print seamlessly from your phone or tablet, or print wirelessly from your home computer with Wi-Fi direct.  A USB cable and Ethernet port are also an option for customers requiring a more direct print solution. At a capacity of 150-sheets, the printer’s paper tray is a bit on the small size. However, a decent 17 ppm print speed and convenient automatic duplexing feature make it a worthy addition to your home office arsenal.  The printer uses 204A black, cyan, magenta and yellow toner cartridges, offering a decent yield for weekly printing needs. You’ll get roughly 1,100 prints from the black cartridge, perfect for high volume black and white prints, and approximately 900 pages per color. LD Products sells a compatible black cartridge for just $39.99 and each color cartridge for $44.99.

 

Cartridge Model Number Page Yield
HP 204A Black  Toner Cartridge ~ 1,100 pages
HP 204A Cyan Toner Cartridge ~ 900 pages
HP 204A Magenta Toner Cartridge ~ 900 pages
HP 204A Yellow Toner Cartridge ~ 900 pages

 

Finding the best  printer requires some research, but if you take the time to map out your printing habits, you’ll end up with a machine that’s a perfect fit for your home. Resist the attractive sticker price of a printer with high operating costs…keep searching until you’ve found a printer that works for you and your budget!  We hope one of the printers we mentioned here helped you in your search.  If you have any questions about any of the models listed, or have a favorite home printer you’d like to tell us about, drop us a line in the comments.  Happy hunting!

*Savings based on price comparison between remanufactured/compatible cartridge prices on www.LDProducts.com and OEM cartridge and printer prices from Amazon and Staples. All prices effective as of January 8, 2018.  OEM names are registered trademarks of their respective owners and are not affiliated with, and do not endorse LD Products.

3 Comments

  • […] LD Products have written a blog aimed at helping readers choose the right printer for use at home. Amidst an ever-growing field of options, the piece seeks to enlighten you as to whether or not “you’re buying a printer that truly has your best interests in mind.” […]

  • […] Best Home Printers for 2018 Printer Guides Jan 8, 2018 […]

  • Brother® HL-L6200DW – I’m reading this complaint from several people.

    Once the printer reads: Out of toner. It stops working completely even though there is no visible problem appearing on the printed pages, and the toner (EVEN HIGH YIELD) must be replaced. This action takes place even though only a pack of paper has been used. I’m wondering what is the point of HIGH YIELD toner if we have no control over the printer and the cartridge must be replaced? We used to be able to pull the cartridge, run the tab back and forth, shake the cartridge and print many more pages almost indefinitely.

    I’m wondering if all the Brother printers are now like this.

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