Find the best printer for your home office with one of these popular machines.
What is the Best Printer for Home Use?
Shopping for a new home printer can be a challenge but we hope to make it a bit easier with this comprehensive buying guide. We’ll tell you what features to look for, what to avoid, the best rated home printers today, and how to get the most value from them.
With the COVID-19 scare forcing everyone to continue being productive with their normal routines at home, a lot of consumers now find themselves needing a printer that would otherwise be available in an office environment. But if you’re someone who never owned a home printer before, how would you know what to get?
Do NOT fall for super cheap printers! Most (if not all) cheap inkjet printers that consume a lot of ink and use expensive cartridges that print only a small number of pages forcing you to buy costly replacements frequently.
Do your research before buying. Buying a printer without doing even a bit of research isn’t the most logical thing to do especially if you’re not sure if that printer truly fits your printing needs and budget.
The short answer to what the best printer for home use is would depend on what documents you intend to print while at home.
Since home printing calls for both color and black and white printing, you need either an inkjet printer or a color laser printer. If you don’t think you’ll be printing often, we recommend getting a budget color laser printer so you don’t have to worry about ink drying up due to infrequent use which is a notorious complaint of home users.
Laser printers are generally much more economical than inkjet printers because a laser toner cartridge can last so much longer than an inkjet cartridge. (We’re talking 1,000 pages versus 190 pages–yes, it’s that dramatic of a difference!) However, if you bring ink tank printers such as the Epson EcoTank and Brother InkVestment, into the discussion, then that’s a different story.
In this guide, we will help you focus your search and explore a handful of top-rated picks for 2020. But before you start your search, we will bring you up to speed on some of the printer terms you will most likely encounter so you can confidently navigate your options. Then, we’ll break down a handful of our favorites based on printer use. Every popular option here is covered, from budget-friendly home office printers, home school printers, to business-ready laser printers.
If you are already an expert on printer terms, skip ahead to our favorite home printers via these jumplinks:
- Best Budget Printers
- Best Home Inkjet Printers
- Best Small Business Inkjet Printers
- Best Photo Inkjet Printers
- Best Home Monochrome Laser Printers
- Best Home Color Laser Printers
Printer Terms You Should Know
Inkjet or Laser?
The most important question of all! In a nutshell, inkjet printers use ink while laser printers use toner powder. Both printers are great for everyday printing, laser printer being the most durable and more economical in the long-term. If you want to print good quality photos, however, inkjet printers are because the goal of inkjet technology is to produce very sharp and vivid images with wide tonal ranges and color depth.
If what you’re looking for is a home printer that can print everything without being expensive in the long-run, we suggest getting an affordable color laser printer. You can browse our recommended color laser printer models here.
If you’ll be needing professional quality colored images, use inkjet printers.
To dive deeper into the differences of inkjet and laser printers, check out this article: Inkjet vs. Laser printer guide.
Print Speed (PPM)
Print speed (or the number of pages a printer can print per minute) is an average speed that is determined by the printer manufacturer. If your print volume is high or you have a number of people sharing the same machine, it’s definitely worth keeping in mind. Most inkjet printers will include the print speed for black and white (monochrome) documents and a slightly different speed for color prints. This is because the size and type of document you are printing will affect print speed; a color photo, for example, will take longer to print than a simple email. If you will be printing a variety of documents and media types, you will want to look at both.
Cost Per Page
Ink cartridge prices and their respective page yields differ across manufacturers and printer models. To ensure your next printer fits your printing budget, you need to factor in the cost per page to determine how much you will be spending on ink in the long term. Cost per page can be figured out with a bit of simple math, just divide the printer’s page yield by the cost of the ink cartridge.
For example, the price of an original Canon® PGI-1200XL black ink cartridge starts at $39.99 and its page yield is 1,200 pages. After some quick division, the cost is 3 cents per page.
Calculating the cost per page for a color cartridge takes a couple of extra steps. First, calculate the cost per page for each individual cartridge, using the same formula mentioned previously. (Keep in mind, most cyan, magenta and yellow cartridges have the same page yield.) Then, add up the cost per page of all four cartridges (black, cyan, magenta and yellow). We’ll continue looking at Canon PGI-1200XL cartridge series as an example. The cost per page for the high yield black cartridge is 3 cents per page and each individual color cartridge is 2.2 cents per page. If we add up all four cartridges we get 9.6 cents, which would be our cost per page for color prints in this case.
How Aftermarket Compatible Ink Cartridges Help You Save More
Thanks to their low price point, aftermarket cartridges can bring down your cost per page substantially. Often times at a fraction of the cost of an original brand cartridge, compatible cartridges print the same number of pages and provide a similar print quality. If you were to buy a compatible replacement for the Canon PGI-1200XL high yield black ink cartridge from LD Products® at $9.99, your cost would only be .83 cents per page. Compared to an original Canon PGI-1200XL ink with a cost of 3 cents per page, that is a big difference!
Paper sizes vary, depending on what printer you are using. Check the paper size stats online before you buy to make sure your prospective printer fits your needs. Most inkjet printers can handle standard legal paper sizes of up to 8.5” x 14. If you need a wide-format printing option you will probably need to seek out a specialty printer, like the Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 we mention later in this article.
Automatic duplex printing
Duplex printing, or printing on both sides of the page, is a great way to save on paper. Most printers include a built-in automatic duplexer, which is easily accessed by selecting “Print on both sides of the page” in your printer settings.
Print, scan and fax
Having the ability to print, scan or fax a document at the push of a button is essential for any home office or small business. If these are features you can’t live without, make sure they come standard with your printer. Single-function inkjet machines are generally a cheaper option if all you need to do is print, and photo printers (more on that later) are great for, you guessed it, professional photographs.
Wireless connectivity is standard for newer model printers these days and it’s easier than ever to print from your smartphone. Most printer manufacturers offer their own version of a printing app, like the HP® Smart app®, but don’t feel like you have to use it in order to print. Apple® AirPrint® and Google Print® are equally convenient and may even come pre-installed on your smartphone!
If you work out of a small office, space is everything. Printers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, check the dimensions on the side of the printer box before you buy to ensure they fall in line with your space requirements.
Inkjet printers are known for their ability to print high quality color photos and most of them do a decent job for the casual photographer. However, if photography is your business, you will want to invest in a professional grade photo printer. Pro-grade photo printers cost considerably more than your average home inkjet machine, but the results make a world of difference. The reason? Professional photo printers use more ink cartridges, which allow them to produce far superior prints.
Many printers include a 1 year warranty, which usually only covers defects to the machine. Extended warranties may be worth looking into if you invested in an expensive printer, or if your business has had an unlucky track record with past printers.
As you can probably tell by now, there are many factors to consider when shopping for a home printer, not just the upfront price. With that being said, here’s our list of recommended home printers.
Best Budget Printer Options
Brother’s MFC-J895DW is an inexpensive multifunction inkjet printer that offers easy-to-use print, scan and fax features and fast print speeds. With an affordable initial price point, this is a great entry-level inkjet with a low operating cost. An intuitive color display navigates seamlessly across printer commands, or print wirelessly from your smartphone using a favorite app or cloud service option like Google Drive or One Drive. A 20-sheet automatic document feeder keeps you copying, scanning and faxing for longer without interruption and an automatic duplexer prints on both sides of the page with the push of a button.It includes four individual printer cartridges (black, cyan, magenta and yellow) and cartridges are sold in either a standard or high yield size. High yield cartridges are generally a better deal if you print regularly due to their higher ink capacity.
The printer uses both LC3011 standard yield or LC3013 high yield cartridges. Brother sells the high yield black cartridge for $23.99, offering a yield of 400 pages. The high yield color cartridges print the same number of pages and go for $13.49 apiece. LD brand compatible cartridges are a great way to cut down printing costs – get the black cartridge and the color cartridges for $7.99 each.
Canon’s PIXMA TR8620 is a solid option for printer users looking for a compact, reliable machine with basic print, copy and scan features. With fast print speeds and a 5-color ink system, you get high quality text and borderless color photos in seconds. Photographers can print directly from their camera using the built-in SD card slot and the 4.3” LCD screen to view and edit photos. Or download the Canon print app to any phone or tablet and instantly print photos from anywhere. Print the perfect photo using one of Canon’s many compatible paper types and sizes, including 4”x 6”, 5”x 5” and 5”x 7” options on glossy, semi-gloss, luster and matte photo paper.
The printer uses five individual ink cartridges, including a pigment black cartridge (PGI-280) for printing text and a photo black cartridge (CLI-281) for high quality photo prints. Get the best value with the extra high yield cartridge option – Canon offers the PGI-280XXL high yield cartridge for $34.99 and each CLI-281XXL high yield color cartridge go for $26.99. LD brand compatible PGI-280XXL and CLI-281XL cartridges are an even better price $9.99 for the black cartridge and $9.99 for each color.
Best Home Inkjet Printers
If you are in the market for an ink efficient printer, this series may be hard to beat. Part of the highly rated “Inkvestment” line, the MFC-J775dw is specifically designed to work with super high capacity ink cartridges, offering more prints at an affordable price point. Brother sells both a standard version and an XL version of the printer. High volume users will find a better value in the slightly more expensive XL model as it includes 3 times more ink than the standard option. Print, copy, scan and fax capabilities come standard and an automatic duplex function makes it easy to print on both sides of the page. The printer’s NFC (near field communication) function is a neat feature that lets you print from your smartphone without connecting to a wireless network. Connect directly by touching your phone to the NFC mark on the printer and instantly print with the Brother iPrint&Scan app! The LCD touch screen also gives you quick access to a number of cloud-based apps like Evernote and One Note, making it easy to print essential files.
At $20.99, an original LC20EBK black cartridge prints around 2,400 pages at a cost per page of less than 1 cent. Original cyan, magenta and yellow cartridges go for $13 apiece, printing up to 1,200 pages at around 4.7 cents per page. Compatible replacement cartridges bring operating costs down even further. LD brand compatible black cartridges are only $6.99 and each color cartridge is also just $5.99, more than half the price of an original!
HP’s Officejet Pro 9015 is a reliable all-in-one printer designed for high volume print jobs for up to five users. A touch screen LCD screen quickly switches between print, scan and fax features and a simplified wireless setup makes printing from a smartphone or tablet incredibly convenient. Print more pages faster and save paper using the printer’s double-sided printing feature. A 225-sheet input tray and 60-sheet output tray maximizes productivity with less paper changes. Use HP’s Smart Tasks feature in the HP smart app to automate your frequently used print settings with programmable short cuts.
This printer uses four separate HP 962 ink cartridges in both a standard yield and high yield size. HP high yield 962XL black cartridges print 2,000 pages and each individual color cartridge prints 1,600 pages. To keep costs down, consider buying LD brand compatible replacement cartridges here.
Best Small Business Inkjet Printers
Epson’s Ecotank line is one of the first cartridge-free printers on the market, providing amazing value and an incredibly generous page yield for the price. Instead of replacing cartridges every couple of months, the printer uses large refillable ink bottles, which hold considerably more ink than your average printer cartridge. It is a bit on the expensive side for an inkjet printer however frequent printers might find it worth paying the additional cash. The ink tanks are the obvious selling point but this printer boasts many other great features too, including a wireless printing option, one touch copying and a 100-sheet input tray. Print anything from family photos to business documents worry-free with four separate Epson 502 ink bottles (black, cyan, magenta and yellow). Original bottles sell for between $14.59-$19.99 each, with the black printing up to 7,500 pages and the color bottles printing an incredible 6,00 pages. LD brand compatibles offer a similar page yield at even cheaper price point, just $9.99 each for the black ink bottle and for each color bottle.
The Canon Maxify MB2120 is a versatile workhorse, offering print speeds of up to 20 pages per minute and consistent, high quality prints. An all-in-one machine that supports multiple paper types, including business cards and label paper, this a great printer for any small business. PGI-1200XL high yield cartridges offer a generous page yield, with the black cartridge printing up to 1,200 pages and each individual color printing up to 900 pages. Canon sells the black cartridge for $36.99 and the color cartridges at $19.99 apiece. To keep printing costs low, consider switching to an LD brand compatible version, at just $9.99 for the black and $8.99 per color, respectively.
Best Photo Inkjet Printers
The majority of inkjet printers on the market these days print a decent photograph, but since many are of the multi-function variety, photo printing is usually an added bonus rather than a priority. If you are looking for exceptional photo quality, specialty photo printers are definitely worth the investment. The Canon Pixma iP8720 is a great entry-level option for the budding photographer, featuring a 6 color ink system, and true to color photo prints. Capable of printing a range of media sizes, including 13” x 19” borderless photos, this printer should be a welcome addition to any amateur photography studio.
Canon sells the PGI-250XL high yield black ink cartridge for $24.99, offering a yield of approximately 500 pages. CLI-251XL color cartridges come in five different colors, black, cyan, magenta and yellow, offering a yield of 660 pages per cartridge at $19.99. Two different black cartridges are required for this particular series. The PGI-250 cartridge is pigment based for text printing, while the CL-251 option is dye-based ink and formulated for photo prints. LD brand compatible cartridges are a fraction of the price of the original Canon brand at just $5.49 each!
The Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 printer is another great introductory photo printer that also features 6 different ink cartridges, allowing for vibrant, detailed photos at lightning fast print speeds. The printer is designed to handle a variety of high quality borderless photo sizes, including 4″x 6″, 12″x 12″ and 13″x 19″, perfect for DIY projects, professional photo shoots and presentations. An easy to use wireless setup makes printing from your smartphone a breeze and a 50-sheet rear tray is optimized for specialty media like card stock.
Canon requires 6 individual cartridges for this printer series: black, cyan, magenta, yellow, light cyan and light magenta. The cartridges are offered in a standard and high yield size. If you print a lot, the high yield option is a better value. An original Epson 312XL high yield black cartridge goes for $19.89 and offers a yield of 500 pages. Each high yield color cartridge is sold for $22.89 at a yield of 500 pages. LD brand compatible cartridges are available for a fraction of the cost – our high yield black is just $12.99 and each color cartridge is $11.99.
Best Home Monochrome Laser Printers
Laser printers are the preferred printing solution for high volume printer users and Brother’s HL-L2350DW is a solid option for any small business looking to print strictly in black and white. With fast print speeds of up to 32 ppm, a 250-sheet paper capacity and an automatic duplexer, all of your essential office needs are taken care of in one easy to use machine. Connect to the printer from your smartphone or tablet with the printer’s built-in Wi-Fi or connect print directly from your laptop via USB cable. Compact in size, this printer fits neatly on any work space!
Brother offers toner in two sizes, the standard yield TN730 toner (1,200 pages) and the high yield TN760 toner (3,000 pages). Brother sells the standard cartridge for $42.99 and the high yield for $76.99. Low cost compatible Brother toner is available from LD Products for $34.99!
If you have very limited space, the HP Laserjet Pro M15w is one of the smallest and lightest laser printers around and can easily be tucked away underneath a desk. Print speeds of up to 19 ppm and a 150-sheet paper capacity keeps your home office productive and the HP smart app lets you instantly print and scan directly from your smartphone. The app also lets you check ink levels and set up printing shortcut smart tasks that help save you time. If you print frequently you might want to get a printer that is a little more powerful, since you’ll need to replace paper fairly regularly. However, if you only print a handful of documents of week, this printer may be the one!
The M15w uses the HP 48A black toner cartridge, which prints approximately 1,000 pages and sells for $49.99 on Staples. LD Products offers an affordable alternative version of the HP 48A for just $23.99, offering the same number of prints as the original HP cartridge at a much better price!
Best Home Color Laser Printers
Brother® HL-8360CDW Color Laser Printer
If your business needs to print in color, Brother’s HL-8360CDW color laser printer is a reliable and affordable machine perfect for workgroups with high print volumes. A 2.7” color LCD is easy to navigate and wireless printing options connect directly with your laptop, phone and favorite cloud-based apps. The printer is fast too, clocking in at 33 ppm for B&W/color printing, plus, an automatic duplexer keeps workflow constant. Brother’s secure function lock helps control printing costs across multiple users and secure print lets users claim personal print jobs using a confidential PIN.
You have three different cartridge sizes to choose from, including a standard yield TN431 toner cartridges, high yield TN433 toner cartridges and super high yield TN436 toner cartridges. Original Brother cartridge costs range anywhere from $76.99 to 178.99 depending on cartridge size, but you can buy a four pack of super high yield compatible toner cartridges from LD Products for just $83.96!
This Color LaserJet M281fdw is a top-rated color laser printer that’s perfect for home use. The M281dw is a multifunction printer with wireless capabilities. You can print, scan, copy, fax, and also do duplex printing. This model is also one of the fastest color laser printers in its class with a print speed of up to 22 pages per minute. Print from your mobile device with the HP Smart App.
The HP M281fdw uses (4) HP 202X toner cartridges: 1 black, 1 cyan, 1 magenta, and 1 yellow. You can find lower prices on aftermarket HP 202X cartridges at LD Products!
With so many printers on the market and newer models coming out every month, there is a lot to keep in mind when searching for the perfect machine. But with a bit of research and comparison shopping, whittling down those options to something that works for you is easy. Before you buy, create a list of required features and don’t forget to factor in cost per page, often times cartridge prices can make or break a printer budget. Good luck and stay healthy!
*Savings based on price comparison between remanufactured/compatible cartridge prices on www.LDProducts.com and OEM cartridge and printer prices from Staples® and Amazon®. All products are reviewed independently. As an Amazon associate, LD Products earns from qualifying purchases through links on this page. All prices effective as of June 14, 2023. OEM names are registered trademarks of their respective owners and are not affiliated with, and do not endorse LD Products.
Cartridge Series Thank you for reading this post! This article is written by a team of ink experts at LD Products - a Long Beach, California-based company that specializes in compatible ink and toner. With over 20 years of printing expertise, we’re committed to helping you save money on printer ink without sacrificing quality. If you found this content helpful, we’d be grateful if you supported us by visiting LDProducts.com for all of your ink and toner needs. We appreciate your support!