Looking for a new printer? You’ve come to the right place. Here, we talk you through what to look for when buying a new printer and show you six of the best printers available in the UK right now.
Printer buying advice
There are two main types of printer: inkjet and laser. Those two types will also have colour or mono options. You’ll find that laser printers are more expensive but offer better quality print outs, particularly when it comes to text. They also tend to be faster, but that’s not always the case.
The question to ask yourself first is: what are you going to print? If the answer is just text, we’d opt for a mono laser printer for crisp text, fast page-per-minute output, and low ink costs.
If you answered photos however, even if you’ll be printing a combination of photos and text, we’d recommend choosing an inkjet printer.
But for serious photo printing you’ll want to look for a dedicated photo printer with individual cartridges for each colour rather than a combined colour cartridge.
Printer technology isn’t the kind to change particularly often, so don’t be put off by a recommendation for a printer from a few years ago – it’s a slow-moving market, and the latest products aren’t always the best.
It’s important to remember when buying a printer, though, that the price you pay to buy the device itself is just the start. You should consider the total cost of ownership (TCO), which is the cost of replenishing the toner and other consumables over the lifetime of the printer. In many cases, a set of toner cartridges can cost almost the same price as the printer itself did.
Take a look at the manufacturer’s ‘page yield’ quote to get an idea of how many pages you can expect to print before the cartridge runs out of ink and you need to buy a new one.
You’ll find that most modern printers are multifunction or ‘all-in-one’ devices that include a scanner in addition to the printing functionality. This means you can scan photos and documents and turn them into digital files ready to be shared or printed.
We’d also recommend looking for a printer with WiFi capabilities, as this means you can print from multiple devices including your iPhone or iPad, and you won’t need to mess about with cables.
The final things to look for are print speed, USB ports, memory card slots, high capacity paper trays and the ability to print double-sided. Also look at the software that comes with the printer too – some will offer basic editing features as part of the package and some are even built-in to the printer itself.
Every one of these printers has been reviewed by either us or our colleagues at Tech Advisor, and we’ve provided advice and information about each of the printers to help you make your buying decision.
Best Mac printer 2017
Canon Pixma TS8050
While the Pixma TS8050 might seem slightly pricy at first, its photo printing performance is strong enough that it will likely to appeal to anyone who needs to print plenty of images.
Conversely, in our review we found that text printing ran slightly heavier than we expected, and wasn’t as crisp as we hoped, so anyone who just wants to print documents should probably steer clear: this is one for the photographers out there.
Despite the six-ink system, running costs are much lower than we feared, especially if you opt for the high-yield cartridges, which takes the edge off the high starting price, and the additional inks left our photos with great contrast and bright, bold colours.
It supports both Wi-Fi and AirPrint, so it’s ideal if you want to print photos straight from your iPhone or iPad. There’s also a built-in scanner and copier, and it has separate trays for both photo paper and CDs and other discs, giving you a few more options.
Print resolution: 9600 x 2400 dpi | Speed: Mono – 12ppm; Colour – 7ppm | Cartridges: Around £40 here.
Epson Expression Premium XP-640
As the name implies, the Expression Premium XP-640 is a high-quality photo printer, but it’s actually one of the less expensive photo-printers on the market at the moment and we’ve tested it.
The XP-640 is cheaper than many of its rivals, and you’ll get a scanner and copier with duplex printing included too, as well as WiFi connectivity and AirPrint for printing from an iPhone or iPad.
Like many photo printers, the XP-640 uses additional inks to enhance photo output. In this case it’s a special ‘photo-black’ ink that adds extra contrast and crispness to photos.
That extra ink bumps up the running costs a bit, yet the XP-640 is still quite competitive when compared with rival photo printers.
We’d suggest that the XP-640 is a good option if you need high-quality output for the occasional photo or document.
Print resolution: 5760 x 1440 dpi | Speed: Mono – 12ppm; Colour – 8ppm | Cartridges: Around £70 here.
HP OffficeJet 7510
Most printers aimed at home users and small businesses only go up to A4 paper size, but it can often be handy to print in the larger A3 format, perhaps for marketing materials or for posters and calendars at home.
HP describes the OfficeJet 7510 as a ‘personal print shot’ as it’s one of the most affordable A3/A4 printers available. It was around £129 when we first reviewed it but its price has since dropped significantly. It’s a real bargain if you need the occasional A3 print.
The OfficeJet 7510 also includes a scanner, copier and even a fax machine (remember those?), with a 35-sheet automatic document feeder too. The printer includes USB and WiFi connectivity, along with an Ethernet interface for an office network, and it supports AirPrint for iOS devices. The only thing missing is automatic duplex (two-sided) printing – although there is a manual duplex option available if you don’t mind flipping the pages over yourself.
Print quality is very good, and we were pleasantly surprised by the cost of the replacement ink cartridges too, especially because they are XL size so can print up to 1000 pages.
The OfficeJet 7510 is a good option for anyone that needs a versatile colour printer that can handle anything from 4×6 postcards up to A3 posters.
Resolution: 600 x 1200dpi | Print speed: Mono – 15ppm; Colour – 8ppm | Cartridges: Full set around £40 here.
Canon Pixma iP2850
This printer is one we’ve reviewed right here at Macworld towers. With a price of around £35, the iP2850 is certainly one of the cheapest inkjet printers. However, its low price does mean that it’s pretty basic compared with many of the multifunction printers that are now available.
You won’t get a built-in scanner or copier, and there’s no WiFi either, so you’ll have to connect it directly to your Mac using one of those old-fashioned USB cable thingies. And of course, the lack of WiFi means there’s no option for printing to an iPhone or iPad.
Still, keeping things simple keeps the cost down, and it also means that the iP2850 is nice and compact too. It’s one for bargain hunters who aren’t looking for much more than a printer that can print stuff. Print quality is good for a printer in this price range, but it’s pretty slow.
Resolution: 4800 x 600dpi | Speed: Mono – 8ppm; Colour – 4ppm | Cartridges: Around £16 here.
HP Officejet 3830
Despite its low price, the OfficeJet 3830 includes a printer, scanner, copier and fax machine, so it covers all the main document-handling features that you’re likely to need in a home office or small business. It includes USB and WiFi connectivity, and is one of the cheapest printers we’ve reviewed that includes Apple’s AirPrint for printing from an iPhone or iPad.
Our only minor complaint is the lack of automatic duplex (two-sided) printing, although there aren’t many printers in this price range that do include that option.
Text quality isn’t quite as good as some of the more expensive inkjet we’ve seen, but it’s perfectly adequate for routine documents such as letters and school reports. Photo quality is very good, though, and the OfficeJet 3830 can certainly handle a few holiday snaps on glossy paper or marketing materials for work.
Resolution: 1200 x 1200 dpi | Print speed: Mono – 8.5ppm; Colour 6ppm | Cartridges: Around £20 here.
Epson Ecotank ET-2500
The Ecotank printers first launched in 2014 introduced a completely new approach to printing. Instead of selling the printer cheaply and then charging high prices for the replacement ink cartridges, Epson bumped up the price of the Ecotank printers but really cut the cost of the inks.
You’re looking at a price of around £230 for most of the Ecotank range, so it’s no small investment. That’s expensive compared with many inkjet printers, but the large ink tank bolted onto the side of the printer contains enough ink to print 4000 pages in black and white or 6500 pages in colour.
Epson estimates that’s enough for the equivalent of two years for the average home user, but much longer for some. Replacement inks are cheap too, at around £30.
We tested the Epson Ecotank ET-2500, and found that print quality is good thanks to the high resolution. You’ll get a scanner and copier too, as well as WiFi, a USB port and the AirPrint support for use with iOS devices.
Some people might think twice about paying more than £200 for a printer to use at home, but the Ecotank printers are still great value for home workers or small businesses that need to print a lot of documents on a regular basis.
Print resolution: 5760 x 1440 dpi | Speed: Mono – 9ppm; Colour 4.5ppm | Ink: £8 per bottle here.