Having a printer in the home has for a long time been just as popular as say having a coffee machine or TV, and with current best home printers having the ability to print out just about any document and/or image, they are the perfect domestic friendly media tool.
A good home printer needs to be able to cope with everything modern life will throw at it; work documents, photographs, art work, homework… to name a few, and with a lot of the home originated printers rivaling many of the office and image specific models, they can more than cope with this …at what is often a very reasonable cost.
Any initial cost is often far outweighed by the conveyance they provide, especially when you will no longer have to send your documents to a printers and/or risk using the work printer!
In this article we look at:
- The short answer to best options
- How to choose a home printer?
- Choosing an Inkjet or laser printer?
- Printing resolution
- All in one printers
- Types of printer ink
- Paper sizes
- The importance of customer guarantees
- The importance of customer service
- A round up of the best home printers
The short answer to best options…
We’ve searched through all of the “best of’s” and “top 10’s”, “tops 6’s” and even the “top 8’s”! and can conclude that the below home printers are currently the best on the market for 2019…
Best budget home printer
Best overall home printer
How to choose a home printer?
When choosing a home printer that best suites your needs, the following factors should be taken into account:
When is comes to home printer setups, size is a key factor and consideration, as often their is limited space available. Most home printers are for this reason relatively size efficient, and there is a size out there for almost any desk or table.
All-in-one printers as discussed below, have the largest footprint, however if a scanner/copier is required, they take up far less space than if each product was brought separately.
For some further reading, we a photo and document scanner buying guide here
More often than not home printers are used by the whole family, and whilst a lot of time goes into ensuring that their installation and usability is as simple and effective as possible, some are still easier than others.
The printers we recommend below, have all passed this usability test, but for further reassurance you may want to read some of the many customer reviews on each of the product pages.
In the past there have been a regular compatibility issues between manufactures and models, mainly between a Mac and PC.
We’re pleased to say that today this is rarely an issue, and all of the below models have none of these problems and work just as well on either platform.
Some home printers come as an all-in-one option with a scanner/copier attached. These are generally more expensive than a stand alone printer, but can be very useful for making quick copies and scans.
Its worth noting however that they don’t often provide a high performance output, and so if for example you plan to scan a lot of photographs, you would be better suited to buying a specialist component separately.
Printers are quite prominent objects when out in the open, and particularly when in a home environment are hard to hide away if in constant use. So the design and appearance becomes very important.
Whilst this is often very subjective and individual to each user, we recommend that you aim for a slim and low profile model.
Different printers have different settings, but as a minimum it should be capable of printing in at least three varying resolutions, and provide a draft and formal format.
A lot of homes have more than one computer and almost certainly have a laptop. Most printers now come with a wireless connection, which make printing from more than one machine, and from any room very easy.
Wireless printers use your homes WiFi to connect to your PC and/or Mac from anywhere in the home. This means that you dont need to be next to your printer until you need to collect your print.
There is rarely a limit to how many computers can be connected to a printer, and a lot of models even allow mobile devices to connect and print.
However if you’d like to wirelessly print from a tablet or smartphone, your chosen printer needs to feature AirPrint, Google Cloud Print or email printing.
Choosing an Inkjet or laser printer?
As the name suggests, these printers use liquid ink to make their marks on paper, and this is done by spraying lots of tiny dots at very high speeds.
There ability to print both sharp text and high quality photos/images onto just about any paper type and in some instances even plastics, also makes them one of the best chose’s for printing at home.
The downside however is that especially when printing photos, the running costs can become quite high with regular ink use. However, a way to help keep costs down is to buy an inkjet printer that uses separate ink tanks for its four colors:
This means you can replace each color separately, as they run out.
- Ink can smudge when freshly printed
- Higher cost per page than laser
- Slower to print
- Prices start low
- Huge variety
- Highest photo quality when used with photo paper
- Often better quality when in color
Laser printers print by melting dots of toner against the paper, and are perfect for heavy and fast use.
With lower running costs, laser printers are good for printing batches of documents and graphics, but less so for out and out photo printing.
The main advantage of laser prints is the speed they can print, but also that their print is colour fast, where as a document printed on an inkjet printer may run if made damp or wet.
In terms of running costs, whilst a laser printer and its replacement cartridges will seem higher than an inkjet printer, its output is far greater, and so in the long term it is a more cost efficient option.
They can be refilled just as easily as an inkjet, and as with an inkjet printer, you should aim to buy one with separate refill slots.
- More expensive (particularly if you want to print in color)
- Color quality isn’t as good as on inkjet printers
- Lower photo print quality
- Highest text quality, fast print speeds, cheaper ink
- Faster, smudge-free printing of a very high quality, especially when printing text
- Faster printing in high quantities
- Can print double-sided
- More resilient printing
In short, the higher the number is, the better and clearer the output will be, and this becomes important if you aim to print images and photographs.
Resolution is measured in DPI (dots per inch), and this is simply the amount of dots placed on each square inch of the paper, so the more dots, the cleaner and crisper the image will be when printed.
The below video provide a more in-depth description:
All-in-one home printers as the name suggests, offers printing,scanning and copying …providing an “all-in-one” solution.
They come in both ink and laser jet options, and due to their Swiss army knife like nature, have a relatively small footprint, making them perfect for the home.
Types of printer ink
Ink is an important factor to consider when choosing a printer, and is often more expensive to replace for cheaper models than it is for expensive ones.
There are a few different methods and types of ways to refill your printer:
Instant ink – HP printers in particular come with the option of signing up to their ink subscription service, which will send you ink as and when you require it.
Paid for via a monthly subscription, your printer will send them a message when your ink is running low, and a replacement will then be directly sent to you.
EcoTank – Epsom printers can come with what they call an ‘ecotank’, which as the name suggests, aims to provide an economical way of refilling your printer ink.
Instead of buying new cartage’s each time, you simply refill the ink tanks when they are low directly from a bottle.
InkJet – As mentioned above, inkjets provide high performance image printing, but as result use more ink and run lower quicker.
Laser toner – This is more expensive, but lasts longer, however is only suited to document printing.
Individual ink cartridges – Touched on above, this provides separate ink cartridges for black, cyan, magenta and yellow. Which means you can change them individually as and when needed.
Block ink cartridges – These are the opposite of the above, and are an all in one cartridge system. Although these are cheaper, you may find there is a lot of wastage if you are using one colour/s more than others.
Single or packs – If separate cartridges are required then these can brought individually, however it is far more cost effect to buy in bulk as a pack.
Paper size is an important consideration, and for most home printer setups a maximum A4 (8.27 × 11.69 inches) size will be adequate.
Note though, that it is not possible to increase this without buying a new and larger printer. You can however very easily go down in size.
As a general rule and following a similar specification, the jump up to a larger paper format can be significant in terms of cost, and so for infrequent larger printing requirements, it can be more cost effect to use a professional printing service.
The importance of customer guarantees
It hopefully goes without saying that guarantees are important, and fortunately its hard to buy a printer that doesn’t come with one. But do check, and the longer it lasts the better.
The importance of customer service
Some users will from time to time have installation and/or software problems and questions, and so customer service can become a very important factor.
Fortunately, the printer market tends to be dominated by the larger and well-known brands such as HP and Cannon, who have a well established customer care service that are often available 24/7.