Our expert analysis reveals the best printers that provide high-quality printouts at a pleasingly affordable cost. Whether you want a basic black and white printer, or a colour all-in-one printer that can scan and copy, our tests find the best printer for you and your budget.

Printer next to laptop

When looking into purchasing a new printer, the question of whether you should get an inkjet or a laser model should be given the most consideration. Laser printers are more expensive to purchase but can produce excellent prints more quickly and at a lower cost than inkjet printers do, despite the fact that inkjet printers are normally less expensive to purchase. Other important questions to ask include whether or if you also want to scan and copy the document in addition to printing it. Are you content with only black and white, or do you also want the colour version printed?

Which kind of printer would you recommend I get?

In most cases, printers can be divided into two primary groups, namely inkjet printers and laser printers, based on the type of ink technology that they employ. In addition, they can be described in terms of the capabilities they offer, such as wireless printers, or the activities for which they are ideally suited, such as office printers for the home. If you’re looking for a straightforward printer that can quickly produce black-and-white documents or you want to print images of the highest possible quality, we’ve outlined the primary distinctions between the various categories of printers below to help you choose the one that will serve your needs most effectively. In addition to that, we will discuss the many kinds of printers that can assist you in lowering your long-term printing expenses.

How much money do you recommend I spend?

A brand new inkjet printer can be purchased for less than fifty pounds, but the price of our Best Buy printers begins at approximately one hundred thirty pounds. You may acquire an inkjet printer from Best Buy for the price of £140, or you can get a good all-in-one colour laser printer for less than £200. It is possible that the cost of upkeep is the most significant factor to consider, given that the operational expenses of some less expensive cartridge inkjet printers are significantly more than those of ink tank and laser printers.

If you choose a low-priced model that consumes a lot of ink, the total cost of ownership of the printer might rapidly increase by hundreds of pounds. In addition to the expenses of ink and toner, it is important to think about the features that you require from a printer. You may spend as little as forty pounds for a multifunction printer that scans, prints, and connects wirelessly and supports Apple AirPrint. You should plan on spending more than one hundred pounds if you want premium features such as an automatic document feeder or automatic printing on both sides of the page. evaluates printers ranging from inexpensive inkjet printers to high-end laser printers that are suitable for use in a commercial setting.

We evaluate their quality, speed, and running expenses, as well as the features they offer and how easy it is to make use of them. There is a time and a place for everything. We assist you in refining your search so that you may locate the printer that best meets your needs. Do you just require a good printer that does not require an exorbitant investment in ink? View all of the models that were evaluated in our comprehensive assessments of printers.

What exactly is a printer that uses ink jets?

Inkjet printers are superb all-rounders. They are able to handle text-heavy documents like the coursework of a student or the minutes from a meeting, but in addition to that, they are able to print photographs, and they do a better job of it than a laser printer. In addition to being unobtrusive and silent, they require less room on your desk than a laser printer would. In contrast, cartridge inkjet printers often have a higher cost of operation than laser printers, meaning that you will spend more money on toner and ink for each page produced using an inkjet printer. Although this isn’t always the case with ink tank printers (which will be described further down), as a general rule, inkjets will cost you less initially but more over the course of their lifetime.

Pros

Color inkjet printers are more compact and less expensive than laser printers, and they are capable of printing in high-quality colour.

Cons

When printing black text pages, it is slower and has more expensive running costs than a laser printer.

Although the upfront cost of colour laser printers is more than that of colour inkjet printers, printing costs are lower, which means that using a colour laser printer could end up saving you money in the long term.

Our rundown of the top inkjet printers should help you find a good printer that uses inkjet technology.

What is the definition of a laser printer?

Man looking at colour print

Laser printers excel when it comes to printing a large amount of black text, and although colour models of laser printers are more expensive than colour inkjet printers, they are also capable of producing commercial graphics that have a professional appearance. When it comes to this kind of task, laser printers are often quicker than inkjet printers, and they are also able to manage a larger workload, which is useful if you intend to print a large number of pages each month. To add insult to injury, even while toner cartridges are pricey, the majority of them print a great deal more pages than an inkjet cartridge does, which means that the real cost of printing a black-and-white or colour page is typically far lower. Laser printers, on the other hand, are typically bigger and louder than their inkjet counterparts, and they will require more room on your desk as a result. Color laser printers are capable of producing high-quality graphs and charts, but their photo printing capabilities are severely lacking. If you intend to print out any of your vacation photos, you should use an inkjet printer.

Pros

Printing pages in black and white quickly and affordably is a priority for us.

Cons

Typically louder, heavier, and more expensive to purchase than inkjet printers. Pick one from the lineup that we’ve put up of the top models of laser printers.

To begin, what exactly is a tank printer?

Tank printers eliminate the need for individual cartridges. Instead, they use ink tanks that can be refilled using a specific equipment that is included with the printer. You can get monochrome and colour tank printers, as well as colour tank printers that only print in black and white, because these printers are often inkjet versions. They feature little windows into the tank that are located on the front of the printer, so it is simple to check to see if the ink is becoming low and replace it if necessary. There are hardly many tank laser printers available; HP’s Neverstop Laser line is the first laser models to adopt cartridge-free technology. Tank laser printers are rare. Tank models are typically more expensive to buy up front than regular inkjet models; however, they will make up for the initial investment with print-cost savings, costing as low as a few pounds a year to run. Tank models have a larger print capacity than traditional inkjet models. Tank printers often have very low operating costs and can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of a couple of years’ time if you use one.

Pros

Inkjet printers have exceptionally low ongoing expenses and are capable of producing high-quality colour printouts.

Cons

Can be pricey to purchase as a whole. In this guide to the best affordable printers to buy and run, we’ll show you which printers have the cheapest operating costs so you can make an informed decision.

Can you explain what an all-in-one printer is?

You can purchase simple inkjet or laser printers, but a device that scans and copies in addition to printing will not set you back a significant amount of additional money. The vast majority have wireless connectivity, allowing users to print from multiple desktop computers or laptops, in addition to mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. In some models, there is also a fax function. When it comes to scanning and copying multiple-page reports, some all-in-one printers are equipped with an automated document feeder (ADF) on the top of the machine.

Pros

In addition to printing, it has the ability to scan, photocopy, and fax.

Cons

Larger versions that require more room to store typically fall under this category. In our reviews of printers, we cover a wide variety of models, including some of the best multifunction printers. You may also read our guide that explains wireless printing to learn everything there is to know about it.

What is the definition of a picture printer?

A small photo printer, an A4 printer, and an A3 printer side by side

The phrase “photo printer” can refer to a variety of different types of printing machines. Photo printers are often all-in-one inkjet devices that are designed for A4 paper and feature finer ink nozzles as well as additional colour cartridges or tanks. Others consider it to be a dedicated compact photo printer that can only print photos of a certain size. Or perhaps you are interested in a specialised A3 model that offers lab-quality picture printing with high-resolution print heads and photo cartridges that are designed specifically for printing photographs. The front panel of photo printers typically contains slots for memory cards as well as a USB connection. This allows you to print directly from your camera or its memory card, regardless of whether or not you have a personal computer present.

Pros

Designed with photo printing in mind

Cons

Cannot provide a guarantee of higher print quality than a normal printer that has greater flexibility Find out more information about the top photo printers here. Some all-in-one printers with an A4 paper size can print excellent images on smaller paper sizes and are more adaptable than compact photo printers.

Can you explain what an A3 printer is?

An A3 printer is the one you need if you want to print large office papers, posters, or images to put on your wall. If you want to accomplish any of these things, you will need a printer. They are more expensive and take up more room on your desk, but in comparison to a conventional A4 printer, they are able to print on larger sheets of paper. Some of them have a heavy emphasis on design or photography.

Pros

Perfect if you need to print something in poster format

Cons

When compared to standard printers, take up a large amount of space. We have compiled a list of the top A3 printers to make it easier for you to select the right model for your needs.

Which is better: black and white or colour? I can’t decide!

Monochrome inkjet printers are going the way of the dinosaurs, but if you need a printer that only prints in black and white, you can get by with a “mono” (short for “black and white”) laser printer. These can be purchased for a lower price than colour versions, and if the most of the printing you do is of black text on white pages, you’ll find that they are equally beautiful and affordable to run. The addition of colour to your printer will make it much more versatile; nevertheless, you will need to consider the potential savings against the chance that you will wish to print images or colour documents.

Should I think about getting a printer that doesn’t require wires?

If you’re on the market for a new printer, search for one that includes wireless networking. It gives you the ability to connect it to the internet without the need for a cable, which means that you may position your printer wherever you like inside of your house. You will have access to a variety of online services once you have successfully connected your wireless printer to the internet. Some of these services include the free mobile printing apps that are provided by the major printer manufacturers, such as HP, Epson, Canon, and Brother. If you use Apple products, you should be aware of the AirPrint feature, which eliminates the need for printing drivers and enables wireless printing from Mac, iPhone, and iPad devices. Learn more about wireless printing by reading our comprehensive guide on the topic.

Where can I purchase a printer?

When you buy a printer, you should make sure that the person from whom you are purchasing it has a good reputation. Check the store’s policy on returns, and pay attention to the comments and ratings left by previous customers. Check out our tips on buying online for further information, including how to shop online safely and how to get your money back if a product is defective. At the time of this writing, some of the most popular search terms related to printer sellers are Amazon, Argos, Currys, and John Lewis. We’ve included links to these merchants because we chose them based on the availability of their stock, the greatest value pricing they offered, or the warranty alternatives they provided.

Amazon has hundreds of printers in stock, but if you can, try to stick to models that are fulfilled by or sold by Amazon. It will be much faster to resolve issues if there is something wrong with your printer if you purchase one of these models.

Argos has a comprehensive selection of both inkjet and laser printers available for purchase. It’s a great option if you’re trying to save money because prices begin at under thirty pounds and you can receive free same-day in-store collection at some Sainsbury’s locations. Some of the brands that are available are HP, Brother, Epson, and Canon.

Currys is a retailer that has a good selection of home printers in store. The most high-end printers can cost several hundred pounds, with prices starting as low as twenty-five pounds. Keep in mind, however, that if you find the printer you desire sold elsewhere at a lower price, Currys guarantees that they will either match or beat the price of any other retailer.

Inkjet printers, colour laser printers, mono laser printers, and all-in-one printers are just some of the options that can be found at John Lewis. When you buy a printer from this company, in addition to receiving free technical support from their in-house staff, you will also receive a guarantee that is good for two years and is completely risk-free.

How to ensure the safety of your printer

The majority of home printers are set up with settings that prioritise convenience above security by default. Because of this, it will be up to you to determine how to keep your printer safe. In the hackable house study that we conducted in 2021, an Epson printer was the gadget that was targeted the most frequently by actual hackers. Hackers are well aware of this fact. The good news is that by making a few basic adjustments to your settings, the danger of a breach can be considerably minimised, which is excellent news. Because hackers are often looking for easy pickings, making even little adjustments such as these to your printer can make it a far less desirable target.

Establish a secure password.

You ought to go ahead and establish a secure password for the use of your printer if you haven’t done so already. Devices that have passwords that are too easy to guess provide a soft target for hackers, who may be able to eavesdrop on what you are printing or even change it. A reliable password manager that generates and remembers secure passwords on your behalf so that you just need to remember a single password that is easy to recall can be of assistance in this regard. For additional guidance on developing secure passwords, please refer to our comparison of the top password managers.

The firmware needs an update.

When you update the firmware on your device, you might not notice any difference in how it operates; nonetheless, these updates frequently include crucial security patches. If your printer is capable of performing automated updates, you should turn on this setting. In any other case, you can get the most recent updates on the website of the company that makes your printer. In the past, manufacturers have utilised these upgrades to disable the use of inks produced by third parties. Because of this, several people who use printers (as well as people who sell third-party ink) have suggested shutting them off. This is not the strategy that we encourage, as the priority should always be on safety.

Protect your network from harm.

The safety of many devices, which lack powerful security measures, falls on the shoulders of your network. However, this provides potential hackers with complete freedom once they have gained access. If you still use the password that is printed on the underside of your wireless router, then anyone who has ever been in your house could potentially access your network. To begin, you should update the firmware and change the password that is set by default. If this isn’t something that happens automatically, change the password. All of this configuration can be done in the settings menu by entering the IP address of your router into any web browser. This information is typically displayed on the back of your router, along with the password for your settings (which, if you haven’t previously done so, you should also update). Are you interested in upgrading your router? Check out our reviews of various routers.

Establish a network for visitors.

It is a good idea to configure a guest network when you are signed into the settings page of your account. This grants visitors access to your Wi-Fi network without granting them full permission to alter your settings or install anything that they ought not do. It is acceptable to use a straightforward password for this guest network so that information can be shared more easily.

Turn off any rights that aren’t necessary.

If you print using an application, the maker of your printer may learn more about you than you would like them to know. For instance, many different businesses will ask for information regarding your location. This data is theoretically anonymous because it is not linked to your name or a user account; nonetheless, it may still contain information that can be used to determine who you are, such as where you live or where you work. This information might also be used by other businesses or resold to them. We believe that technology businesses should never request permissions that aren’t absolutely necessary for the normal use of their goods. You can repair this by navigating to settings on your Android phone, and then selecting apps from the menu that appears. Choose the application, and then navigate to the Permissions menu to review and make adjustments to your settings. On an iOS device, navigate to the Settings menu, choose the application in question, and de-check any boxes corresponding to permissions that make you uneasy. Alternately, you may navigate to settings, biometrics, security, and then app permissions on your Android device to view the permissions that you’ve granted to each and every app on your device. You may locate this information on an iOS device by going to the settings menu and selecting the privacy option.

Before you throw away your printer, be sure that it is factory reset.

The majority of printers are capable of storing some data between operations. This may include the documents that you have most recently printed or scanned, any of which may include sensitive personal information. Your login information, including your username and password, might also be available. Before you sell, donate, or recycle your printer, we advise reverting it back to factory defaults for further peace of mind. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, depending on the kind and brand of printer you have, but the most common method involves pressing and holding a series of buttons located on the printer itself. You can find instructions on how to do this either in the manual that came with your printer or on the website of the printer maker. If your printer has an internal memory card reader, you should also remove any SD cards you have loaded into it. In addition to that, make sure that you check the print tray as well as the scan bed for any documents. If you want additional in-depth instructions on how to strengthen your security, you can find them in the manual that came with your printer or on the website of the manufacturer, but following these steps is an excellent place to start.

Recycling of printer cartridges and ink

It is estimated that ink and toner cartridges make for a significant portion of all waste plastic, with tens of millions of cartridges being sent to landfills annually in the United Kingdom alone. The good news is that there are strategies to cut down on this.

Donating the proceeds from the recycling of printer cartridges

You are able to send in your spent cartridges for recycling at no cost using services such as Recycle4Charity. This includes sending in some third-party models of cartridges. Then, depending on the cartridge, they will make a donation (typically ranging from ten pence to two pounds) to a charitable organisation of your choosing. Although it may not seem like much, the charity has successfully raised more than £1.5 million and diverted more than 375 tonnes of cartridges from landfills since it was founded.

Sending used ink cartridges to be recycled through the mail

The vast majority of printer manufacturers provide some kind of cost-free recycling service; however, they will only recycle cartridges that are of their own brand. Typically, this entails either placing your cartridges in an envelope that has already been paid for or printing off a Freepost label using your own printer (a true Catch-22 situation if you haven’t yet obtained a replacement cartridge). In order to participate in certain programmes, you are required to stockpile a number of empty ink cartridges before turning them in. If you don’t print very often, this will reduce the amount of pollution caused by transportation, but it may also result in empty ink cartridges rattling around your house for years.

When I recycle my printer’s ink cartridges, what exactly happens?

When you return empty cartridges to the manufacturer, those cartridges are disassembled into their component raw materials, which are then resold and used in the production of other goods. Therefore, the empty cartridge that you no longer need might soon be repurposed into a water bottle or a clothes peg. The only company that uses these raw ingredients at this time is HP, and it does so in order to manufacture fresh ink cartridges.

Cartridges for printers and copiers that can be recycled close to me

If you are already in the area shopping, you can simply drop off your empty ink cartridges at one of the many supermarkets or office supply companies that have recycling stations specifically for ink cartridges. In a similar vein, many community recycling centres in your area will take any and all types of ink cartridges. Recyclenow provides a helpful search filter that will assist you in finding a location in your immediate vicinity.

abandoning the use of printer ink cartridges entirely

Stopping the use of ink cartridges entirely is another approach to lowering the amount of trash produced. Ink tank printers, often known as printers that employ refillable ink reservoirs rather than cartridges, have become increasingly popular at our Best Buy tables over the past few years. Some types only cost a few pounds to run per year, but cartridge models might cost over one hundred pounds to print the same number of pages. They are typically far more effective with their use of ink. The caveat is that they are typically costly to purchase, despite the fact that they frequently turn out to be less expensive over the course of the printer’s lifetime.

Saving printer paper

The function known as “duplex printing” is the one to keep an eye on if you want to cut down on the amount of paper that is wasted. Because of this, you will be able to print on both sides of the paper automatically, which might cut your paper costs in half. If your printer does not support duplex printing, you can usually manually turn the page; however, this can be a tedious process for more extensive documents. When it’s not possible to avoid it, recycle your paper.