Here are the 14 best printers you can buy in the UK in 2016. Best value printers, best multifunction printers, best colour laser printers, best office printers.
The latest printers aren't always the best printers. Some of the reviews you'll find below were written a long ago as 2013. This doesn't mean you should discount them from your shortlist. Each and every printer here is available to buy in the UK today. We know because we checked.
There's no single printer that will suit everyone so while the list below is ordered, it's best not to worry too much about the number beside it. We've mixed together home and business printers, multifunctions, colour and mono. They're all good printers.
Your priorities and environment will determine which ones you discount, and which are best for you. With that in mind, here are a few tips on choosing the right printer.
Best printers to buy in 2016: buying advice
Printers come in two main forms: inkjet, or laser, with colour and mono flavours of each. Lasers tend to be more expensive to buy, but provide better quality output, particularly where lots of text is involved. And they can be faster. Notice we said 'tend' - lasers aren't always best.
As a basic rule, if you need to print only text, and a lot of it, a mono laser printer will offer the crispest text output and the best combination of fast page-per-minute output and low ink costs. If, however, you need to print photos - even if only sometimes - choose an inkjet printer. A dedicated photo printer with individual cartridges for each colour (rather than a single combined colour cartridge) will suit those who print only photos, but if photos form only part of what you need the printer for, a decent inkjet will usually do the job adequately.
Printer tech hasn't evolved much recently, which is why we can still happily recommend printers from 2013. If we were talking smartphones, this would be ancient history.
What has happened over roughly the last five or so years is that inkjet printing has started to make sense for businesses. The best models are as fast and cheap to run as lasers, but with the benefits of better quality in colour. It's also possible to buy an A3 inkjet printer more cheaply than laser, so if you need to print larger than A4, it's certainly something to bear in mind.
Colour lasers still have their place, but inkjets are encroaching on their territory.
Best printers: total cost of ownership
When buying a printer, remember that the price you pay in the store is just the beginning. Be sure to consider TCO (total cost of ownership), or the cost of replenishing toner and other consumables over the lifetime of the printer. This is particularly important if you print a lot. A set of toner cartridges can easily approach the cost of a colour laser printer (complete with starter cartridges, which many come with).
Most manufacturers quote a 'page yield' estimate for their ink cartridges, which is the typical number of pages you can expect to print before the cartridge runs out of ink. You can use the page yield to calculate the average cost per page and you'd be surprised to find how much this can vary from one printer to another.
Of course, if output quality matters more to you than cost, scoot over to the other end of the cost spectrum where there are more specialized printers that use five or even six inks for printing photographs. Those additional inks can produce excellent results for your photo prints, but they add to the cost, sometimes pushing the cost for photos up to 10p or more per page. See also: home printing vs online printing
Printer buying advice: multifunction printers
Most modern printers are multifunction 'all-in-one' devices that include a scanner too. This allows you to scan photos and other documents and convert them into digital files that you can store on your computer or share with friends or colleagues. You can also print copies of your scanned documents, allowing the printer to stand in for a photocopier too. Some models even include a fax machine (remember them?) as well. If you require a scanner and a photocopier as well as a printer, you'll save money by buying in all-in-one - but if a standalone printer suits your needs, you may be able to spend less.
It's easy to connect a printer to your computer with an ordinary USB cable, but that means you can only use the printer with just that one computer. For home use, it's well worth opting for a printer equipped with Wi-Fi as it's convenient to be able to print from any device in the house - including your phone. Look for AirPrint compatibility if you have an iPhone or iPad. Wi-Fi also means you won't need to connect the printer to a PC and leave that computer turned on in order to share the printer with everyone else in the house.
Printer buying advice: print speed
Printer speed is another issue: the speeds quoted by manufacturers are almost never matched by real-world performance. If you often need to print in a hurry, look for independent reviews when choosing your printer. Other useful features to look out for include additional USB ports and memory card slots that will allow you to print photos direct from a digital camera. High-capacity paper trays capable of holding hundreds of sheets of paper, or an automatic document feeder that can handle scanning and copying work while you go and do something more important, may also be worth looking out for. Double-sided printing is also handy for everything from printing school reports to marketing brochures. Or simply to halve your paper usage: if you make duplex the default setting, you'll use both sides of the paper.
It's also worth thinking about the bundled software that comes with your printer. Some printers include software that provides basic editing features, such as red-eye removal or adjusting the colour balance – in fact, some even allow you to perform simple editing tasks using controls on the printer itself, so you don't even need to turn on your computer.
- Reviewed on: 20 July 15
- RRP: £130
We recommend the Canon Pixma MG7550 especially for photo enthusiasts and people who sometimes need to print direct to disc. In fact it’s a great general-purpose multifunction printer that just so happens to turn out great photo prints, print direct to CD/DVD and other printable discs, plus offer duplex (double-sided) printing, and a raft of wireless and cloud-based services. It is good looking, and not overly bulky, and is available in both black and white and a curious Burnt Orange.
Read our Canon Pixma MG7550 review.
- Reviewed on: 2 October 14
- RRP: £143 inc. VAT
We've tried to find fault with this printer, but it really has been difficult. Print quality is strong, the design is generally fantastic, and all of the features work exactly how they should. When a laser is this effective and this thoughtfully put together, it seems churlish not to give it our highest accolade.
Read our Samsung Xpress M2835DW review.
- Reviewed on: 28 May 14
- RRP: £380 inc. VAT
We're trying to find fault with this model, but it really is beautifully conceived and configured. We might perhaps wish for gigabit networking rather than older 10/100, and the standard memory of 256 MB (the Kyocera has double this) is a little skimpy. In general, though, it's a fantastically versatile model that covers all bases in impeccable style.
Read our Canon i-SENSYS MF6180dw review.
- Reviewed on: 6 April 15
- RRP: £200 inc. VAT
Many models have tried to be all things to all users. Few, to my recollection, have succeeded. The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-5190DW, though, might well be the exception. More welcoming than lasers, but packing many of the same connectivity, security and management features, it also offers superb performance in both text and colour photographs. The running costs are good, and the energy usage economical. Its RRP of almost £347 may seem slightly steep, but having put this model through its paces, that tag seems nothing less than value for money. The really good news, though, is that if you shop around, you can find it available for under £200. And given everything we've said, that rather makes it look like the bargain of the decade. Astonishing.
Read our Epson WorkForce Pro WF-5190DW review.
- Reviewed on: 30 July 14
- RRP: £658 inc. VAT
For middle to larger businesses needing a speedy and sturdy colour printer which can churn out good volume and quality with all connectivity options covered without costing the earth, Brother's HL-L9200CDWT ticks all the boxes.
Read our Brother HL-L9200CDWT review.
- Reviewed on: 26 February 13
- RRP: £450 inc VAT
We were slightly underwhelmed by the LBP7680Cx, but its bigger brother the Canon i-SENSYS LBP7780Cx is a very different proposition. Large and very powerful, it has good performance and a slew of modern features that puts it amongst the top business models. Throw in high-quality colour printing and the stunningly fast auto-duplexing and this is a heavyweight contender that puts much of the opposition on the canvas.
Read our Canon i-SENSYS LBP7780Cx review.
- Reviewed on: 24 April 15
- RRP: £258 inc. VAT
If you're looking for a high-quality photo printer then inkjet printers still have the edge there. However, the M277dw provides excellent text quality and business graphics, and will make a good workhorse printer for smaller offices that need to produce high quality business documents.
Read our HP Colour LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw review.
- Reviewed on: 21 July 15
- RRP: £60 inc VAT
The initial purchase price of the OfficeJet 3830 is obviously very attractive, and will appeal to many home users and smaller offices. Its running costs are also quite good when printing in colour, so it will be a good option for printing photos, or reports and presentations that contain colour graphics. However, simple mono printing is more expensive, and the OfficeJet 3830 could prove expensive to run if you print a lot of simple text documents. If you don't need to print all that much, though, this is a great-value all-in-one printer
Read our HP Officejet 3830 review.
- Reviewed on: 18 November 14
- RRP: £329 inc. VAT
If you just need a personal printer for occasional use then you may still be better off buying a conventional low-cost inkjet printer. However, the Ecotank printers offer big savings for businesses that need to print text and graphics documents on a daily basis. There are a few rough edges, but Epson's Ecotank printers represent a real breakthrough in the cost of printing.
Read our Epson Ecotank L555 review.
10. Lexmark CS410dn
- Reviewed on: 3 July 14
- RRP: £268 inc VAT
The running costs do hurt an otherwise very competent printer. The CS410dn does everything well, without excelling for its price range. If you want a sturdy page churner that can also slip to high quality colour for the odd big splash, the Lexmark will serve you well. Colour freaks may want to consider paying a little bit more upfront for a higher-priced model that can offer superior long-term running costs.
Read our Lexmark CS410dn review.
- Reviewed on: 28 February 14
- RRP: £779 inc. VAT
Kyocera's ECOSYS P6030cdn colour laser printer manages to combine volume, speed and quality with cost-saving features and plenty of extras. It's is only let down by minor ergonomic design flaws.
Read our Kyocera ECOSYS P6030cdn review.
- Reviewed on: 27 March 14
- RRP: £349.99 inc. VAT
Canon's PIXMA iP8750 is the A3+ inkjet printer that serious photographers and illustrators have been waiting for - low on frills, easy to use and high on quality.
Read our Canon Pixma iP8750 review.
- Reviewed on: 27 January 14
- RRP: £426 inc VAT
Although externally little has altered, the revamped Kyocera Ecosys M2030dn has shown a slight increase in speed and efficiency, even if print quality is more inconsistent.
Read our Kyocera Ecosys M2030dn review.
- Reviewed on: 18 January 11
- RRP: £177.6 inc VAT
With low running costs, high performance and strong paper handling, the Kyocera Mita FS-1320D could be a brilliant acquisition for businesses seeking fast text output. The lack of network facilities is the only significant flaw, and even this can be fixed by paying a little more for the FS-1370DN.
Read our Kyocera Mita FS-1320D review.