We like to think of ourselves as living in a paperless world, but that’s just not the case. Instagram is great, but we still want to print photos and hand them on our walls and refrigerators. E-signing documents is convenient, but there are times when you just want to see a contract right in front of you. You get it.
And picking the right (best) printer for your home can be tricky. If you cheap out, you’ll wind up with a printer that does an okay job right now — but what about a year from now? Oe three? Printers can end up lasting for quite a long time if you get one that is built for the long haul. And that generally means upgrading from the bottom of the barrel to something a bit nicer.
To save you some time or at least give you a starting point in your search for the best new printer, I’ve rounded up three awesome choices that make sense for different situations. If you want to print incredible photos right at home I’ve got you covered. I’ve also got some great options for people with home offices that need to maximize their output. Whatever situation you’re in, you’ll find something to like here.
Epson Expression Photo XP-860 ($229.99)
If you desire a capable and compact home printer you’ve got to check out the Epson Expression Photo XP-860. It can handle the printing, copying and scanning of a typical home (family pictures, office work, etc.) without taking up too much space. The color 4.3″ touchscreen is a great way to interact with your machine. You’ll be able to fit 30 pages in the auto doc feeder and you’ll love the ability to print double-sided sheets. But this machine shines for people who love printing their own photos right at home. I’m talking about borderless 8″ x 10″ photos and the ability to print 4″ x 6″ pics in 10 seconds. Plus, the Claria Photo HD Inks produce smooth pics and accurate skin tones. Of the printers listed on this page, this Epson bears my favorite design. By the time you factor in the ability to print wirelessly from phones and tablets, the Epson becomes my clear favorite (on this list).
HP Officejet Pro 276dw ($399)
The HP Officejet Pro 276wdw is more unwieldy than the Epson above but you might forgive that fact knowing that it can print up to 5 pages per minute faster (15 ppm). The HP also skews more “Home Office” than “Family Printer”. It’s meant to be a workhorse that still produces good looking documents — including documents with photos. Plus, HP claims that the inks used in this machine are 50% cheaper than those used in laser printers. Like the Epson above, this HP sports a color 4.3″ touchscreen for navigating tasks like printing, scanning, copying and sending digital files. This printer is also designed to handle a big workload — up to 1,500 pages per month, a number that just so happens to coincide with the number of color pages you can print from a single ink cartridge (if you’re only printing in black and white you can squeeze out up to 2,300 pages per cartridge). Like the Epson, you can print wirelessly from your favorite mobile devices with this printer, but, on top of that you can also print from anywhere (like when you’re out of the house) using HP ePrint.
Dell E525 Multifunction Printer ($249.99)
If you want to go the color laser printer route, check out the Dell E525 MFP. Sure, of the printers listed here, it’s hands-down the ugliest of the bunch, but it’s also the fastest. At 18 pages per minute, it’s not only quicker than the HP above (which in turn is quicker than the Epson), but it’s significantly cheaper. Dell really touts the ease of setup via the Dell Printer Easy Installer; whether or not it is any easier to install than the printers listed above I can’t tell you as I’ve never used it. This Dell has a recommended monthly print volume of 250 to 700 pages. And while you will get color pages out of this Dell, you won’t get a color touchscreen like you would with the Epson or HP models above.
The Bottom Line
If you want a small, good-looking printer that can handle a decent workload go with the Epson. If you’re looking for a work horse printer than can handle a large monthly volume and don’t mind spending a bit more, get the HP. If you don’t really care about looks but do care about speed, the Dell laser printer might be right for you.
What do you think? Leave us a comment below.