Top 4 Printers
Despite emails best intentions, printers are still a pretty big necessity. If you only need to print something once a year, it's probably cheaper to head to Staples or your local library. But for someone with a frequent need to print—or use any of the other functions a nice printer can offer—having one in your home can be a real game changer. Despite major advances, printers can still be pretty pricey, depending on what you need them to do.
- Can print, copy, scan, and fax
- Comes with a one-year limited warranty and 24-hour web support
- Two-sided printing helps cut down on paper usage
- Easy setup from your smartphone, tablet, or PC
- Features a quiet mode to print from any room without distractions
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- Scanner, printer, and copier all-in-one
- Connects to your smartphone or tablet to print without a network
- Quiet mode allows you to print in any room without distraction
- Features touchscreen controls and easy setup through a smartphone, tablet, or PC
Printing standard black and white text is a far cry from a high-quality photo printer, while a printer that uses toner may be a little more expensive in the short-term, but saves vast amounts of ink if you don't use your printer often.
The most basic printers start at about $25. While that used to mean it printed black and white and that was it, cheaper printers tend to be those that require a plug to work. Cheaper end printers can still print in color, but it can be a slow process (roughly 8 pages a minute for black and white printing). You can often get scanning and copying capabilities out of these little guys, too.
For about double the price of a basic printer, you start seeing wireless printers. This means you can connect to your laptop, tablet, or smartphone, and still print in black and white or color, sometimes in a little bit higher quality. Many mid-grade printers also offer touch screen functions, so you can choose double-sided printing, change the quality (and thus ink usage), and even send faxes (yes, people still do that). You may also have more options than just standard 8.5″x11″ paper—think pictures, envelopes, legal paper, etc. Unfortunately, you're still looking at about a 10 pages per minute printing time (in black and white).
High-end printers are really only worth it if you tend to print things that require some serious quality or some serious quantity. Although not true of every upper tier printer, many of them print at double or triple the speed of less expensive printers. Color printing on nicer printers tends to be brighter and cleaner, and the printer itself often has more options for getting your document to look exactly like you want it to—and it better, at roughly 8 times the price of the most basic printers.