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Best printer 2022: Top printers for every budget

Do you want a printer for churning out documents? Or maybe one for printing your holiday snaps? But have you also considered whether you need duplex printing, scanning and faxing?

There are so many factors to consider that purchasing a printer can be a migraine-inducing experience. Fortunately, we’re decided to step in and help. Our team of experts test multiple printers every year, and we’ve included the top rated options in this best list.

It’s important to remember that everyone has different needs from a printer, so we’ve made sure to include a variety options. These include more affordable cartridge-based printers, to those that use ink bottles for cheaper running costs for the long term.

We’ve also focused on printer features prospective buyers care about. This includes how many sheets of papers you can fit into a printer, as well as their respective printing speeds for both mono and colour pages.

To conduct these tests, our team of experts has used each printer extensively, while also conducting standardised tests in order to get comparable results. Of course, there’s no need to split hairs over fractions of a second over printing speeds for instance, but it’s still useful to see which printers perform the best.

If you can’t see a printer that you like right now, be sure to bookmark this page for future reference, as we’ll be updating it with new entries that catch our eye as more printers pass through the Trusted Labs in 2022 and beyond.

How we test

Learn more about how we test printers

Every printer we review goes through a series of uniform checks designed to gauge key things including print quality, speed and cost. These include first-time setup, changing respective cartridges, and measuring key things such as print speed and quality with a range of different paper types, including plain and photo.

We’ll also compare the features with other printers at the same price point to see if you’re getting good value for your money. We’ve also calculated how much it would cost to replace the cartridge or refill the ink in order to see how much the printer will cost you in the long term.

Canon PIXMA TS7450

Best value printer
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Pros

  • Excellent print quality
  • Prints quickly
  • Reasonably cheap to run

Cons

  • It’s a heavy beast
  • Mobile apps are not super-intuitive

The Canon PIXMA TS7450 is a great all-rounder printer, representing good value for money if you’re after something versatile.

We found the quality of documents to be excellent, with no obvious distortion or bleeding on ten-point text documents, and coloured graphics on plain paper looked vibrant and solid. Photos printed on glossy paper look detailed and fantastic at the same time, although do watch out for some tones being a little blanched in photos on plain paper.

The costs to run the PIXMA is standard for a cartridge-based printer, costing around 9p or so per page using standard cartridges. This isn’t bad going, but if your bottom line is the most important thing, then opting for the Epson ET-2720 will likely serve you better.

Its print speeds are snappy. During testing, we measured single pages of text firing out in nine seconds, while a longer five-page document took just over thirty. For a full-colour photo on plain A4, expect it to take just under a minute. All in all, you shouldn’t be waiting too long for things to print out with this Canon offering.

While this is also a good-looking printer, at 8.2kg or so, it is heavy and large, too. This means it’s only really a printer for those who’ve got the space for it, but if you do, then there aren’t many better printers for the money in our eyes than the Canon PIXMA TS7450.

Reviewer: Thomas Newton
Full review: Canon PIXMA TS7450 review

Epson EcoTank ET-1810

Best printer for low-printing costs
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Pros

  • Incredibly low running costs
  • Wi-Fi connectivity for easy sharing
  • Great refillable ink system
  • Simple to use

Cons

  • Expensive to buy
  • No duplex printing
  • Only a one-year warranty

If it’s low printing costs you’re after, the Epson EcoTank ET-1810 is going to be a great printer for you.

The main appeal of this Epson comes down to the fact it utilises the EcoTank system, which allows you to refill the ink wells yourself, as opposed to buying a large handful of cartridges. The printer comes with a full set of EcoTank bottles which are good to print 4500 black or 7500 colour pages, which multiplies what you can get out of a cartridge printer by between 20 and 30 times. This works out to a print cost of around half a penny per full-colour page, which is about as cheap as printing gets in 2022.

We found the print quality of the ET-1810 to be good for the price, too. Plain paper printing provided dark text and perfectly serviceable colours. Using photo paper offered decent colour accuracy and shade control, complete with a superb glossy finish when using Epson’s own paper. The ET-18120 may not be a printer specifically designed for photography, but it should be great for those wanting to print out the odd postcard-sized snap.

As for printing speeds, while the ET-1810 isn’t the most blazing fast printer out there, it’s fine for most jobs. During testing, we found a five-page text document to take around 46 seconds to complete, with a single page clocking in at 18 seconds. Colour documents did take a smidgen longer, with it taking just over 90 seconds to print five pages’ worth of graphics. This may not be the best printer for those in a rush, but the ET-1810 is in it for the long haul, given those low printing costs.

For a £150 printer, its design and interface may seem old-fashioned, given the ET-1810 doesn’t have a screen or any form of visual interface. There isn’t an automatic duplex printing option either. For those who want an all-singing and all-dancing printer, we’d say to look elsewhere, but if you’re okay with something simple, functional and with low printing costs, the Epson EcoTank ET-1810 is an incredible option.

Reviewer: Simon Handby
Full review: Epson EcoTank ET-1810 review

Epson EcoTank ET-3850

Best office printer
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Pros

  • Incredibly low running costs
  • Does everything except fax
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Great refillable ink system

Cons

  • Expensive to buy
  • Only a one-year warranty
  • No duplex (double-sided) scanning

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 is an immense printer if you want something to be your office companion.

We found it to be a useful multifunctional device, given it can not only print but also scan and copy. Handily, the ET-3850 features an automatic document feeder, which we found allowed documents to be scanned and copied with relative ease, giving you access to all of this printer’s facets at once. 

As an EcoTank printer, this Epson is able to take advantage of the incredibly low print costs brought around by its refillable tanks. That’s arguably a major reason why it seems like such an expensive printer. The ET-3850 claims to be able to print a volume of 14,000 black or 5,200 colour pages before needing to be fully refilled. Compared to a standard cartridge-based printer, the money saved for such a large print volume is ridiculous.

For an inkjet printer, the ET-3850 is absurdly quick. We found it to deliver a five-page text document in 31 seconds, while a 20-page document registered a speed of around 10 pages a minute, printing in just under two minutes. For colour printing, the speeds were just as impressive, with a five-page sample printing in the same 31 seconds as a mono document.

There isn’t a touchscreen on offer here, but the colour screen with button controls that the ET-3850 has worked well and is functional. If you’re after a compact printer, then this Epson option should more than suffice.

Reviewer: Simon Handby
Full review: Epson EcoTank ET-3850 review

Canon PIXMA G650

Best photo printer and scanner
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Pros

  • Low running costs
  • Strong photo and scan quality
  • Decent plain paper prints

Cons

  • Expensive to buy
  • Slow, especially on plain paper
  • No automatic double-sided printing

The Canon PIXMA G650 is one of our favourtie printers for producing photos. That’s mostly thanks to its six-ink setup, which means it has two additional ink bottles than your average printer, resulting in greater shade control and a wider colour gamut. In our tests, the Canon printer delivered great results, making it a great option for those who want a home photo printer.

We also found this printer to be excellent at scanning, proving extremely quick and flaunting accurate colour reproduction. If you need a high-quality scanner for your home at a reasonable price, there aren’t many better.

Standard document printing is decent too thanks to the low-printing costs, although we wouldn’t recommend this Canon if you only want a printer for such workloads. Our tests showed it to be one of slowest document printers we’ve reviewed in a long time, while the printer’s dye inks are more more suited to photo paper than plain paper. It’s also missing useful features such as duplex printing and faxing.

Nevertheless, if you’re more interested in printing photos than documents, and also need a speedy scanner, then the Canon PIXMA G650 is a terrific option worth considering.

Reviewer: Simon Handby
Full review: Canon PIXMA G650 review

Canon PIXMA TS305

Best budget printer for docs
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Pros

  • Very cheap to buy
  • Very cheap to run

Cons

  • Flimsy build quality
  • Middling print quality

For those who just want a capable budget printer for the odd document or two, then the Canon PIXMA TS305 is a decent option.

We found it to offer reasonable print speeds for its price, printing a single page of text in around nine seconds, while a longer five-page document can take around 40 seconds. It’s not lighting fast, but for the price, we had no complaints. The same was true for photo printing, as a single colour picture printed out in just under a minute, which compared well against printers that were double the price, such as the Epson ET-M112.

At 2.9kg, the PIXMA TS305 is reasonably light, which means if you do want to move it around, then you should be able to without too much of a hitch. We also found its paper trays fold in and out which is rather handy if you need to save space at any point, and the general setup of this printer was easy, as long as you’re able to download the correct drivers.

The general print quality on offer here isn’t bad for the price, with text being clean and easy to read, as long as you don’t use too much in the way of heavier fonts, as that’s where we found some bleeding to occur. For pictures, colours were generally good with natural tones looking realistic. Synthetic colours such as blues and greens can look a tad over-saturated, but that’s a minor complaint.

All in all, the PIXMA TS305 is a great value printer for those who just need to print documents and the odd photo, and it’s cheap to run too, as long as you aren’t printing loads like in an office setting.

Reviewer: Thomas Newton
Full review: Canon PIXMA TS305 review

HP Tango X

Best student printer
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Pros

  • Compact, wireless design
  • Low upfront price
  • Instant Ink plans offer value for money

Cons

  • No built-in scanner or copier
  • Scan and copy function of HP Smart app is variable

The HP Tango X is quite a sleek printer, which we think is a marvellous choice for students.

It looks great with this modern white colouring, alongside a fabric cover that not only acts as the out tray, but also as a cover to protect the Tango X. You also get some nice underglow illumination for when the printer’s in use, which we found to look especially stylish. The printing can be done via a smartphone app, making it quick and easy to get your document of choice printed onto paper.

As well as looking the part, we found the HP Tango X to also perform well during testing. Its print speeds were pretty good, with a five-page document taking just over 27 seconds to print, which adhered exactly to HP’s quoted figure of 11 pages per minute. A full colour page took around 30 seconds to print, and with it came some great colours that didn’t look at all overblown.

General print costs are high for the Tango X, but if you shop around and use HP’s lauded Instant Ink subscription, they can be cut down to around between 2.5 and 4p per page, depending on whether it’s black or colour. This is especially useful for students since every penny counts, making the Tango X a much more attractive proposition than if you purchase the cartridges yourself.

Reviewer: Thomas Newton
Full review: HP Tango X review

We also considered…

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FAQs

What is better – inkjet or laser?

For those printing large volumes with no real budget constraints, then laser printers are the way to go, given their high capacities and great reliability. However, for most people, inkjet printers are likely to suffice given that they’re more affordable and perfectly serviceable for day-to-day usage.

Which printer is most economical for ink costs?

In our experience, the Epson EcoTank printers are some of the most economical, given their large ink wells that are user-refillable with bottles that results in printing costs several times cheaper than more standard cartridge-based printers.

Is toner or ink better?

Generally speaking, toner is better, given it lasts longer and may not dry out as easily as ink does. However, it is more expensive than ink, alongside the fact it works with laser printers, which are traditionally dearer than their inkjet counterparts.

Comparison specs

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Trusted Reviews test data

Printing A4 mono speed (single page)
Printing A4 mono speed (5 pages)
Printing A4 mono speed (20 pages)
Printing A4 colour speed (single page)
Printing A4 colour speed (5 pages)
Printing A4 colour speed (20 pages)

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