Inkjet printers are incredibly versatile. Besides text documents, many can also print photos — some can even make museum-quality prints — labels, graphics, and many other types of materials. Multifunction (all-in-one or MFP) variants add scan, copy, and fax, making them ideal for small office/home office environments.
After reviewing dozens of inkjet printers from across the market, we’re ready to make a few recommendations for the top spot. The best inkjet printer is the Canon Maxify MB420 , but we also have a few other favorites you should take a look at!
CANON MAXIFY MB5420
The best overall inkjet printer
Why should you buy this? Office machine that makes excellent prints.
Who’s it for? Small offices that want to share a printer.
Why we picked the Canon’s Maxify MB5420:
Inkjet printers offer many advantages, but traditionally speed hasn’t been one of them. Not anymore: The newest printers designed for the small office/home office are capable of making fast, quality prints, and one terrific option is Canon’s Maxify MB5420.
The MB5420 is large, but it’s designed to support a multi-person office – up to nine employees, according to Canon. The company claims a page print speed of 24 images per minute for black and white or 15.5 for color. In our tests, we achieved 22.2 and 10, respectively, which we find to be in-line with Canon’s rated speed. The printer also supports one-pass duplex printing, and ink cartridges have high yields.
More importantly, the prints are excellent, particularly with color. Although it isn’t a photo printer, the MB5420 could handle the task when we printed on photo paper. Don’t look at the MB5420 solely as an office product. If you have a household that prints often, the MB5420 is suitable for that environment too. But if it’s overkill for your needs, check out the Maxify MB5120.
HP PAGEWIDE PRO 577DW
The best office inkjet printer
Why should you buy this? It’s one of the fastest – if not the fastest – inkjet printer.
Who’s it for? Extremely impatient office workers.
Why we picked the PageWide Pro 577dw:
If speed is what you’re after, then your search ends with HP’s PageWide technology. Technically, the 577dw is not an inkjet printer in the traditional sense, but it shares certain traits like ink and quality. The big difference is that unlike an inkjet printer, which has a print head that travels back and forth across a sheet of paper, PageWide uses a stationary print head. This allows the machine to print up to 50 pages per minute in either black or color – HP claims it delivers the fastest speeds and a 40-percent reduction in color printing versus color laser printers. We find the PageWide printers to deliver on stated speed and quality.
Like an inkjet printer, the 577dw uses a four-color ink tank system that’s easy to replace. HP rates page yield at 13,000 for color and 17,000 for black-and-white; it also supports for large-capacity (XL) cartridges. Besides Wi-Fi and Ethernet, the machine handles Wi-Fi Direct for peer-to-peer and NFC connections, as well as Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print. Security features let you monitor usage as well as ensuring it isn’t breached by unauthorized users. Need more paper storage? The 577dw supports optional paper trays.
The 577dw is a multifunction device (print, scan, copy, fax). If you don’t need the extras, downgrade to a single-function model like the PageWide Pro 552dw, which offers the same printer performance. The 577dw, however, is designed for office use and carries a price to match, so for many users it’s expensive, and the speed is probably overkill.
CANON PIXMA IP8720
The best budget inkjet printer
Why you should buy this? It offers great performance for a reasonable price.
Who’s it for? Home users who want to print gorgeous photos cheaply and easily.
Why we picked the Canon Pixma iP8720:
Our tests found that the Pixma iP8720 had excellent print quality that made it suitable for both photos and everyday printing at home or the small office. However, two additional features really make this model stand out. First, the price is highly affordable for the quality printing that this model brings to the table. If you need an inkjet printer that can do a great job but have a limited budget, Canon has you covered.
Second, this Pixma model is notable for accommodating print sizes up to 13 x 19-inches, unusual for a printer in this class. That makes this six-color printer ideal for creating larger flyers and sheets as well as more typical printer jobs. It’s also pleasantly compact for a printer that can handle larger projects.
The Pixma can connect with Wi-Fi or cable as you need, and the tray can hold 120 sheets of normal paper. Performances clocks in around 14.5 ppm in black and 1.04 ppm in color.
EPSON SURECOLOR P400
The best art inkjet printer
Why should you buy this? Seven ink tanks create the most accurate colors in an image.
Who’s it for? Photo and art enthusiasts who make quality prints for display or sale.
Why we picked the SureColor P400:
Color optimization, accuracy, and seven color inks combine (literally) to make one of the best photo and image printers available. This wireless printer can handle roll paper (up to 13 inches wide) and printable discs as well as more traditional printing materials. It’s a great fit for the dedicated artist that is intent on going professional — or already has a small business and wants a better way to print materials for sale.
It’s also significantly less expensive than its cousin, the P600, making the printer a better option for artists on a budget. Of course, you do have to give up a few things too. Instead of a color touchscreen, the printer uses a strip of basic controls and alerts that might take a little learning before you understand how everything works.
A quick word on accuracy and colors: Epson calls the printer an “8-color” printer, but it’s more complicated than that. There are seven color ink cartridges including matte black and photo black cartridges, plus cyan, magenta, yellow, red, and orange. Then there’s the “gloss optimizer” cartridge, which isn’t really a color but adds — you guessed it — better gloss effect.
How we test
To find the best photo printers, in addition to image quality, we factor in criteria such as speed, price, maintenance costs, and any unique features that help them one-up the competition. With their moving parts, we also look at durability.
Our selections are based on our long- and short-term testing; experience with earlier models; familiarity with the companies’ technologies; consultation with industry experts, fellow journalists, and users; online forums; lab results; and other third-party reviews. Our lead printer reviewer has racked up 30 years of experience in testing and reviewing printers. We also look across the board – not just our own experiences – to find consensus on what we think are the best-performing inkjet printers you can currently buy. We also look at list pricing to determine if a product is worth the cost, product availability, and future proofing qualities. We will even recommend printers that aren’t new, provided it’s still for sale, the features are still best-in-class, and it’s supported by the manufacturer.
The printer market, however, evolves constantly, with manufacturers either introducing better models with new features, or basic upgrades. So, you can expect our picks to change – and change quickly. But don’t worry: The models you see here will be with you for some time, and if we anticipate there could be better models in the horizon, we will state that upfront to help you decide whether you should buy now or wait.
Which printer is right for you?
What should you look for in an inkjet printer? That depends on what your needs are. If you want to frame a large print to put on a wall, you may want to consider a single-function, wide-format inkjet printer. If you need a device that can print both photos and documents, a multifunction inkjet printer could be a better fit. If you want to a lot of copies, and do it fast, you may want to invest in a workhorse machine that excels in speed.