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(Pocket-lint) - Printers may not be glamorous, but they are still an essential item for most homes.

Whether you always need one on standby in your home office or only need to occasionally print off tickets and postage labels, nothing else will do when the need to print arises. 

So, then, what are the best printers you can buy? And how do you actually pick the right printer?

Well, we answer both of these key queries in this guide. Below, we've rounded up some of the very best wireless printers to consider, with options to fit every budget.

To help ensure you make the right pick for your printing needs, we've also included a section with some advice on how to choose one.


What are the best printers? Our top recommendation is the Brother MFC-J5330DW. However, we also think it's worth checking out the HP OfficeJet Pro 8035e, HP LaserJet Pro M15w, Canon Pixma TS5151 and the Epson Expression Home XP-5105.


Our Top Pick: Best Printer

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Brother MFC-J5330DW

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For

  • Ultra-fast 20 colour pages per minute
  • A3 printing capabilities
  • Expansive connectivity

Against

  • Multiple paper trays can be confusing

The Brother MFC-J5330DW can print and scan A3 documents whilst retaining a relatively small footprint. This makes it incredibly versatile for a range of needs from crafting to being the centre point of a small to medium-sized office.

It's the fastest of our picks and can print from just about any device thanks to USB, wireless, ethernet and WiFi direct connectivity.

Printers we also recommend

While we think the Brother MFC-J5330DW is a great choice for a lot of people, not everyone will need such a large and capable printer. So, here are some other top printer options that we recommend.

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HP OfficeJet Pro 8035e

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For

  • Speedy at up to 20 pages per minute
  • Reliable dual-band WiFi Connection
  • App support for mobile printing

Against

  • App experience could be improved

The HP OfficeJet Pro 8035e is a speedy printer with a wide range of features including automatic double-sided printing. The companion app makes it nice and simple to print from a range of different mobile devices.

What's more, if you sign up to HP+ on setup, you can claim up to 12 months of free ink delivered to your door as well as an additional year of extended warranty.

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HP LaserJet Pro M15w

For

  • As small as laser printers get
  • Cost-effective
  • Easy to use

Against

  • Only prints black and white

The HP LaserJet Pro M15w is one of the smallest laser printers around and it comes at an attractive price point too. There's not much in the way of features and it only prints in black, but if you just need to print shipping labels and text documents this is a great choice.

We've used this one extensively and it has never let us down. It's very easy to set up and very unobtrusive thanks to its tiny chassis.

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Canon Pixma TS5151

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For

  • Compact design
  • Lots of connectivity options
  • Well priced

Against

  • Included ink runs out fast

This Canon printer has loads of handy features like allowing you to print directly from cloud-based sources such as Facebook. It's nice and compact, so it won't clutter up your home office and the built-in screen makes it very easy to operate.

The optional XL ink cartridges can save you money by having to buy fewer cartridges in the long run.

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Epson Expression Home XP-5105

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For

  • Amazon Dash integration
  • Affordable refills
  • One of the more stylish options

Against

  • Slow colour prints

This clever printer can order its own refills from Amazon when it runs low, saving you the hassle. It's one of the nicer looking options too, in our opinion.

It can print on both sides of A4 paper and has a wealth of connectivity options including Wi-Fi Direct for printing without a network connection and an SD card slot if you want to print straight from a camera.

Other printers we've considered

When initially deciding what we believe to be the best printers currently available, we spent hours testing and researching. No matter the subject area, we always consider a range of factors when it comes to recommending devices - and apply the same process before a new device enters our top five selections. We don't just take into account our own testing, either, but also consumer reviews, brand quality and value.

In all of our roundups, there are also many products we test that don't make the final cut. Since they may be the right fit for some people, however, we've listed them below.

How to choose a printer

In these modern times, many of the things we used to rely on printers for have moved online. However, there are still a number of tasks that require physical print-outs. Documents often require physical copies to be signed or kept stored, and, if you tend toward the more creative side of things, a printer can be an invaluable tool for craft projects or making nice glossy prints of your photographs.

While a greyscale laser printer is a great option for office tasks and shipping documents, it won't be any good for someone making greetings cards. Conversely, a high-quality ink-jet will be great for printing photos and can print documents just fine too, albeit at a slower pace.

If you figure out what you're likely to be printing the most, it should be easy to pick out the features that are the most important.

What do you need to connect to?

Most of the options on our list support Wi-Fi connectivity, but not all are created equal. Some options have a companion app for wireless printing from mobiles or even Apple AirPrint built-in, while others are only really suited for desktop connectivity.

You'll find that some printers have an SD card slot, which can be especially handy if you are a photographer, allowing you to print photos straight from the camera without the need for a computer.

If you'll be likely to take the printer away from your home network, to an event, for example, you'd benefit from a feature like Wi-Fi Direct that doesn't rely on your router to function.

Think about the devices you need to connect and the features you need to look out for will quickly become apparent.

Where is it going to live?

If you're buying a printer for shared office space, you can probably get away with a hulking great machine, and would probably benefit from the large capacity paper trays. However, if the printer is for a small home office, you'll want something that can tuck out of the way neatly.

With wireless printers, you can stick them just about anywhere as they no longer need to be tethered to a PC. The added flexibility can remove a lot of the hassle, especially in small homes that may be limited on desk space.

More about this story

Every product in this list has been assessed thoroughly to ensure it will perform exactly as a recommended pick should.

We've thought about everything, factoring in how each model will perform when being used for document printing, photographic printing and when connected with a variety of different devices. This meant diving into the key specs and features, like PPM, wireless connectivity, ink cartridge pricing and more. From there, we've then crossed our judgements with each individual price tag to ensure they represent good value for money, too. 

As with any roundup, it's not possible to deliver a list that works for every type of user, but we lean on the experiences and opinions of the wider Pocket-lint team - as well as thoroughly assessing the areas above - in order to do our best in this regard.

What we always tend to avoid when compiling these picks are needless spec comparisons and marketing lines; we just want to provide an easy to understand summary that gives you an idea of what each printer is like to use. Our verdicts are concise, but this is purely in the interest of brevity.

Writing by Luke Baker.