Inkjet Printer Reviews

By: Tara Tuckwiller on July 19, 2017

Editor's Note:
For home users, Canon makes the best cheap inkjet printers. If you are a photo enthusiast, or a photography pro, you'll probably want a Canon printer, too. For life on the road, HP makes the best portable inkjet.

Canon Maxify iB4120 Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Dimensions (w,d,h) -- 18.1" x 18.3" x 11.5" Maximum resolution -- 600 x 1200 dpi Speed -- 24 ppm (B+W)/15.5 ppm (color)

Best inkjet printer

The best do-it-all inkjet printer, the Canon Maxify iB4120 delivers high-quality text and graphics, and photos that rival (or even outdo) drugstore prints. It can print wirelessly from a computer, tablet, smartphone or the cloud, and it keeps ink costs surprisingly low. The total package impresses even tough critics, who recommend the Maxify iB4120 for home and small-office use.

Buy for $99.99
HP OfficeJet 200 Mobile Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Dimensions (w,d,h) -- 14.3" x 10.2" x 8.4" Maximum resolution -- 4800 x 1200 dpi Speed -- 10 ppm (B+W)/7 ppm (color)

Best mobile inkjet printer

If you need to print on the go, experts recommend the HP OfficeJet 200 Mobile. It's small (shirt-box-sized, when closed), lightweight (under 5 pounds) and prints text and photos up to 8.5 by 11 inches better than most full-size inkjet printers. It's ultra-convenient too, with wireless printing, an included rechargeable battery and the ability to print directly from a computer, phone, tablet, camera or USB thumb drive.

Buy for Too low to display
Canon Pixma Pro-100 Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Dimensions (w,d,h) -- 27.2" x 15.2" x 8.5" Maximum resolution -- 4800 x 2400 dpi Speed -- 51 seconds (8x10 bordered image)

Best photo printer

The Canon Pixma Pro-100 prints fully pro-quality photos but costs hundreds of dollars less than a true professional grade photo inkjet printer. The Pro-100 prints up to 13 by 19 inches, with eight separate inks (including three shades of black and gray) for impressive black-and-white and color photos. It has fewer ink hues and smaller cartridges than a high-volume pro printer, but it nicely fills the bill for photo enthusiasts.

Buy for $379.99
Canon ImageProGraf Pro-1000 Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Dimensions (w,d,h) -- 28.5" x 17.1" x 11.2" Maximum resolution -- 2400 x 1200 dpi Speed -- 2 minutes 30 seconds (13x19 bordered color photo)

Professional photo printer

For busy pro photographers who demand truly exhibition-quality results, experts recommend the Canon ImageProGraf Pro-1000. This inkjet printer prints up to 17 by 22 inches, with 12 high-capacity ink tanks, fast automatic black ink switching (for glossy and matte papers) and a chroma optimizer that smoothes out flaws usually found in glossy prints. It's refreshingly easy to operate -- and Canon is known for its reliability, too.

Buy for $1,299.00

What kind of printer do you need?

All-in-one printers that can scan, copy and fax are wildly popular, but there are still great reasons to buy a stand-alone inkjet printer instead. All-in-ones are expensive if you don't need the extra functionality, and they can take up considerably more space on your desk than a dedicated inkjet printer alone. Although all-in-ones can print text and graphics flawlessly, most can't print photos as beautifully as a stand-alone inkjet printer. Still, if an all-in-one solution is right for your situation, ConsumerSearch.com covers all-in-one printers in a separate report.

Laser printers are another option not covered in this report. Although they cost more than inkjet printers initially, laser printers cost less to run, and they tend to be more reliable, without the frustrating ink clogs that can plague inkjet printers. Laser printers can't print photos like an inkjet, but they're great for office-type use (printing text, charts, etc.). See our reports on color laser printers and black-and-white laser printers for the top choices.

Types of Inkjet Printers

General-Purpose Inkjet Printers

General-purpose inkjet printers are fine for home use or small offices. Even basic inkjet printers now print text nearly as quickly and clearly as a laser printer. Photo quality is typically good, but not great on cheap models ($100 or so), but they'll suffice for families and others who just want to be able to print out homework assignments, personal documents and a snapshot now and then. Mid-priced inkjet printers ($150 to $350) are faster, more feature-rich, and print very nice photos and graphics. These are the workhorse printers you'll need for a print-heavy home office or frequent home photo printing.

Mobile Printers

This type of printer lets you take your printing on the go. They are small, lightweight machines, but can print nearly as well as a full-size basic inkjet printer. Although they used to cost more than a basic desktop inkjet printer, the price has come down (about $150 to $200, without the optional rechargeable battery) -- but mobile printers' ink tanks are tiny, so you'll pay more to operate one in the long run.

Photo Printers

Though photo printers are overkill for general home and office use, they're essential if you want to produce truly beautiful photo prints on your own. For about $400, you can get a semi-pro model that can easily outclass any run-of-the-mill photo lab. Top-notch pro photo printers cost much more ($1,100 and up), but they're the preferred choice for professionals and many serious photo enthusiasts.

Finding The Best Inkjet Printers
Our Sources
"Printer Reviews, Ratings, and Pricing"
"Printers"
"Printers"

To find the best inkjet printers, we studied professional tests from both home- and office-centric sources (ComputerShopper.com, ConsumerReports.org and PCMag.com) and those that cater to photo enthusiasts (such as Shutterbug, Northlight Images and Imaging-Resource.com, among others) to find out how quickly, easily and beautifully each printer produces text, graphics and photos in the eyes of experts. We also scoured owner reviews from Amazon.com, Staples.com and BHPhotoVideo.com, to see how printers perform in real life.

For terrific text, photos and graphics, Canon Maxify iB4120 does it all

For an active small- or home-based business, print quality is important -- as are speed, easy paper handling and low ink costs. Problem is, it's been hard to find a stand-alone inkjet printer that can do it all -- until now, experts say.

The Canon Maxify iB4120 (Est. $140) fills that void, and it has quickly snapped up the Editors' Choice award at PCMag and ComputerShopper.com. "We can't think of many reasons not to buy the Maxify iB4120," ComputerShopper.com's William Harrel writes.

Despite its low price, the Maxify iB4120 produces surprisingly professional-looking text, graphics and even photos. Color photos "were at least the quality you'd expect from drugstore prints, and several of them were better," says Tony Hoffman at PCMag.com. Black-and-white photos printed with no hint of tint. "Graphics should be fine for printing PowerPoint slides, even for handouts going to people you are trying to impress with your professionalism." Harrel agrees: "As long as we started with quality images, the results were very sharp. We've no real complaints about this Maxify model's output."

It's speedy, too, outputting 7 to 21 text-only pages per minute in various tests. And you won't often need to fool around with switching or refilling paper trays: The Maxify iB4120 boasts two spacious 250-sheet drawers for up to legal-size paper, a very unusual perk at this price.

Another surprise bonus: low ink costs. Budget-priced inkjet printers usually jack up the price on their ink cartridges -- but not the Canon Maxify iB4120, experts say. You'll spend 1.7 cents to print a page of text, or 12 cents for a page of color graphics.

So, how does the Maxify iB4120 cut costs? It slashes a few frills, "but nothing you probably can't do without," Harrel says. Instead of a big, color touch screen, you get a two-line monochrome LCD panel. You can connect to the printer via Wi-Fi, Ethernet or USB, and print from mobile devices and the cloud -- but you'll have to pair the printer with your device using the menu, as there's no Wi-Fi Direct or Near-Field Communication (NFC) capability to let you pair with just one tap.

If we have any reservations it's that relatively few owners have reviewed this new printer as of yet. At Amazon.com, most of the 30 or so reviews are "Vine" reviews (from people who were given the printer for free to review), which tend to be overly glowing -- although in this case, the Vine reviews do include criticisms of the product. The Maxify iB4120 earns 3.7 stars overall; the most common criticism is that initial setup is tedious.

Although this new printer isn't yet tried-and-true, Canon as a printer maker has a strong reputation and the Canon brand ranks highest for reliability among all print-only inkjet manufacturers in two separate, independent consumer surveys. The Maxify iB4120 carries a one-year warranty. Although it can print up to 30,000 pages in a month, Canon's recommended print volume is up to 2,000 pages per month.

If photo prowess is especially important to you, consider the more expensive Epson Artisan 1430 (Est. $340). A cross between a high-class photo printer and workhorse office printer, the Artisan 1430 nearly does it all, reviews say. Photos (up to 13 by 44 inches), graphics and text all look impressively crisp.

It's not a fast, high-volume pro printer; instead, this inkjet printer is ideal for families, schoolwork and small offices. At this price, "it's hard to find fault with the printer," says Joe Farace at Shutterbug. Owners are highly satisfied with the Artisan 1430 too; it gets high ratings from photo enthusiasts at BHPhotoVideo.com, as well as customers at Amazon.com and Staples.com. We did find some complaints from Amazon.com customers that say that they received buggy units, but most report no problems.

Photo-wise, "Colors are rich and vibrant, and skin tones are reproduced beautifully," especially on Epson's own Premium Glossy photo paper, Farace says. "Detail is exceptional, particularly for a printer in this price range." Landscapes, flowers and portraits look great, but black-and-white photos suffer from a distinct color cast. There's only one monochrome ink in the Artisan 1430's six-tank dye array. On the plus side, the prints really are smudge- and water-resistant (Farace rubs and douses them to find out). To print better photos, you'll need to step up to a dedicated photo printer (discussed in our section on best photo printers).

The Epson Artisan 1430 offers "features that could appeal to many photographers, especially for those who enjoy printing but do not print day in, day out," Farace says. It can handle most types of photo paper, but not heavy fine art papers. It does print on CDs and DVDs, like dedicated photo printers can. Tiny ink cartridges (11 milliliters, testers say) mean the Artisan 1430 isn't for high-volume users, though.

Text and graphics look very nice, too, but unlike the Canon, this isn't a particularly fast printer. Epson estimates print speeds of just under three pages per minute for black-and-white or color documents, and nearly two minutes for an 8-by-10-inch borderless photo.

Like the Canon Maxify iB4120, the Epson will print wirelessly from your computer, smartphone or tablet. You can connect via USB or Wi-Fi, but -- unlike the Canon -- the Epson has no Ethernet jack. It does have a PictBridge port that allows you to print directly from your camera, though. Like the Canon, the Epson carries a one-year warranty. Epson doesn't publish a monthly maximum duty cycle for the Artisan 1430.

Mobile printers for color printing on the go

Mobile printers are ultra-convenient if you need to print on the go (while traveling, for example). HP's newest mobile printer, the HP OfficeJet 200 Mobile (Est. $230), easily outclasses its rivals in reviews.

"Today's overall best mobile inkjet," says William Harrel at ComputerShopper.com. "The best mobile single-function inkjet we've come across," says PCMag.com's Tony Hoffman. It captures the Editors' Choice prize at both sites, and it's the top-rated inkjet printer at another major testing organization, too. It has quickly become customers' favorite mobile printer at Amazon.com, earning 4.3 stars in about 90 reviews.

Weighing in at under 5 pounds ("about the heft of a big-screen laptop," Harrel says), the OfficeJet 200 Mobile folds up smaller than a shirt box when it's not printing. It's small but mighty, experts say: "Although the OfficeJet 200 is a mobile printer, its output quality is better than that of most desktop inkjets we've tested," Hoffman writes. That means sharp text, vivid graphics and even drugstore-quality (or better) photos. Harrel agrees: "A real-estate agent, for instance, shouldn't have any trouble using this little machine's output for printing on-the-spot brochures."

The OfficeJet 200 Mobile's lid folds open to become a 50-sheet feed for up to letter-size paper. You can plug the printer into the wall, or run it off of its included rechargeable, swappable battery (an extra battery costs about $60).

It's easy to set up and easy to print, testers say. You can connect via USB or Wi-Fi, or use Wireless Direct (HP's name for Wi-Fi Direct) to print directly from a computer or mobile device. The HP can print from your computer, iOS or Android phone or tablet, as well as from USB thumb drives and PictBridge devices. HP's Auto Wireless Connect "remembers" your computer or mobile device, so it will reconnect automatically the next time.

Speed is snappy, for a mobile printer (about 10 text pages per minute, in tests). The HP bogs down while printing photos at ComputerShopper.com, taking more than 2 minutes to print a 4-by-6 -- but it takes only 42 seconds in PCMag.com's test.

Mobile printers drink pricey ink, and the HP is no exception: It costs 6.6 cents per text page and 24.4 cents per color page in a leading test. On the bright side, HP offers bigger cartridges than other brands' mobile printers, so you won't have to change them as often.

The OfficeJet 200 Mobile can print up to 500 pages per month. It carries a one-year warranty.

Last year's top mobile printer, the Canon Pixma iP110 (Est. $155), costs less than the HP -- but, importantly, it doesn't include a battery. You have to buy the Canon LK-62 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery (Est. $85) separately.

Although both brands print nice-looking photos, the HP prints better-looking graphics than the Canon in two leading tests. It also prints a bit faster than the Canon in tests. And although ink costs are comparable, the HP's bigger tanks mean less tank-swapping.

Otherwise, these two mobile printers are very similar -- size, weight, paper capacity and connectivity. Like the HP, the Canon carries a 1-year warranty. However, Canon doesn't publish a monthly duty cycle for the Pixma iP110. Canon does enjoy a better reputation for reliability than HP in two separate consumer surveys, and the Pixma iP110 earns mostly high marks from owners at Amazon.com, Staples.com and BHPhotoVideo.com.

Elsewhere In This Report
Recently Updated
Inkjet Printers buying guide

What every best Inkjet Printers has:

  • Prints pro-quality photos.
  • Prints text, graphics and photos on various paper sizes, including envelopes.
  • Prints wirelessly.

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