Product Reviews

The Best Printers & Scanners For Your Scanning & Printing Needs [Gadget Corner]

Matt Smith 08-12-2011

best printersOkay, I know what you’re thinking. Printers & scanners? Yawn.


Who cares about those? They’re not thin, they don’t run apps (usually), and they’re made by companies like HP, which as a brand, is every bit as interesting as Tupperware.

Yet most people with a computer need to at least have a printer, and there have been advancements in printer technology over the past few years. You don’t need to put up with a lazy old printer that constantly jams. There are better options available.

Best Cheap InkJet Printer: HP Deskjet 3050

best printers

Looking for a basic InkJet printer that’s cheap, yet capable of printing text and photos at an adequate level of quality? You’ll probably want to pick up the HP Deskjet 3050, which can be had for as little as $35.

For that, you receive a printer that includes Wi-Fi support and a scanner. Make no mistake – this is not a particularly quick printer, nor is it capable of providing great quality. You are getting what you pay for. But if you only need a printer for occasional, simple printing tasks like a document or a family photo that will be posted on the refrigerator rather than framed, this is an inexpensive solution.


Best Cheap Laser Printer: Brother HL2270DW

best printers

Though most consumers prefer inkjets, laser has its place, particularly among home office users. They’re quicker and usually less expensive to operate, which translates to a printer ideal for churning out pages in mass quantities.

Enter the Brother HL2270DW. This $89.99 printer can churn out almost 20 pages per minute, which is much quicker than your average consumer inkjet. It also includes wireless connectivity How To Make A Printer Wireless Read More and can print 1,000 pages on the default toner cartridge before needing replacement.

The downside? It’s monochrome. That’s not at all unusual among laser printers and it underlines what this printer is built for.


Best Overall All-In-One Printer (Print & Scan): Canon Pixma MG6120

best scanners

This one was a bit of a tough call. Choices like the Epson Workforce 845 and more expensive Canon Pixma MG8120 are solid, but flooding in Thailand has cut off supply of some printers, causing rising prices and limited availability.

So we come to the Pixma MG6120. This all-in-one printer inkjet offers just about everything you could desire. It has duplex printing, a 3-inch LCD with touch input, a scan resolution of 4800×4800 dpi, and Wi-Fi connectivity with support for printing from mobile devices Print From Your Android Phone With PrinterShare Read More . Considering the price of about $115 on Amazon, this is an impressive array of features.

The only problem is one typical of inkjet printers – ink costs How To Save Printer Ink & Make It Last Longer Read More . If you print frequently, this will become an expensive printer quickly. But there’s no inkjet printer for which that isn’t true, and laser all-in-ones aren’t great solutions for many users because of lower image quality and higher pricing for similar features.


Best Overall Laser Printer: Dell 1355cn [No Longer Available]

best scanners

It should be noted that the subtext of this recommendation is “for consumers”.  There are plenty of color laser printers available, but many of them are gigantic, expensive machines really intended for a business rather than a home office.

The Dell 1355cn is recommended because it’s an exception. Starting at $199.99, and small enough to fit on a (large) desk, this laser printer provides all the benefits of its kind. It is quick to print, offers relatively low cost-per-page, and can handle large projects with ease thanks to an expanse paper tray and recommended duty cycle of up to 30,000 pages per month.

There are some downsides. The $199.99 version doesn’t offer Wi-Fi printing, and while a scanner is included, it’s nothing special (equivalent to the much less expensive Pixma MG6120). Still, these aren’t bad sacrifices to make, as the alternative is to deal with the high cost of an inkjet or throw down $400-$800 for a high-end laser printer.


Best Stand-Alone Scanner: Epson Perfection V300

best printers

Yes, independent scanners still exist. The inclusion of scanners on most modern printers has nearly driven stand-alone scanners to extinction, but there are still some available.

Of these, the best is probably the Epson Perfection V300. This quick but simple scanner offers a resolution of 4800×9600 dpi and can easily turn documents into PDF files. It also includes the ability to scan 35mm negatives, which is a cool (albeit niche) feature.

For most consumers, the scanner on an all-in-one printer will work just as well, but the Epson Perfection V300 does provide a high optical resolution for just $75, which is much less than the typical all-in-one offering similar scanner quality.


When considering these recommendations, keep in mind that printer and scanner products often exist in families. For example, if you can’t find an Epson Perfection V300 at your local store, an Epson Perfection V330 is almost identical (a few meager extras are thrown in) and will probably cost only a little extra.

If I were to just pick one product out of all of these for your average home user, it’d be the Canon Pixma MG6120. Though ink costs can be high, it offers a lot of features at a low price and has excellent print quality.

Do you agree or disagree with the selections here? Let us know in the comments.

Related topics: Buying Tips, Printing, Scanner.

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  1. Chasity
    December 10, 2011 at 10:45 am

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  2. william roberts
    December 9, 2011 at 7:28 am

    Why do mono laser MFP's never make it into reviews? A GBP(£)65 Panasonic KX-MB2000E-B (from Amazon) gives me a reasonable colour flatbed scanner, works as photocopier and mono print is specified at 2000 pages per £30 refill.

    The best colour inkjets aren't as good as "real" photo prints and those can be ordered online, delivered within a couple of days and cost as little as 5 pence per photo. 
    I also have an aged Dell colour laser which delivers many thousands of pages per set of refills. 
    I've had inkjets in the past and found my NEED for quality colour so limited that the ink dried up before it was all used, expensive cartridges, plus expensive paper if trying to match proper photo prints. 
    Laser colour is a better choice for printing non-photo stuff that benefits from colour (I use it largely for maps, sometimes things like letterhead/business card) Colour photo prints from laser, though not as good as real photo or inkjet, they're acceptable especially when you take into consideration that the cost is negligible.  (My estimate is my cost for a page of A4 laser color is less than 5 pence for ink +paper).

  3. Mark Jones
    December 8, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Dpn't get the 3050, 13 months out of warranty mine is broken - it won't feed paper and/or complains of a paper jam

  4. UUUnicorn
    December 8, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Canon printers are incompatible with Linux, FYI.

  5. Anonymous
    December 8, 2011 at 8:09 am

    One thing for people to consider in terms of operating costs. We don't print much at my house - tax returns, a few school papers by my sons, an occasional B&M coupon - and we found that our inexpensive ink jet printer's cartridges were constantly drying out between uses. We went with a laser because the toner never dries out. Our Xerox Phaser was purchased in April 2007 and we're still on the original color cartridges and have only had to purchase one black cartridge.

  6. Derek Rubright
    December 8, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Any thoughts on the best scanner that includes duplexing ?

    • M.S. Smith
      December 16, 2011 at 10:32 am

      I'm not that well versed on duplex scanning. But you might want to check out the Epson WorkForce:

  7. tanic5
    December 8, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Where do you find the Dell 1355cn at $199.99? The cheapest I see it is $307.99 at best buy and from your link is $379.99.

    • Matt.Smith
      December 8, 2011 at 3:24 pm

      Well...It was $199.99 on Dell's site at the time I wrote this article. Now it's $379.99. That's quite the sale. But it's still one of the best multi-function laser printers.

      • william roberts
        December 9, 2011 at 7:34 am

        I found Dell's printer prices fluctuated wildly over time, I think they sell at high price some of the time so they can sometimes offer half price special deals.  BTW if buying any kind of printer find out the cost and capacity of replacement ink cartridges.  At work we bought a colour MFP laser for GBP180, then found a new set of toners cost nearly GBP250 - cheaper to replace the entire printer+ new toners. (And the shipped toners were full capacity not the low capacity cartridges sometimes shipped with printers).