Best printers to buy in 2013
We round up the best printers for homes and small businesses
It's worth taking the time to seek out a high-quality printer - if you don't, documents look washed-out, pictures lack sparkle, and you'll get a migraine trying to operate an awkward, slow machine.
We've rounded the best printers to help you make the right decision: we've consumer inkjets that print stunning photographs, more serious printers designed for small businesses, and there's even a printer that churns out pages at 60ppm. Make sure you've read these reviews before taking the plunge:
Epson Expression Premium XP-510
This Epson all-in-one matches up with our favourite Canon printers in terms of specifications. It has a five-ink print engine with separate ink tanks, so you can replace each as it runs out. It has wireless support for printing from mobile devices, and its print speed is decent, rated at around 9ppm for both mono and colour prints.
It copies quickly, and prints extremely good quality photos, which are nearly as good as those produced by the latest Canon Pixma MG6450, but it has a handful of flaws.
The control screen is small and fiddly, there are no memory card slots so you can't print directly from your camera, and the cost of a colour A4 page is higher-than-average. Still, it's worth considering if photo printing is a priority.
Canon Pixma MG6450
Canon has been fiddling with the naming scheme of its inkjet all-in-ones this year, so although the new 6450 looks like the replacement for the old Pixma MG6350, in fact it bears more similarities to the A-Listed Pixma MG5450 (see below).
Like that printer, the Pixma MG6450 has a five-colour print engine that prints at resolutions of up to 4,800 x 1,200dpi, and quality is superb. This latest version produces superbly detailed photo prints with a slightly more natural colour balance than the Pixma MG5450.
It's also quick, prints text at almost laser-printer levels of crispness, print costs remain reasonable and there's plenty of connectivity - from USB 2 to Wireless and a front-mounted memory card reader. In short, the Canon Pixma MG6450 is one of the best all-in-one printers on the market. However, it isn't a huge improvement on the Pixma MG5450, which is still currently available, and a bit cheaper.
HP Deskjet 2540
HP's budget all-in-one inkjet printer won't win any awards for the ultimate in features, print quality or speed, but it's only £45, and for that money, we reckon there won't be many who come away disappointed.
It prints at a rate of 5.4ppm for mono documents and 5ppm for colour, and its photo output is perfectly acceptable. Prints are delivered with plenty of detail and natural colours; its colours can't compete with the punch of those produced by the Canon MG6450 (see below), but the output still looks great.
Add a good range of wireless capabilities, including support for Wireless Direct, Apple Airprint and ability to print to the Deskjet 2540 over the internet, and running costs that won't break the bank, and you have yourself a bit of a bargain.
Samsung Xpress M2070W
Eventully, NFC connectivity will be standard on all wireless printers, but for now the Samsung Xpress M2070W laser all-in-one is the only one we've seen it on.
In tandem with Samsung's Mobile print app, NFC makes connection with mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones a breeze – all you need to do to set up a connection is tap your device to the centre of the scanner lid.
The printer itself isn't bad either. It prints at a rate of 20ppm in normal and draft modes, copies and scans are quick, and quality is excellent. Print costs are slightly higher than then norm, but they aren't exorbitant. If you need a good value laser all-in-one, the Samsung Xpress M2070W is just the job, and great for anyone who needs to print from NFC-equipped mobile devices.
Canon Pixma MG5450
Canon printers are usually found near the top of the A-List, so it’s no surprise that the Pixma MG5450 is one of the year’s best devices. The Canon’s five-ink print engine churned out high-quality colour prints and text that’s as sharp as anything we’ve seen from a laser printer, and its speed was consistent no matter how demanding our printing.
Connectivity options include 802.11n Wi-Fi, a USB 2 port and a three-format card reader. Google Cloud Print and Apple AirPrint are supported, and Canon’s own apps allow printing directly from Android and iOS devices. The 7.5in colour display is easy to navigate. It’s fast, packed with features and delivers great quality – no wonder this won our last Labs test.
The Dell B1160w is a budget printer, but it still manages to include 802.11n Wi-Fi alongside its USB 2 port. We’re not used to seeing wireless networking on such a cheap machine, and the Dell’s print quality also defied our expectations. Text is virtually perfect, and quality in image and photo tests is better than almost anything else at this price.
Running costs are a little higher than we’d like, especially beyond 5,000 pages, and the Dell’s exterior is plain and plasticky. But, for this money, we can hardly complain – it’s a great deal if you’re buying on a budget.
Lomond EvoJet Office
There haven't been many big leaps in printer technology recently, but Lomond’s EvoJet Office breaks the mould: it swaps a traditional moving print head for a huge, static head with 70,000 nozzles, and can churn out mono pages at a remarkable 60ppm.