The quality of home and small business printers has improved drastically over the years while prices have fallen substantially.
There are now a plethora of options available, ranging from cheap and cheerful inkjet models that do a good job of printing high-quality photos, to more feature-rich all-in-one business orientated laser printers that are cheaper to run over the longer term and more reliable too. Here we've rounded up five of our favourite printers for work and home use.
Epson WorkForce Pro WP-4535 DWF
If you don't like hanging around for your print jobs to finish, the WP-4535 DWF from Epson might be right up your street. While we were pretty sceptical of Epson's claims that this inkjet model could rival the speed and quality of a colour laser, we were happy to be proved wrong.
The WP-4535 DWF really does produce very clean output at lightning speed. It's also pretty economical to run thanks to its low ink costs and has a good all round set of features, including scanning, faxing and copying functions, as well as automatic two-sided printing support. Those who need to print colour business documents on a regular basis really should check it out.
HP Photosmart 7520
The Photosmart is an all-in-one printer that improves on its predecessor by adding a few useful features, such as fax support and a front-mounted USB port so you can print directly from storage devices, including USB memory keys.
It also has a big, roomy touchscreen that makes it easy to use HP's excellent onboard apps and cloud services. It lacks an Ethernet port, but it does have Wi-Fi onboard and supports AirPrint so you can print to it directly from an iPhone or iPad. In terms of print speed it was slightly faster than the average for multifunction devices in its price range, making it an excellent choice for those with fairly heavy printing needs.
This uses Brother's digital LED print technology, so it has fewer moving parts than traditional laser printers and as a result may prove more reliable over the longer term.
It can produce both black, white and colour outputs at a resolution of up to 600x2,400dpi. Its colour printing option is best used for business graphics though, as it doesn’t do a good job of printing photos. It does support automatic double-sided printing, however, and has a collection of cloud-printing options including Apple AirPrint and Google CloudPrint. Overall, we think it's an excellent home office or small-business colour printer.
Canon Pixma MG4150
It hasn’t got the fastest print speed, but the Pixma MG4150 is now available at a much lower price than when it was first released, making it a good option for families and students.
It's a smart-looking printer by all-in-one standards and we like its flip up 3-inch screen. It can automatically print on both sides of a page and also has Wi-Fi onboard, so you can print directly from smart phones and tablets, wherever you are. Overall, the MG4150 is an attractive option due to its stylish design, economical running costs and good line-up of features.
The MFC-J4510DW is an all-in-one inkjet printer with a compact, great looking design and an impressive list of features. The front is adorned with a large and responsive 3.7-inch capacitive touchscreen display that makes it easy to use the printer's more advanced features.
It has Wi-Fi built-in and supports AirPrint, so you can print to it direct from an iPad or iPhone. It supports cloud printing too, and you can use its apps to directly pull photos for printing from services such as Facebook, Picasa, Google Docs and Dropbox. Performance is reasonably speedy and its output quality is good. In short, it's a great-looking printer, with an excellent line up of features and good performance for the price.