Best small printers 2023: The best compact solutions for business

A photograph of the Epson WorkForce WF-110W, overlaid with the IT Pro Recommended Award logo

Not all offices have the space for a big laserjet or a chunky inkjet, so for those businesses it is all about finding the best small printers. This is also of interest to the home worker that still needs physical documents.

Thankfully, smaller doesn't automatically mean inferior, but it does often help with budgets. As we will present with our list, a small printer can be had for as little as $75 and we're not recommending anything above $340 (exc VAT). What's more, the majority of these print a good page in mono and or colour, as well as light scanning and photocopying.

What to look for in a small printer

As you are here, we know that you need a machine that is no bigger than a standard 14in laptop, something that can easily fit on the end of a desk, or in a little space in the corner of the office. But what else will you need to consider? Firstly, you'll need a rough idea of what your office printing needs are; do you have a team that prints all day long? Are they occasional users? What is it they need? Photos, leaflets, ring-binded documents? These considerations will change your purchase quite significantly.

This can also be a way to guarantee a smaller (and maybe even cheaper) model of printer. If you can rule out additional features, such as scanning, ADF, or a touchscreen display, you can reduce the size of the machine you want very easily – and it isn't necessarily going to impact its quality.

However, if you do want those extras, you have the option of looking at MFPs that also combine scanning and printing functionality. This has the benefit of saving space by virtually consolidating two machines together. Other considerations here may include machines that have a strong network or even cloud connectivity for wireless printing. This is always a bonus in a busy office as no one will be wanting to connect via a cable.

Ultimately, however, whatever your requirements, the quality of finish will be the key consideration. After all, there isn't much point in getting a small machine if it doesn't do the job you need. The rule of thumb here is that a small printer is realistically going to be a high-volume workhorse, but quality and speed should still be of a high standard and therefore a priority in a purchase.


Where should I put my small printer?

If your working area doesn’t have a lot of spare space, it can be difficult to work out where to put even the smallest of printers. However, while placing it within arm’s reach of the PC may seem like the most natural option, this might not actually be the best location. Most modern printers now come with wireless networking as standard, which means you’re not limited by cable routing, and placing it somewhere out of the way - such as on a shelf, or even tucked away in a cupboard - can be a great way to stop a printer taking up valuable real estate.

For devices that may occasionally be used by other people such as coworkers, housemates or family members, you might also want to consider putting it in an easily accessible central location, such as on a sideboard or end table. If you’re going down this route, however, you may want to be more selective about the visual design of your chosen model.

How can I maintain my small printer?

There are a number of key tips for ensuring your printer stays in good working order over a long period of time, and one of the most important is to use it regularly. Running unnecessary print jobs in order to keep the machine healthy may sound a little counterintuitive, but ensuring that you’re printing at least one document every month or so helps keep everything running smoothly, particularly for inkjet devices where the ink in the machine can actually dry up and clog the workings.

Most printers include built-in nozzle cleaning cycles and head alignment processes, and running these can be a great way of killing two birds with one stone. You should also check regularly for firmware updates, as many machines don’t support automatic update processes; instead, you may need to manually download and install the latest software.

Do I need a small printer with a scanner?

The rise of e-signatures, digital documents and cloud-based file transfer has meant that scanners are no longer as useful as they once were. While they may come in handy for businesses which need to digitise hard copies for the sake of record-keeping, the vast majority of users will likely never touch their printer’s scan functionality.

There are some exceptions; they can come in handy for taking scans of official documents such as passports or photo ID, for example, and artists who prefer working in physical mediums may find them useful for digitising their work. However, unless you already know you need scanning functionality, this can be safely discounted as a ‘nice-to-have’ feature.

The best small printers

Epson WorkForce WF-110W

The smallest printer you can buy

A photograph of the Epson WorkForce WF-110W

If space concerns are absolutely everything, then you won’t find smaller than this. Indeed, as our review says, “we’ve eaten bigger boxes of chocolates” than this, as this is a 1.6kg printer that’s intended for travel, rather than to live out its days in a single location. It even packs an internal battery, which means you can print from a laptop on a train if you really want.

Of course, making a product so small does come with drawbacks: there’s no scanning or photocopying, and it’s incapable of duplex printing. It doesn’t even have a paper output tray, such is its dedication to compactness. Performance is a little on the slow side, too, at just 6.9 pages per minute, or 2.2 for our complex colour test. Running costs are also high, with mono pages hitting 6p per page once the initial ink supply runs dry.

But you won’t find a tinier footprint than this, and for that reason alone the Epson WorkForce WF-110W deserves a place on our list of the best small printers.

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TechnologyPiezo inkjet
Maximum print resolution5,760x1,440dpi
Dimensions309mm x 159mm x 61mm
Maximum paper sizeA4/legal
Input tray20-page input tray
Speed7/4ppm (mono/colour)

Price when reviewed: £158 exc. VAT

Read our full Epson WorkForce WF-110W review for more information.

Brother MFC-J1300DW All in Box

A superb all-rounder with a small footprint

A photograph of the Brother MFC-J1300DW All in Box

While the Brother MFC-J1300DW All in Box can’t compete with the Epson WorkForce WF-110W in terms of size, this reasonably compact beast packs plenty of features and enormous value despite its relatively high price of entry. That’s because it comes with enough ink for 7,200 full-colour prints, and when that’s done (in around three years, Brother reckons), buying an XL cartridge will drive your running costs as low as 2.3p per colour page.

It offers scanning, copying and faxing (albeit not duplex) on top of its highly capable duplex printing performance, and it’s capable of outputting 12 pages of black text per minute. This easy-to-use printer is well worth its small-ish footprint.

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TechnologyPiezo inkjet
Dimensions435mm x 341mm x 195mm
Maximum print resolution1,200 x 2,400dpi
Maximum paper sizeA4
Input tray150-sheet input tray
Speed12/5.2ppm (mono/colour)

Price when reviewed: £241 exc. VAT

Read our full Brother MFC-J1300DW All in Box review for more information.

Epson EcoTank ET-3850

The cheapest ink, without scrimping on feature

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 viewed from the front with white background

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 may not be the smallest printer on this list, but considering it eschews normal printer cartridges in favour of tanks that you manually fill up with bottled ink, it’s still impressively compact.

No longer having to buy replacement cartridges is not only more environmentally friendly, but cheaper too, and the cost of ink can come to down as little as 0.2p per page, once you’ve used up the 14,000 pages’-worth Epson supplies with the ET-3850. Pages shoot out at a pleasing 15.5ppm in black and white — which is actually a little faster than Epson’s own estimates. In other words, if you get through a lot of pages, this is probably the small printer for you.

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Dimensions375‎mm x 347mm x 231mm
Maximum print resolution4,800 x 1,200 dpi
Maximum paper sizeA4
Input tray60-sheet rear tray
Speed15.8ppm mono/ 4.6ppm colour

Price when reviewed: £275 exc. VAT

Read our full Epson EcoTank ET-3850 review for more information.

Epson EcoTank ET-2710

Combining cheap ink with a low upfront cost

The Epson EcoTank ET-2710 viewed at an angle on a white background

The ET-2710 is slightly smaller than the ET-3850, but you still get extremely low running costs thanks to the EcoTank system where you top up ink tanks yourself from bottles. It’s weaker in other ways, though - which is perhaps to be expected considering it’s close to half the price.

For one thing, we found the print mechanism to be extremely noisy, and it’s not the fastest, either. It’s capable of speeds of 9.6 pages per minute for black-and-white sheets, dropping to 2.9 for colour graphics. There’s also no control screen or duplex printing, but for its low costs (both upfront and ongoing), it remains an excellent small printer.

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Dimensions375mm x 347mm x 179mm
Maximum print resolution5,760 x 1,440dpi
Maximum paper sizeA4/legal
Input tray100-sheet input tray
Speed9.6ppm mono/ 2.9ppm colour

Price when reviewed: £145 exc. VAT

Read our full Epson EcoTank ET-2710 review for more information.

Canon Pixma TS6250

The best small printer for under £100

A photograph of the Canon Pixma TS6250

You may be sceptical about how good a printer can be for less than £100, but the Canon Pixma TS6250 defies all expectations, proving to be an impressive little performer with decent speeds of 12.7 pages per minute for mono sheets and 3.9 for colour graphics. It’s not just pleasingly speedy either: print quality is exceptional.

So, what’s the catch? Well, for the price, there really aren’t many. It has no fax functionality, and it can be a touch on the noisy side thanks to a wheezy mechanical sound when in use, but considering it doesn’t break the three-figure mark, that’s literally a small price to pay for quality printing in one compact package.

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Dimensions372mm x 372mm x139mm
Maximum print resolution4,800 x 1,200dpi
Maximum paper sizeA4
Input tray100-page input tray, 100-page rear feed (or 20 photo sheets)
Speed12.7 mono/ 3.9ppm colour

Price when reviewed: £67 exc. VAT

Read our full Canon Pixma TS6250 review for more information.

Epson Expression Home XP-4100

The cheapest decent small printer you can buy

A photograph of the Epson Expression Home XP-4100

Unbelievably, you can get a quality printer for even less money than the Canon Pixma TS6250, although those who get through a lot of sheets may find this machine a false economy, given the company’s four-cartridge system makes for pricy ongoing printing costs of 5.2p per page of mono and 12.8p for colour.

If you only occasionally print, however, it’s a great little performer once you turn the quality up to ‘high’. It can print double sided, makes lightning fast photocopies and can turn out pages at a decent ten pages per minute for mono content, which is impressive for such an affordable model.

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Dimensions375‎mm x 300mm x 170mm
Maximum print resolution5,760 x 1,440dpi
Maximum paper sizeA4
Input tray100-page input tray
Speed10ppm mono/3ppm colour

Price when reviewed: £60 exc. VAT

Read our full Epson Expression Home XP-4100 review for more information.

Brother MFC-J1010DW

A fully featured option at a competitive price

Brother MFC-J1010DW against white background

Brother’s MFC-J1010DW packs an awful lot in, considering its compact frame and low price tag. For the money, you’re getting a Wi-Fi printer with a colour screen as well as scanning, copying and faxing capabilities. It also supports dual-sided printing, which is far from guaranteed in more expensive models, let alone one available for just over £100.

The performance isn’t the best, as it offers only so-so print quality lacking in saturation when compared to other options in this list. The ongoing print costs aren’t super cheap either, and you can expect to pay 2.9p for a mono page and 7.9p for colour sheets, if you purchase Brother’s XL print cartridges. neither of these things should be deal breakers considering the low initial outlay and decent feature set, however, and for those needing an affordable all-rounder it’s an excellent option.

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Dimensions400mm x 343mm x 151mm
Maximum print resolution6,000 x 1,200dpi
Maximum paper sizeA4
Input tray150-page input tray
Speed15.3ppm mono/3.7ppm colour

Price when reviewed: £104 exc. VAT

Read our full Brother MFC-J1010DW review for more information.

Canon Pixma TS8350

A low-cost compact printer that punches above its weight

A photograph of the Canon Pixma TS8350

Another low-cost powerhouse, the Canon Pixma TS8350 won’t win any prizes for build quality — which feels a touch on the flimsy side — but it punches above its weight in all other respects.

Print quality is up there with the best of them, whether you want pages of black and white text or need a bold photo print in a hurry. It can handle all kinds of media types and prints out pages at a nippy 13 pages per minute in mono, too. There’s no automatic sheet feeder, which is a pity, but it’s a compact and capable solution that will be at home in any small office.

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Dimensions373mm x 319mm x 141mm
Maximum print resolution4,800 x 1,200dpi
Maximum paper sizeA4
Input tray100-page input tray, 100-page rear feed
Speed13ppm mono/ 4ppm colour

Price when reviewed: £100 exc. VAT

Read our full Canon Pixma TS8350 review for more information.

How we test small printers

When testing a printer, there are two key metrics that we measure to assess its performance: speed and image quality. The first of these is measured by running a batch of documents through the machine and timing how long it takes to get through the whole job from the point we hit print, as well as how long it takes to produce the first page.

We use a 25-sheet black and white text document to test mono performance, as well as a mixed sheaf of 24 web pages, magazine pages and presentation slides to test colour speed. For inkjet devices, we’ll also repeat the mono test at draft quality, and to measure duplex printing, we’ll run the first ten pages of the mixed graphics workload, measuring the images per minute.

Image quality, meanwhile, is tested by assessing a series of greyscale images, colour photos and mono office documents. For devices with scan functionality, we’ll look at the image quality of a scanned office document, colour photo and colour input target chart, looking primarily for any evidence of colour banding or loss of clarity in both cases.

To measure scan speeds, we time how quickly it can deliver a single photocopy, how quickly it scans at various resolutions, and how quickly preview images appear. In the rare event that a compact printer includes an ADF, we’ll use a ten-page copy job to test its speeds in both mono and colour (where we can), and if both it and the printer are duplex, we’ll test this with a ten-sheet double-sided batch as well.

Alan Martin

After a false career start producing flash games, Alan Martin has been writing about phones, wearables and internet culture for over a decade with bylines all over the web and print.

Previously Deputy Editor of Alphr, he turned freelance in 2018 and his words can now be found all over the web, on the likes of Tom's Guide, The i, TechRadar, NME, Gizmodo, Coach, T3, The New Statesman and ShortList, as well as in the odd magazine and newspaper.

He's rarely seen not wearing at least one smartwatch, can talk your ear off about political biographies, and is a long-suffering fan of Derby County FC (which, on balance, he'd rather not talk about). He lives in London, right at the bottom of the Northern Line, long after you think it ends.

You can find Alan tweeting at @alan_p_martin, or email him at