Best printers 2021: For all your printing, scanning and copying needs

Our definitive list of the best inkjet, laser and budget printers available

Best printers

A printer is hardly the most exciting purchase you'll ever buy for your organisation, but with so many choices available, it can be a pretty confusing decision to make.

First of all, you'll need to decide whether you need an Inkjet or a Laserjet and then colour or just black and white. This all depends on the type of documents employees need to print out and the quality, plus how often it's being used.

Also, Laserjets tend to have a lower per-page cost and can print faster than Inkjets, although this will depend on the manufacturer and the individual model. For example, the newest generation of office-ready inkjet printers feature revolutionary print heads that can reach the outer edges of an A4 piece of paper, offering the clarity of a Laserjet, packaged into a pint-sized printer.

However, laser printers tend to reproduce crisp, clean lines better than Inkjets, making them the perfect option for a lot of text, graphs or tables.

The other consideration is whether you need just a printer, a scanner or a multifunctional printer (MFP). This will also depend on your employees' requirements and how often it will be used for tasks outside of just printing reams of documents.

We round up the best inkjet and laser printers from Brother, HP, Xerox, Kyocera and Lexmark to help you make a much more educated choice about which is both affordable and best suited for the print jobs your business needs to complete.

Lexmark MB2236adw

To stand out in the crowded small workgroup mono MFP market, it takes quite a lot to stand out. Lexmark's MB2236adw aims to achieve just that - with a low price, as well as print, scan, copy and fax services and a nippy 34ppm print speed and network support.

Despite these positives, the graphics quality may be a little underwhelming. However, there's enough to shout about in this inexpensive printer, including an impressive array of features.

Technologymono MFP
Maximum print resolution600 x 600dpi
Maximum paper sizeA4
Input tray250 sheets
Speed34ppm print speed

Price when reviewed: £123 (exc VAT)

Read our full Lexmark MB2236adw review for more information.

Epson EcoTank ET-2710

Epson's EcoTank ET-2710 may be one of the least expensive MFP with refillable ink tanks we've reviewed, and while it lacks any extensive features, its running costs are superb.

There are, due to the lack of any display, limitations in the functions this printer can offer, for instance, no support for advanced cloud functions, but there is support for Google Cloud Print. Ultimately, however, its speeds are on the slower side, and may not be the best fit for a fast-moving office.

TechnologyInkjet MFP
Maximum print resolution5,760 x 1,440dpi
Maximum paper sizeA4
Input trayn/a
Speed2.9/9.6ppm colour/mono

Price when reviewed: £145 (exc VAT)

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

Xerox VersaLink C500DN

Found in the middle of the Xerox VersaLink range, this colour LED printer is marketed towards workgroups of between five and 15, offering fast speeds and an array of applications.

The VersaLink C500DN is one of the fastest printers we've tested recently, hitting 43ppm, but what makes this model particularly valuable is the ConnectKey platform. This offers a tablet-esque user experience, complete with downloadable apps to add useful features to your setup.

Technologycolour LED
Maximum print resolution600 x 600dpi
Maximum paper sizeA4
Input tray700 sheets
Speed43ppm 

Price when reviewed: £369 (exc VAT)

Read our full Xerox VersaLink C500DN review for more information.

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5290DW

Inkjets are always the best bet if you're hoping to minimise your environmental impact, and the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5290DW is certainly one of the best options to that end. Running costs are low, and it produces high-quality output.

There are, however, question marks over print speeds, with our tests suggesting these are lower than the manufacturer claims. However, there's enough in this unit to make it a superb choice for small workgroups with a keen eye on the environment.

TechnologyInkjet MFP
Maximum print resolution600 x 600dpi
Maximum paper sizeA4
Input trayn/a
Speed24/21ppm colour/mono

Price when reviewed: £175 (exc VAT)

Read our full Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5290DW review for more information.

Oki MC363dnw

This LED colour MFP from Oki definitely isn't anything fancy: there's no flashy colour touchscreen to operate it, and advanced functionality like cloud and mobile connectivity is thin on the ground. It's also not much to look at, with a boxy and unassuming design even by business printer standards.

Where it makes up for all of these shortcomings, however, is in its actual printing and scanning operations. Performance and quality is excellent across the board, and it's great value too. The initial cost of entry is low and reasonable ongoing costs mean it stays good value across its lifespan.

TechnologyLED MFP
Maximum print resolution600 x 600dpi
Maximum paper sizeA4
Input tray250 sheets
Speed26/30ppm colour/mono

Price when reviewed: £225 (exc VAT)

Read our full Oki MC363dnw review for more information.

Xerox VersaLink C405DN

If you're lookEpson WorkForce WF-7710DWFor an embarrassment of extra features, look no further than this A4 MFP from Xerox. Part of the company's VersaLink range - which has already graced this list in the past - the C405DN supports Xerox's ConnectKey technology. This allows it to run numerous helpful apps, including cloud service connectors, mobile printing tools and various status and settings utilities.

The large colour touchscreen makes accessing and operating these a breeze, too. On top of advanced features, it also handles the basics with aplomb, including fast and high-quality print and scan jobs, and great security options. You'll have to go for extra high-yield cartridges to get the best value, but otherwise, this is an outstanding MFP.

TechnologyLED MFP
Maximum print resolution600 x 600dpi
Maximum paper sizeA3
Input tray550 sheets
Speed35ppm colour/mono

Price when reviewed: £499 (exc VAT)

Read our full Xerox VersaLink C405DN review for more information.

Brother X-Series MFC-J6945DW

A3 printing isn't usually something that cash-strapped small businesses can justify the expense of, but this clever little inkjet from Brother has brought it within their grasp. At less than 350 before tax, this device is great value - and that extends to the ink cartridges, too. In fact, the per-page cost is cheaper than most similarly-priced lasers.

Print quality is absolutely outstanding too - although it isn't as speedy a machine as some others on this list. Rounding out the package is a selection of excellent networking options, including wired, wireless, NFC, AirPrint and more, along with support for all the major cloud storage providers.

TechnologyInkjet MFP
Maximum print resolution4,800 x 1,200dpi
Maximum paper sizeA3
Input tray500 sheets
Speed20/22ppm colour/mono

Price when reviewed: £317 (exc VAT)

Read our full Brother X-Series MFC-J6945DW review for more information.

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5210DW

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5210DW

Epson’s WorkForce Pro WF-C5210DW hits all the right notes, promising some of the largest ink yields in the business along with low running costs. There’s a good set of paper options too: the built-in 250-sheet paper cassette can be supplemented with a lower 500-sheet cassette for a very reasonable £130, while the 80-page tray at the rear handles stock of up to 256gsm. Ethernet, 802.11n wireless and USB 2 connections are all supported, along with AirPrint and Wi-Fi Direct, plus an NFC sensor for tap-to-print services.

Moreover, installation is a piece of cake, with Epson’s simple setup utility quickly finding the printer on the network and automatically downloading the latest drivers for it, along with the latest firmware.

TechnologyInkjet
Maximum print resolution4,800 x 1,200dpi
Maximum paper sizeA4
Input tray250-sheet drawer
Speed24ppm mono/colour 

Price when reviewed: £142 exc VAT

Read our full Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5210DW review for more information.

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C529RDTW

The Epson Workforce Pro WF-C529RDTW

The WF-C529RDTW is one of our favourites. It doesn’t have an NFC sensor and its LCD panel isn’t touch-enabled – but it’s rated for a serious 4,500-page monthly duty cycle, and comes with 750-sheet and 500-sheet paper trays, plus an 80-page multipurpose tray at the rear.

A range of subscription options is available: the Start option costs £49 per month for a three-year contract, dropping to £37 for five years. That allows you to print up to 300 mono and 200 colour pages per month, with additional pages costing a very reasonable 0.49p per mono page and 3.25p for colour.

TechnologyInkjet
Maximum resolution4,800 x 1,200dpi
Print speed24ppm mono/colour
Input tray750-sheet and 500-sheet drawers
Maximum paper sizeA4

Price when reviewed: £37 per month exc VAT

Read our full Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C529RDTW review for more information.

Brother HL-J6100DW

The Brother HL-J6100DW against a white background

The HL-J6100DW is larger than your average desktop inkjet, but that’s because it can turn out A3 prints just as happily as A4. That’s a handy trick, and while the £322 price tag isn’t the lowest we’ve seen, it’s a lot cheaper than most A3 lasers.

Running costs are low too, which makes the HL-J6100DW well suited to busy offices, and it comes with no fewer than three 250-page A4/A3 trays, plus a 100-sheet MTP for media up to 220gsm.

TechnologyInkjet
Maximum resolution4,800 x 1,200dpi
Print speed20/22ppm mono/colour
Input tray3 x 250 sheets
Maximum paper sizeA3

Price when reviewed: £322 exc VAT

Read our full Brother HL-J6100DW review for more information.

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5710DWF

The Epson WFC5710DWF1 printer

Epson's WorkForce Pro WF-C5710DWF makes a compelling argument for inkjets in the workplace. Along with a low acquisition cost, this small-footprint MFP offers a speedy 24ppm print rate and every imaginable connection option.

It makes it ideal for small businesses seeking a cloud-friendly MFP on a budget. It's user-friendly and packed with features, and its running costs are far lower than you'll get from a similarly priced laser.

Technologyinkjet MFP
Maximum resolution4,800 x 1,200dpi
Print speed24ppm mono/colour
Input tray250-page
Maximum paper sizeA4

Price when reviewed: £243 exc VAT

Read our full Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5710DWF review for more information

Brother X-Series MFC-J6947DW

The Brother X-Series MFC-J6947DW printer

In our review of the Brother X-Series MFC, we called it a multifunctional printer that thinks big. It combines large-format printing with an A3 colour flatbed scanner, a duplex automatic document feeder, integrated fax and three A3-sized 250-page trays.

If your top priority is speed, this is not the ideal choice, but for small businesses on a budget, it's a superb MFP. It offers a wealth of features with good colour quality at a great price - and the running costs are hard to beat.

Technologyinkjet MFP
Maximum resolution4,800dpi
Print speed22/20ppm mono/colour
Input tray3 x 250 sheets
Maximum paper sizeA3

Price when reviewed: £512 exc VAT

Read our full Brother X-Series MFC-J6947DW review for more information

Kyocera Ecosys M5526cdw

The Kyocera Ecosys M5526cdw printer

The M5526cdw is a sensible choice for more demanding small office roles. It's particularly suitable if you expect to print lots of black text, but want the option of decent colour graphics.

This is a swift printer, reaching 23.1ppm on our letter test, and managed a strong 18.5ppm on our more complex colour graphics test, which often takes the shine off fast colour devices. Which is not bad at all for £355.

Technologycolour laser
Maximum resolution1,200dpi
Print speed23.1ppm/18.5ppm
Input tray250-sheet
Maximum paper sizeA3

Price when reviewed: £355 exc VAT

Read our full Kyocera Ecosys M5526cdw review for more information

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