Having a printer and scanner at home can be incredibly convenient, particularly if your household includes students or someone who has a home office. In this article, we review some of our favorite printers and scanners, including our favorite photo printer and our favorite 3D printer for beginners. For regular print jobs, most people are printing their documents in basic black and white. Still, also having the option to print in color was important to our testers. You'll want to take into consideration price (including the price of replacement ink cartridges), size, durability, and multi-function capabilities. Many printers now offer the added ability to copy and scan documents. Some people still want a separate portable scanner, such as if they already have a printer they like that does not have scanning capability or if they need a scanner on the go for a job that involves frequent traveling. Scanners allow you to digitize documents that otherwise would be taking up a lot of space at home or in your office. With scanners, it's important again to consider size, price, durability, the number of pages that can be scanned per minute and whether the scanner can reverse a two-sided document for scanning on its own or if you need to do this manually. If you love taking photos and scrapbooking, you may want a specialized photo printer. Here, you want to make sure you are getting a printer that will result in good quality photo prints, as well be sure to think about price, size of the printer, and size of the prints you can make. A good quality photo printer can be expensive, so if you just dabble in photography you may prefer to use an online photo printing service. Finally, since 3D printing has become more widely available and people are curious, we chose a budget 3D printer that is friendly for beginners. You can either make designs yourself or download designs online to print almost anything you can imagine in 3D.
Portable Scanner: Epson WorkForce ES-300W
The Epson WorkForce ES-300W Wireless Color Portable Document Scanner is our preferred portable scanner. It measures 11.3 inches by 3.5 inches by 2.6 inches and weighs less than 3 pounds. This scanner can wirelessly scan to your smartphone, tablet, PC, or Mac. The Epson Document Scan app lets you scan directly to your iPhone or Android device, edit scanned pages, send scanned files to email, save to other applications or cloud services. It has a 20-sheet capacity for loading paper to scan and can scan up to 25 pages per minute.
All-in-One Office Printer: HP LaserJet Pro M477fdw
If you need a printer for a small office that offers greater capabilities than our home pick, and if you have more desk space as well as more money to spend, we recommend that you consider the HP LaserJet Pro M477fdw. This printer is capable of printing, copying, scanning, and faxing. It prints faster than the Canon Pixma we review, about 28 pages per minute. It measures 16.4 inches by 18.6 inches by 15.7 inches, but with trays extended its size maximum is 16.8 inches by 25.7 inches by 16.3 inches. This hefty printer weighs in at 51.2 pounds.
Best All-in-One Printer for Home: Canon Pixma TS6020
Our favorite all-in-one printer is the Canon Pixma TS6020. This compact wireless printer can connect to your devices via Wi-Fi, AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, USB (though there is no port for a thumb drive), and the Cloud. It is iPhone and iPad compatible too! It measures 14.7 inches wide, 12.5 inches deep, and 5.5 inches high, so it is pretty compact. Keep in mind, however, that this size does not include the paper trays. It weighs 13.6 pounds. It does not have a fax option, but most people don’t fax documents nowadays. If you do need to send a fax on rare occasion, there are apps that now allow you to do so via smartphone. The ink can get expensive over time, which is typical, with of course the black ink costing less than the multicolor ink packs. It has good print quality and is Energy Star qualified.
Photo Printer: Epson Expression XP-960
If you are looking for a photo printer and don't mind one that isn't portable, we like the Epson Expression XP-960. At $200 on Amazon, it's less expensive than some of the other photo printers we reviewed. This printer measures 18.9 inches by 26.3 inches by 11.6 inches and weighs 19.4 pounds. You can print photos up to 11 inches by 17 inches in size using this printer. It prints using six inks (black, cyan, magenta, yellow, light cyan, and light magenta), resulting in clear images with bright colors. One reason we like this printer more than the Epson PictureMate PM-400 is because it has a single cartridge holding 4 color inks, and if you run out of one color you need to replace the entire cartridge even if the other colors have plenty of ink. Additionally, the Epson PictureMate PM-400 is limited to smaller photo print sizes.
Since 3D printing is still new for most people, we wanted to choose a 3D printer that is good for beginners and that costs less than $1,000. In the end, we decided that the FlashForge 3D Printer is best for most beginners' needs. This 3D printer is only $399 on Amazon, making it quite reasonable for a 3D printer. It measures 16.5 inches x 16.5 inches x 16.5 inches and weights 24.2 pounds. This 3D printer is open-frame and has a single extruder, which means only one color or material in a printed object. It has a touchscreen where you can set up and manage your print jobs. If you have any trouble with setting up the printer to print the first time (can be a bit confusing), you can contact FlashForge support for guidance. Keep in mind that it is specifically designed for printing with PLA filament rather than other types.
Choosing a printer and scanner depends on a number of individual needs. When choosing a printer, you need to think about how much space you have available for it, how many pages you want to print daily, cost (of both the printer and the ink), Wi-Fi capability, and multipurpose functions such as scanning, fax, and photocopying. We like the Canon Pixma all in one for home use, or HP LaserJet Pro option for office use. We chose a portable scanner for our recommendation, and specifically wanted one with wi-fi capability, that could load multiple pages at once, and that could save documents to searchable PDFs. We love that the Epson Workforce Scanner also can connect to your Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, and other online storage accounts. The Epson Expression photo printer we chose results in gorgeous prints that aren't as limited in size as compared to smaller photo printers. We also like that it allows for copying and scanning old hardcopy photos if you don't have a digital copy to print. Finally, when delving into the world of 3D printing, we wanted something relatively easy to use and that wouldn't end up costing thousands of dollars, which is how we arrived at the FlashForge Finder 3D Printer for our beginners' budget pick.