Top printers

Inkjet printers

We’ve reviewed six multifunction inkjet printers, testing and comparing them for speed, quality of printing and running costs

Inkjet printers have become increasingly affordable, with PC retailers and even supermarkets piling them high and selling them cheap. However, the bargain you take home might not seem such great value for money when you realize how often the ink needs to be replenished and how much that costs.

In this Group Test, we’ve reviewed six multifunction inkjet printers, including two older models that are currently available at heavily discounted prices. As well as looking at how well the printers perform, both in speed and print quality, we also scrutinized how much ink the printers consume and the cost of replacing their cartridges.

HOW WE TESTED

We ran each printer through a barrage of timed printing tests, including a five-page color report, a 20-page monochrome text document and a full-color photomontage. We then compared the output of each printer to assess quality, checking the clarity and definition of blacks and colors. We also compared the print capacity and price of each manufacturer’s cartridges, to work out and compare the total cost of running each printer.

Brother MFC-J5330DW

This Brother inkjet is the largest printer in this test, so you need to make sure you’ve got enough room to house its bulky 530 x 398mm footprint. It’s bursting with features, though, and is the only printer in this round-up to offer A3 printing.

  • Product
  • Features
  • Photos

Brother Printer MFCJ5330DW Wireless Color Printer with Scanner, Copier & Fax

Usually ships in 24 hours & Free shipping
Last update was in: 2017-06-27 3:52 pm

$181.87 $189.00

Buy this item
Amazon amazon.com

It was the fastest in our tests at producing mono prints, managing 16.7ppm (pages per minute), and it’s no slouch at color printing, either – only the HP Envy 4520 was faster.

Print quality is also respectable: black doesn’t have the definition you’d expect from a more expensive device but it’s adequate, while photo prints are excellent, showing vibrant color and good contrast between light and dark shades.
Given its great performance, you’d expect the Brother inkjet to charge a premium for its cartridges, but at 1p per mono print and 4.2p per color print, the total cost of printing 5,000 pages came second only to the Epson.

Verdict

This Brother inkjet is a beast of a printer, but if you’ve got the space for its sizable bulk, you’ll find it has a lot going for it. It produces great-looking prints, both double-sided and A3, and excellent photos – and doesn’t take ages doing it. Best of all, it’s reasonably priced and cheap to run.

4/5

Epson EcoTank ET-2600

Epson has taken a stand against the exorbitant running-costs of inkjet printers by switching cartridges for a system of internal ink tanks, refilled using cheaper bottles that hold enough ink to print 6,500 pages. The results speak for themselves: mono prints cost just 0.24p per page; color prints cost 0.5p.

  • Product
  • Features
  • Photos

Epson Expression ET-2600 EcoTank All-in-One Printer with Wireles Print, Copy and Scan...

Usually ships in 24 hours & Free shipping
Last update was in: 2017-06-27 3:52 pm

$219.99 $279.99

Buy this item
Amazon amazon.com

If value for money is your priority, the Epson is the ideal option. On the downside, refilling the cartridges can be messy and the printer has to ‘charge’ the ink after you’ve filled the tank, which can take 20 minutes. It’s also slow: only the super-cheap Canon Pixma MG4250 took longer to print than the Epson’s 9.9ppm mono speed. Quality isn’t perfect, either: text suffers from ragged edges, while our test photos on plain paper were dull and lifeless, though they perked up considerably when printed on glossy paper.

Verdict

This isn’t the fastest or most capable printer, but if you print a lot and are willing to compromise on speed and quality, the low running costs are very attractive indeed. It also produces hardly any waste because there are no cartridges to throw away

4/5

HP Envy 7640

For a relatively low price tag, the Envy 7640 has a surprising number of additional features. A sheet feeder on the top of the device means you can dump a pile of stuff to copy or scan without having to manually carry out each one, and it also comes with fax capabilities, if you’re still sending and receiving them.

The quality of printing is good enough, particularly on photos and color documents, but the black isn’t as sharp as we’d like. Running the printer is expensive, too, because you’ll have spent £359.97 by the time you’ve printed your 5,000th sheet.

3/5

Canon Pixma TS9050

This unassuming box is well designed and has a large 12.6cm screen, which makes it slick and simple to operate.
If photo quality is your priority, this is definitely the printer to go for. It wasn’t that brilliant on plain paper but it comes into its own when printing on glossy paper.

However, it’s expensive to buy and run, and by the time you’ve printed out your 5,000th page. Most of this cost is due to its color printing, which costs 8.7p per sheet. Mono printing come out at a more reasonable 1.4p per sheet.

3/5

HP Envy 4520

The HP Envy 4520 has the same stylish, compact design as more expensive printers, despite being a couple of years old. It has a touchscreen interface that makes it easy to control and was one of the fastest printers in this group, managing 16.3ppm in mono and 9.8ppm in color. Even the print quality was reasonable, if not brilliant.

However, its running costs make it less appealing. At 5.3p per sheet when printing in mono, it’s a pricey option that will have cost you more than by the time you’ve printed your 5,000th page.

  • Product
  • Features
  • Photos

HP Envy 4520 Wireless All-in-One Photo Printer with Mobile Printing, Instant Ink...

Usually ships in 24 hours & Free shipping
Last update was in: 2017-06-27 3:52 pm

$69.99

Buy this item
Amazon amazon.com

3/5

Canon Pixma MG4250

The Canon Pixma MG4250 is an older model from 2012, but it’s still available at a very cheap price.

  • Product
  • Features
  • Photos

PIXMA MG4250 - Multifunction ( printer / copier / scanner ) -...

Last update was in: 2017-06-27 3:52 pm
Buy this item
Amazon amazon.com

It has a built-in flatbed scanner, 802.11n Wi-Fi and a color display, though this isn’t a touchscreen and uses buttons to control it. The printer is the slowest of the models we tested, printing at 8.8ppm in mono. We also found the print results disappointing because it laid down too much ink on color prints, while mono printing lacked finesse. It was reasonable at printing photos on glossy paper, though our prints were a little grainy and the colors were muted.

3/5

TEST-RESULTS CHARTS

OUR VERDICT

We awarded our Gold Award to the Brother MFC-J5330DW because it’s got what it takes in all the right places.
Crammed with features, from a sheet feeder to A3 printing, it’s excellent at printing photos, prints at a very reasonable speed and offers good value for money, both in the asking price and the long-term cost of printing.

Anyone looking for an affordable, waste-free printer should seriously consider the Epson EcoTank ET-2600, which is significantly cheaper to run than the other printers we reviewed here. However, it’s not as quick or as good at printing as the Brother.

Our Bronze Award goes to the HP Envy 7640, because it produced great-looking prints and has many of the extras you’ll want from a multifunctional printer and scanner. However, it’s not ideal if you print a lot because the running costs are high.

Epson Workforce WF 3620 – Business printer, home price

This isn’t a photo printer. It’s important to say that first, because we’re all used to thinking of inkjet printers as ...

10
Best price 2 Epson XP 960 review – all-in-one photo printer for paper sizes up to A3

Epson XP 960 review – all-in-one photo printer for paper sizes up to A3

Epson XP 960 - Vincent Oliver tests an all-in-one photo printer for paper sizes up to A3 Hard drives and other ...

10
Editor choice 3 Brother MFC J5620DW review – A serious budget inkjet

Brother MFC J5620DW review – A serious budget inkjet

Brother MFC J5620DW - A serious budget inkjet Everyone wants an affordable printer that can do everything, and the ...

10
Editor choice 4 HP PageWide Pro 477dw Multi-Function Printer Review

HP PageWide Pro 477dw Multi-Function Printer Review

HP PageWide Pro 477dw - HP takes inkjet printing and drags it screaming into this decade Using inkjet technology for ...

10
Editor choice 5 OKI MC 573 Review: Business Partner for the Small Office

OKI MC 573 Review: Business Partner for the Small Office

Easy reloadThe design of the machine means all the stuff you need is in convenient reach.Tray, ports, interface ...

8.5
6 Fuji Xerox DocuPrint CP115w Review

Fuji Xerox DocuPrint CP115w Review

Selecting a printer, whether for home or small office use, can be overwhelming, especially with the wide range of ...

8.5
Editor choice 7 Epson L655 – All-in-One Printer

Epson L655 – All-in-One Printer

Reviewed by Robby VaflorThere are a lot ot printers out there: different manufacturers, different strong suits. ...

8
Editor choice 8 HP Envy 7640 Review

HP Envy 7640 Review

A lot in one box Printers often get discounted by retailers, but HP has cut the price of this one itself, making it ...

8
Best value 9 HP OfficeJet 250 Review

HP OfficeJet 250 Review

HP OfficeJet 250 - Scan and print on the move It's easy to take printing, scanning and photocopying for granted now ...

8
Editor choice 10 Ricoh SP 150SUw Review – All you need, with a scanner/copier built in

Ricoh SP 150SUw Review – All you need, with a scanner/copier built in

A laser printer for less. Read our Ricoh SP 150SUw Review You'll never regret owning a color inkjet printer... until ...

8
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Compare
0