Best Printers of 2021 – CNN Underscored

(CNN) –

In recent years, printers have become more feature-rich and affordable as individual all-in-one devices (print, copy and scan) have become more compact and offer better print quality.

We have worked with a wide range of printers from major brands such as Brother, Canon, Epson and HP over the past three months. If you’re paying more than $100, your printer should be able to do a little more than print a single sheet, especially now that we do a lot more things at home. A single family printer should be able to handle essays and emails as well as visually heavy documents and photos of family memories.

We tested several devices at the high end of the budget scale (over $300) and at the low end (under $100), but found that devices in both categories don’t always offer an incredible experience. Cheaper devices often had a clumsier design and did not offer satisfactory printing performance. Meanwhile, the more expensive devices offered greater capacity and faster printing, but nothing extraordinary to justify their price to the average user.

After countless hours of printing, scanning, and copying, we got our hands on a nifty printer for less than $200 that we are very happy with.

At $149.99, the HP Envy Pro 6455 is neither the most expensive nor the cheapest printer, but it’s a versatile and reliable device that proves you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get good performance. This versatile printer offers high quality printing for demanding text and imaging tasks, as well as effortless scanning and copying.

The Envy Pro 6455 ensures accurate color reproduction, labeling and correct print alignment – perhaps the most important line in the printer. It can easily handle both heavy summaries and a series of basic text slides. HP doesn’t offer professional-level printing, but the Envy Pro 6455 does with accurate color reproduction.

If you need more than the everyday capabilities of our top-of-the-line camera, we recommend the Canon Pixma G7020. It doesn’t have the smooth, easy setup of the HP Envy Pro 6455, and the control panel looks old in 2021. But it offers better photo quality and has a larger print capacity. It also has a fax function (if you need one), but you have to pay extra for those extra features – $349.99 – but you do save some ink because you don’t have to replace it as often as you do with the HP Envy.

Jacob Krol/CNN

The HP Envy Pro 6455 has a compact design and fits into the smallest workspace, even though it is a multifunctional device with print, copy and scan functions. It’s also an absolute champion at printing and one of the easiest to set up of any we’ve tested.

More importantly, it can print dense text documents, large keys, and even the occasional photo or two. On average, it takes about 15 seconds after pressing the print button to print the first page, and we can easily flip through 20 double-sided pages in just under three minutes. This is not of the level of duplex devices like the Brother and Canon all-in-ones, which can boot up in less than 10 seconds, but it is comparable to other machines in this price range. The HP Envy Pro 6455 is known to be loud, but not as loud as a laser printer or some of the massive devices we tested. You can hear the two cartridges inside going back and forth. There is a silent mode, but it extends the print time by 5-10 seconds and reduces the noise somewhat when backing up.

In terms of print quality, printed text is sharp and clear, with deep blacks and no blurring around the letters. As with all printers, we gave each model a warm-up time and conducted alignment tests to ensure proper calibration and setup. For black-and-white printing, the HP Envy Pro 6455 can compete with much more expensive devices. There was no noticeable difference in quality between this machine and Brother, Canon or Epson. It was even comparable to the more expensive HP devices. The ink was also dry, which is to be expected after printing.

When printing photos, the HP wasn’t too bright and delivered a pretty average print. The prints didn’t reach the professional level that Canon and Epson printers can offer, but they weren’t the worst we’ve ever seen either. First of all, HP doesn’t have many problems with photo accuracy or introducing artifacts into the image (when the printer creates something that shouldn’t be in the photo). Therefore, when printing photos, the HP Envy Pro 6455 produces an accurate image of the photo without increasing brightness or vibrations. It will look good on a refrigerator or even in a frame, but it doesn’t reach the quality of a professional’s work.

Suffice it to say, the Envy Pro 6455 is a well-managed printer that can handle essays, planning documents, or even a spreadsheet as well as family reminders. This printer uses a single black cartridge and a three-color cartridge that delivers blue, red, and yellow. HP estimates that the black cartridge can hold about 120 sheets, while the tri-color can hold 100 sheets, which is consistent with our experience during testing.

We’re also big fans of HP’s Instant Ink program, which is essentially a subscription service for ink cartridges. By monitoring levels and your printing habits, you can quickly determine when you need ink and purchase new cartridges before your current ones run out. HP Instant Ink starts at $0.99 per month for 15 pages per month, but the most common plan is $4.99 per month for 100 pages. It can also be said that HP Instant Ink cartridges are physically larger and deliver more ink than standard or XL cartridges. If you don’t want to use HP Instant Ink, you can also buy cartridges for the Envy Pro 6455. By comparison : The 2 packs with the tricolor and black cost $29.99. You can sign up directly through the HP Smart App and give it a try.

And the HP Smart App is the command center for the Envy Pro 6455. We’ve already mentioned that this printer also supports copying and scanning; all of this is controlled through the app, since the Envy Pro 6455 doesn’t have a screen. This is a very modern approach that emphasizes simplicity. There’s a flatbed scanner and automatic document feeder for scanning and copying, but you control them through the HP Smart app on your Android, iOS, macOS or Windows device. There are also LED indicators and a button to enable or disable work on the physical printer.

What we particularly like about scanning is that you can see the results in real time and make adjustments during the fertilisation process. This HP Smart App is also the most intuitive of all the models we tested. You open the app, it finds the Envy Pro and connects to Wi-Fi. The application even guides you through the process of setting the ink and printing a few test pages.

The entire installation process took about eight minutes. With similarly priced printers, the setup process took 25 minutes, and some touchscreen-oriented settings caused connectivity issues. The Envy Pro 6455 works with all major print standards, including Apple AirPrint. We tested a number of devices, and many of the new devices automatically detected the Envy Pro 6455 on the network.

Overall, the HP Envy Pro 6455 offers excellent basic features and reliable functionality at an affordable price. We tested cheaper options, but the cumbersome and lengthy installation and questionable impressions ultimately killed them. The Envy Pro 6455 has a powerful, modern design and a very easy setup process. It’s refreshing that the printer is so easy to use, and the prints we got were twice the value of the equipment and what we expected.

After choosing a range of printers from different manufacturers, ranging from the cheapest to the most luxurious, we began testing. Just as we threw out the wide net for models, we did the same for the selection of features to be tested.

After unpacking the printer, we paid particular attention to what was required for installation, the difficulties encountered along the way, and the overall time taken. Our first choice, the HP Envy Pro 6455, was the fastest of all, taking eight minutes to plug in and install the ink. HP integrates its Smart application into most of the printers we tested, which acts as the main control panel. Other manufacturers, such as B. Canon, also offer applications, so we have included them here.

For the print test, we had a variety of documents ranging from a few lines scattered across the page to long 30-page documents with graphics and heavy text blocks. We printed each test set several times and compared the prints on different printers. We have also tried printing on different surfaces, e.g. B. on a table that wobbles more than most. For copying and scanning, we had a few test pages that we ran through each printer several times. We examined the quality of the scans and copies to see if there were any artifacts.

During the installation process and use of the printers, we reviewed the login forms. We took into account the version of Wi-Fi that’s built in and whether the printer can connect to Bluetooth, Apple AirPrint or Google CloudPrint.

We have also paid particular attention to the guarantees that come with each unit.

Each printer was evaluated in the following categories:

  • A maximum of 30 points was awarded for pressure and performance.
  • The facility had a maximum of 25 points.
  • For the functions (copying, scanning, checking) there was a maximum of 20 points.
  • The draw could reach a maximum of 15 points.
  • The guarantee was a maximum of 10 points.

Brother MFC-J805DW ($159.99;


Brother MFC-J805DW

This Brother INKvestment all-in-one printer was almost our first choice because it brings a new type of ink to the industry. Also, the price of liquid ink is not very high. But the HP Envy Pro 6455 beats it not only in price, but also in usability. Brother gives you lots of options right from the front of the printer, with a display and lots of buttons. It’s also a fax machine, and if you need that feature, it’s a great option.

But when it comes to the standard all-in-one, we still think traditional cartridges offer value for money, and that combined with the basic HP Envy Pro makes it the best choice.

Brother MFC-J6545DW (€ 279,99;

Photos B&H Videos

Brother MFC-J654DW

The MFC-J6545DW is a huge all-in-one printer that you really need to make room for. It’s an item that belongs in the office, and the light gray base color fits this trope perfectly. Like the MFC-J805DW above, it uses liquid ink and has a price because the tanks are in the same housing. This makes it easier to remove the ink when the marks are faint.

For this price, you get a really fast experience, comparable to a laser printer for black and white text. However, we think this is a bit much for most people.

Brother MFC-L3770CDW ($399.99;


Brother MFC-L3770CDW

With a price tag of nearly $400, the Brother MFC-L3770CDW is one of the most expensive printers we tested, but it’s also the most functional. With multiple high-capacity paper trays and a large touchscreen, it’s intuitive to use and low-maintenance. To put it bluntly: The MFC-L3770CDW fits into a modest laundry room. It is best suited for those who print about a thousand pages a month and need a robust design.

This is one of our favorite devices to set up because everything happens on the screen, with no connectivity issues. This Brother all-in-one supports multiple print modes, including duplex, and can also copy, scan and even fax. Instead of using traditional ink cartridges or liquid ink, this machine uses toner in larger cartridges. We would also use it for long term operation. If you need a printer that can handle a heavy workload, the MFC-L3770CDW is worth a look.

Canon Maxify MB5420 (€ 329,99;


Canon Maxify MB5420

This Canon all-in-one not only offers a lot of printing power for its price, but also a lot of features. Compared to the Brother printer above, print and copy speeds were equivalent, meaning many pages can be printed in a short time, including double-sided jobs. But there are two important differences.

Installation was a little more difficult on this Maxify – not so much because the screen was difficult to use, but because it took a few tries to connect to Wi-Fi. Finally, after the third attempt, we added the Maxify MB5420. The accompanying print app (which is not required) is also not the most intuitive. Yet the Canon shines in photos with rich colors and great accuracy. We have also not experienced any artifact problems with this printer. Like Brother above, if you have a large workload that falls into the realm of creative tasks with heavy graphics, this MB5420 is worth considering – just make sure you have the budget and space.

Canon Pixma G7020 ($349.99;


Canon Pixma G7020

The Pixma G7020 is one of Canon’s new mega-tanks. These printers sell conventional liquid ink cartridges. On the front of the G720, you will see several translucent vertical tubes that contain different colors. And you load the ink through the triangular top tube. However, be careful not to get ink on your clothes or skin as it is difficult to remove. The advantage is that this type of ink reduces printing costs.

In terms of print quality, the Pixma G7020 supported both text and traditional printing with ease, as well as the zoom function for vivid photos like at home. The connection was slightly faster than Maxify’s above, but we prefer the controls in this model. The Pixma G7020 has a single row of buttons and a small backlit display. We think your best bet for your home would be the HP Envy Pro 6455.

Epson XP-4100 ($99.99;

Best buy

Epson XP-4100

With a price of $100, the Epson XP-4100 is one of the cheapest printers we tested and an economical option. And after our test, it’s a pretty average printer that shines with an excellent touch screen and a fairly simple configuration. But in terms of price, you lose a bit in terms of print and scan quality. We have observed that wrinkles or unevenness in print quality may occur when using black or color. The color quality just wasn’t up to the standards we saw in all the tests. And for just $50 more, the HP Envy Pro 6455 is a more thoughtful option.

Epson EcoTank ET-4760 (€499,99;


Epson EcoTank ET-4760

The EcoTank ET-4760 stands out from other printers with a $500 price tag. And it’s expensive for a printer, but more consistent with devices that use liquid ink. Here is the good news if you are convinced about this printer: The ink lasts a long time and you probably won’t need to buy refills for at least a year. Liquid ink can be used more economically and has a very long shelf life. Unlike previous Epson models or Canon devices, these bottles have a unique trigger design designed to prevent accidental ink spillage. We are very happy with it, and it is better for the environment because no cartridges are used.

In addition to the ink, the ET-4760 has a nice touch screen, making it easy to set up and adjust. It was fast enough to connect to Wi-Fi and easy enough to manage print jobs. It’s an all-in-one device that lets you print, copy, scan and even fax.

Epson XP-7100 ($199.99;


Epson XP-7100

The XP-7100 is in the same boat as the HP Envy Pro 6455, which was designed as an all-in-one solution for households that also use it for smaller jobs – or rather, in our home office world, for a larger print volume that spans the gamut. It works with traditional ink cartridges, of which four are required, increasing replacement costs. And it really excels at photography, with prints of the same quality as Canon printers, both of which are superior to the HP Envy Pro 6455.

However, if you’re not looking for a printer used primarily for photographic purposes, we think the Envy Pro 6455 is better suited to your needs.

HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e (€329.89;


HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e

The OfficeJet Pro 9015e is like the Envy Pro 6455 on steroids. It shares many of the same characteristics, but enriches them. It starts with the excellent build quality, with a large touchscreen for ease of use – but then the HP Smart App takes center stage again. It prints faster and has a larger paper capacity, which is useful for larger jobs. It is also more business oriented and has a faster duplex function.

Speed is a common theme with the OfficeJet Pro 9015e, both when printing and when sending data to the printer. The 9015e was always a second or two faster when it started printing. So if you’re looking for a fast experience, the OfficeJet Pro 9015e is a good choice.

HP Tango X (€199.99;

Best buy

HP Tango X

If Apple were to make a printer, it would probably be the Tango X. Called a smartphone printer, it has no screen and has one of the most unique compact designs of any printer. The Tango X has a fabric cover that camouflages the printer and gives it a warmer look. It prints quite well, but it’s not the fastest and sometimes completes the task more slowly than the Envy Pro 6455.

To use the copy or scan function, open the smartphone app to crop the image and see if the quality is usable. Most of the time we had to rescan to get a high quality scan. The Tango X fits almost anywhere and seems to be the next step for printers. We would like to see some improvements in the functionality of the all-in-one and in the internal hardware that enables printing. At $199.99, it’s not cheap either.

For more on the field test, check out CNN Underscored:

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