The Top 3 Printers of 2016: Office Use, Monochrome, and Budget Printer
Buying a printer requires a greater degree of thought and planning for one main reason: ink cartridges. Although you want a printer that offers all the functions to make your life easier, ink cartridges and toner will be purchased time and time again on a regular basis, and this is where your real expense incurs. Therefore, knowing what printer to buy that will accommodate low-priced ink cartridges and toner is key to your purchasing power. 1ink.com provides the best solution for those who want to know where to get the cheapest prices on printer ink because our ink cartridges are remanufactured to OEM standards and come with a money-back guarantee.
According to popular online search queries, consumers are mainly interested in finding the best deals on laser printers for the office, monochrome printers, and budget printers. Our research department spent some time compiling information from Consumer Reports, product reviews by customers on popular shopping sites, and PC and tech publications in order to determine the top 3 printers of 2016 for these niche types. This article also takes into account the printer’s intended use, as well as the following specs:
- Ink cartridge / toner cost
- Print quality
- Print speed
- Printer cost
Depending on whether your printing needs are general or specific, what may be your ideal printer is not necessarily going to be the top printer for the next guy. Do you need help buying the right printer? At 1ink.com we sell ink cartridges for all printer types though we are not in the business of selling printers. Therefore, you can give us a call and get unbiased advice from a team of people who are passionate about helping customers find cheap prices on printer ink cartridges, for any device.
Best Printer for Small to Medium-Sized Businesses
Because businesses produce a lot of prints, a laser toner is always recommended, and when it comes to choosing the best printer for a small or medium-sized business, there is one main question you must ask yourself: will you rely on color printing? Color laser printers cost significantly more than monochrome printers, so if your output consists of colorless documents such as invoices, agendas, meeting minutes, printing manuals, and other such tasks, you can probably write off having to pay more for a color printer. But if you produce your own marketing materials and educational pamphlets, color is a must.
HP Color LaserJet Enterprise M553dn
Features - This is our number one recommended color laser printer for business use. With a 650 sheet capacity split between a 100-sheet multipurpose feed and a 550-sheet tray, you won’t have to constantly fill the paper tray like you would on other laser printers of this size (15.7 by 18 by 18.9 inches HWD).
There is a four-line, easy-viewing tilt LED on the top-right-front corner, as well as an alphanumeric keypad. The USB and thumb-drive port is located on the printer’s right side. The M553dn also offers:
- Ethernet connectivity
- HP ePrint
- Apple AirPrint
- Is Mopria certified
- Two printer drivers (PCL5 and PCL6)
- Additional paper trays can be added ($299.00 each)
- Running cost of 1.7 cents per monochrome and 10.9 cents for color
Cons - One of our biggest disappointments with the M553DN is that the LED is non-touch. It also lacks Wi-Fi capabilities or a NFC/Wireless Direct Module.
Print Speed – The M553dn produces 12.2 pages per minute (ppm), which is a good speed based on the fact that for both black-and-white printing and color (without graphics or photos) is rates at 40ppm. It is slightly faster than the M553x at 12.4ppm.
Print Quality – The photo, graphics, and text quality is well above average. Any business would be able to use the M553dn to print their own marketing materials, as the graphics and color are sharp, vivid, and of professional quality. The only negative thing we could find was a solo report that one print showed signs of posterization (sudden color shifts that should otherwise be gradual), but this was one isolated report. Overall, the quality is excellent.
Printer price – With a price point of around $600, the M553dn is a great buy considering the next printer up with favorable reviews would be the HP Color LaserJet Enterprise M553x at around $900 that only offers a few more features. When we calculated the running cost, features, print quality, and toner cartridge prices to other printers within its range, the M553dn was our clear winner.
Toner cartridge prices – If you buy the HP 508X toner cartridges from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or from the big office supply stores, expect to pay around $300 per color and black cartridge, or just under $1100 for the combo set. However, when you get high-quality remanufactured toner cartridges from 1ink.com, like our combo pack of HP 508X toner replacements, you save 70 percent off the OEM price! When you buy our individual cartridges you also save nearly 70 percent. This means you don’t have to spend over $1000 every time you need HP printer toner!
Best Monochrome Laser Printer
Monochrome laser printers are popular choices for people who print lots of text, and who don’t have the need to print colored graphics or photos. People who commonly opt for this type of printer include:
- People working from their home office
- Small to medium-sized businesses that don’t produce their own marketing
Thanks to the advancement of technology and innovative strategies through manufacturer development, monochrome laser printers are much more affordable than they were a few years ago, making them more accessible.
Canon ImageClass MF227dw
Features - If you need a monochrome laser printer for your home office or small work-space, we recommend the Canon ImageClass MF227dw. It is compact enough to use as a personal printer, yet it packs enough features and capabilities to serve a home or micro office. This is an ideal printer for moderate workloads, and it has a nicely-designed touch-screen control panel making it easy to operate.
The MF227dw also offers:
- Fast engine rating
- Wi-Fi on Ethernet and USB
- Print, Fax, Scan All-in-One
- Is Mopria certified
- Mobile printing from Android and iOS
- Double-sided printing
Cons – You can only use mobile printing and scanning with a Wi-Fi access point, and there are no available paper-handling upgrades to the printer.
Print Speed – The MF227dw produces 28ppm for one-sided prints and 16ppm for double-sided, making it a speedy little workhorse.
Print Quality – The quality of output is definitely average across the scope of monochrome laser MFP. Output quality is solidly average across the board for a monochrome laser MFP. Most offices care about text quality more than anything else when it comes to choosing a monochrome printer. The MF227dw offers crisp, glossy black text that is just a hair shy from high-quality publishing.
Printer price – With a price point of $250, and considering the features that lack in the MF216n retailing for around $144, the MF227dw is a great value, and you can get them for a real bargain off Amazon.
Toner cartridge prices – 1ink.com sells the Canon 137 toner replacement that you need for your MF227dw printer at an amazing price with no risk to the buyer. You save roughly 70 percent off the OEM price and receive a money-back guarantee if you aren’t completely satisfied by the quality and performance.
Best Low-Cost Budget Printer
Sometimes we want a printer that prints photos at reasonable to good quality, but we don’t want to pay several hundred dollars. As long as the colors are bright and the detail is crisp enough to avoid blurring, most people who take photos for standard display purposes are satisfied with low-cost budget printers. If you don’t intend to take photos but instead want to be able to print documents, low-cost printers can offer even more affordable options.
Epson Expression Home XP-420
Features – If you want to print good-quality photos from your family vacations to display around your home and office, but you don’t want to buy an expensive printer, we recommend the Epson Expression Home XP-420. With a measurement of 15.4 by 11.8 by 5.7 this printer can easily fit into small spaces (note that when paper trays are extended the dimensions are 15.4 by 20.8 by 11). The printer offers a sleek design, as the paper is fed through a hopper located on the back of the printer, and it folds down so it can hide behind a flap when not engaged. The tray can hold a maximum capacity of 100 pages.
The XP-420 also offers:
- 2.5 inch color LED
- SD card slot
- Built-in templates for lined paper and calendars
- Scan directly to Facebook
- USB and Wi-Fi
- Apple AirPrint and Google CloudPrint
Cons – The LED is not a touch-screen. Although the XP-420 can take in 100 pages at a time, the output tray can only hold 44 sheets. No ADF or Duplex scan.
Print Speed – The XP-420 produces 9ppm in black and 7ppm in color. It is slow, so if you aren’t patient you may want to spend more on an upgraded printer.
Print Quality – Print quality was all over the place. We ran a test using glossy photo paper, premium presentation matte paper, and Hammermill Color Copy Digital paper. The photo quality was a bit light when using the presentation paper, and the colors ran darker on the Hammermill paper. The glossy photo paper garnered the best results. The text quality was passable for any office use. Overall, this is a printer for standard use.
Printer price – With a suggested retail of $99, it is widely affordable. We did our research and found the cheapest price to be off Amazon at $69.99.
Ink cartridge prices – At 1ink.com we offer the replacement Epson 220XL 5 Pack ink cartridges for your Expression printer at 56% off the OEM price. This includes two black, one cyan, one magenta, and one yellow. We also offer a 9 Pack, as well as individual cartridges.
Determining Your Needs
Before you buy a printer, think very carefully about its intended use and make a list of the things you want it to have. Some considerations may include:
- Maximum price point
- Ink or laser
- High use or moderate
- Print speed
- Cartridge costs
- Operational features
- Good for photos (standard quality or exceptional)
By setting your standards you can rule out which computers won’t meet your needs and focus more on a list tailored more for your printing projects. You can also read reviews on popular shopping sites, and feel free to give us a call in the event you need a little extra help deciding!