Choosing a printer can be tough, which is this article putting the major industry players head-to-head is here to help. If you have been looking for a printer for even the shortest length of time, you will have almost certainly noticed that some brands stand out in reviews all over the internet for their fantastic customer reviews and excellent capabilities. The printer you eventually settle on will be a highly personalised choice based on your individual needs.
The comparison of these brands will not yield one ‘best printer for all’, but rather a set of guidelines that will give you some direction in deciding which is most suitable for you. This decision can be based on a variety of factors, including photo prints, text prints, scan and copy ability, and the price of ink, which have all been weighed up in this summary. Given that 74% of employees believe printing is paramount, the importance of this decision cannot be undervalued.
Overall, all of these brands produced printers capable of processing beautifully glossy photo prints. That being said, there were slight differences, Epson and HP models were more likely to create a warmer print, whilst Canon models tended towards a more natural look by comparison.
While Epson’s XP-640 model was capable of prints containing incredibly fine detail plus well-saturated colour, several of the company’s other few models were unable to display all the fine details of a sunset in the very dark shadow areas. Prints containing shadow areas on the XP-640 were inclined to look flat with notably absent nuanced detail. Contrastingly, the Canon TS6020 and HP 5540 offered far greater details in the same areas.
Additionally, prints from the Epson XP-420 and WF-2760 often displayed a certain obscurity to them, looking a little light overall and just generally lacking the vibrance of the prints made by HP Envy 5540 and Canon models. Nevertheless, the Epson XP-420 was able to produce amazing shadow detail, unlike the Canon TS6020 – which created some shadow areas that appeared blocked-up.
Overall the Canon TS6020 produced the most visually pleasing and accurate glossy photos – they contained a lot of pop, and reproduced colours in a very natural tone.
Text Print Quality
If plain paper documents are more important to you than photo prints (i.e. for businesses or home workers primarily printing text), your considerations will shift slightly. While inkjet printers are generally sub-par than their laser counterparts at producing crisp and clear text, they are still certainly an option as they come very close to products of laser printers.
HP models renowned for their ability to create text prints of an impeccable quality. Epson models were less impressive, though the WF-2760 model was a surprising exception – having received glowing reviews from multiple outlets for its sharply printed text and the speed at which it can print.
Those who rely on printing many PDF documents must note that the quality of text can vary quite erratically. Despite its consistently good prints, HP models are arguably outclassed by the Canon TS6020 – which was able to print the most razor-sharp text. While Epson’s WF-2760 entry was also capable of printing clear text from PDFs, this does not appear to be constant across all their models given the XP-640 has been known to text with especially blurry edges.
Overall, Canon’s TS6020 model takes the cake due to its delivery of high-quality text prints at a rate of nearly 10 pages per minute; by contrast, whilst the HP Envy 5540 was also capable of high-quality text printing, it could only do so at a rate of 8.1 ppm – the cost of which will accumulate quickly adds up as the pages stack up.
The low price of a printer should not sway your decision, especially not on the budget models. While the differences might not seem so large, the extravagant ink costs of a demanding model will quickly dismiss any benefit you thought you were receiving by purchasing a cheaper model as the ink racks up.
Out of all these major groups, Epson provides the cheapest cost per page, averaging just under 7 cents per page with its standard cartridges. Canon is the next cheapest with a median of 8.3 cents per page, whereas HP is the most expensive at 9.2 cents per page. With its slightly more expensive high-yield cartridges, Epson lowers cost per page to 5 cents, with Canon and HP also lowering theirs to 6 and 7.2 cents respectively.
To help offset the costs of some of the more expensive HP and Epson cartridges, some online retailers sell their own-brand cartridges that are rigorously tested before leaving the factory and can save customers up to 45%.
On balance, Canon appears to provide the best performing printers in all of these categories, providing more impressive text and photo printing than the competition – the two primary use cases for a printer. If the cost of ink cartridges is swaying your decision due to a budget, be sure to refer to online resources allowing for the purchase of high-quality alternative cartridges at a cheaper price.
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