Canon has ruled the printer and camera categories for years, but it's now facing some stiff competition. Brother's printers are comparable with Canon's in reliability, according to readers' reports, but Canon retains the edge in customer support. Brother's rise toward the top began last year, when it made great improvements in reliability over its previous showing.
Carl Brandon of Cincinnati likes his Brother MFC-7840W multifunction laser printer, which he shares with his fiancée. "One of the reasons I got it was because you can print wirelessly," says Brandon, who takes online classes at Capella University.
Hewlett-Packard consumer printers remain in the cellar. Although HP home users report fewer severe problems this year, they have more gripes about out-of-the-box glitches and ease-of-use woes. And Lexmark, another major printer manufacturer, has slipped a bit. Last year it earned four average grades in reliability; this time it received only two.
Overall, printer reliability hasn't changed much in the past three years. Once again, about 7 percent of respondents reported severe problems with their hardware.
Click on the thumbnail of our chart, above, to see a summary of our printer reliability and service findings, by brand. For more on the measures used in the chart and the survey methodology, see "The Tech Brands You Can Trust ."
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