The Right Printer for the Job
The best thing about giving a printer as a gift is that the recipient will use it far beyond the holiday season--if you select the right one. It should be a color printer, of course, and ideally not too pricey on the inks.
And don't forget: More and more users are ready to print from smartphones and tablets as well as from their PCs. To acknowledge that, we've ensured that almost all of the printers discussed here have some cloud-printing capability built in.
Our top picks for printer gifts are mostly inkjet multifunction printers, ranging in price from $100 to $400. Whether you’re seeking the perfect printer for a student, your family, your parents, or a home-office worker, we have something for everyone here.
Canon Pixma MG6220: Space-Age Style
Best for: The family; a student with very good grades
You'll feel like you're operating the Star Trek transporter when you try the glowing controls and LCD screen embedded into the scanner lid of the Canon Pixma MG6220 color inkjet multifunction (print/scan/copy).
Beyond that, the Pixma MG6220 serves up high-quality printouts and decent scans, and it's fast. Ink costs are a tad high, but tolerable if you print in low volume.
Full review | List price: $200
Epson Artisan 837 Color Inkjet All-In-One: First Class All the Way
Best for: The family; an aesthetically oriented home-office user; a photo enthusiast
Yes, it’s expensive, but the Epson Artisan 837 color inkjet multifunction (print/copy/scan/fax) is a high-end home unit that offers pretty much every feature you could possibly want, including CD/DVD printing and stunning photo quality.
The shiny, midnight-blue case is a nice break from putty or black. Better still, this MFP's ongoing ink costs are reasonable.
Full review | List price: $300
HP Photosmart 7510 e-All-in-One Printer: Cool-Looking and Capable
Best for: The family; a home-office user
Looking for a versatile printer? The HP Photosmart 7510 inkjet multifunction (print/copy/scan/fax) offers good speed and print quality, as well as sufficient features to address both home and home-office needs.
The 4.3-inch color touchscreen LCD panel looks cool and works well.
Full review | List price: $199
Brother MFC-J825DW: Bargain Price, Bonus Features
Best for: A home-office user
Know someone whose home office needs a serious upgrade?
The Brother MFC-J825DW color inkjet multifunction (print/scan/copy/fax) is a budget-friendly choice enhanced by a few higher-end features--namely, CD/DVD printing and some Web connectivity. A two-year warranty sweetens the deal.
Full review | List price: $150
HP Envy 110 e-All-in-One: Good-Looking Gift Choice
Best for: A style-conscious home or business user
Shopping for an inkjet multifunction that looks like a classy VCR, acts like a Transformer toy, and prints magnificent photos? The HP Envy 110 e-All-in-One (print/scan/copy) does all that, and it offers HP’s full array of cloud-based printing apps to boot.
The aesthetically oriented home and small-office users who would love this machine would probably accept its pricey inks as the price of high fashion.
Full review | List price: $249
Canon Pixma iP4920 Inkjet Photo Printer: Basic and Black
Best for: A home user or a student
Some people simply want to print, and for them, the Canon Pixma iP4920 has just about everything: good speed for a simple color inkjet printer, above-average paper handling, and the ability to print on specially coated CD/DVD media.
Note that it lacks ethernet, Wi-Fi, and the mobile-printing capabilities of some of its higher-end, multifunction cousins.
Full review | List price: $100
Kodak ESP C310 All-in-One Printer: Bargain, but Not Cheap
Best for: A home user
The Kodak ESP C310 All-in-One Printer (print/scan/copy) is one of the better bargains among color inkjet multifunctions. The primary reason is its ink pricing, which is much lower than what you'll find for similar models. The friendly, though basic, overall design is another plus.
Full review | List price: $100