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Standard printers review

We test 24 inkjet, colour and mono laser printers, priced from under $80 to over $1000.
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01 .Introduction


Here are test results for 24 standard printers, including inkjet, and colour and mono laser models.

The machines in this test won't scan or copy; for those tasks you'll need a multifunction printer - see our latest multifunction printer review.

On this page, you'll find


An inkjet is your best choice for printing good-quality pictures. They can produce good quality text and graphics as well, but if you're printing a lot of plain text without colour a mono laser is a much cheaper option. 

Models tested:

  • Canon Pixma iP7260
  • Canon Pixma iP8760
  • Canon Pixma iX6860
  • Epson Artisan 1430
  • Epson Workforce Pro WF-5190
  • HP Officejet 100 Mobile
  • HP Officejet Pro 251dw
  • HP Officejet Pro 8100
  • HP Officejet Pro X451dw

Colour laser  

If you need colour a laser is a faster option than an inkjet, but both inkjets and colour lasers can be expensive to run.

Models tested:

  • Brother HL-3170CDW
  • Brother HL-L8350CDW
  • Canon imageCLASS LBP 6680x
  • DELL B1160w
  • DELL B2360dn
  • DELL C1660w
  • HP LaserJet Pro 1102 W
  • HP LaserJet Pro 200 color M251nw

Mono laser

Mono lasers tend to cost less over time and can produce good-quality prints, as long as you don’t need colour.

Models tested:

  • Canon imageCLASS LBP 6680x
  • DELL B1160w
  • DELL B2360dn
  • HP LaserJet Pro 400 M401dne
  • HP LaserJet Pro 1102 W
  • OKI B411dn
  • Samsung Xpress M2835DW
  • Samsung Xpress M2020W

How we test 

Testing includes technical performance testing and ease of use assessment by a panel of printer experts. Printer testing is a complicated and expensive process. To help with the high cost, we share the results between a number of consumer organisations around the world. All the tests are carried out by professional labs in Europe that specialise in printer testing and all models listed and their respective consumables are available in Australia.


Performance testing includes assessment of print quality, print speed, ink/toner life, and moisture resistance.

Print quality is assessed by a panel of experts looking at typical black-and-white letter, an 8x10-inch high quality photo, a spread sheet and a colour document with a mixture of graphics and text. This simulates the most common printing habits.

Ink/toner life is determined by running the printers almost continuously, printing as many text, spreadsheet and photo pages as possible from three sets of cartridges. This information is used to calculate cost per page and long-term running costs (based on our average use scenario of 1000 mono prints, 250 colour document prints and 250 full-colour photo prints over the course of a year). Colour photo printing is not assessed for mono laser printers.

Moisture resistance is assessed by seeing if text smears when using a highlighter pen on it and also whether ink would run or bleed by dripping water on a 24-hour-old photo print.

Ease of use

This includes expert assessment of each product by running through everyday scenarios that replicate typical use.

Setting up and installation This includes setting up the printer and installing any necessary software, installing ink cartridges and connecting to a computer or the internet where relevant.

Everyday printing tasks include loading paper, changing cartridges and various printing options including double-sided printing (where applicable) and changing print quality settings. 

Advanced feature assessment includes printing from memory cards and network printing. This covers versatility and identifies the ones with the easiest to navigate menus.

Handling of paper jams and replacement of ink cartridges is assessed, how easy it is to remove paper if there’s a print jam and potential problems with changing ink or toner cartridges, including leakage and difficult locks and catches.


Takes into account the printer's ability to do many things - the variety of different papers, types of material, and different formats that the printer can accept.

Included are the following:

• Borderless printing
• Duplex printing
• Printing wireless interface
• Network sharing
• Direct printing from a digital camera via PictBridge
• Direct printing from memory cards
• Printer driver and software functions
• Special features (such as CD burning, a hard drive or a camera dock)
• Internet features

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