We test and review the latest basic and multifunction printers to help you find the best one for you. Our printer buying guide will help you work out what kind of printer and features you need, and how we test explains the rigour behind our results.
Our review covers basic, or standard, printers (inkjet and laser in both colour and mono) that just print, and multi-function printers (MFPs) that have inbuilt scanning/copying functions.
Our expert testers give every printer a thorough workout to help you:
Our interactive comparison tool helps you find which standard printers and MFPs have features such as being able to print via Wi-Fi, near field communication (NFC) and AirPrint, and from a desktop computer, laptop or mobile device. Our Recommended list will quickly show you which models come out on top.
To include discontinued products in your search, select the 'Discontinued' filter under 'Related products'.
*Annual running cost based on the latest ink cartridge prices provided by printzone.com.au
List of brands we tested in this review.
Prices are recommended retail, as provided by the manufacturer. When this information is not available the price is taken from an average from major bricks and mortar retailers. In either case you should be able to do better by shopping around.
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We recommended all models with a score of 70% or more overall as long as the MFP or printer also delivers performance scores of more than 70% for print quality and speed.
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MFP = Multi-function printer
Standard = inkjet and laser (mono/colour) printers
Laser printers include mono and colour options.
Most printers can print at sizes up to A4 (21.0 x 29.7cm), but some of the larger printers support A3 (29.7 x 42.0cm) printing.
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). Based on the latest ink cartridge prices provided by printzone.com.au.
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Enables wireless connectivity with nearby devices.
Internet printing is done by sending pictures to an email address configured through the manufacturer's website, the printer's own built-in web-page or Google's Cloud Print. Typically, this makes it possible to print from a phone or tablet without going through a computer, just by emailing the file to the address given.
Print directly from an Apple device. The simplest way is to buy an AirPrint-enabled printer, which will give you direct printing without a computer. You can check AirPrint Basics on the Apple website for more information and a list of supported printers. However, many printers can be connected to wirelessly using OS X's USB printer sharing feature. You'll need to have the printer connected to a desktop computer via USB and share it over your local network.
Most modern printers will come with a USB port – and the necessary cables – for direct connection to a computer. Some may also have an ethernet port for joining a wired network, which can be located away from your work desk, helping to save on space.
Colour cartridges can be replaced separately.
Printing quality is assessed by a panel of experts looking at a typical black-and-white letter (15%), an 8x10-inch high quality photo (40%), a colour spreadsheet (15%) and a colour document with a mixture of graphics and text (20%). This is representative of the most common printing habits. Moisture resistance is also measured (10%) by seeing if text smears when using a highlighter pen on it and if ink would run or bleed by dripping water on a day-old photo print.
Scanning and copying are assessed by scanning and copying a magazine page, an 8x10-inch colour photo and scanning a 3D object.
A Similar model is identical in most aspects except for a few. This means that a majority of its test results are identical so you can reasonably expect to get the same results from the model we tested, but for those aspects which aren't identical, we'll note these as "Not Tested" in the Compare tables.
A Tested model refers to a model that is still current and available in the Australian market. You should be able to order this model through your local retailer, or find it online.
These models can't be found in retailers or online or are no longer manufactured. You may still find these models on second hand websites, or in second hand dealers. Test methods may change over time, so criteria which can't be directly compared will contain an N/A.
An Identical model is exactly that. Performance characteristics will be identical and the only difference will be something trivial such as colour, which won't have an impact on performance.
These are models we haven't yet tested but that are available.