Since you’ve begun working from home and your children are cranking out classwork at your kitchen table, there’s never been a greater demand for hard copies. The only thing that hasn’t changed, however, is that old, dusty printer you inherited from your parents. Not only will it dribble out paper at a snail’s pace, but you’ll be running up your expenses on ink and electricity while losing your few remaining wits. Face it: You’re going to have to find one of the best home printers available to handle this herculean load—and one that’s as economically minded as you’ve become.
You may ask yourself, Is “inkjet” still a thing? What’s the deal with laser printers? Then there are questions of its use, like whether you need papers in vibrant color (best for budding artists and tactile presentations) or a utilitarian monochrome. Regardless of your selection, today’s printer manufacturers have all created tank-like systems that both hold a higher volume of goo (read: more pages) and are cheaper and easier to refill than ever before. So let the kids go crazy with first and second and fifth drafts. Print that TPS report in triplicate. With the options we’ve assembled, you can now afford to print to your heart’s—and wallet’s—content.
Epson's latest addition to its EcoTank line has a lot to love for children (and parents) printing photos. Color or black and white doesn't matter; it will rip out a four-by-six print in as few as 15 seconds, while handling sizes up to 8.5 by 11. It also includes a scanner for reproductions. Pound for pound, penny for penny, Epson leads the big-tank category, chomping up a majority of its business and having the deepest bench in regards to options.
Hot off the presses, Canon's newest home printer can blast out 6,000 black or 7,700 color pages from its refillable ink containers. It's also capable of scans, making it a great multi-purpose device. Wireless and compatible with Canon, Apple, and Mopria printing apps, it has a max speed of more than 10 pages per minute.
More function than the Canon on this list and substantially cheaper than the Epson, HP’s option may be the best value with the lowest downside. It copies, scans, and faxes, and while it prints at around half the speed of the Epson, it still performs admirably from a max 100-sheet store. It also uses a tank system for its inks, which both hold more (the company predicts 6,000 black pages or up to 8,000 for color) and are cheaper to refill ($15 to $17 per bottle for four). All together, it’s a well-rounded package for a price that’s impossible to beat.
What's black and white and read all over? Your kids' homework, thanks to its 5000-page capacity right out of the box, along with a blisteringly fast 21-pages-per-minute pace for term papers, book reports, and more. Truly, this is one of the fastest and best printers with cheap ink if you're only concerned with monochrome text.
Small, it's not. But efficient? Hell yes. If you activate the Dash function, you'll automatically get a replacement toner when you're running low. Each $75 one yields 1,400 pages. The printer has a 250-sheet capacity paper tray. You can run the toner in save mode, for less important jobs, to reduce use.
Maybe your work is completely paperless and your kids are working entirely on their iPads. Maybe all you really want is a means of documenting unique moments taken with your smartphone. If that’s the case, the Polaroid Lab is the most ingenuity we’ve found in an old-new product. At its most basic, you place your smartphone over the device with your preferred photo pulled up. Push the button and presto, your pixels are now a Polaroid. Through its app, you can also split one photo into a collage of up to nine as well as augment reality when your artistic bug really starts to bite. The company makes both color and black-and-white film, the former of which runs $30 for 16 photos, so we advise you expose your sheets wisely. But for the analog lover, nothing beats a Polaroid when it comes to making memories.
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