To say that I never use my home printer would be a lie. Although the vast majority of my clients require professional printing services for themselves, I do use my home printer to scan things, print off invoices and contracts, as well as do home-made invitations and other smaller projects. I think that a printer is a very key element to any graphic designer’s home office.
According to ConsumerSearch.com, here are the top four best printers on the market:
Cannon Pixima ip4600 (estimated price: $100)
For those who want to print a mix of text, graphics and photos, reviewers say the Pixma iP4600 is a solid blend of print quality and value. Two paper trays let you load both regular paper and photo paper, and print quality for both photos and text is very good. It can also print on both sides of the paper (though reviewers say this is slow). Missing is an LCD screen for previewing photos – some owners like this feature, but others don’t. Slow printing is the biggest complaint, along with the cost of replacement inks (about $60 for the set), an issue that comes up with pretty much all inkjet printers.
HP Photosmart D7560 (estimated price: $120)
If you really want an LCD screen for previewing photos, the HP Photosmart D7560 receives good reviews in this price class. The HP printer scores points for its unique 3.5-inch LCD touch screen, which makes print setup easy even for novices. Photo quality is excellent, and text printing is good. With a U-turn paper path, it’s not the best choice for cardstock, envelopes or other stiff media. Print speeds are zippy, and you can print directly from memory cards, a feature missing from the Canon Pixma iP4600. Still, the HP costs $40 more. It will run you about $50 to replace all of the HP’s five ink tanks at once.
Epson stylus Photo 1400 (estimated price: $280)
The most convincing reviews make the case for the Epson Stylus Photo 1400 as the top choice in its price range for those that want lab-quality photos. Reviewers say that color prints are phenomenal and monochrome photos are very good. Reviews note the high level of detail, wide color gamut and vibrant accurate colors. Text printing isn’t perfect, but it is fine for most personal or internal business uses. The Stylus Photo 1400 does not have an LCD preview screen or direct printing from cameras.
HP Officejet Pro K5400dtn (estimated price: $150)
HP’s Officejet Pro K5400dtn is one of the few less expensive printers geared toward business users. Two paper trays allow for a total of 600 sheets, an automatic duplexer allows for two-sided printing and an Ethernet connection lets multiple computers share a printer using a wireless or wired network. Business-document printing is the highlight, with record speed. Photo quality, however, is merely adequate, and prints aren’t smudge-proof.
What do you think? What home printers do you recommend?