The Best Printer for Students – A 2021 Buying Guide

Due to the coronavirus, many students have restricted access to communal study spaces like libraries. As such, there has been an increase in online searches for the best printer for students – products with high-quality printing and pocket-friendly prices. If you find yourself in a similar study scenario and probably asking, “what is the best printer for university students?” you are in the right place. It is good advice to invest in a personal printer, especially if you will be turning in many essays.

Quality printers do not come cheap but will save you the time you’d ordinarily have spent walking to the nearest publicly available printer on your campus. And this option will not be available to use all the time because of health restrictions.

A personal printer is an excellent investment because, if properly operated, it will last you for many years to come. It is a device that will alleviate some level of uncertainty in one of the strangest moments of our existence. There are quite a number of quality printers under $200.

We’ve tested over 80 printers, and below are our recommended, best 7 printers that you can buy. Each allows for black and white printing, is portable, and packs a lot of exciting features.

Top Pick

Canon Pixma IX6820

  • Inkjet
  • Connectivity: WiFi, Ethernet, AirPrint, Google Cloud Print
  • Product Dimensions 23 x 12.3 x 6.3 inches

Primary Keyword for 2021 Review: Key Features, Pros, and Cons

Finding the best printer for students is not an easy task. There are plenty of factors to consider. Do you want wireless printing? What type of network does your dorm have? Do you need only black and white printers? And many more. Because of this wide variety of considerations, we highlighted the best 7 printers and their characteristics in the table below.

IMAGENAME & DetailsDETAILS
Canon Pixma iX6820 Wireless Business Printer
  • Print speed (up to): 14.5 pages per minute
  • Connectivity: Wireless; Ethernet; USB
  • Auto 2-sided printing: No
Check The Price
Brother HL-L2350DW Compact Monochrome Laser Printer
  • Print speed (up to): 32 pages per minute
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Auto 2-sided printing: Yes
Check The Price
Canon Selphy CP1300 Wireless Compact Photo Printer
  • Print speed (up to): 1 page per minute
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Auto 2-sided printing: No
Check The Price
Brother HL-L2300D Monochrome Laser Printer
  • Print speed (up to): 27 pages per minute
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Auto 2-sided printing: Yes
Check The Price
Canon LBP622Cdw Color Image printer
  • Print speed (up to): 22 pages per minute
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Wireless
  • Auto 2-sided printing: Yes
Check The Price
HP OfficeJet 200 Portable Printer
  • Print speed (up to): 10 ppm black, 7 ppm color
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Wireless
  • Auto 2-sided printing: No
Check The Price
Brother MFC-J895DW Wireless All-in-One Inkjet Printer
  • Print speed (up to): 12 pages per minute
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi
  • Auto 2-sided printing: Yes
Check The Price

1. Canon Pixma iX6820 Wireless Business Printer

Highlighted features

  • Inkjet
  • Connectivity: WiFi, Ethernet, AirPrint, Google Cloud Print
  • Product Dimensions 23 x 12.3 x 6.3 inches

The Canon Pixma iX6820 is our best overall pick for its excellent photos and document quality. This printer prints exceptionally sharp text and photos every time to the last drop of ink.

This product has only one job, and that is to print! When we received our Canon Pixma iX6820, the manufacturer included a wiring tapping that clearly read, “It is not an all-in-one printer. It does not scan or copy.” This is purely a functional printing set with no copy/scan/fax features like many printers today. If you would like these features on a Canon Pixma, consider going for its sister product, the Canon PIXMA TR4520.

The Canon Pixma iX6820 comes with a maximum print resolution of 600×600 for black print and 9600×2400 dpi for color print. These are very high figures and use five individual ink cartridges to house each color. This is great because you can purchase the specific color you need, saving some bucks on those you do not need.

Pros

  • The Canon Pixma comes with Individual ink cartridges, which means lower ink replacement costs.
  • It supports wireless printing connectivity to AirPrint
  • This printer produces outstanding document and photo quality at all times

Cons

  • The Canon Pixma does not have a duplex printing capability.

2. Brother HL-L2350DW Compact Monochrome Laser Printer

Highlighted features

  • Laser
  • Connectivity: USB, WIFI
  • Auto-Duplex

The Brother HL-L2350DW is the workhouse of this category. It is a monochrome printer; this won’t print any photos. But if you will be churning out page after page of term papers, this represents a better value for money. The benefits of this printer include speed, cost, and reliability. This printer will print and print and print all year long!

When we unboxed this unit, it was bland. There is no aesthetic flashpoint to this printer. But as long as you are not looking for a statement piece for your office or dorm, this unassuming and neutral design should not be an issue.

It is a 250-sheet paper capacity printer that will improve your printing efficiency with less refills. And features a manual feed slot that allows for flexible paper handling for many papers and sizes, such as envelopes, card stock etc.

The Brother HL-L2350DW has a small footprint. The output tray is strategically located on the top and the paper feeder on the bottom to ensure this unit fits into small spaces. There’s no copying, scanning, or faxing here. If all you need is black and white prints, you won’t find better options.

Pros

  • This product prints super-fast (up to 32ppm).
  • It comes with a toner save mode that helps users save on toner costs.
  • This printer comes in a sturdy and robust construction that helps this printer keep up with very busy schedules.

Cons

  • It has no copying/faxing/scanning functionality.

3. Canon Selphy CP1300 Wireless Compact Photo Printer

Highlighted features

  • Dye-Sublimation Print Technology4
  • Product dimensions: 5.4 x 7.1 x 2.5 inches
  • Party Shuffle

Our best value is the Canon Selphy CP1300 photo printer that goes for just $120.99. Photo printers fill a niche—printing photos. With so many digital happenings around us, the demand for photo printers is at the highest ever. Dorm life is all about fun and photos in a limited space; as such, this printer is a great device to have.

The first thing we noticed about this student printer on the first use is the ease and speed of printing images. We got an exceptional, borderless photo print in about 48 seconds. This is fantastic considering the price and size of this unit. While the Canon Selphy CP1300 is not as portable as other pocket-sized models on the market, it generally has better print quality. If you want true portability, you need to purchase the printer’s battery sold separately.

Available in white or black, the printer is fitted with a 3.2-inch LCD screen to preview photos and view the menu. You will need to negotiate a series of buttons to get to your menus, as the LCD is not a touchscreen.

Pros

  • This product supports multiple connectivity options.
  • It is small and compact and will fit into small spaces.
  • The Canon Selphy CP1300 has superb print quality.

Cons

  • The batteries are sold separately.

4. Brother HL-L2300D Monochrome Laser Printer -- Best for White and Black

Highlighted features

  • Laser
  • 250-sheet capacity tray
  • Toner Save mode

Our best printer for black and white prints is a laser printer. The Brother HL-L2300D doles out up to 27 pages per minute and has automatic duplex printing to save you some bucks on papers.

It is a 250-sheet paper capacity printer that will improve your printing efficiency with fewer refills. And features a manual feed slot that allows for flexible paper handling for many papers and sizes, such as envelopes, card stock, etc.

The Brother HL-L2300D does not come with WiFi; this might be a good thing in a college setting. With many students living together, keeping some of your devices restricted to wired access is not a bad idea. Although, this might be somewhat limiting, especially when you need to hurriedly need to get a print sorted out. But if you will be printing many papers in white and black, a common theme in colleges, this printer is an excellent choice.

Pros

  • This printer has a large input and output capacity.
  • It can print up to 27 pages per minute.
  • It prints sharp black and white pages up to 2400 x 600dpi resolution.

Cons

  • It does not come with WiFi.

5. Canon LBP622Cdw Color Image printer -- Best for color

Highlighted features

  • Laser
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 17.2 x 11.5 inches
  • Auto-Duplex, Duplex Print
  • Security features

If you need a student printer that can produce reams of essays, business proposals, brochures, or market research reports – you’ll want a laser printer that can withstand this heavy workload.

The Canon LBP622Cdw delivers near-professional quality prints superior to what you will get from most inkjets. And it is relatively pocket-friendly, making it an excellent choice for students.

This printer is a bit of a one-trick pony that handles that one thing perfectly. It has no copying or scanning capabilities but prints color graphics and vivid text with high levels of range and contrast on both colored and white printer paper.

It is also inexpensive to run thanks to its high-capacity toner cartridge – a rare characteristic among laser printers in this price range. On average, color docs cost about 3.8 cents a page; white and black documents cost about 3 cents a page. Speed-wise, it is average.

Pros

  • This product has a fast print of 10. 3 seconds.
  • You can print on the go with many mobile solutions, including Apple Air Print.
  • It comes with security features that help to mitigate the risk of confidential information loss.

Cons

  • The printer setup can be easier.

6. HP OfficeJet 200 Portable Printer -- Best Portable

Highlighted features

  • Inkjet
  • Print speed: 7 ppm color, 10 ppm black
  • Dimension is 14.3 x 7.32 x 2.70 inches

This is one of the most portable printers around; you can expect a solid performance from the start. The HP OfficeJet 200 is a fast-printing machine that delivers high-quality photos and supports many connectivity options, including USB and WiFi.

This device was designed for printing on the go. As well as a perfect fit for use in small office spaces where there isn’t much room for big printers. It is compatible with the best home computers and laptops, so it should fit seamlessly with your existing work setup.

The HP OfficeJet 200 is a mobile printer that supports wireless printing from compatible devices. It can be powered by a battery when away from power mains. This printer delivers plenty of pages per cartridge. The long-lasting battery makes it a perfect fit for students who need a reliable and portable printer to carry virtually anywhere.

Pros

  • The printer is battery-powered and suitable for printing on the go.
  • It is portable and lightweight and will fit into tight space.
  • This durable printer fits in your backpack, car, and more for convenient printing anywhere.

Cons

  • Customer service can be more responsive.

7. Brother MFC-J895DW Wireless All-in-One Inkjet Printer -- Best all in one

Highlighted features

  • Mobile printing
  • Inkjet
  • 12 pages per minute

This is a light-duty all-in-one printer designed for use in small offices or at home. It comes in an attractive minimalist design that hides the automatic document feeder (ADF) and paper tray when not in use.

We set up the MFC-J895DW and put it to test over three days. We scanned and printed from window machines and phones, printed many 8×10 and 4×6 photos, and really put this machine to the test. It didn’t disappoint!

The MFC-J895DW printer produces some of the best quality prints you will find in an inkjet printer. The print and scan quality is top-notch and among the best in the crowded AIO market for its price.

The photos came out great, better than expected for a crowded AIO market. The color reproduction was very nicely saturated, black was super-fine and minute details shown through like daylight.

Having everything on a single printing unit means it won’t necessarily be the best at all. In particular, copying, scanning, and color printing were fairly slow on this printer. Thus, ensure you have some extra time when printing your term papers with color maps and charts. But if you need a quality all-in-one printer in your room, this is an excellent option.

Pros

  • This printer comes with an SD card and USB Reader.
  • It also features an NFC for seamless connectivity.
  • It comes with an Automatic document feeder.

Cons

  • Color printing could be faster.
best printer for students

Buying Guide for a Top Student Printer

Selecting the best Printer for students can be tough given the many options on the market, not to mention the technical terms that complicate the decision-making process. With this in mind, we have put together this quick buying guide to help you select a device, with simple explanations and recommendations that will serve you.

Inkjet vs. laser printers

There are two types of printers on the market: inkjet and laserjet printers. Inkjet sprays ink on paper using a nozzle. They are more affordable than laser printers, especially the monochrome models. However, they are notoriously slow printing devices. As such, they might not be the best option if you value a speedy and high responsive printer.

On the other hand, Laser printers fuse toner to paper. They are more expensive than the Inkjet printers, but their toners significantly last longer and require less frequent replacements. While laser printers are exceptional at printing black and white documents quickly, they are not as good as inkjet printers in printing crisp images. So, if you need speed and will only be printing in black and white, we recommend laser printers like the Brother HL-L2350DW Compact Monochrome Laser Printer or the Brother HL-L2300D Monochrome Laser Printer.

All-in-one printers

All-in-one printers come with several features that make them a solid investment if you require complex printing needs from your device. In addition to printing quality documents, these models might also feature a copier, built-in scanner, and a fax machine.

These models usually offer duplex printing. Because of their complex functions, they are usually more expensive than regular printers. A fantastic all-in-one printer that will serve you is the Brother MFC-J895DW Wireless All-in-One Inkjet Printer.

Compatibility

Before making a purchasing decision, cross-reference your preferred device compatibility with your PC. New printer models might not be compatible with old operating systems, while older printer models might not be compatible with a newer PC. Only a few printers are compatible with the Mac OS.

Size

Most college students have limited space in their dorms; sizing is an important consideration before making a purchasing decision. It might be impossible to create space for a tall, bulky printer that features extra-long trays. Instead, go for a compact printer like the HP OfficeJet 200 Portable Printer that perfectly fits into small spaces. Fortunately, most budget-priced printers are portable and have small footprints.

Connection

Aside from a USB cable for wired printing, the best printer for students should also have WiFi connectivity for wireless printing. Newer models have cloud-based printing options from third-party services like Dropbox or Google Cloud Print. Others come with a companion app for easy remote printing.

Setup

Setting up your printer for seamless printing is not just a function of plugging it in. Instead, most printers will require driver downloads for seamless connectivity with your computer. If you are using your printer across multiple devices or sharing with others, the drivers need to be installed on all computers/devices.

Price

You will find inkjet printers that cost $50 or less, but the print quality and reliability will not be top-notch. Mid-range printers will cost from $100 to $150. Printers in this range usually have cloud or WiFi printing capabilities. Premium student printers cost closer to $175, have great features, and are the best printer for students who print a lot.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What accessories will my printer come with?

Most printers for students come with only a USB cable. Although, you can get additional accessories like extra toner cartridges and ink if you buy a bundle pack. Some printers also come with limited free trial subscriptions for printing-related services like free stock image catalogs and cloud image storage.

Q: What is the Best Printer for Students to buy?

You will find many printer brands in online stores. However, not all are suitable for the printing needs of a college student that needs a personal printer. Many portable, easy-to-use student printers will meet your printing needs. So, take your time and research the best printer that will best serve you as a student. Alternatively, you can choose one of the best 7 from the list above.

Q: Will my printer last through my college years and beyond?

Most likely, yes! Provided you are not printing a 200-page research paper every day. There is a good chance you will get about five to seven years’ use out of a quality printer. Clean your printer with compressed air regularly so that dust will not settle and damage the internal components.

Conclusion

We have to tell you this; be careful when making a printer purchasing decision. Carefully make time to read the “what’s in the box” section of the product manual before parting with your money. Thoroughly check if all accessories listed are included in the box, such as USB cables. If all is included and in good condition, go ahead and bring the printer home.

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