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Printers Buying Guide

From brilliantly colored family photographs to your next employee newsletter, there's a printer to suit just about any need. Use this guide to help you explore different types of printers, their available features, and the latest in printing technology.

Choosing a Printer

For Home

With features for everyone in the family, an all-in-one wireless inkjet printer is a convenient way to access multiple devices in one space-saving unit. A 3-in-1 allows you to print school papers, copy recipes from cookbooks, and scan documents; while a 4-in-1 also lets you fax. Consider a time-saving supertank printer if you want to print more pages with fewer cartridge changes.

For a Small Business or Home Office

Enjoy fast and reliable printing for your home office or small business needs with a laser printer. Designed to handle high-volume jobs at a low cost per page, there are a variety of features available to suit your needs. Black-only printers can be a more affordable option if you only print text documents, duplex printers can automatically print on both sides of paper, while all-in-one printers can also copy, scan and fax. If an inkjet printer suits your needs, you can save time with a supertank printer that allows you to print more pages with fewer cartridge changes.

For the Photographer

Inkjet printers are perfect for photos since they can print clear, vibrant images on glossy paper. For convenient, on-the-go printing, consider a portable photo printer.

For the Student

For printing term papers or your thesis, an inkjet printer is equipped to crank out pages of crisp text and detailed images. An all-in-one option will also allow you to scan, copy, and/or fax, while mobile printing capability allows you to conveniently print from your smartphone or tablet.

Types of Printers

Inkjet Printers

Lightweight, compact inkjet printers spray tiny droplets of ink directly onto paper. They're great for printing on a wide range of paper types and sizes, such as scrapbooking paper, business envelopes, labels and more. All-in-one inkjet printers come in two varieties: a 3-in-1 that allows you to print, copy and scan documents, or a 4-in-1 that also lets you fax.

Laser Printers

These workhorses are built to print large volumes quickly and at a low cost per page. Like copy machines, laser printers use static electricity and toner (powder) rather than ink to transfer images and text onto paper. If you know you'll only be printing text documents, you can choose a model that prints in black only, which could save you even more money.

Supertank Printers

A newer inkjet option, supertank printers save you time by using high-capacity cartridges so you can print more with fewer cartridge changes. You'll also find options that use low-cost refillable bottles, while some can even print for two years without needing more ink.

Photo Printers and Instant Photo Printers

Specialty photo printers are designed to produce high-quality photos that rival what you would get from a professional printing service, at a comparable or lower cost. One of the biggest benefits of a photo printer is the convenience of printing photos immediately, without the hassle of making a trip to the store or waiting for them to arrive in the mail.

Photo printers allow you to print directly from a compatible digital camera via PictBridge (a special type of USB connection), and some models also accept CompactFlash or SD cards, or memory sticks. Many even let you perform editing right from the printer, such as cropping, red-eye removal and more.

From printing 4" x 6" photos to holiday cards, pictures for scrapbooking, CD and DVD covers and much more, a photo printer can help you explore your creative side. And compact, portable photo printers make it easy to share small photos on the go.

Features to Consider

Voice Compatibility

Enjoy the ease of voice-activated printing with a compatible printer that allows you to use your voice assistant to easily print shopping lists, calendars, recipes or any other item.

Cartridge-Free Ink

Replacement ink bottles are a convenient, affordable way to refill compatible inkjet printers. These printers use the high-capacity bottles to replenish ink when needed.

All-in-One Functionality

With an all-in-one printer, you can take care of all your printing, scanning and copying with one compact device. Some options also include the ability to fax.


Duplex printing is both a time and paper saver because of its ability to print on both sides of a page. Printers that provide duplex printing will often use a reversing automatic document feeder, which allows for duplex scanning and then prints double-sided pages without you having to turn the paper over and refeed it into the machine.

Ink & Toner

Many printers use three ink colors — cyan, magenta and yellow, or CMY — for printing in color. Oftentimes, these printers use a tricolor ink cartridge (sometimes called ink tanks) and a separate black ink cartridge for monochrome printing. Others add black to create a four-color model, CMYK, for producing high-contrast images.

It's helpful to think about the replacement costs when you're choosing a printer and how much you'll be printing on average. If it's a color printer, does it use individual ink cartridges? If it uses only tricolor cartridges, you'll need to replace the entire cartridge when just one color runs out. On the other hand, this might not be an issue if you plan to use your printer primarily for black-and-white printouts.

Today's supertank printers feature extra-large cartridges, or refillable ink reservoirs, so you can print more pages with fewer cartridge changes, or ditch cartridges completely on some models that use low-cost refillable plastic bottles.

Connecting to Your Printer

There are a number of ways to send documents to your printer. While USB cables or other wired connections have previously been the standard, most printers offer more than one option for even more convenient and quicker printing.

Apps like Apple AirPrint and Google CloudPrint offer cloud-based printing services that give you the freedom to print from just about anywhere — right from your phone or tablet. Connect to Grandma's printer wirelessly and send her the latest picture of the grandkids. Send a document to your printer as your plane lands and have it waiting at the office, ready for your next meeting. Common cloud-based services, like Dropbox and Evernote, also include printing options, making it easier to access your files.

Voice-activated printing with a compatible printer allows you to use your voice assistant to easily print shopping lists, calendars, recipes or any other item. Most printers also offer their own mobile app, giving you even more options to connect and print.

Shop Online or In Store

Find a wide variety of printers on Your local Best Buy store also has a wide selection of printers. Plus, our friendly Blue Shirts are there to answer questions and help with choosing the best printer for your needs.

For urgent ink and toner needs, Best Buy offers same-day ink and toner delivery to qualifying ZIP codes. Same-day ink and toner delivery is available 7 days a week when you place your order online by 3 p.m. local time (2 p.m. on Sunday) and choose Same-Day Delivery in checkout. And if Same-Day Delivery isn't available for your ZIP code, you'll find many items available for free Store Pickup.