In recent times it has become more necessary to have access to a printer in our homes than ever. There are so many different types of printers now available that it’s important to make the right choice and buy one that suits your personal needs.
In this article we round up the best printers available for Mac owners, as well as for those who want to print from an iPhone or iPad.
Laser printers are still relatively expensive, primarily aimed at business users who need a high-performance device that can cope with the workload in a busy office. For home users, and people who work from home or in a small office, we recommend inkjet printers instead.
Inkjet technology hasn’t changed much in recent years, and most inkjet printers still stick to the traditional method of using cartridges that contain four different coloured inks – cyan, magenta, yellow and black, also known as ‘CMYK’ – for printing everything from simple text documents to glossy photographs.
There are a few variations, though, starting with basic mono (black and white) printers that just use black ink on its own for printing letters and other text documents. At the other end of the spectrum there are specialised photo printers that may use five or six different coloured inks in order to produce really colourful, high-quality photo prints.
Choosing the right printer is particularly important for Mac users, and owners of an iPhone or iPad. Most printers these days are Mac-compatible, but we have seen quite a few printers that work better with Windows PCs.
The problem here lies in the driver software that controls the printer, which may be different on Macs and PCs. One common weakness is printer software that provides duplex printing – two-sided printing, on both sides of the page – for Windows, but not on the Mac. So it’s always worth checking the technical info on the manufacturer’s web site to make sure that the Mac software provided with the printer includes all the same features as the Windows equivalent.
Of course, Macs have always been used for creative tasks such as graphic design and photo editing, so many Mac users may prefer to opt for a more specialised printer that is designed for graphics and photographic work.
You don’t need to be a professional photographer, either, as many people now use their iPhone or iPad to shoot selfies, portraits and landscape photos when they’re out and about. This has given rise to a new generation of printers that are more focused on mobile devices, so Apple users should check that the printer supports Apple’s AirPrint software – which allows you to quickly print from an iPhone or iPad without having to install any other software or apps first.
All the printers tested below are AirPrint-compatible, which means you won’t need to install printer drivers and that your Mac, iPhone and iPad will instantly connect to them.
Above all else, you need to keep a close eye on the day-to-day running costs of your printer. Many manufacturers sell their printers as cheaply as possible, but you may then find that you get stung in the pocket with the cost of replacement ink cartridges.
Many of the printer manufacturers offer to monitor your printer to judge when it is about to run out of ink, and you can sign up for a service that will automatically dispatch ink cartridges to you. These deals often work out cheaper – and in some cases you may find that you get a few months free as part of a bundle with the printer. We’ve seen five months free HP Instant Ink subscriptions bundled with new printers on Amazon for example.
With all this in mind, here’s our guide to the best printers currently available for your Mac and other Apple devices.
If you are looking for a bargain, read our roundup of the best printer deals.
Best Mac printer 2022
HP Envy Inspire 7220e – Best overall
The HP Envy Inspire 7200e is a compact all-in-one inkjet printer which excels at producing crisp text documents and colour images including glossy photos quickly.
Costing just over £100 to buy, the HP Envy Inspire 7200e is reasonably cheap to run as well, as it uses two HP 303 cartridges (black, and tri-colour), so replacing empties is less hassle than a four- or five-cartridge printer would be. The Envy Inspire 7200e can also take the larger XL-sized cartridges, which are better value for money. Busier users who need to print hundreds of pages every month will be better off with an HP Instant Ink subscription – most places selling the Envy Inspire 7200e will bundle in six months of free Instant Ink.
While the Envy Inspire 7200e can print on A4, A5, A6 and B5 plain paper, it’s limited to 10x15cm, 13x13cm and 13x18cm glossy paper sizes – that’s fine if you’re only looking to print holiday photos, but a shame if you wanted to print on A4 glossy. The only other drawback is the lack of an automatic document feeder (ADF), although the 1200×1200 dpi scanner, which takes around 12-15 seconds to scan at 300dpi, means the Envy Inspire 7200e can act as a photocopier.
The device is easy to set up and configure thanks to AirPrint support, and it’s straightforward to send print jobs to the 7200e via Wi-Fi from your MacBook. There’s also the HP Smart desktop and iOS apps, which allow you to run diagnostic tests and print files from Apple iCloud. Should you need it, there’s a USB-B port on the back for a wired connection too.
Canon PIXMA TS7450
The Canon PIXMA TS7450 is an all-in-one colour inkjet printer, scanner and copier, aimed at home users, families and students.
Easy to use and versatile, the PIXMA TS7450 is both cheap to buy and reasonably cheap to run. While it uses cartridges and not a more economical ink tank, the larger XL-sized cartridges promise hundreds of pages of black and colour ink prints. The fact that it only needs two cartridges to run helps keep costs low.
Print speeds are good and quality is excellent, with text and graphics looking rich and sharp – although for photos you’ll need to invest in some glossy paper, as prints of photos on plain A4 are middling.
As well as being able to print on standard A4, A5, B5, and Letter-sized plain and glossy paper, the Canon PIXMA TS7450 features a 1200 x 2400 dpi scanner, and an automatic document feeder (ADF), which lets you scan or copy up to 35 pages at once.
The Canon PIXMA TS7450 is easy to set up, too, as it’s compatible with Apple AirPrint – so there’s no need to install any drivers. You can also send print commands over WiFi from your iPhone, or via the Canon Print and Canon Easy-PhotoPrint Editor apps for iOS.
These apps are filled with practical printing templates such as business card and photo ID, but are also come with a lot of fun features and creative options.
HP DeskJet Plus 4120 – Best cheap option
The HP DeskJet Plus 4120 – also known as the HP DeskJet Plus 4155 in the US – is an entry-level all-in-one colour printer, scanner, and copier that’s covered by HP’s extremely competitive Instant Ink subscriptions.
If offers wireless printing, via AirPrint or using HPs Smart app, so you can print from all your Apple devices, not just your Mac.
Running on two cartridges – a black ink cartridge, and a tri-colour ink cartridge – the HP DeskJet Plus 4120 isn’t any more expensive than your typical home printer, but with an Instant Ink subscription factored in, busy households, families, students, anyone who needs to print hundreds of pages every month can make big savings here.
Able to scan and print on paper sizes up to A4 (other paper sizes handled include B5, A6) at 1,200×1,200dpi, and copy pages at 300x300dpi, the HP DeskJet Plus 4120 can also print on glossy 10cm by 15cm photo paper.
The HP DeskJet Plus 4120 prints at up to 4800×1,200dpi in colour, and up to 1,200×1,200 in black ink, which means that as more colour ink is used for images, photos end up looking more vibrant and detailed, whether you’re printing on plain A4 or glossy paper.
The only real downside is that text quality on the Normal setting is sub par, but you can improve this by moving the quality up to Best. And while doing so will use up more black ink, with the money you’d save with the right subscription, this shouldn’t impact running costs in any major way.
Epson Expression Premium XP-6100
At just 349 x 340 x 142mm, Epson’s Expression Premium XP-6100 is a good option where space is tight, yet it still squeezes in an impressive range of features: you get printer, scanner and copier, duplex, AirPrint and the option to print on DVDs, among other things.
This is a top-of-the-range printer with an emphasis on high-quality photos. Its fifth, ‘photo black’ ink adds definition, producing very bright, sharp images, and simple text looks good.
It’s a quick machine, too. We recorded 13ppm for mono and 9ppm for colour, easily fast enough for most home users or small offices, and a respectable 35 seconds for postcard prints.
The XP-6100 is a good choice if you want to print high-quality photos, or maybe some eye-catching graphics for a school report. However, its running costs are a little high, which means it’s best suited to occasional use.
The equivalent model for the US market is the XP-6000 (also available from Amazon).
HP Envy Pro 6420
The HP Envy Pro 6420 is a stylish and space-saving all-in-one colour printer that’s compatible with Apple AirPrint, meaning getting this set up and running will be a breeze.
It’s also priced at under £100 and is covered by HP’s Instant Ink subscription plan so it’s cheap to buy, and, with the right price plan, can be cheap to run, too.
While there’s no control panel display on the HP Envy Pro 6420 itself, all print jobs can be queued remotely via the HP Smart desktop and mobile apps for macOS and iOS. The HP Smart app for iOS lets you print documents and images stored locally on your phone, as well as print files and photos stored in the cloud, whether that’s iCloud, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, Box, even Facebook.
The A4 flatbed scanner reads documents at 1,200×1,200dpi, and it prints in black in at 1,200×1,200dpi too, while colour images and graphics are printed at up to 4,800×1,200dpi.
Printing speeds and running costs are par for the course for a home office all-in-one at this price range, but when taken with a rolling HP Instant Ink subscription, the HP Envy Pro 6420 becomes very cheap to run indeed.
Epson Workforce WF-110W
This compact Epson printer is just a printer – it doesn’t include a scanner or copier as well – but is great if you are looking for a home printer to squeeze into a tight spot.
It’s also ideal if you need a printer that is compact enough to cart around with you: it measures just 309mm wide, 154mm deep and 61mm thick, and weighing 1.6kg. It even has a rechargable battery you can use when it isn’t plugged in. So it’s perfect if you often need to print things out for clients while out on the job, for example.
The printer uses a four-colour inkjet mechanism and offers 5,760×1,440dpi resolution printing. Print quality is impressive thanks to Epson’s pigmented inks, which are used for both colour and mono printing and produce bold colours and precise text.
When we tested it the printer managed 7 pages per minute for mono printing, and 4ppm for colour – but only when we were plugged into the mains, When run on battery power the print speeds are a little lower: 4ppm for mono and 2ppm for colour.
One of the drawbacks of such a compact design is that where other printers have the option of high-yield cartridges, which can keep the cost down, there is only one size of black and coloured ink cartridge here. You can expect to get around 250 pages from the £19 black cartridge and about 200 pages from the tri-colour cartridge (cyan, magenta and yellow) which costs £16. That’s about 8p per page for colour printing, but 7.5p a page for black and white – the latter is quite high.
Epson’s ReadyInk service is available, but there is no discount or months free, unlike with HP’s equivalent.
The single paper tray can hold 20 sheets of A4 paper as well as smaller paper sizes and envelopes.
It’s a wireless printer that connects to your WiFi network and also works with AirPrint (so it’s easy to print wirelessly from all your Apple products), but you can also connect it to your Mac with a USB cable. There’s also Epson’s iPrint app which is available for iOS as well as Android, and the printer also works with Google’s Cloud Print service.