The best printer for college students
College students need quite a few things to outfit a dorm room or apartment. Technology hardware that helps them perform better in classes is a smart place to start. Finding an affordable printer for a college student is easier than ever. Printer hardware prices have decreased significantly in the past several years, making them useful for a student on a tight budget. For college students who need to be able to print while on the go, our favorite model is the Canon PIXMA iP110 Wireless Mobile Printer. To learn more, keep reading our buying guide.
Considerations when choosing printers for college students
The primary consideration for a printer is selecting between inkjet or laser technologies:
Inkjet: An inkjet printer uses tiny droplets of ink to create the image on the paper. All inkjet printers can print in color or black-only, which gives them some versatility. They typically carry a lower initial cost than laser printers. For a college student who only needs to print a few times per week, an inkjet printer's cost of operation is reasonable.
Laser: A laser printer heats and then causes toner to fuse to the paper. This technology creates sharper prints than an inkjet printer, especially for text printing, which is helpful for student term papers. Laser printers that can print in full color are not typical because they're usually black-only printers. For an extremely busy print environment, the cost of running the laser printer is better than an inkjet printer.
Depending on how the student plans to use the printer, some of the features we've listed here may be extremely important.
Extra functions: Some printers offer copying, faxing, and scanning functions, along with printing. Having this type of all-in-one or multifunction device can be helpful for college students who want to save space on the desk.
Device compatibility: Students often find themselves needing to print from a computer, but they'll also print from nontraditional devices, like smartphones and tablets. Find a printer that can handle any device.
Size: In a dorm room or apartment, free space is at a premium. Printers for college students should be compact, so they don't get in the way.
Connection options: For a college student, a printer that has WiFi connectivity is a smart choice. A USB-wired connection is another handy option. But having WiFi means the student doesn't have to worry about losing the USB cable.
Display screen: Some printers will ship with a small display screen built into the device. This makes the setup process easier. It's also easier to diagnose errors when the screen can give you some information.
Paper-tray capacity: Inexpensive printers may have a small paper tray that can only hold 25 to 50 sheets of blank paper. Some might not even have a paper tray, only allowing you to load 10 or fewer blank pages in a slot. For busy print environments, though, having a large capacity paper tray of 100 or more sheets is extremely handy.
Printers for college students prices
Printers for college students range from $40 to $150. Faster printers with better print quality will sit at the higher end of the range. Don't forget, you'll have ongoing costs for consumables as you use the printer, too.
Q. Can I begin printing as soon as I receive the printer?
A. Yes. Printers ship with starter cartridges of ink or toner, so you can start printing right away. You will have to set up the printer, which can take 10 to 30 minutes, but you then can print.
Q. How do I know if the printer can create the large prints I need?
A. Within the printer's specification list, you should see a list of paper sizes it can accept. Almost all printers can print on letter and legal size paper. Read through the specification list to see other compatible sizes.
Printers for college students we recommend
Best of the best: Canon PIXMA iP110 Wireless Compact Mobile Printer
Our take: Works nicely to print from mobile devices, all in a small footprint printer that's perfect for a cramped dorm room.
What we like: Works with multiple operating systems. Lightweight design means you can carry it wherever needed.
What we dislike: We'd prefer an easier setup and installation process.
Best bang for your buck: HP OfficeJet 3830 All-in-One Wireless Printer
Our take: With printing, scanning, copying, and faxing capabilities, this all-in-one device saves space on the college student's desk.
What we like: Has a quiet running mode, so it'll work nicely in a dorm room. The setup process is quick and easy.
What we dislike: Occasional issues with reliability.
Choice 3: Brother Monochrome Laser Printer
Our take: Fast-performing laser printer that will meet the needs of a student who prints frequently.
What we like: Smaller than the majority of laser printers. Reasonable price for a laser printer.
What we dislike: No option to print in full color. No WiFi connectivity option.
Kyle Schurman is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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