Printer reviews: FAQs
We answer the most common printer questions, including choosing a printer, keeping ink costs low, and setting up a printer.
Click on the links below to go straight to one of the most frequently asked printer questions.
- Is the scanner on an all-in-one printer as good as a standalone scanner?
- Which printer is best for photos?
- Can all printers print on card?
- How much should I expect a printer to cost in ink?
- Is it cheaper to print photos at home or in a shop?
- Do I need to update the driver that came with my printer?
Choosing a printer
Which is the best printer for me?
From laser printers and inkjet printers to all-in-one, home office and photo printers, there are different printers to suit different needs.
If you mostly print black text, a mono laser printer may be best.
If you want to be able to copy documents too, opt for an all-in-one printer. Each type of printer has its strengths.
How to buy the best printer – find out which type of printer is best for you with our printer buying guide.
Is the scanner on an all-in-one printer as good as a standalone scanner?
Good standalone scanners produce higher quality scans than an all-in-one, but for most people the scanner on an all-in-one printer is good enough.
The best all-in-ones for scanning produce great A4 scanned photos and colour pages. With an all-in-one you also get the benefit of being able to make copies on the same device.
Will a new printer work with my old computer?
Before you buy, check the printer manufacturers website to find out whether the printer has driver software available for the operating system your computer uses.
The computer must work with wi-fi to use a wi-fi printer, or have a USB port to connect directly to the printer with a cable.
Which printer is best for photos?
Laser printers aren’t as good at printing photos as the best standard or all-in-one inkjet printers.
How to buy the best photo printer – visit our advice page to help you narrow your search.
Can all printers print on card?
If you want to be able to print on thicker paper or card, you’ll need a printer that can handle it.
Some manufacturers state the maximum page weight a printer can handle.
Compare printers that print on card – use our compare tool to find printers that accept thicker paper or card.
Using your printer
How much should I expect a printer to cost in ink?
Cost depends entirely on the printer and ink you choose, what you print and how frequently you print.
We test printers for ink running costs in our lab.
How we test printers – find out more about our lab tests for printer speed, quality and printing costs.
Is it cheaper to print photos at home or in a shop?
It’s usually cheaper to get your photos printed by a processor than it is to print them at home, especially if you have lots of images to print.
Look for good deal from an online photo processing company if you don't need your photo prints straight away.
How can I reduce the power I use?
Most printers don’t have a ‘hard off’ switch, so they use a little energy in standby.
Turning the printer off at the wall switch will save energy. Press the button to put the printer into standby first and give the printer time to power down properly before flipping the switch at the wall.
Laser printers are more power-hungry than their inkjet counterparts because they have to warm up. If you don’t print many pages at a time an inkjet printer may be better for energy use.
Save money on printing - see our advice guide for more tips on using less ink and reducing print costs.
Setting up your new printer
Do I need to update the driver that came with my printer?
When you buy a printer we recommend downloading the most up-to-date driver from the printer manufacturer’s website.
If your printer isn't working properly, it’s also worth checking to see if there’s a more recent driver to get it up and running again.
Go to the printer manufacturer’s website and look for the ‘support’ or ‘printer driver’ area. Typing the name of your printer into the search function on the manufacturer’s website may also highlight the driver download for your printer.