We use cookies to allow us and selected partners to improve your experience and our advertising. By continuing to browse you consent to our use of cookies. You can understand more and change your cookies preferences here.

Technology.

26 October 2021

Which printer brand to buy in 2021

Our unique survey data reveals which printer brands, including Brother, Canon, Epson and HP, develop the fewest faults – and which ones printer owners are most likely to recommend.
FW
Felix Wilson
Best printer brands

Knowing how long a printer will last, which printer brands develop the most faults and how quickly is key to making a smart buying decision. That’s why each year was ask thousands of Which? members to tell us about the problems and experiences they’ve had with their tech brands over the last eight years.

Our unique survey data reveals when popular printer brands developed a fault, what these fault were and how long printers last encountering them. We also look at brand loyalty to find out which brands you turn to time and again, and crucially reveal how long you can expect your printer to last.

There’s a lot that can go wrong with printers, but the most common problems people encounter are wi-fi connection issues. In fact, our research finds that they account for up to 13% of all printer faults. So we also tell you how to fix this.


Already know which brand you want? Use our expert printer reviews to help you choose the right model.


Printer brands rated

The tables below have the inkjet and laser printer brands in alphabetical order and our survey results are locked. 

Which? members can login to unlock our full results. Not yet a Which? member? Join Which? to unlock our printer brand tables and to get access to all of our online reviews - including printers, laptops, desktops and monitors.

Inkjet printers

BrandCustomer scoreSatisfaction ratingAverage test score% replaced within four years% replaced within seven yearsEstimated lifespan
Brother
Canon
Epson
HP

Laser printers

BrandCustomer scoreSatisfaction ratingAverage test score% replaced within four years% replaced within seven yearsEstimated lifespan
Brother
Canon
Epson
HP
  • Table notes: results are based on a survey of 9,979 Which? Members who own printers, conducted in July 2021. Where n/a is reported, there isn’t enough data.
  • Customer satisfaction rates how happy the respondent is with their printer brand, and how likely they would be to recommend it to a friend.
  • % replaced within four/seven years shows what percentage of the total number of printer replacements occurred within that number of years.
  • Estimated lifespan is the average length of time a printer will last before needing to be replaced due to a fault or significant drop in performance.

Best vs worst printer brands

As the tables above show, there are differences between the brands with the highest and lowest customer satisfaction scores. There are also noticeable gaps between the average test scores and models replaced within four years, especially in the case of laser printers.

How long will my printer last?

To find out how long you can rely on your printer, we calculated an average estimated lifetime for each brand, based on how long respondents were able to keep their printer before having to replace it because of an issue that was out of their control.

The average inkjet printer will last nine years. There’s not a huge difference between brands – with the leading brand lasting 10 years, while other brands survive around nine. 

Laser printers tend to last around 13 years. This is over a third longer than your average inkjet. That means buying a long-lived printer is often more about what kind of printer you buy, rather than the brand you buy it from.

Printer brand life-spans compared

Only logged-in Which? members can see our printer brand estimated lifespan, based on our detailed survey, below. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

Verdict: top printer brands in-depth

We’ve pulled together our survey data and independent test results – with insights from our printer experts – to give you an in-depth look at each brand.

Which members can log in to view our unique lab test scores and customer satisfaction survey results.

If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access on our verdicts on the following printer brands, listed here in alphabetical order, and all of our online reviews:

  • Brother
  • Canon
  • Epson
  • HP

Need help choosing a printer? Go to our expert pick of the best printers.

The three most common printer faults

The three most common printer problems should come as no great surprise to printer owners. These are prevalent in both inkjet and laser printers – though this year, we see slightly more problems with paper feeds in inkjets, and marginally more issues with deteriorating print quality in lasers.

1. Wi-fi connection issues (13% in inkjet, 13% in laser)

With wireless features increasingly present, many printers are prone to connectivity issues. We rate all printers for their ease of connectivity, and state which printers can and can’t print wirelessly using wi-fi, as well as which operating systems they’re compatible with.

Wi-fi issues can be difficult to resolve, but there are a few go-to tricks. First, turn everything off then on again. It may cliché, but it can be surprisingly effectively. If that doesn't work, check that your printer has the latest firmware. Given your wi-fi predicament, you may need to download it from the manufacturer website on another device, then transfer it over using an SD card or cable.

If your printer is giving you an error message, you may shed some light on matters by visiting the manufacturer website or product manual and searching for the error code. If all else fails, keeping a cable handy for emergencies is always a good idea.

2. Problems with paper feed (12% in inkjet, 11% in laser)

Problems with paper feeds and jams have long been a thorn in the side of printer users. We rigorously test printers to reveal any models that are especially prone to faulty feeds and paper jams, and reveal them in our printer reviews.

Paper weight, thickness and even humidity are thought to play a role in these issues. Common wisdom is to use the paper specified in your printers’ manual – and to only open the paper pack when you’re ready to use it.

3. Deterioration in print quality (10% in inkjet, 12% in laser)

There are many reasons print quality can drop. For inkjet printers, nozzles can become blocked – causing streaks, patchy prints and faded colours. If you notice a drop in quality, start by running a cleaning cycle, which uses ink to blast away any dried-on ink.

Laser printers are slightly more prone to drops in quality on average – even without ink to clog things up. Dust and other small particles interfering with your printer's internal mechanisms can be responsible for this. 

Maintenance and cleaning advice varies between models. So be sure to study the manual before you open up your printer and tinker with any sensitive components.

How we calculate the best and worst printer brands

Which? has a wealth of information on the UK's favourite printer brands. Every year, we ask Which? members to tell us about the domestic appliances they own – from how likely they'd be to recommend a brand, to how long a product lasted once they got it home. 

This year, more than 15,000 members told us about over 45,000 products, including nearly 10,000 printers. Our survey, combined with our independent testing data, means we can give you unique insight into which printer brand you should buy.

Head to our printer reviews

Know which brand you want? Use the links to go straight to our reviews to find a model that's right for you.