Which printer should you buy?
Top five best wireless printers for 2020
By Andrew Laughlin
Article 5 of 6
With a wi-fi printer you can print wirelessly from various devices. Learn all you need to know about wireless printing, and see the best models available to buy.
Wireless printing is a quick and easy way to print from a range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, desktop PCs and laptops.
Wi-fi connectivity is definitely a printer feature worth paying for. It means you won’t always need to connect directly to your PC or smartphone via a USB cable. With prices of Best Buy wi-fi printers starting from around £40, it isn’t going to blow your budget, either.
Below, we round up the best wi-fi models that will have you printing quickly and cheaply. Further down, find out about useful features such as mobile apps, Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print.
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Top five wireless printers
Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct at September 2018.
Not found the product for you? Browse all of our printer reviews.
And here are three wi-fi printers to avoid
Being able to print wirelessly over the internet is a huge plus with a printer, but it won't matter much if that printer can't produce good-quality documents, photos and other prints.
The printers below fumbled their lines in our in-depth tests, and some are so bad they're Don't Buys.
Wireless printers to avoid
How to connect a wireless printer
You can place a wi-fi printer anywhere in your home as long as the wi-fi signal is strong enough. Before printing, you’ll need to connect the printer to your network.
Most models have control screens with step-by-step set-up instructions. They’re generally easy to follow, but the small screens and basic controls can make inputting a long wi-fi password a bit of a pain.
Another way to connect is to select wi-fi auto-connect (or similar) if your printer has it. This searches for the network your computer is on, and uses this to connect itself.
For more, head over to our in-depth Computing Helpdesk guide to how to connect a wireless printer.
Apple AirPrint: AirPrint makes it easier to print directly from an Apple device, such as a Mac computer, an iPhone or an iPad. You won’t need to install any additional apps or software. It’s easy to set up – just ensure that your printer and Apple device are on the same wi-fi network. Then either click the Print option in your menu bar on a Mac, or the Share icon on an iPhone or iPad. The only disadvantage of AirPrint is that it only works with Apple devices.
Google Cloud Print: if your printer is Cloud Print-ready, you can print directly from Google apps and programs, such as Google Drive on Android smartphones or Gmail in your internet browser. Cloud Print works with both Android and iOS devices, but you’ll first need to register your printer with a Gmail account. If you have multiple printers or multiple Gmail accounts, this registration process can get confusing.
Printer brand apps
All the big printer brands offer their own printing app that you can download free of charge on Android or Apple iOS. Most apps have the ability to print files and items stored in cloud services, such as Google Drive and Dropbox. They also usually provide printer status information, such as how much ink you have left.
Canon’s app enables you to control print, copy and scan jobs from a smartphone or tablet. Features include being able to take a photo of a document and then convert it to a PDF for printing. The app is easy to use, but you’ll need a Canon account to use it. To do this, you need a registration ID obtained by registering your printer via its operation panel. It’s a rather annoying process, but at least you only have to do it once.
HP has a number of printer apps, but Smart is the main one. It’s a nicely designed app, with a bold and colourful menu system. All the core print, copy and scan functions are available, and the app also enables you to crop, edit and enhance photos before printing. HP also offers an ePrint app, but that’s being discontinued.
Just like the other apps, the Epson app enables you to print from anywhere in the world. It supports a wide range of cloud services, and offers a range of print-option settings you can tweak from your mobile device, such as changing the print quality and requesting double-sided printing.
Brother’s printing app offers a range of print, copy and scan options. Useful features include a copy preview function that enables you to see an image and even edit it before sending it to the copier. You can print remotely, but you’ll need to be registered for Google Cloud Print for this to work.
Samsung Mobile Print
Samsung’s printer business is now owned by HP, but this app is still available. Samsung’s app has a clean, clear menu system. It’s easy to set up print, scan or fax jobs, and you can monitor toner levels and order new toner directly from within the app (although possibly not at the cheapest price).