CNET’s Top Pick: The Ultimate Printer for 2023
August 17, 2023

CNET’s Top Pick: The Ultimate Printer for 2023

$230 at HP

HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e

Best overall small office printer

$136 at Amazon

Nelko Bluetooth Thermal Shipping Label Printer

Best thermal printer

$649 at Amazon

Sawgrass SG500 Sublimation printer

Best sublimation printer

Show more (3 items)

With tons of people now working from home, we’ve seen a renaissance for home printers and printers for small home offices. If you’re one of the many folks who need their own printer, CNET is here to help you find the right one. We’ve roamed over the changing landscape of printers to bring you the best models available this year, so you can print photos, documents, college essays and more whenever you need to.

Every printer profiled below can manage basic printing needs. For example, they can handle mobile printing and wireless printing from a phone or any PC, Mac or Chromebook, which is a must when it comes to office printers. They can also print over a cabled connection and via wireless printer connectivity. (Note that some, but not all, printers support Apple’s AirPrint and Google’s Cloud Print protocols, which are usually less onerous than the printer vendors’ proprietary systems.)

Which is the best overall printer?

For a home office that has just one or two people using it, the HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e is the best overall choice. The print speed is excellent and all the printed words were crisp and clear. This isn’t a photo printer, and it shows, but it works well enough for daily imagery tasks. If you are using it to print brochures or word documents this is an almost perfect printer for you.

Factors to consider when buying a printer

What you intend to print will determine which is the best printer for you. If you’re mostly working with shopping lists, concert tickets or travel itineraries, having excellent print quality is arguably less important than print speed and price. If you’re using your printer for professional materials or photo printing, then color accuracy, printing quality and the inclusion of features like borderless printing will be primary considerations when you’re looking for the right printer.

Another factor to consider is the cost of ink and ensuring you have enough ink to print everything you need. (There’s nothing more frustrating than having a printer but no ink in the ink tank.) Inkjet printers use liquid ink to print, whereas laser printers use toner cartridges containing powder. So even if you’re getting a great printer deal, just be sure to do some research into how you’ll refill the ink, so you can choose the best printer for your overall budget. Some new printers include an ink subscription in their original price tag, so that may be something to consider as well.

I have testing this latest crop of printers for over a year now, with dozens of printers running at the same time. It gets a little noisy but each printer I test narrows down the best overall. Those are the ones we are listing here. That list of course will change over the 

Best printers of 2023


Super fast printing and scanning
Large paper tray
Feed scanner
Don’t like
Dimpling in photos
Pretty darn loud

If you work from home but need all the advantages of an office printer, the OfficeJet Pro is an excellent choice. In terms of sheer printing speed, the HP is ahead of most others in its price range. It printed the 10 pages in just 32 seconds and scanned and printed them in 1 minute, 12 seconds. Very impressive.


Two paper trays
Great text quality
Don’t like
It’s a bit large for a home office

First off, this is not a typical printer machine. The bulky square shape is not something you would want to see in a fashionable home office. Because of the extra paper tray, the Epson can hold a large amount of paper for use. This makes it perfect if you and another person use it daily. It prints fast too — the fastest in our test, though the scanning is a little slow. The graphic, text and webpage text were all excellent, though the image quality on glossy paper was only good. This is a workhorse though, designed for high-volume text, not imagery.


Impressive text quality
Quiet printing
Amazon Dash button ready
Don’t like
Ink cartridges are incredibly small

The Brother MFC-J1010DW is a terrible name for a pretty good printer in this price bracket. Photos came out clear and sharp as did the graphics on the website and brochure test. Even the text was very sharp. For an all-in-one printer at this price, it did every job well. It’s a good job it has Amazon dash replenishment though, as the inks are woefully undersized for the printer.


Excellent color in photos
Good app
Don’t like
Some flimsy parts
It’s very loud

The Canon Pixma TR4720 is not going to be winning any awards in any category. In all of my testing, it came out around the middle of the pack in just about every category. While that could be seen as a negative in a printer that costs several hundred dollars, for one that is as cheap as the Pixma, it’s encouraging.


Ink for years
Great photo quality
Don’t like
No paper tray
No top feed for scanner

HP’s latest Smart Tank is a midlevel all-in-one with some really nice features and a few that are missing. In all our tests, it did very well, especially the website printing test, where all the graphics were as crisp and clear as the text. The image test was good too, though not as good as that of the more expensive Smart Tank 7301. The colors were vivid, and there was no sign of chromatic abrasion. There was a little grain in the image, but nothing that better paper couldn’t fix.


Extremely fast printing
Made for one purpose
Don’t like
Lacks thermal paper roller

I love a tool that is for one purpose, and it does that purpose almost perfectly. The Nelko thermal printer is specifically designed to print labels for packages — though it does print other labels, too — and if, like me, you have an Etsy or Shopify store, it can be invaluable.


Budget-friendly all-in-one
Great text
Small footprint
Don’t like
Some purpling in the color images
The starter ink is tiny

After testing the Expression I was pleasantly surprised at how well this printer did. Being Epson’s budget option it could have been poor, but instead performed excellently at text reproduction and about average on the image quality. The setup was quick and easy and the Wi-Fi connection seems to be solid wherever I put it in my house. Print time was average at 1 minute, 15 seconds, but the text quality more than made up for the speed. All of the text, even the photocopied text was legible and smooth.

How we test printers

For a long time, CNET’s methodology for testing printers didn’t change. Our original testing was designed in the days when Wi-Fi printers were rare, and faxing was an important consideration when choosing a device. These days, Wi-Fi is standard, app-controlled printers are everywhere, and what and how we print have changed considerably. I designed a new set of printing parameters in 2022 that I hope will mesh with how we use printers nowadays.

Print and copy speed

The speed at which things print and copy is important in our daily lives. Printing a quick theater ticket or copying a document needs to be done speedily and accurately. Testing this is easy; I simply used a stopwatch and printed 10 pages of text of varying sizes and typefaces. I used Fillerama to generate random text from Star Wars and Monty Python and changed the font size…