Deadlines and closed signs are a college student’s worst nightmare. That is especially true when it comes to research papers and finals. Without a personal printer, students are at the mercy of libraries and internet cafes.
Limited business hours, long lines and high print fees add another layer to what is already a high-stress environment.
A personal printer can cut down on those costly, time-consuming trips and help reduce some of that anxiety. Choosing the best printers for college students comes down to cost, connectivity and quality.
10 Best-Rated Printers for College Students:
1. Canon Pixma TS5120 Wireless All-In-One Printer with Scanner
- Pixma TS5120 Wireless Inkjet Printer
- 4” x 6” Photo Paper Sample Pack
- Setup Disc
- Power cord
- Full Set of Ink Cartridges
A pioneer in digital imaging, Canon introduced the world’s first inkjet printer in 1985 and continues to lead the way in affordable personal printers for college students. The Pixma TS5120 uses a hybrid ink system with a wide range of connectivity options that make it ideal for high resolution printing on the go.
The Canon Pixma TS5120 costs about as much as three large pizzas and a couple of 2-liters. It uses Canon PG-240/CL-241 cartridges in three yield options. It comes with a full set of XL ink cartridges ready to install, which is a rare boon for printers in this category.
Wireless, Bluetooth and high speed USB capabilities offer users a variety of connectivity options. Print directly from a computer, tablet or mobile device, or use a cloud service like AirPrint for Apple or Google Cloud Print.
Canon PRINT is a free app that offers users a variety of mobile options, including a wireless scan and print feature.
Though a compact printer, the Pixma TS5120 offers auto duplex and is capable of full color, borderless printing at resolutions up to 4800 x 1200 dpi.
Front and rear paper trays offer a 200 page total paper capacity and the tilting front panel features push-button controls and a 2.5” full color display.
- Flexible connections
- Low startup cost
- High quality prints
- No fax capabilities
- Missing Ethernet connection
- No auto document feeder
The Canon Pixma TS5120 offers the most flexible connectivity options of any printer in the personal all-in-one category. It has a moderate print speed of 13 ppm (black).
Operating costs are comparable to other compact personal printers, but the inclusion of a full size set of cartridges gives the Pixma TS5120 an edge over some of its competition.
2. HP Envy 5055 Wireless All-in-One Photo Printer
- Hp Envy 5055
- Power cord (USB cord NOT included)
- Setup guide
- HP 65 Setup Ink (Black and Tricolor)
A solid step up in Hp’s line of compact printers, the Envy 5055 is a powerful all-in-on that delivers high quality results without stretching those student loan funds. Clean lines and a sleek black design give the casing a high-end finish, while the touchscreen display adds intuitive function to minimalist form.
On the higher end of the budget-friendly scale, the Hp Envy 5055 costs about as much as ten movie tickets. It uses HP 65 ink in black and tri-color and is available in two yields. Instant Ink eligible, both the black and tri-color XL cartridges have a 300 page print capacity, making it a cost effective option for frequent printing.
The Hp Smart App allows users to set up, scan and print directly from any smart device.
Access and print files from Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud with the speed and reliability of dual-band WiFi and Bluetooth technology.
The Envy 5055 print resolution is among the highest in its category, turning out crisp, full color prints at 4800 dpi.
The scanner uses 8-bit grey-scale depth to scan at 1200 dpi, and the copier has an enlargement range of 400% with a 600 dpi final product resolution.
- Quick, easy set up
- Can print a wide range of media
- Higher start-up cost
- Slower print speeds
Flexibility and technology make great printers for college students, and the Hp Envy 5055 has both. It combines the lightweight ease of a compact printer with the latest in technology to provide a high resolution, user-friendly all-in-one that will fit even the tightest budgets.
3. Brother MFC-J491DW Wireless All-in-One Inkjet Printer
- Brother MFC-J491DW
- Power cord
- Setup guide
- Installation & Documentation disc
- Telephone cord
- Starter Ink Cartridges (LC3011 BK/C/M/Y)
Brother introduced the world’s first dot matrix printer in 1971, kick starting a new era in digital printing. Paying homage to its roots with a simplistic square body design, Brother embraces the latest in mobile technology with the MFC-J491DW.
A mid-level inkjet printer, the MFC-J491DW costs about as much as a full tank of gas, dinner and a movie for two. Ink is separated into four separate color cartridges that can be replaced individually, which eliminates ink waste and drastically reduces operating costs.
Wireless and USB interface options allow users to establish mobile and wired connections. Brother iPrint&Scan is a free Android app that allows users to print and scan from any mobile device.
Recent updates to the app include an edit feature as well as fax send and preview.
The control panel is intuitively designed and user-friendly. Keys and buttons are backlit and color-labeled and 1.8” full color display helps users navigate functions with ease.
The panel itself is front-mounted and tilts up for better viewing. The MFC-J491DW has a generous 100-sheet capacity tray.
- Easy to use
- Quick scanning
- Appears intimidating
- Slower print speeds
A legacy of quality and innovation come together in a convenient, versatile all-in-one that delivers steady, reliable results at a budget-friendly price point. The Brother MFC-J491DW makes the short list of best inkjet printers for college student.
4. Canon Pixma MG3620 Wireless All-In-One Color Inkjet Printer
- Pixma MG3620
- Power cord
- Setup disc
- Manuals and documentation
- Setup FINE cartridges in black and color
The Pixma MG3620 is a bare-bones version of the Canon TS5120. It has all the same functions, but lacks some of the bells and whistles that may appeal to some users. The lower price point and stripped down functionality will appeal to students with basic or infrequent print requirements.
Slightly less expensive than the TS series, the Pixma MG3620 costs about as much as seven meals at a popular sandwich shop. The two-cartridge system uses Canon 240 (black) and Canon 241 (color) available in both standard and high-yield options.
The Pixma MG3620 offers a host of powerful printing options. Wireless setup is easy, and users can connect to the printer through Canon Print, Google Cloud, Mopria and AirPrint.
At just under 12 pounds, this lightweight all-in-one can handle most media and prints at a crisp, clean 4800 dpi.
Push-button technology makes the printer easy to operate, and the output tray can support up to 100 sheets of plain paper.
- Low startup
- Full-photo-lithography Inkjet Nozzle Engineering technology (FINE)
- Lacks LCD display
- Lacks separate photo tray
The Pixma MG3620 is among the more affordable printers for college students who don’t require a lot of techno-gadgetry or a high duty cycle. Available in black, white and red, what this printer lacks in features, it makes up for in style.
5. Epson EcoTank ET-2720 Wireless Color All-in-One Supertank Printer
With the introduction of the world’s first mini-printer, Epson has become an industry leader in print innovation and technology. The EcoTank ET-2720 is an affordable addition to Epson’s super tank line of inkjet printers. The higher start-up cost is offset by an incredible two-year ink supply included in the box.
The Epson ET-2720 costs about as much as two general-admissions tickets to a popular concert. What sets this printer apart from others in the cost department is the cartridge-free super tank system.
It uses EcoTank 522 ink bottles in black, cyan, magenta and yellow. One ink kit has the equivalent capacity of 80 traditional ink cartridges, and each color can be replaced independently and as needed.
Wireless, WiFi Direct and USB options allow users to connect and operate the printer through computers and mobile devices.
The Epson ET-2720 is compatible with most cloud drives and the iPrint app is available in both Android and iOs versions.
Available in black and white, the Epson ET-2720 has basic all in one functions, a 1.44 inch color display, and a voice-activated print feature.
What it lacks in speed, it more than makes up for in print quality and affordability.
- Two-year ink supply in the box
- Lightweight and easy to set up
- Higher upfront cost
- No auto duplexing
- No memory card support
The Epson EcoTank ET-2720 is an ideal wireless all in one printer for college students majoring in photography, graphics design or any other field that requires professional quality prints and graphics.
6. Brother HL-L2350DW Compact Monochrome Laser Printer
- Brother HL-L2350DW
- Power cord
- Installation Disc (manual and drivers)
- Starter Toner Cartridge
- DR730 Drum Unit
When it comes to monochrome printing, the Brother HL-L2350DW is a fast, entry-level laser printer with a low start-up and high out-put. Budget-friendly, lightweight and compact, it is easy to set up and easy to operate.
The Brother HL-L2350DW runs about as much as the latest eReader and has an even lower operating cost. Instead of traditional ink, it uses a single toner cartridge with a standard yield of 1,200 pages. The Brother TN760 high-yield replacement toner costs about as much a movie ticket and drive-thru, and has a print capacity of up to 3,000 pages.
With WiFi and Hi-speed USB 2.0 interfaces, users can easily connect directly to the printer or through mobile devices.
The Brother HL-L2350DW is compatible with most cloud services and comes with the iPrint app for use with both Android and iOs.
At just under 16 pounds, the Brother HL-L2350DW has a maximum monthly duty cycle of 15,000 pages.
With a 250-page input tray and 32 page per minute print speed, this laser printer easily meets and exceeds high volume print expectations.
- Low cost
- No external drive support
- No Ethernet port
Low start-up and operating costs make the Brother HL-L2350DW one of the best laser printers for college students needing high-volume monochrome printing. The square, compact design leaves a small footprint, and a pared-down control module makes it easy to operate.
7. Canon Pixma iP110 Wireless Mobile Printer With Airprint
- PIXMA iP110
- Setup and User Guide disc
- PGI-35 Pigment Black
- CLI-36 CMYK Color
- 100 Sheet Photo Paper
- USB Cable
- Power Cord
- 6-Outlet Strip
- Print Head
- Fibertique Cloth
Canon offers an affordable, compact solution to on-the-go printing needs with the Pixma iP110. Slightly larger than a desktop stapler, it weighs four pounds and fits snugly inside most average sized backpacks.
The Canon Pixma iP110 costs about as much as three adult tickets to a popular theme park. It uses a two-cartridge system that is available in standard-yield only. The black cartridge (PGI-35), and the color cartridge (CLI-36).
The PIXMA Printing Solutions app allows users to print photos or documents from any connected computer or mobile device.
The Cloud print feature allows direct printing from select online services using the app on mobile devices. The Canon Pixma iP110 is Windows, Mac, iOS and Android compatible.
Incredible resolution for a compact printer, the Pixma iP110 produces an astounding 9600 x 2400 dpi resolution.
It supports 4 x 6 inch borderless printing, and the free Easy-PhotoPrint+ app allows users to edit and print photos wherever there is internet access.
- 50-sheet capacity
- Wi-Fi and USB connections
- Battery pack not included
- Less efficient ink
The Canon Pixma iP110 produces vibrant photos and clean, crisp documents at a rate of 9 pages per minute, making it one of the fastest printers in its class. For true portability, Canon offers an optional battery pack, making the Pixma iP110 a strong contender in the best compact printer for college students category.
8. Epson Expression ET-2650 All-in-One Small Business Supertank Printer
Another installment in Epson’s line of supertank printers, the Expression ET-2650 is on the higher side of budget-friendly options, but offers a bit more size and function than some of its less expensive counterparts.
The Epson Expression ET-2650 costs about as much as a family 5-pack of tickets to a popular theme park. The drop-on-demand MicroPiezo printhead is a 4-color, cartridge-free system that uses EcoTank 664 ink bottles. An entire ink kit is included in the box, and has black and color yields of 4,000 and 6,500 respectively.
The Expression ET-2650 offers all the standard connections users expect from a wireless printer.
Print, copy and scan features are accessible through direct connections or with the use of Epson’s iPrint app on mobile devices. The addition of a memory card slot on the front panel gives the ET-2650 a slight edge over the competition.
Weighing just under 11 pounds, the Expression ET-2650 has a compact, square body design with a 100-sheet capacity output tray.
The command module features a tiltable housing mount with intuitive push-button controls and a 1.44” full-color display.
- Memory card slot
- Optimized print resolution
- Does not support borderless printing
- Missing auto document feeder (ADF)
The Epson Expression ET-2650 is a good wireless printer for college student option. It offers flexible connectivity and professional quality prints in a compact, space-saving design. Epson’s SuperTank system keeps operating costs down, and the inclusion of a full set of ink offsets the higher sticker price.
9. Samsung Xpress M2020W Wireless Monochrome Printer
- Samsung Xpress M2020W
- User Guide
- Installation disc
- Power cord
- USB cable
- Samsung setup toner cartridge
A relative newcomer to the personal print industry, the Xpress M2020W is Samsung’s entry-level contribution to monochrome laser printing. Compact and affordable, the Samsung Xpress M2020W offers flexible connections and high quality results well suited to meet low-volume black and white needs.
The Samsung Xpress M2020W costs about as much as an evening dinner theater for two. It uses a Samsung MLT-D111S black toner cartridge with a 1,000 page yield.
The Xpress M2020W has USB-wired and wireless connectivity options. Android users can enable the Near Field Communication (NFC) function to access print functions through mobile devices, or use the iOS/Android compatible Samsung Mobile Print app.
The Samsung Xpress M2020W has a sleek, square body design with simple, push-button controls. It has a 150-sheet paper tray and prints at a rate of 21 pages per minute.
The monochrome print resolution tops out at a respectable 1200 dpi, and the printer supports media sizes ranging from 3” x 5” to 8.5” x 14”.
- Small footprint
- Fast setup
- High cost of consumables
- No duplexer
The Samsung Xpress M2020W has an easy, 3-step connection process that allows users the most flexible print options of any other brand in its category. The toner cartridge has a 1,000 page print capacity, making this printer ideal for low-volume users.
10. Hp Officejet 3830 All-in-One Wireless Printer
- Hp Officejet 3830
- Power cord (USB cord NOT included)
- Setup poster
- HP 63 Setup Ink (Black and Tricolor)
The symbolic founder of Silicon Valley, HP rolled out its first line of printers in 1984. Since then, it continues to be an innovator in low-cost all-in-one printers. The Officejet 3830 is an entry-level installment to their inkjet line, and offers premium print results on a college budget.
The Hp Officejet 3830 costs about as much as two weeks worth of lattes. It uses HP 63 cartridges in standard and high-yield options.
College students can save time and money on ink with Instant Ink. Hp’s monthly subscription service monitors levels and automatically ships new cartridges when ink is running low.
Easy to set up right out of the box, the Hp Officejet 3830 offers a wide range of connectivity options well suited for college life.
- Wireless Direct- print without using a network
- AirPrint- print directly from any Apple device
- HP ePrint- mobile app that allows printing from any smartphone or tablet
The Officejet 3830 is 17 inches wide and weighs about 12 pounds. The sleek black design fits neatly on bookshelves and desk corners without sticking out.
Though lightweight, it has all the features of a full-size all-in-one, including an auto document feeder and 2.2 inch touchscreen.
- Borderless printing
- 1200 dpi resolution
- Scan to email not available
- No separate photo tray
- Print from USB not available
The Officejet 3830 is a low-cost, low-volume inkjet printer designed to fit the unique demands of university life. HP’s high-yield black ink cartridge has a 480 page output rating, making it ideal for term papers and dissertations.
That, coupled with the convenience of wireless printing and a compact design make the Officejet 3830 a strong choice in the best Hp printer for college student category.
Factors to Consider When Buying Printers For College Students
Budget is always a top consideration when shopping for printers, and this is especially true for college students. The type and frequency of printing will impact the overall operating costs, so it is important to evaluate individual needs and chose a printer well suited to meet those needs.
A good budget printer for college students will have a low upfront price and low cost consumables.
In a perfect world, ink would never run out and drums would last forever. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and both will need to be replaced.
A low sticker price doesn’t always mean an affordable printer, so it is important to research print capacity and price.
A student with high-volume print needs will benefit most from a printer with high-yield ink options. Some printers qualify for subscription plans that automatically ship out new cartridges when ink is running low.
These membership programs can reduce the cost of consumables by as much as 50%.
Color printers for college students have two primary ink options- tank and cartridge. Understanding both and weighing them against print needs will help determine which printer is best suited for the task and the budget.
- Stores liquid ink in individual compartments onboard the printer
- Refills come in pourable bottles
- 4 separate color compartments
- No ink waste- replace individual colors when needed
- Disposable capsules snap into fitted slots on the printhead
- 2-color systems have separate cartridges for black and color
- 4-color systems have separate cartridges for black, cyan, yellow and magenta
- Less ink waste with 4-color system
Color, resolution and print speed vary from printer to printer.
A student majoring in photography may require a color printer with professional-quality resolution and photocentric features like borderless printing and multiple size input trays.
In cases like this, a color inkjet printer is the best option. Journalism majors may have little use for color printing, but require high volumes at quick speeds.
Monochrome laser printers use a single toner cartridge to print text and graphics in black ink. These printers are lean on features but fast on turnaround.
Most students will need to print, copy or scan something several times during a semester, and limited public access can create a deadline nightmare. A quality all in one printer for college students has a compact design that fits neatly into the limited space of a dorm room desk, offers wireless connectivity options and won’t break the bank.
Printers For College Students FAQ
Public vs Personal Computer Printer for College Student
A personal printer is a convenience that, at times, borders on necessity. Libraries and cafes require transportation to and from, and have set hours and fee schedules. This can be costly, time-consuming and especially frustrating when there are long lines.
Will it fit?
The average size of a college dorm room is 228 square feet. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for bulky office equipment.
Fortunately, compact all in one printers weigh less than 15 pounds and require minimal space to operate.
Wireless printers only require a power outlet and WiFi to operate, so it can be tucked in a corner and slid under the bed.
How to Reduce Ink Costs
The most economical printers have separate color ports, so colors are replaced individually and only when needed. Look for printers that offer monthly subscriptions. These memberships are optional, but can save up to 50% on ink costs.
What are the different types of connections?
Universal Serial Bus (USB) connects the printer directly to the computer using a standard USB cable. Because a USB is bidirectional, the printer is able to send data back to the computer.
Hardwired connection designed for use with a local area network (LAN.) The accompanying print server allows other networked computers to connect directly to the printer.
Offers the same function as Ethernet connections, but without the physical network jack.
Users connect to the printer via WiFi, which is ideal for college dorm rooms because it does not require additional wiring.
For high volume, monochrome printing, the Brother HL-L2350DW is the fastest and most affordable option for college students. It kicks out 32 black and white pages a minute and the high-yield toner has a 3,000 page print capacity.
When it comes to high-quality color printing, the Epson EcoTank ET-2720 offers the most features at the most economical price point. The cartridge-free tank system has an amazing 7,500 page color yield and the printer comes with a full set of ink bottles