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Best Printers for College Students of 2020 [Buying Guide]

As a college student, you probably have plenty of assignments and projects to work on, many of which will need to be printed out. And while using the printers on campus is a good option, it’s not always efficient as the quality may not be the best, and the wait is most probably too long with all the students rushing to print their work.
That’s why having a printer for college is a lot more convenient. It saves you time and effort, and even money if you know how to save up on consumables. If you’re wondering which options on the market would make the best printers for college students, check out this list I’ve cooked up for you.

List of The Top 7 Printers For College Students:

  • Canon Pixma MG3620 – Best Overall
  • Brother MFC-J995DW – Runner-up
  • Epson EcoTank ET-2760 – Best Entry-Level Printer
  • Canon MF644Cdw – Best Laser Printer
  • Epson WorkForce ET-3750 – Most Affordable Running Costs
  • Canon TS8220 – Best Photo Printer
  • Canon TS5320 – Most Compact Design

Comparison Table

PrinterPriceTypeSpeed (Black)ResolutionPaper Capacity
Canon Pixma MG3620CHECK PRICEInkjet9.9 PPM4800 x 1200 DPI100 sheets
Brother MFC-J995DWCHECK PRICEInkjet12 PPM6000 x 1200 DPI150 sheets (+20 ADF)
Epson EcoTank ET-2760CHECK PRICEInkjet10.5 PPM5760 x 1440 DPI100 sheets
Canon MF644CdwCHECK PRICELaser22 PPM600 x 600 DPI250 sheets
Canon TS8220CHECK PRICEInkjet15 PPM4800 x 1200 DPI200 sheets
Epson WorkForce ET-3750CHECK PRICEInkjet15 PPM4800 x 1200 DPI150 sheets (+30 ADF)
Canon TS5320CHECK PRICEInkjet13 PPM4800 x 1200 DPI200 sheets

The 7 Best Printers for College Students in 2020

Now that we’ve given you a technical overview of the best printers for college students, let’s go further into their details.

1. Canon Pixma MG3620 – Best Overall

Canon Pixma MG3620

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The best printer for college students overall would definitely be the Canon Pixma MG3620. With its 4800 x 1200 DPI resolution and 9.9 PPM speed, you get a good enough printer designed for student use.

Though it comes with two ink cartridges, a black ink and a color one, it’s not the most cost-efficient when it comes to consumable; the Pixma MG3620 can print 8.5 x 14″ documents and does borderless printing up to 8.5 x 11″ in size.

Its prints are so sharp and accurate thanks to the FINE (Full-photolithography Inkjet Nozzle Engineering) technology that creates 2 pL ink droplets.

It’s an all-in-one unit, which means that you’ll be able to print, copy, and scan, thanks to the flatbed with the 2400 x 1200 DPI optical resolution that can accommodate 8.5 x 11.7” documents.

As for connectivity, the Pixma MG3620 comes with a USB 2.0 port, Wi-Fi connectivity to enable you to print from Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, and Mopria, as well as wireless PictBridge for connection with compatible cameras.

Moreover, the printer offers a quiet mode that allows you to make silent prints without disturbing anyone around you – a handy addition for a printer for college students.

Pros:

  • Quick graphics and color printing
  • Fast scanning speeds
  • Two-sided printing with the duplexer

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have a document feeder or photo paper tray
  • No LCD display

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for one of the best printers for college students, you can’t go wrong with Canon Pixma MG3620. It boasts excellent print quality, speed, and a decent range of connectivity options.

2. Brother MFC-J995DW – Runner-up

Brother MFC-J995DW

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Out of the box, the Brother MFC-J995DW comes with enough juice in its ink system to last you up to a year. And when it claims to be an all-in-one printer, it really means it, with the ability to print, scan, copy, and even fax.

Its printing resolution is an astounding 6000 x 1200 DPI, making it truly stand out from the crowd, while the printing speed is 12 PPM for black printing and 10 PPM for color. It can produce pretty sharp and crisp documents as large as 8.5 x 14”.

Its scanning resolution reaches 2400 x 1400 DPI with the flatbed or 600 x 1200 DPI using the ADF. However, its input tray is a little limited at 150 sheets, and even with the expandability of 20 sheets using the ADF, it’s still one of the lowest numbers on the market.

In terms of connectivity options, this Brother printer leaves nothing out. It comes with NFC, RJ45, USB Type-B ports, as well as Wi-Fi connectivity. Additionally, it enables you to print from Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Mopria, and Wi-Fi Direct.

Pros:

  • Decent output quality
  • Good printing speed
  • Easy to use panel
  • Supports SD cards and thumb drives
  • Equipped with a 20-sheet ADF

Cons:

  • Low input and output capacities
  • ADF doesn’t have auto-duplexing

Bottom Line

The Brother MFC-J995DW is super easy to set up and use, produces high-quality output, and can even work as a photo printer. Though it doesn’t have the lowest upfront price, it’s definitely a worthy investment.

3. Epson EcoTank ET-2760 – Best Entry-Level Printer

Epson EcoTank ET-2760

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There’s no need to go all out on printers if you’re going to use yours for college, and that’s where the Epson ET-2760 comes into play.

While it may seem pricey at first glance, this all-in-one printer has one of the lowest cost per page rates, as little as 1 cent for each color page, which is super low given that the standard is around 15 to 20 cents.

Not only that, but the ET-2760’s package includes enough ink for printing 7500 black prints and 6000 color ones. The printer’s quality is impressive at 5760 x 1440 DPI, and it’s able to print black pages at 10.5 PPM speed and 5 PPM in color.

Its color prints are particularly good thanks to the four-color configuration that produces sharp and accurate output. And while its paper handling isn’t the most capacious with just 100 sheets, it can print media up to 8.5 x 47.2” in size, which beats all the other options.

With the ET-2760, you can print, copy, and scan thanks to the 8.5 x 11.7″ flatbed with 2400 DPI optical resolution. With the 1.44″ color LCD screen, the printer is easy to set up, and you can check and manage all the processes and the operation of the device.

As for the connectivity options, the ET-2760 comes with a high-speed USB 2.0 port, wireless connection with Wi-Fi, a memory slot for SD, HC, and HX, as well as miniSD, and Wi-Fi Direct, making its printing capabilities and wireless printing complete.

Pros:

  • Top-notch print quality
  • Running costs are very cheap
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Two-sided printing

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have an ADF
  • No Ethernet port

Bottom Line

If you want to save money in the long run and want to get a little taste of everything, this all-in-one wireless inkjet printer is one of the best decisions you can make.

4. Canon MF644Cdw – Best Laser Printer

Canon MF644Cdw

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The Canon MF644Cdw is the best laser printer for a college student, and it’s the only one on the list. It’s an all-in-one unit that enables you to print, scan, copy, and fax. It’s ideal for high-volume printing; in fact, it even suits small and medium-sized businesses.

Since it’s a laser printer, its strong suit is speed, and it excels in that area with the ability to print 22 PPM of 8.5 x 11″ paper and 17.9 PPM of 8.5 x 14″ paper. However, the trade-off here would be the prints’ quality as the Canon MF644Cdw’s print quality is 600 x 600 DPI. So, although it’s a color laser printer, it’s better for high-volume, monochrome text output.

The printer is equipped with a 250-sheet paper cassette that can handle the 20-pound bond paper. And if you want to expand it a little, you can use the additional stack bypass tray, which holds 50 sheets, making the total a good 300.

With two-sided printing with the single-pass ADF (automatic document feeder), you’ll be able to reduce your paper consumption and consequently save a little on consumables. Still, laser printing is costly if you’ll be printing in color, so you should bear that in mind.

The Canon MF644Cdw comes with a 5” color touchscreen with an intuitive UI through which you can control its various functions and manage processes. Being Energy Star-certified means that you’ll be saving a lot on consumption – something that any college student needs.

Finally, the printer comes with plenty of connectivity options, including the Canon Print Business app, Apple AirPrint (on specific iOS devices), Mopria Print Service for Android, and Google Cloud Print for Chrome-based devices. This means you get Ethernet, Wi-Fi, USB 2.0, and Wi-Fi Direct.

Pros:

  • Equipped with an ADF
  • Supports USB thumb drives
  • Intuitive UI
  • Robust security
  • High printing speeds

Cons:

  • Not the best print quality
  • Costly consumables

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a laser printer for college, your best bet is the Canon MF644Cdw. It’s fast, provides plenty of connectivity options, and is capable of high-volume printing.

5. Epson WorkForce ET-3750 – Most Affordable Running Costs

Epson WorkForce ET-3750

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Every penny counts when you’re on campus, and that’s why the Epson WorkForce ET-3750 is an excellent choice for college students. Though its upfront price isn’t the lowest, its running costs save you a whole lot.

That’s especially true if you stick to black and white printing. Despite being a color printer, its monochrome text documents are where it truly excels. Generally, its print quality is a solid 4800 x 1200 DPI, and it prints at a 15 PPM rate for black printing and 8 PPM rate for color printing.

This wireless, all-in-one printer can work with documents up to 8.5 x 14” and even borderless prints up to 8.5 x 11.7”.

The Epson WorkForce ET-3750 comes with USB 2.0 connectivity, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi as basic connectivity options. Additionally, you can also use Wi-Fi Direct, Epson iPrint, Remote Print, Email Print, Apple AirPrint, Scan to Cloud, Google Cloud Print, Fire OS, Mopria, or Android Printing. So, in terms of connectivity, it’s quite extensive.

Pros:

  • Replacement ink doesn’t cost much
  • Includes two sets of ink bottles
  • Excellent graphics output
  • Sharp text printing
  • Extensive connectivity options

Cons:

  • The hefty upfront price tag
  • The display isn’t a touchscreen
  • Photo printing isn’t the best

Bottom Line

If you’re a college student looking for the sharpest-looking texts on your assignment papers and the most affordable running costs, I’d highly recommend the Epson WorkForce ET-3750.

Check also: The 5 Best Printers for Teachers for 2020

6. Canon TS8220 – Best Photo Printer

Canon TS8220

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The Canon TS8220 comes with a bold and edgy design, but its beauty is definitely more than skin-deep. With 6 ink tanks, dye-based color ones, and pigment-based black ones, the Canon TS8220 can produce an amazing quality of prints, reaching an incredible 4800 x 1200 DPI resolution.

The Canon TS8220 is especially incredible for photo printing, so if you’re looking for one of the best printers for college students in the art department, it’s one of the top choices you can consider.

This printer’s front paper tray can handle 100 plain paper sheets or 20 sheets of a size 4 x 6″, or even 10 sheets of photo paper of size 5 x 7″.

As for connectivity options, the Canon TS8220 comes with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. It’s also equipped with a built-in SD card slot, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and an automated If This Then That option for operation.

A standby mode makes this printer easy to use and always ready to start a job without consuming too much power, while the 4.3” touchscreen makes controlling the printers’ operations and processes easy.

Finally, the fact that this is an all-in-one printer means that you can enjoy printing, scanning, and copying all the documents you need for your work.

Pros:

  • High-quality prints
  • Possible hands-free printing
  • Accurate colors through the 6-ink configuration
  • Dual input trays
  • Supports SD cards

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have NFC or Wi-Fi Direct connectivity
  • Doesn’t have an automatic document feeder
  • The cost per page is quite high

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a photo printer for college students, you should opt for the Canon TS8220. Its high-quality resolution with the 6 ink cartridges and versatile input tray makes it a highly functional option.

7. Canon TS5320 – Most Compact Design

Canon TS5320

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The Canon TS5320 helps you save money, time, and space. This is a wireless all-in-one printer that enables you to print, scan, and copy all your documents with no hassle.

The Canon TS5320 comes with a 4800 x 1200 DPI resolution and a decent speed of 13 PPM. It can print anything, including emails, documents, 8.5 x 14″ photos, and even borderless prints up to 8.5 x 11″.

Not to mention, the ChromaLife 100 inks preserve your prints for up to 100 years if you keep them in a photo album or 30 years if you keep them behind glass. If you’re looking for scans, this unit has an optical resolution of 1200 x 140 DPI to provide accurate and sharp scans or copies.

To handle papers, there’s a paper cassette that can accommodate 100 sheets and a rear one that can accommodate another 100.

As a college student, you’d make use of a printer with multiple connectivity options, and the Canon TS5320 comes with a decent selection of ports, including Bluetooth, USB Type-B, and Wi-Fi connections. It also enables you to print from Apple AirPrint, Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY, Google Cloud Print, Pictbridge, Wi-Fi Direction, and Mopria.

All of the printer’s processes can be controlled via the built-in 1.44” OLED screen with just a press of some buttons.

Pros:

  • Great print resolution
  • Lightweight design and compact
  • Auto-duplexing feature
  • Supports plenty of mobile devices
  • Letter-size borderless print
  • Home voice-activation

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have an ADF
  • Doesn’t support USB thumb drives or SD cards
  • The ink system isn’t very practical

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a compact all-in-one unit with wireless printing, the Canon TS5320 would be the ideal choice for you. Not only does it save space, but its running costs aren’t so high, so it saves money and time as well.

Choosing a Printer for College Students

If you’re going to get a printer for college, there are some critical factors that you have to consider to make the best out of it. Keep reading.

Inkjet vs. Laser Printers

When shopping for a printer, the first thing you have to ask yourself is how much you’re going to be printing. An inkjet printer uses ink cartridges that quickly dry on paper, while a laser printer uses toner cartridges, which are a sort of ink dust that bonds with the papers to give you quick results cost-effectively.

That’s why a laser printer is the better option if you’re going to be producing high-volume, black and white prints. In contrast, an inkjet printer is better if you’ll work with plenty of colors and different outputs like charts, glossy photos, essays, graphical representations, essays, pie charts, and similar.

Duty Cycle

If you want to avoid leaving your dorm room to do your printing, it only makes sense that you get a printer with a reliable duty cycle, which is the average number of pages per month the unit can print.

Connectivity Options

In our day and age, every printer comes with multiple connectivity options. The bare minimum would be Wi-Fi connectivity and cloud printing, but you should definitely seek out more options.

Look for USB connections to allow you to connect external hard drives or other types of devices and print from them directly, and the same goes for SD cards.

Moreover, Ethernet ports would also be handy for a wired connection to the internet. If you have Wi-Fi connectivity issues, an Ethernet connection could be a life-saver, but it’s not a major necessity for a dorm room printer. Also, check for Wi-Fi Direct and NFC connectivity.

Printing Resolution

Measured in dots per inch (DPI), this refers to the number of ink droplets applied to a square inch of paper during the printing process. Naturally, inkjet printers are the choice to go for if you’re looking for excellent print quality with accurate and vivid colors.

Printing Speed

Measured in pages per minute (PPM), the printing speed is an important factor when choosing a printer, but it’s not crucial if you’re getting a printer for college because you’d probably be using it on your own. You should still make sure that you get a printer capable of printing around 15 to 20 pages per minute for black and white or 10 to 15 for color printing.

Printing Costs

You have to consider not only the price of your print but also the price you’ll pay for its consumables, including the price of cartridges, paper, and maintenance.

A monochrome laser printer would be the most cost-efficient, having the lowest cost per page. However, if you’re going to print in color, you should opt for an inkjet printer; not only because they offer better color quality, but also because laser printers would cost a fortune for color printing.

Generally, a print with black ink should cost around 4 cents, while a color print should cost around 8 cents per print.

Final Thoughts

Now that our reviews for the best printers for college students are over, I hope you’ve settled down on the one that suits you the most. If you’re still wondering, here’s a quick recap.

If you’re looking for one of the best printers overall, you should go for the Canon Pixma MG3620. Its speed, resolution, and overall performance leave none of your needs unmet.

However, if you’re looking for higher volume prints, you should opt for the Brother MFC-J995DW because it’s faster and has a higher paper capacity that’s even expandable thanks to the ADF.
Finally, if the quality isn’t your concern and you just want the fastest of printers, you should opt for the monochrome laser printer, the Canon MF644Cdw.

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