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5 Best Printers for College Students of 2020 [Buying Guide]

Printers are becoming more and more essential in our day-to-day life; however, for university students, they are all the more critical. All college students need a printer for college because it is safer to have a printer at home than having to search for a printer in a library right before the deadline.

You need to make sure you are buying the right printer for your needs. For example, know whether you need to print in black only or colors and whether you’re going to print pictures or just documents.

Do not panic because this is a straightforward process. Also, since we know that you are probably trying to finish a project before its deadline, we decided to compile a list of the best printers for college students so that we can save you some time.

List of The Best Printers For College Students:

  • Canon Pixma iP110 – Best Overall
  • Brother Monochrome Laser Printer, HL-L5200DW – Runner Up
  • Brother MFC-J880DW – Three-In-One Device
  • Epson WorkForce ET-3750 – Saves Up To 80% on Ink Cartridges
  • Canon Pixma MG3620 – Most Affordable

Our Top Picks:

Printer PriceWeight Printing Speed Printing ResolutionColor output Ink Type 
Canon Pixma iP110 CHECK PRICE 4.3 lbs.
20 ppm in black / 14 ppm in colour9600 x 2400 dpi5 coloursinkjet
Brother Monochrome Laser Printer, HL-L5200DWCHECK PRICE 23.5 lbs.
42 ppm1200 x 1200 dpiBlack only Laser 
Brother MFC-J880DWCHECK PRICE 16.8 lbs
10 ppm6000 x 1200 dpiBlack and colour Inkjet 
Epson WorkForce ET-3750CHECK PRICE 14.8 lbs
15 ppm Black / 8 ppm Color
4800 x 1200 dpiBlack and color Inkjet 
Canon Pixma MG3620CHECK PRICE 11.9 lbs
6.4 ppm4800 x 1200 dpi
Black and colour Inkjet 

The 5 Best Printers for College Students in 2020

1. Canon Pixma iP110 – Best Overall

Canon Pixma iP110


Despite being small and lightweight, it handles the whole printing process significantly. Also, its small size allows its owner to throw it in any laptop bag or a backpack. Moreover, it is an excellent option if you need a portable printer because it is lightweight and has an optional battery so that you can use it on the road more conveniently.

It connects wirelessly from some cloud services with the help of the Canon PRINT app. You can also use free PPS app to print wirelessly from select online cloud services with your mobile device. Apple users, here are some news. This printer also offers the convenience of AirPrint. Moreover, its Easy PhotoPrint+ feature allows you to print and edit your photos from any place that has internet access.

Its auto sheet feeder accommodates up to 50 pages. You can use this printer to print your regular or business documents, or your photos with 9600 x 2400 maximum color dpi, which means that they are produced with high resolution with great detail.

However, it doesn’t offer a scanning or copying option, which could be a bummer to some people. Also, whenever you replace its ink, you will have to pay a relatively huge sum of money. You should definitely consider this if you’re on a tight budget.

In case you need a printer that prints quickly, you won’t like Canon Pixma iP110’s speed as it is slower than its fellow printers. It is also hard to set up.

  • Portable
  • Compatible with Apple devices
  • Wirelessly prints from cloud services
  • High quality
  • Impressive resolution
  • Prints documents and photos
  • Slow
  • Hard to set up
  • No scanning/copying
  • Expensive replacement ink

Bottom Line

We can say that Canon Pixma iP110 is the best printer for dorms thanks to its compact size and portability. It is also impressive given that it prints photos and documents in excellent quality. However, it is slow and hard to set up, so keep that in mind.

2. Brother Monochrome Laser Printer, HL-L5200DW – Runner Up

Brother Monochrome Laser Printer


If you are a college student, there is a high chance you submit your tasks right before the deadline, right. It is nothing to be ashamed of anyway. We have all been there. If this is usually the case with you, then you have probably experienced the nightmare of the printer running out of ink amid these stressful last moments at least once.

With Brother Monochrome Laser Printer, HL-L5200DW, this won’t be a problem anymore! It has an automatic replenishment system that supplies the printer with ink once it is low on ink. That way, it never ever runs out of ink, so you are always safe. Moreover, it has a high printing speed of up to 42 ppm, and it features a two-sided printing technology. To sum up, this babe is your savior whenever you are late on delivering projects.

It has an adjustable 250-sheet capacity paper tray that can hold up to 1340 sheets with the optional add-on trays. Moneywise, its high-yield 8,000-page cartridge reduces the price you would pay for each page.

Regarding connectivity, it can print wirelessly or with an Ethernet port. You can also print with mobile devices via Apple, Google Cloud Print, Brother iPrint & Scan, Wi-Fi Direct, etc. It also has a lot of safety features that prevent unauthorized devices from accessing the printer.

Sadly, the printing quality (1200 x 1200 dpi) is not as excellent as you would want it to be, and it prints in black only. Yet, it is still a superb printer for printing texts and not photos.

  • Fast
  • High-yield toner
  • Never runs out of ink
  • High paper capacity
  • Heavy
  • Prints in black only
  • Not good with printing photos
  • Does not copy or scan

Bottom Line

This is the printer that is going to save your life if you are usually wrestling with deadlines. It never runs out of ink, and it is speedy. However, it’s not portable, and it prints in black only.

3. Brother MFC-J880DW – Three-In-One Device

Brother MFC-J880DW


Do you need a printer, a scanner, a fax machine, and a copier but don’t have enough money for all of them? Brother MFC-J880DW is a magical device that provides you with all of this at a very affordable price.

As a fax machine, a scanner, and a printer, you can use black and white or colors. You can scan directly to Google Drive, Dropbox, Facebook, Box, Onenote, and more.

As a printer, this device has an automatic document feeder system and enables you to print on both sides, saving you a lot of time. Moreover, if you are worried that the printer might run out of ink right before the deadline, you do not have to worry at all, given that this babe is Amazon Dash enabled. What does this mean? It means that it provides you with the option to reorder supplies automatically.

With its mobile and cloud-based connectivity, you can easily print and scan. Also, its NFC “touch to connect,” Brother iPrint&Scan, and AirPrint adds convenience. To put your mind more at ease, it has a two-year limited warranty and phone support that is free for as long as you live.

However, it scans a bit slowly, and the photo quality is not that good.

  • Two-year warranty
  • Free Phone Support for a lifetime
  • Prints, scans, copies, and faxes
  • Compatible with various cloud services and apps
  • Amazon Dash enabled
  • Easy to set up
  • Scanning is a bit slow
  • Low-quality photo printing

Bottom Line

Brother MFC-J880DW is a great multifunctional device that offers all of its services at a low price. It is also great for its compatibility with many cloud services and its Amazon Dash feature.

4. Epson WorkForce ET-3750 – Saves Up To 80% on Ink Cartridges

Epson WorkForce ET-3750


If you are fed up with running out of ink and having to pay more money to replace the empty cartridges, Epson WorkForce ET-3750 will save you from this hectic process.

It comes with ink that would last for up to two years. This translates to being able to print about 14,000 pages in black and 11,200 in color. To sum up, this device comes with about 30 sets of ink cartridges.

When you run out of ink, you will still save up to 80% on ink with its low-cost replacement bottles. Moreover, it is effortless to refill thanks to its super-large ink tanks.

It is pretty efficient as it has a 30-sheet auto document feeder and can print on both sides with an impressive speed of 15 ppm in black and 8 ppm in color. It is also versatile for it has a 150-sheet paper capacity, borderless printing up to 8.5″ x 11″, and can print, copy and scan.

Regarding its connectivity, you can directly connect it to your computer with a USB, and you can also connect it to your network wirelessly via Wi-Fi or via an Ethernet cable.

All of these attractive features do not compromise the printing quality, given that it can print with a resolution of 4800 x 1200 dpi.

However, there have been many reports saying that the papers jam a lot, and the scan function does not always work in the right way.

  • Prints, copies, and scans
  • Saves up to 80% on ink cartridges
  • Prints on both sides
  • Quick
  • Paper may jam
  • The scan function is not the best
  • Expensive

Bottom Line

This is an excellent printer if you are mainly looking for a printer that would not require tons of ink cartridges. It is also nice that it can scan and copy.

5. Canon Pixma MG3620 – Most Affordable

Canon Pixma MG3620


You can get this printer if you are looking for a compact printer that does not only print but also copies and scans. Its small size is a great plus if you do not have a lot of space, which is usually the case in dorms.

Moreover, it can print photos as great as documents with 4800 x 1200 dpi, and scans and copies with an optical resolution of 2400 x 1200 dpi. So, you will always enjoy its impressive quality. The color dots per inch allows it to print, scan, and copy with dreamlike quality and detail.

With the ability to use AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, NFC, Mopria, and Canon Print, wireless printing is a piece of cake.

The downside is that it is a bit loud, so your roommate won’t like it. Also, its set up is a bit difficult, and the printing process is a bit slow.

  • Affordable
  • Compact size
  • Prints, scans, and copies
  • High-yield ink cartridges
  • Wireless connection
  • Slow
  • Set-up is difficult
  • Noisy

Bottom Line

This is a good option if you are looking for a small printer that delivers documents and photos with excellent quality. It is also great given that it is a three-in-one printer as it scans and copies as well.

Check also: The 5 Best Printers for Teachers for 2020

How Can College Students Pick a Printer

1. Print Quality

The quality you want depends on your needs. For example, you might need a printer that prints bright pictures with vivid colors or a printer that prints sharp images. In the first case, you must go for a professional photo inkjet printer, while in the other case, it is better if you get a laser printer.

2. Print Speed and Volume

If you need a printer with high speed, buy a laser printer because it usually prints between 15 to 100 pages a minute. However, inkjet printers are slower as they print about 16 pages per minute. Logically, printers of higher speed print more volume in less time.

3. Black or Color

Depending on what you are going to print, you might need your printer to print in black or in colors as well. You must notice this point early on because it would be a bummer if you get a printer and discover later that it does not print in color.

4. Pictures or Documents

Not all printers can handle printing photos. So, if there is a slight chance that you might need to print pictures, get a printer that knows how to do that.

5. Space

Check the dimensions of the printer before buying it to make sure that you have a space to fit it in, especially if you live in a dorm.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do College Students Need Printers?

Oh, yes, they sure do! A college student needs to use a printer at least twice every week. Knowing how hectic the projects and deadlines are, having a printer at hand may lessen the stress a bit. You won’t have to worry about not finding a suitable printer at the library or about not having time to pass by the place where a printer exists. It is also cheaper.

Is It Better If I Get an Inkjet or a Laser Printer?

An inkjet printer is smaller and, therefore, better suited for people who do not have much space to accommodate the printer. It can also accept larger paper sizes and can print on various types of paper. You can use it if you want to print high-quality photos and if you do not want to waste your time warming it up.

On the other hand, laser printers are faster, and they can print high volumes on a single cartridge. However, they are not suitable for complex images.

What Printer Has Ink Cartridges That Lasts For Longer?

The lifetime of an inkjet cartridge is usually 3 years, whereas that of a laser is five years. The toners of a laser printer last longer than those of an inkjet printer.

Final Thoughts

After reading our review of the best printers for college students, we like to think that you have managed to decide on one of them. If you are still a little confused, we will help you further by summing up.

If you are looking for a compact printer because you do not have much space, get Canon Pixma iP110 or Canon Pixma MG3620. However, we recommend you get Canon Pixma MG3620 if you are living alone because it is a bit noisy, but if you need a scan and copy function, this would be your only choice.

In case you have enough space, and you need a printer that can print, scan and copy, you can pretty much choose anyone from the above list except for Brother Monochrome Laser Printer, HL-L5200DW, and Canon Pixma iP110.

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