Inexpensive printers often have a big problem

Anyone looking for a printer is often faced with many questions. Black and white or color? Texts or images? Ink or laser? When it comes to making the right choice, a number of features are crucial. Stiftung Warentest shows which ones.

A good printer does not have to be expensive. Inexpensive devices with a good range of functions are available for as little as 100 euros. In the long run, however, such printers have a catch, as Stiftung Warentest found out. Because inexpensive printers often cause higher printing costs.

Find the right printer

According to Stiftung Warentest, anyone who wants to get a printer should think about a few basic things before buying: If you mainly print photos, you’d better go for an inkjet printer. Those who mainly print texts are better off with a laser printer. If you use it infrequently, it is less susceptible to faults, but it is clunkier. The following questions are also important: Should the device also be able to scan and copy? And: Are printouts in black and white sufficient or do they have to be in color?

We have summarized which advantages and disadvantages the different printer types have for you in our printer buying guide:

Laser or inkjet? Find the right printer

The best printers according to Stiftung Warentest

Stiftung Warentest looked at a total of 20 current printers from manufacturers such as Brother, Canon, Epson, HP, Lexmark and Ricoh. On balance, two models from HP and Canon scored best. Both are laser printers, which is not surprising. After all, these models generate the lower follow-up costs in the long term.

Stiftung Warentest awarded the best grade of 2.0 in the study to the black-and-white HP Neverstop Laser 1001nw printer for 274 euros. Among the color printers, the HP Color Laserjet Pro M454dw for 385 Euros was the winner. It received the mark 2,4.

If you’re looking for a combination device, the best choice is the Canon Pixma G7050 for 430 euros. With a score of 2.3, the color combination printer scores best in its category in Stiftung Warentest’s test. The experts were particularly impressed by the low printing costs of just 0.3 cents per page, which come from refillable ink tanks. Among the black/white combination devices, the Canon i-Sensys MF445dw for 440 euros was the most convincing. Stiftung Warentest gave it a rating of 2.5. The second-placed color combination device, the Canon Pixma TS9550, also received the same grade. The inkjet printer primarily attracted attention due to its versatility in terms of connection options. On the other hand, HP’s OfficeJet 8012 only scored “satisfactory” (2.8). The Epson Expression Photo XP-970, which scored 2.6 “satisfactory” in the test, is particularly well suited for photo printing.

The cheapest printer in Stiftung Warentest’s test, which received the grade “good”, is the Canon Pixma TS705 color printer. On the other hand, supplier Ricoh was not convincing with its gel printers. The somewhat more viscous ink is supposed to combine the advantages of both worlds – laser and ink. However, only two of the 35 best devices that made it into Stiftung Warentest’s magazine were from Ricoh – both were only satisfactory overall (2.8).


  • Stiftung Warentest (accessed September 26, 2021, “Test” issue September 2021 with paywall).

With material from dpa