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Wednesday, 16 May 2012

4 Of The Best Printers For Connecting To A Wireless Network

wireless printersUp until a few years ago, a small home printer had to be attached directly to the computer it was servicing. Or, if you had several computers, it had to be attached to at least one of them, and that computer had to be sharing it for others to be able to use it. Thanks to the modern wonder of Wi-Fi, this is no longer the case. Many inexpensive printers don't have to be connected to anything these days, except for power of course.

These smart wireless printers can connect to your home or small office wireless network, and process print requests from any computer on the network. Heck, if you don't print often, you could even hook one of these up in a storage closet and forget about it until it's time to print something.

The printers I will be sharing below are not for heavy office use, and are not all brand-new. Instead, I've tried to find printers that would work for typical home or small office use, have wireless functionality, and are solid printers in other respects (including ink cost).

Kodak Office Hero 6.1

wireless printers

At $200, the Kodak Office Hero 6.1 wireless printer has several compelling features. Not only is it wireless, but it also supports Google Cloud Print letting you send print jobs from your Android phone or tablet. With a 18.9" by 17" footprint, the Office Hero is not a compact printer, but you do get a lot for the space you sacrifice.

It has a built-in scanner capable of scanning multiple photos at once and outputting a separate file for each photo. That same scanner also supports automatic duplexing, meaning it can scan both sides of a piece of paper automatically.

Epson Artisan 725

best wireless printers

Like the Office Hero, the Epson Artisan 725 retails for $200. It even has a similar desk footprint, 18" by 17.56". It features what Epson calls "PC-free printing," and supports Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB, and PictBridge. It has a built-in card reader that supports every well-known format, including SD (MicroSD), MMC, CompactFlash, and Memory Stick.

The Artisan 725 shines in one important aspect, which is ink costs. Its black cartridge retails for $17.09 and yields 520 pages, which works out to 3.3 cents per page – a decidedly competitive rate. I won't bore you with color cartridge costs, but printing a full-color page costs 9.4 cents – again, an inexpensive rate.

Also (and this is entirely subjective), I must say the Epson looks lovely. It like its low profile and flat-looking top.

Canon Pixma MG5320

best wireless printers

The MG5320 is part of Canon's Pixma line of printers, focused on printing photos. But make no mistake. This printer produces crisp-looking text at a respectable 7.7 pages per minute. At $150, the MG5320 is noticeably cheaper than the two models shown above. Like them, it supports Wi-Fi connectivity, and is a combined device including a fax and scanner.

Both the Pixma's intake tray and output paper tray fold neatly into the printer body, making it compact and helping to protect its innards from dust. This is a particularly valuable feature for home and small office environments where you don't use the printer all that much, and it ends up picking up lots of dust. Its output tray holds fifty pages, and pops open on its own as soon as you send something to print.

Epson Workforce Pro WP-4020

wireless printers

The boxiest-looking of the lot, Epson's Workforce Pro WP-4020 looks like a printer aimed at small workgroups, except for the price. At an MSRP of $150, the Workforce Pro 4020 costs just like the more svelte Canon Pixma MG5320, and offers stunningly low printing costs. A black page would run you 1.6 cents, and a four-color page costs 7.6 cents. The starter cartridge lasts for some 900 pages – this is obviously a printer for higher-volume printing.

Not a departmental laser printer, but not too shabby either. If you print quite a bit and want easy Wi-Fi functionality, the Epson Workforce Pro WP-4020 might be just the ticket.

Your Own Choice?

With so many options to choose from, picking four excellent wireless printers for this roundup was not easy. Did I miss a printer you've tried and liked? Is one of these printers actually horrible? Let me know below!

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