Top 5 printers for small businesses

Whatever the nature of your business, it is very rare that a week doesn’t go by when you need to use a printer. Thanks to all-in-one printers, that need may not always be to print a document or form, but simply to scan a document to attach the image to an email. In addition, with a small business, cash flow and running costs are always critical, so there is little point in spending thousands of dollars on something you only use a couple of times a week when that money could be better spent more directly on the business.

The truth is, you may not even need a full colour printer, though the price difference between entry-level colour printers and a good monochrome one is not significant. However, where you can save money is on ink cartridges, as black ink is less costly than colour ink.

Space is another aspect you have to take into consideration. If you have your own office, chances are you may be short on space, so the more compact the printer, the better. Some designs are more space saving than others. Don’t forget that most dimensions given for a printer don’t include the space you need to pull out the paper draw for when you need to refill it, or an extension to catch printed paper.

One aspect of printers today that is a huge plus for small businesses is the capacity to print remotely. If you are within a reasonable distance of the printer, you can print direct from a tablet or smartphone via a Bluetooth connection. However, you can print from the other side of the world if you have an internet-connected printer, usually via Wi-Fi. This is excellent for when you are away from the office, but maybe want someone in the office to get a physical copy of an image you need them to see. It can be a document you’ve photographed, or a picture you’ve taken with your smartphone. You can simply print via email and you need not come anywhere near your printer.

One final thing to take into consideration is running costs. A printer’s initial price may seem competitive, but if it guzzles ink, then over time it could turn out to be more costly than anticipated. Do some research and see what you can discover about cost per page for printing – this is always the best guide and you can usually find it out somewhere if you have the name and model number of the printer.

Below we’ve chosen five printers that we feel are well suited to the small business environment:

Epson EcoTank ET-4550

 The USP of this printer from Epson is the use of ink tanks as opposed to ink cartridges. This helps considerably to reduce the running costs and per-sheet cost of printing, and the tanks are simply replenished from larger individual ink bottles in black, cyan, magenta and yellow. This is an ideal home-office all-in-one printer which not only prints but has fax, scan and copying facilities included.

The printer should be supplied with enough ink for two years’ use, so that you don’t have any ongoing costs once the initial purchase has been made, and ink supplies are sufficient for 11,000 pages of black text, and 8,500 pages in colour.

Sample Review (verified purchase)

I am so happy with this printer. The quality of the prints is amazing, I have even printed photos for the first time ever and they came out perfectly. I can also print long articles quickly and economically for my Uni work. The features of being able to print double sided, use the document feeder to scan multiple pages, program different print qualities depending on what I am printing, all have me amazed. Overall I am extremely happy with the functionality and totally looking forward to never running out of ink in the middle of the night again, or having to spend so much on replacing ink cartridges. Yay for Epson.


2 years of ink included – you can print up to 11,000 pages in black2 and 8,500 pages in colour

Start in 3 easy steps: 1. Fill, 2. Set Up, 3. Print – without concern, week after week, month after month

Low-cost replacement ink bottles – and easily refillable ink tanks

Powered by PrecisionCore technology – delivers laser-quality black text

Epson Connect™ – easily print from iPad®, iPhone®, tablets and smartphones, includes Wi-Fi Direct® for router-free printing

Do more – auto 2-sided printing; plus a 30-page Auto Document feeder

Easy setup and menu navigation – 2.2″ Mono LCD

Load paper less often – 150-sheet paper capacity

One-touch copying – get high quality copies fast

Product Protection you can count on4 – two-year Return to Base Warranty with registration

Small size, great performance – save space at the home office

Easy – user friendly control panel buttons

Consumables: C13T774192, C13T664292, C13T664392, C13T664492.

Brother HL-L5100DN 

This is an excellent space-saving printer from Brother and for those in a rush, a printing speed of 42 pages per minute means this is no slouch. There is also a sensible amount of paper storage with a standard 250-page feeder tray, and a 50 sheet multipurpose tray for specialised media, which can be expanded to 1340 sheets with an optional feeder tray. The recommended monthly capacity is a remarkable 50,000 pages.

Wireless capability comes through the Ethernet and enables wireless connection to mobile devices so you can print direct from a smartphone or tablet, again adding to the time-saving design of this printer.

Sample Review: (expert)

With excellent speed and networking capabilities, the HL-L5100DN Monochrome Laser Printer from Brother is a versatile unit well-suited for use in a home or office. The printer will be able to work quickly and with precision with a 42 ppm print speed and a resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi. It can produce documents as large as 8.5 x 14″ and it will take less than 7.2 seconds for the first print out. Automatic duplex printing further enhances productivity and limits paper usage with its 2-sided output.


Fast, high-quality printing. With a print speed of up to 42 pages per minute, this printer is ideal for busy offices. Plus, it offers up to 1200 x 1200 dpi resolution for crisp, clear text and excellent graphics.

Built-in networking. Share the HL-L5100DN with multiple users on your network via its Ethernet interface.

Cost-efficient output. Help lower your operating costs via a high-yield 8,000-page replacement Brother toner cartridge.

Easily handle your large print jobs via an adjustable 250-sheet capacity paper tray and 50-sheet capacity multi-purpose tray. Additional optional paper trays are available in 250-sheet or 520-sheet capacities enabling users to configure the printer with multiple trays in a way that best meets their application requirements – up to 1,340-sheet total capacity.

Automatic two-sided printing. Use the duplex feature to produce professional brochures, documents and booklets. This feature can help save money and cut your paper usage by up to 50%.

Convenient mobile device printing. Print from your mobile device via‡: AirPrint™, Google Cloud Print™ 2.0, Mopria®, Brother iPrint&Scan, and Cortado Workplace

Advanced security features. Restrict unauthorized printing and help protect sensitive documents with a wide-range of security features including: Secure Print, Secure Function Lock, Enterprise Security (802.1x), IPSec, SSL/TLS and more.

Outstanding customer support. The Brother HL-L5100DN offers a 1-year limited warranty with free phone support for the life of your product.

Consumables:  TN3420, TN3440, DR3425

Canon imageCLASS MF229dw

As is common with a number of Brother printers, this is a swift machine which saves wasting considerable time. It is ready virtually instantly from sleep mode, and takes only 6 seconds to produce a first copy. Now that’s impressive. Once again we’ve got wireless connectivity enabling network access from mobile devices such as a smartphone or tablet, while minimal running costs are also a key feature of this printer.

Monochrome means that you can still scan in colour, but it will only print in black and white, or greyscale. This obviously saves on the cost of coloured ink or toner cartridges. This one operates with a toner cartridge which will further reduce per-copy costs. This is complemented by the duplex scanning and printing function which requires only one pass.

Sample review: (expert)

If you need a monochrome laser multifunction printer (MFP) with the ability to scan duplex (two-sided) documents, be sure to include the Canon imageClass MF229dw on your short list. It delivers speed and paper handling suitable for a small office, offers an easy-to-use, touch-screen control panel, and lets you copy or scan stacks of two-sided pages, courtesy of a duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF). For a micro office with moderate print needs, it could easily be the right fit.


High print resolution (27 ppm, 600 x 600 dpi / up to 1200 x 1200 dpi enhanced)

Convenient access to the front panel from a standing or seated position.

Auto duplex for easy double sided printing and copying via the Duplexing Auto Document Feeder

Easy set-up mode will search for access points to connect to – ensuring trouble free network connections.

50-page Duplex Automatic Document Feeder (DADF) for fast unattended copying and faxing.

Huge fax memory of up to 256 pages to ensure there are no lost message.

CCD scanning at 600 x 600 dpi (optical) and 9600 x 9600 dpi (interpolated)

All-in-one printer cartridge system meaning only 1 consumable to stock

(requires Wi-Fi connection)

Useful toner gauge function to confirm remaining toner quantity

Consumables: CART337

Samsung M2885FW 4-in-1 Multifunction Xpress

Samsung have produced a very competitively priced all-in-one printer, fax machine, copier and scanner in an eye-catching and impressive space-saving design. Advanced ReCP (Rendering Engine for Clean Pages) helps to ensure that you get crisp and clean prints and scanned copies. The large Samsung toner cartridge reduces risk of running out of ink at vital times, while also helping to reduce per-page printing costs.

Download the Samsung Mobile Print app for both iOS and Android platforms and you will be able to control the printer from your smartphone, enabling you to wirelessly use all four functions.

Sample Review (verified):

I just replaced my Epson XP-800 with this, and am very pleased with its performance thus far. This is a workhorse of a printer for those who want efficient and speedy printing of black-and-white documents.


Print, Scan, Copy, Fax

NFC, Mobile Print, WPS

600 MHz Processor

2-line LCD Operational Panel

128 MB Memory (Standard)

Interface (Standard) Hi-Speed USB 2.0 / Ethernet 10 / 100 Base TX / Wireless 802.11b/g/n

Power Consumption – 400 watts (Printing) / 50 watts (Standby) / * 1.6 watts (Power Save) * (Wi-Fi Direct on: 2.4 watts)

Dimension (WxDxH) 401 x 362 x 367 mm (15.8″ x 14.2″ x 14.4″)

Weight 11.3 kg (24.9 lbs)

Max. Monthly Duty Cycle 12,000 Pages

Print Speed (Mono) Up to 28 ppm in A4 (29 ppm in Letter)

First Print Out Time (Mono) Less than 8.5 seconds (From Ready Mode)

Resolution 4800 x 600 dpi effective

Windows 8 / 7 / Vista / XP / 2000 / 2008R2 / 2008 / 2003, Mac OS X 10.5 – 10.8, Various Linux

Consumables: MLT-D116S/SEE, MLT-D116L/SEE, MLT-R116/SEE

HP Colour LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw

Jet intelligence ensures that you get peak performance from this laser printer to minimise running costs, while speed of printing helps save considerable time. Both wired and wireless functionality means you can operate this printer remotely and print direct from mobile devices such as a smartphone or tablet. The all-in-one design saves on space in your office, which is usually at a premium, so in one workhorse you can print, scan, fax and copy documents on full colour or black and white.

At just over $500.00 this fits in well against stiff competition in this sector of the printer market, but with HP’s name for robust and reliable printers and other computer-associated hardware, you’re pretty well guaranteed trouble-free performance.

Sample Review:

Fuss-free setup and easy to use features. Fax worked for me via a splitter. Able to print via iPad, scan to USB. Duplex printing is a breeze. Still checking out all its capabilities though – would love to know how to automatically scan to both sides of the paper. Really small footprint to boot!


Accomplish more with your time

Create professional-quality color documents, and speed through tasks with super-fast two-sided printing.

Choose the MFP that’s the smallest in its class, and prints from sleep mode faster than comparable devices.

Access time-saving apps from the 3-inch (7.6 cm) touchscreen, and scan directly to email and the cloud.

Easily print Microsoft® Word and PowerPoint® documents—now directly from your USB drive.

Easy mobile printing options

Print to this MFP with just a touch of your NFC-enabled mobile device—no network needed.

Count on wireless direct printing in the office—from mobile devices—without accessing the company network.

Easily print from a variety of smartphones and tablets—generally no setup or apps required.

More. Pages, Performance, and Protection.

Get more pages than ever before—using Original HP High-Yield Color Toner cartridges with JetIntelligence.

Count on professional quality at high speeds—HP ColorSphere 3 toner works best with your HP printer.

Get the authentic HP quality you paid for with anti-fraud technology.

Print right away with preinstalled HP toner cartridges. Replace them with optional high-yield cartridges.

Meet every day IT challenges head-on

Safeguard data and easily manage devices with a suite of essential security and management features.

Easily access, print, and share resources with Ethernet and wireless networking.

Increase security, restore control, and help avoid additional expenses—with HP JetAdvantage Private Print.

Consumables: CF400A, CF401A, CF402A, CF403A, CF400X, CF401X, CF402X, CF403X