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best printers for college students

Best Printers for College Students

Zach Cabading
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Reading time: 11 minutes

Despite the digitization of practically everything, the Internet Age hasn’t entirely phased out the printed page. Although many students use their laptops to take notes, they often print out hard copies for studying. And most professors still require students to turn in a printed copy of their research papers and assignments. A printer is your best friend in college, capable of either causing or relieving you of great stress.
While these devices might seem like an extra financial or space-hogging burden, especially if you’re living in a dorm, they offer some serious benefits. There are lots of great printers that have just the right combo of capability and portability, while also falling within a college student’s budget. Let’s look at the best printers for college students, and also examine why you need one.
You can also find all you'll need for the school year, whether you're a student or teacher, on our HP Back to School Guide, featuring bundles and curated PC and accessory options picked for your specific education needs. For special discounts every day of up to 40% on tech for school, join the HP Education Store Program - no student ID is required!

Why should I get a printer for college?

Your term paper is due today. You pulled an all-nighter to pump out the last five pages and you did well. You’ve written an A-worthy paper. But you have ten minutes to spare before class starts.
Uh-oh. You’ve forgotten to print it out!
There’s already a long line of students waiting for the common room printer. Room 4C has a printer, but you’re not on good terms with them. Your friend in 2A has a printer, too, he’s not there.
So, you dash to the library - five minutes left! You’ve saved the paper to your email, so you find an open computer, log into your account, and click print. You run to the printer. You frantically insert your printing card.
Oops! Your printing card doesn’t have enough funds! You get everything sorted, print the paper, and dash to the professor’s office to submit the paper.
Unfortunately, your A paper is now a B because you turned it in ten minutes late.
Every student has been here. Just think, you could avoid the situation described by investing in your own printer which saves you time, stress, and even money.

Cost advantages of a personal printer

A personal printer can help streamline your academic to-dos so you’ll be able to devote more time and attention to your studies. Remember, a college education can cost you thousands of dollars. Buying a printer is an affordable way to protect your investment.
  • But you don’t have to lose out on the financial end. The right printer will actually save you lots of money in the long run. Here’s why: Most colleges require you to pay by the page. Costs can add up quickly.
  • Printers at your college library may have a limited number of printing options. For more advanced printing options you might have to go elsewhere and pay more money.
  • You’ll spend additional money if you drive to (or pay for transit to) facilities where you can print.
If you have roommates who would like to share the printer, you could always split the costs of the paper, ink, and even the printer itself.
Savings aside, don’t forget that a personal printer can give you something that no public printer can - privacy. If you want to print a private document or photos for your dorm room, it’s a bit awkward to do so where there are eyes peering over your shoulder.

What makes a printer good for college?

Here are the four ways we evaluated the best printers for college students:
Functions
Does it print fast? Does it print well? What else can it do besides printing? Scan? Copy? Is it durable?
Wireless capabilities
Modern college students have more than a pen and notebook in their arsenal. Most students nowadays also have laptops, tablets, and smartphones. A good college printer should have wireless connectivity with all those devices.
Size
Many college students live in dorm rooms or share tight spaces with other students, so a good college printer should be relatively small. It shouldn’t cause any border disputes between you and your roommates.
Budget
Most students have a tight budget. Buying a printer shouldn’t leave you begging for scraps at the dining commons.

HP printers with the best value

Here are the HP printers that’ll give you the most bang for your buck. These printers deliver the most printing options, at the best printing quality, for the cheapest prices.

HP DeskJet 3755 All-in-One Printer

HP DeskJet 3755 All-in-One Printer
The HP DeskJet 3755 all-in-one printer is fast enough for basic printing needs and it can still print color images at an impressive 4800 x 1200 resolution. Plus, it supports a variety of paper sizes.
As the name implies, you can carry out a variety of tasks with this one single printer.
  • Printing (1-sided and 2-sided)
  • Copying
  • Scanning
  • Color resolution: 4800 x 1200 dots per inch
  • Speed: 8 pages per minute (ppm) for black and white printing, 5 ppm for color printing
  • Supported paper sizes: Letter, legal, custom (from 3 x 5 inches to 8.5 x 11 inches), plus No.10 envelopes
This handy device also supports high yield ink cartridges - a major bonus if you’re trying to limit the number of trips to the local office supply store.
With a monthly duty cycle (the number of pages you can print without risking damage to the printer) of 1,000 pages, the HP DeskJet 3755 is a simple but versatile desktop printer.
The printer is also conveniently compatible with HP Instant Ink, another great way to save money.
Wireless capability
Enjoy wireless connectivity via HP ePrint. You can print documents or photos from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop as long as there’s a shared internet connection.
Size
The HP DeskJet 3755 is the world’s smallest all-in-one printer. It’s 15.9 inches wide and weighs only 5 pounds so it’s easy to move and doesn’t take up too much precious real estate in a cramped dorm room.
Budget
The HP DeskJet 3755 is priced right considering its variety of features and high-resolution color printing.

HP OfficeJet 8015e All-in-One Printer

HP OfficeJet 8015e All-in-One Printer
The HP OfficeJet 8015e All-in-One Printer has a nice design with elegant, rounded edges. Let’s delve into the important details:
  • Printing (1-sided and 2-sided)
  • Borderless Printing on photo paper only (up to 8.5 x 11 inches)
  • Copying
  • Scanning
  • Color resolution: up to 4800 x 1200 dots per inch
  • Speed: 18 ppm for black and white printing, 10 ppm for color printing
  • Supported paper pizes: Letter; Legal; Government Legal; Executive; Statement; 4 x 6 in; 5 x 7 in; 13 x 18 cm; 8 x 10 in; 10 x 15 cm; L; Photo 2L; Envelope (#10, Monarch, 5.5 bar); Card (4 x 6 in, 5 x 8 in)
This printer is built for photo printing with its borderless printing on photo paper capability as its key feature. You’ll be able to print professional-quality photos for a research paper, presentation, or for your dorm room walls at a high resolution. You’ll enjoy beautiful, crisp lines and well-blended colors for total clarity in all of your photos.
Plus, this printer is compatible with HP Instant Ink for all of your ink cartridge needs.
Wireless capability
Wireless features are enabled through the HP Smart app. You can download this app on your phone or tablet to easily print photos from those devices. You’ll also be able to print from social media, iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, and other cloud services.
Size
At 18 pounds and only 18 inches wide, it’s still perfectly compact for tight college living spaces.
Budget
The HP OfficeJet 5255 is slightly more expensive than the HP DeskJet 3755 due to its better photographic printing capabilities and more advanced wireless connectivity. But it still falls into the bargain printer category.

HP ENVY 6055e All-in-One Printer

HP ENVY 6055e All-in-One Printer
The HP ENVY 6055e All-in-One Printer has fantastic wireless features. In fact, your friends just might be ENVY-ous.
Here are some of the specs:
  • Printing (1-sided and 2-sided)
  • Borderless printing (up to 8.5 x 11 inches)
  • Copying
  • Scanning
  • Color resolution: up to 4800 x 1200 dots per inch
  • Speed: 10 ppm for black and white printing, 7 ppm for color printing
  • Supported paper sizes: Letter, 4 x 6 in, 5 x 7 in, 8 x 10 in, No. 10 envelopes
The high color resolution and borderless printing capabilities make this a great printer for printing photographs. As a bonus, the printer is compatible with HP Instant Ink so you won’t have to make constant trips to your local office supply store.
Wireless capability
This printer has self-healing WiFi so you’re able to print wirelessly from your laptop. It also has HP Smart app functionality so you can print photos and documents from your mobile device.
Size
The HP ENVY 6055e All-in-One Printer boasts a stylish and sleek design. It’s 17 inches wide and weighs just 11.5 pounds. Compact and light, this printer would complement any dorm space or small apartment.
Budget
Priced between the HP OfficeJet 8015e and HP DeskJet 3755, the HP ENVY 6055e printer is one of the best-valued printers on the market, especially considering its advanced wireless capabilities.

Alternative printer options

What if you’re only interested in printing out photographs? Or what if you only need to print documents - lots and lots of documents?
Here are a couple of printers that suit more specialized needs:

HP Smart Tank 5101 All-in-One Printer

HP Smart Tank 5101 All-in-One Printer
The HP Smart Tank 5101 All-in-One Printer utilizes ink bottles to refill its ink tanks, providing you with ease of set up, refilling, and recycling your used ink bottles.
Here are some of the specs:
  • Printing (1-sided)
  • Borderless printing up to 8.5 x 11 in
  • Scanning
  • Copying
  • Color resolution: up to 4800 x 1200 optimized dpi
  • Speed: up to 12 ppm in black ink, up to 5 ppm in color ink
  • Supported print sizes: Letter; legal; 4 x 6 in; 5 x 7 in; 8 x 10 in; No. 10 envelopes
The Smart Tank 5101 AiO Printer features an easy way for you to refill your printer ink, with ink for up to 6,000 color or black pages included in box. It also features auto-on and -off buttons to conserve power when not in use.
Wireless capability
Send print jobs to the Smart Tank 5101 via the HP Smart app, Apple Air Print, or WiFi Direct printing on the same internet network.
Size
This printer will fit comfortably in your dorm or bedroom desk space at 17 inches wide, and weighing just 11 lbs.
Budget
The Smart Tank 5101 falls in line with other inkjet printers of comparable features and value, while offering low-cost printing and easy refilling.

HP LaserJet M140w Wireless Black & White Printer

HP LaserJet M140w Wireless Printer
HP’s fleet of LaserJet printers are capable of printing ultra-high-quality photographs at rapid speeds. And the HP LaserJet M140w Wireless Black & White Printer is no different, offering no frills, wireless printing of black and white prints, while being one of the smallest laser printers in its class.
Here’s what it can do:
  • Printing (1-sided)
  • Scanning
  • Copying
  • Speed: up to 21 ppm for black and white printing
  • Supported paper sizes: Letter, envelopes (No. 10), custom, Legal, A4; A5; A6; envelopes (C5, DL)
This printer is for students who dive deep into their studies. The HP LaserJet can print at a wicked-fast pace of 21 pages per minute, and the input tray can hold 150 sheets.
If you’re going to be writing lengthy research papers or if you need to print hundreds of pages of notes and documents, this is your optimal printer. The monthly duty cycle is up to 8,000 pages, so you won’t have to worry about overworking it.
Wireless Capability
Wireless printing is enabled. You can connect your smartphone, tablet, or laptop to the printer through a shared internet connection.
Size
This is one of the smaller-sized HP LaserJet printers. It’s 7.8 inches tall, 14.2 inches wide, and weighs just 11.8 pounds. You could easily fit it on your desk or store it under your bed when it’s not in use.
Budget
The HP LaserJet Pro M102w is priced just above the HP OfficeJet we talked about earlier. That’s a major steal for an HP LaserJet printer.

Save time and money with HP Instant Ink

It’s no secret that most of the money you spend on a printer will be spent on ink cartridges.
HP Instant Ink is a subscription-based service that aims to save you money on ink. When you sign up, your printer will notify HP when you’re running low on an ink cartridge, and we will can send you a replacement right to your door or college post office box.
With this service, you won’t get charged by the ink cartridge - instead, you pay by the page. There are several plans available, and you can cancel or change your plan at any time.
Ink plans:
  • Up to 10 pages per month: $0.99 per month
  • Up to 50 pages: $3.99 per month
  • Up to 100 pages: $5.99 per month (recommended for homes)
  • Up to 300 pages: $11.99 per month
  • Up to 700 pages: $24.99 per month (recommended for small businesses)
(Extra sets of 5-20 pages only cost $1.)
Toner plans:
  • Up to 50 pages: $1.99 per month
  • Up to 100 pages: $3.99 per month
  • Up to 200 pages: $7.99 per month
  • Up to 400 pages: $13.99 per month
  • Up to 800 pages: $19.99 per month (recommended for small businesses)
(Extra sets of 10-60 pages only cost $1.)
HP will send you an ink cartridge loaded with the amount of ink allocated by your plan. You won’t have to travel to the store to buy ink cartridges, and you’ll save money because you’ll only be purchasing the amount that you need. You’ll save up to 50% on ink costs.
The HP Instant Ink service is also better for the environment because it helps reduce waste. HP sends a return envelope with each new cartridge so you can send back the empty cartridge to be recycled.

About the Author

Zach Cabading is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Zach is a content creation specialist based in Southern California, and creates a variety of content for the tech industry.

Disclosure: Our site may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.