Testers printed thousands of pages of text, color graphics, and photos, and then they assessed the quality. Testers also timed the printers to see how quickly they print a page. Speeds vary widely. Some are three times faster than others.
And because the cost of printer cartridges can really pile up, testers check how quickly printers run through ink. Some printers cost more than twice as much as others to use.
It's handy to get a printer that has a network connection so that you can print from across the room or even from another floor.
In its latest tests, Consumer Reports named the all-in-one HP Officejet Pro 8500A e-All-in-One A910a a Best Buy at $180. It has a network connection, and it uses less ink than any others tested. You do have to leave it on all the time to maximize ink savings, but the printer uses very little power.
And if you only print in black-and-white, Consumer Reports says consider a laser all-in-one printer. The $170 Brother MFC-7360N is a Best Buy. It's easy on toner, and it's very fast, printing 14 pages a minute.
If you want to print photos and don't care about scanning and copying, Consumer Reports says consider a regular inkjet printer. You can find some good ones for under $100. Consumer Reports says a good choice is the HP Officejet 6000 Wireless for around $80.