The winners of the Stiftung Warentest

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Which printer prints well, what follow-up costs do you have to take into account? GIGA presents test winners of the Stiftung Warentest and gives tips on what to consider when purchasing a printer.

At home it is the greeting cards and the letter to the tax office, in the small office it is the invoices and the note for the coffee machine – it doesn’t work without a printer. Many devices are cheap and can also scan and copy. But are they good? The Stiftung Warentest has Issue 4/2020 printer tested. The result was somewhat sobering: the top grade is a “satisfactory”. After all, the partial notes for printing are often much better, it is more likely to be a problem when scanning and/or copying.

Which model is best for you? Here are the recommendations:

Table of contents Printers

The best printers 2020: All test winners at a glance

Placement Product Price Offer
Foundation Goods Test Winner Epson Expression Photo XP-8600 approx. 140 Euro
Top model for multi-printer printers Epson Ecotank ET-2750 approx. 255 Euro Epson Ecotank at Cyberport
Test winner Laser Printer (B/W) HP Laserjet Pro M118dw approx. 130 Euro HP Laserjet Pro at Cyberport

Test winner at Stiftung Warentest: Epson Expression Photo XP-8600

The Epson Expression Photo XP-8600 can print, scan, and copy. It has two paper trays, for normal paper (which he can print on double sides) and photo paper. You can send documents to the device from your smartphone and tablet via an app, or you can use Apple’s AirPrint standard.

With a grade of 1.9 at Stiftung Warentest the Expression Photo XP-8600 achieved the best print result across all devices. The overall score of 2.7 made him the test winner among the models without fax. Not only texts, but also photos he gives very convincingly. The product testers were not very convinced of the copy function, let us let it be the ink costs: according to their calculations, a text page costs 6 cents, an A4 photo 1.80 euros. If you don’t print a lot, you can still drive with this device. For inkjet printers without expensive cartridges, the printing costs are lower (see next model), but the acquisition costs are higher.

Benefits:

  • Very good print quality
  • Very good equipment

Disadvantages:

For multi-printer: Epson Ecotank ET-2750

If you print a lot, choose a model with large ink tanks instead of cartridges. For the printer itself, the acquisition costs are higher, but the printing costs are much lower. Stiftung Warentest refers to the test in this category of equipment in Issue 4/2019, specifically on the Epson Ecotank ET-2750. He scored the overall score 2.2, for the print there was a partial grade 2.3. Its printing costs are said to be just 0.2 cents for a text page and 8 cents for an A4 photo. Ink bottles, which according to the manufacturer range from 4500 black-and-white and 7500 colour pages, are enclosed.

This model can also print, scan and copy on both sides and supports common standards to print over WiFi from different computers and smartphones.

Benefits:

  • Low printing costs
  • Very good equipment

Disadvantages:

  • Print quality not quite as good

Test winner black and white laser printer: HP Laserjet Pro M118dw

You just want the printer to print— and fast? Laser printers score at high speed. The HP LaserJet Pro M118dw was able to 9/2019 position the Stiftung Warentest at the top of the black-and-white laser printers with the grade 2.5 – with the lack of the ability to print color pages leading to devaluation. A text page comes at a toner cost of 3 cents. A toner, which according to the manufacturer is sufficient for 1000 pages, is included in the scope of delivery.

With duplex printing and a WiFi module for Google Cloud Print, AirPrint and the manufacturer’s own HP ePrint, it offers important functions like the inkjet colleagues above. However, it cannot scan and copy.

Benefits:

  • Fast pressure
  • No print head that dries up quickly like inkjet printers

Disadvantages:

  • Black and white print only
  • Scanning and copying not possible

Printer: How to test

The latest test winner had to Stiftung Warentest in several categories compared to the competition. Pressure quality, water and light resistance together with 20 percent were taken into the overall score, as did the ink costs. Copying and handling were weighted at 15 percent each, scanning, versatility and environmental properties at 10 percent. By the way: In 2020, the Stiftung Warentest slightly changed the grading and weighting of individual categories compared to previous tests. The test grades are therefore not entirely comparable.

Buy printers: What you should know

How can high color printing costs be avoided?

The price difference for A4 photo prints can be enormous: The printing costs can range from a few cents to several euros – for a single page! If you are printing documents with pictures, you should consider buying a printer with large ink tanks (see the Epson Ecotank above). If a large number of prints are made, it may be worthwhile to complete a print subscription offered by some device manufacturers. For example, there are also the Epson Ecotank with two years of unlimited printing, the surcharge is around 180 euros.

If you rarely want to print a photo on the full page, you don’t need a more expensive printer with color tanks: Here, the way to the photo booth in a drugstore makes sense. For several pictures, it is worthwhile to order from MediaMarkt – a single page (20×30) costs only 49 cents. And the quality is even better.

Better to take laser printers instead of inkjet printers?

Laser printers generally score with high print speeds and low operating costs. If you print little, laser printers benefit in that the ink does not dry up quickly. However, the print result on color pages is usually not as good as for inkjet printers. In addition, laser printers can significantly increase the fine dust load in the room. If you have positioned your printer near the desk, you should equip it with a filter and replace it regularly.

Does it have to be a 3-in-1 printer or is a simple model enough?

3-in-1 or 4-in-1 printers (the latter with fax) are widely used and comparatively cheap. So it is not surprising that they are all multifunctional devices. But if you almost never copy or scan, you don’t necessarily need the scanning function – see, for example, the above-mentioned laser printer from HP. If you have to copy something, you can photograph the document with the smartphone camera and send it to the printer. All of the printers listed above have a Wi-Fi module and support The Print Logs of Google and Apple.

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