A device which will serve you as the best printer for iPad need not be an AirPrint enabled one. There’s more than one way of making hard copies of documents wirelessly. This can be done from the cloud, with the help of third-party apps and so on. As for the AirPrint software, it lets you get Mail, Photos, Safari, Maps, Pages, Numbers, Keynote and other documents on paper without you having to download and install drivers. All of this and no need for those messy wires or cables. So without further ado, here are our best picks in no particular order –
1. Canon Pixma MX922
Arriving with integrated Wi-Fi, the some of the Pixma MX922’s functions cover Ethernet connectivity, cloud support, a duplexer (for printing on both sides, basically) and a control panel which can be switched to a keypad interface in fax mode. You can print on discs, take a break from the task with the duplex automatic document feeder or make hard copies from/scan to a USB stick. It can handle 4” x 6”, 5” x 7”, 8” x 10”, Letter and Legal paper sizes.
The device spits out monochromes at twice the speed of photos. Also, no need to trouble yourself with swapping sheets for documents and photos since there are separate trays for each. But it’s not for you if speed is on your priority list. At the same time, it does have a rich features list to make up for this. The $129.99 Canon offering does not communicate directly with the iPad and requires to be connected to the iOS tablet over a Wi-Fi spot on your network.
2. HP Photosmart 7510
This home- and small office-friendly option can be worked over HP ePrint without a PC and just with an Android, BlackBerry or iOS gadget, of course. Although the Photosmart 7510 has AirPrint capabilities, you probably won’t need that since the HP application will allow you to make hard copies of documents over the cloud or via Wi-Fi. It has a 4.3” screen for easy operation, 2-sided printing and a 25-paper automatic document feeder.
There’s no option of wired networking in case you also want to share the device with a few people. In terms of finishing, photos definitely turn out better than text. 4 x 6 photos can take anywhere between 40 seconds to 1.5 minutes to be churned out, while 4 black and white pages are delivered in a little more than a minute. The $219.95 Photosmart 7510 can be hooked up to a Mac or PC and you also have the option of free eFax for 20 faxes a month.
3. Brother MFC-J4510DW
Brother is not a brand you’d normally associate with design aesthetics, but it’s chipped together a nice space-saving inkjet MFP with the MFC-J4510DW. It’s a big deal considering that you can stuff A3 papers into it (manually) and not have to shell out more than $155.98 for it. Of course, if you regularly need to deal with 11” x 17” paper, a more expensive option with a dedicated tray for A3 sheets might be more practical.
For monochrome documents, MFC-J4510DW renders a speed of approximately 3.5 pages per minute. The quality of photos it can deliver is on the higher side of average. The printer gets along with Wi-Fi, wired networking, scanning to memory cards or USB flash drive. It fits into a space of 18.9” x 11.4” x 7.3”. These modest dimensions are helped along by the fact that the device accepts sheets in landscape mode instead of portrait orientation.
4. Epson WF-3540
The WorkForce series from Epson is truly a lineup to reckon with. The WF-3540 extends users 2-sided printing/scanning/copying and dual trays that can hold a maximum of 500 pages. Even setting it up with AirPrint is no trouble at all. The automatic document feeder and overall paper handling abilities of this device get the highest rating compared to the rest in this array. Ethernet and integrated Wi-Fi are also part of the package.
Apart from Epson Connect for wireless printing needs, you can also try it with Google Cloud Print. The two trays on the front are complemented by a rear feed for shoving in labels, envelopes, card stock and similar stuff. There are ports for attaching USB drives, SD cards and MS Duo cards. The $149.99 device’s highlight is its speedy performance of almost 13 monochrome pages per minute.
5. Canon Pixma MG8220
Possibly one of the best looking ones of the lot is the Pixma MG8220 which is keen on reproducing photos to their last detail. You don’t really need a PC to get started. This Pixma will allow you to print or scan wirelessly from PDF or JPEG files on you iPad, iPhone, iPod or Android gadget. You can also make hard copies of content stored on USB flash drives, memory cards, certain Bluetooth devices and PictBridge cameras.
What’s more, this machine actually permits you to scan films and 35mm slides. As for the automatic document feeder and fax you’ve come to expect of MFPs, don’t hunt for these specs here. You’ll be disappointed. The $137.50 MG8220 boasts of a 9600 x 2400 color dpi, six separate ink tanks, a 3.5-inch control panel and onboard filter effects like Miniature, Toy Camera, Fish Eye and more. 4 x 6 photo printing takes almost 1 minute and monochrome sheets are spat out at roughly 3 pages per minute.
6. Epson Expression Home XP-400
Are you shopping for a home printer with an even smaller chassis than the Brother MFC-J4510DW? The 15.4” x 11.8” x 5.7” Epson XP-400 is a $92.99 device which can leverage its small body and price tag to make you forget about its comparatively higher operation costs most of the time. Since economy is of major importance in any office environment, it wouldn’t make sense to take it out of a home even if it’s a small business you’re talking about.
The XP-400’s budget status means it does not come bundled in with a whole horde of features. For example, there’s no automatic document feeder, fax facility, auto-duplexer and support for pen drives. But it’s mighty easy to kick-start your printing jobs over Wi-Fi or the cloud. You can do so via AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Epson Connect and other Epson applications. You get a 3 pages per minute speed for monochrome documents and it takes over 2 minutes for a 4 x 6 color photo.
The prices for all of the aforesaid options are taken from Amazon. So which one of the 6 we’ve listed above sounds like the best printer for iPad? Do remember that how fast any of these devices churn out copies also depends on the document or photo printing tasks you’re charging them with. Comments?