Finding a Mac Compatible Printer
For a lot of Apple desktop and laptop users, having the best printer for Mac ensures the ability to print on demand. It is important to check the product beforehand to see if it is compatible with the operating system that is on your computer.
Otherwise, this would mean that the print device will not be able to understand the commands sent to it by your Apple computer, ending up in frustration and having to return the item and start your search over again.
The great thing is, thanks to the popularity of Apple products, a lot of technology companies are making sure that whatever they manufacture is able to accommodate one of the most popular brands in the world.
These are our picks.
The table shows our selection for each of the major printer categories. We include the important features and technical specifications of each of the products.
To view any of the items in the table, click on the image or link in the first row.
Best Budget Printer for Mac
Best Inkjet Printer for Mac
Best Laser Printer for Mac
Best All in One Printer for Mac
Best Photo Printer for Mac
|B/W Speed||8.7 ppm||9.7 ppm||27 ppm||15 ppm||51 sec./page|
|Color Speed||4.5 ppm||5.5 ppm||n/a||9.3 ppm||51 sec./page|
|Max. B/W Resolution||5760 x 1440||600 x 600||2400 x 600||5760 x 1440||4800 x 2400|
|Max. Color Resolution||5760 x 1440||4800 x 1200||n/a||5760 x 1440||4800 x 2400|
|Features||scanner, copier||USB, scanner, copier, fax, ADF||high speed, duplex||scanner, copier, fax, duplex, ADF||photo quality output, wide format (13 x 19) printing|
|Connectivity||USB, Wi-Fi, AirPrint||USB, Wi-Fi, AirPrint||USB, Wi-Fi, Ethernet||USB, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, AirPrint||USB, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, AirPrint|
At the end of this article, we review the these picks to give a better picture of their capabilities.
Meanwhile, if you want a more comprehensive collection:
Best Printers for Mac
Now that we know the different types of printing categories, we pick out the best of each class, allowing you to focus on the features that make them stand out among their peers.
Epson Expression Home XP-400
This stacks up as the best cheap printer for Mac. It’s been known that one of the first things people take note of when buying any item is the price. And for most computer peripherals this is the case too.
Priced under $100, the XP-400 offers color printing along with the ability to scan and photocopy documents. Made by one of the pioneers in the printing industry, it is designed for home users and has one of the smallest footprints at 15” by 11” by 6”. It weighs 9 pounds making it easy to carry around the house between rooms.
One of its strongest suits is its connectivity, as it is compatible with computers that run on both Windows and Mac. Its wireless capability also lets users connect to their home computer networks, AirPrint devices like the iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone.
Setting up the XP-400 can be done using the CD that comes with the product or by downloading the drivers from Epson’s website, which is recommended in order to get the latest versions.
Canon PIXMA MX432 Inkjet Printer
This feature filled printing device is well suited for personal and home use, although it has some of the more advanced features that make it a worthy office tool including a 30 page automatic document feeder.
As an all in one printer, it comes with a scanner, photocopier and fax. Many of the new printer models now come with multiple functionality such as these. While you may not always need them, they do come in handy once in a while.
The design is very similar to many of the Canon photo and office printing products where access to paper and the ink cartridges use the FastFront System, which is a flip open front panel.
Connecting this device is simple and can be done through a Wi-Fi connection. It accommodates PCs, Mac computers and laptops, mobile devices like iOS and Android.
The Pixma MX432 uses Canon’s ChromaLife100 system that allows photo printouts to last up to 100 years without deteriorating.
Priced competitively, it produces fast, good quality outputs, making it ideal for personal or small office use. However if you need to print a lot, or need something with high volume capacity, the Epson WorkForce below will be better suited for that purpose.
Brother HL-2270DW Monochrome Laser Printer
When it comes to laser printing, consumers often balk because of the higher upfront costs of around $200 or above. One exception is this offering from Brother, which costs below $100.
Brother isn’t as well known as Epson and HP in this field, but is quickly gaining ground. This black and white printing device is compact and doesn’t come much in regard to design. There are no digital screens or lots of blinking lights, instead it focuses on performance.
What you get is good overall value. At 14” x 14” it is shaped like a square that is 7 inches tall. It is fastest when printing text documents, which reaches up to 27 pages every minute, though pages with charts and pictures aren’t as fast.
Both letters and numbers come out sharp and clear while images appear good in different scales of gray. The HL-2270DW also comes with the ability to print on both sides of a sheet of paper automatically, and can be placed anywhere in the home or office because it can use Wi-Fi to connect to computers or network router.
While wireless, it isn’t equipped to handle mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, and its output is limited to black and white.
Nevertheless, thanks to its affordability, high speed and good quality outputs, it makes our list for best printer for Mac.
Epson WorkForce WF-3540 Wireless All in one Printer
The main difference between home printers and those labeled for office work has to do with the amount of printouts they can handle. There are also accessory features that employees often look for in order to facilitate their duties.
For high performance text and color printing, this heavy duty machine gets the job done. It is fast, quiet and produces excellent graphics and color outputs, making it our choice for the best all in one printer for Mac.
With a maximum monthly capacity of 12,000 printouts a month, it is capable of taking on high volume workload. It also comes with duplex printing capability, dual paper trays that hold up to 500 sheets, a fully functional copier and 2,400 dpi scanner that can send the digitized copies to file, image, email or pdf.
One of the few things not to like about this is its size. At 17.7 inches by 16.8 inches by 12.1 inches, it is larger than most all in one printers on the market, and easily outweighs the two items mentioned above.
Canon PIXMA PRO-100 Professional Photo Printer
Inkjet printers are the preferred mode of printing photographs. But if you want very detailed and precise professional image quality outputs, you’ll need to look at photo printers. These machines are often large and don’t come with the multifunction features.
Well constructed, you’ll need to clear a table or at least a side of a table to fit this Pixma PRO-100 picture printing device. It spans 27 inches in length, with a depth of 15 inches and 8.5 inches tall. Also make sure to leave some room behind it because that’s where the paper is inserted.
Print quality is superb with colors coming out vivid and well saturated. A favorite of photographers and designers for its ability to replicate the images seen on the computer monitor as closely as possible. It also provides a quick way for them to present a copy of the photographs to their customers.
The PRO-100 uses 8 different ink sets at a resolution of 4800 x 2400 dpi. While the print head, which releases the drops of ink onto the paper, are very fine allowing for very delicate and clear results.
Black & white photos come out sharp as it uses 3 different black ink cartridges to get the exact contrast and shading.
It is also possible to directly send pictures from Apple and Android mobile devices for printing, although size of the output in these cases are limited to 4” x 6” and 5” x 7” to preserve the quality of the image.
Choosing the Best Printer for Your Needs
All the choices listed above have are excellent performers and if you’ve had some experience with printing devices and how they work it will be easy for narrow the products to focus on. However, we know not everyone is a techie, so in the following section we break down some the difference between the multiple types of printers available in the market today, making the search for the best printer for Mac easier.
1. Inkjet Printer
These are the most common types of print gadgets available. This is the case because they are the cheapest and most versatile of the group. These make use of ink droplets that are slowly sprayed on the the paper forming the words and pictures you want printed.
The main benefits of these types of machines is that they are able to create both black and white copies or colored pictures. Because they can produce color documents, you’ll need to buy the black ink as well as the color cartridges. This often means you’ll need 4 different ink tanks to be replaced when they’re all out.
Some brands are now producing non colored inkjets for people who don’t have the need for printing in color. What this does is let users print pages faster and save themselves the cost of the extra ink cartridges, which can be expensive.
Inkjets are often the best options for home use, and those on a budget. Because the item costs less and can cater to the needs of those who are studying or working.
2. Laser Printer
The next major category of printing mechanisms is the laser. Unlike the inkjet, the laser uses a toner and a drum where the ink is heated into the paper. The main difference between this technique and the process used in inkjets is when the paper comes out from a laser device, the printed matter is already embedded in the paper and is dry. Whereas for the inkjet, you’ll want to make sure the text and colors have dried before touching the paper or else have the possibility of smudging the ink.
This type of printers is recommended for people who write a lot and don’t need color. That’s because most of these are monochrome, which means they produce only black and white copies. Although there are color laser variations, these are a lot more expensive.
Offices often use these because of the speed they are capable of achieving. They are substantially faster then inkjets and even though their ink toners are more expensive compared to inkjet cartridges, when taken on a cost per page basis, ink costs for laser printers are much cheaper.
3. Photo Printer
Because multimedia now plays such a big part in how we use computers today, it became inevitable the people would start reproducing pictures, graphics and photographs using their printers.
For this, a specialized type of inkjet was developed and they are called photo printers. While they are generally inkjets, what they have is the ability to be able to create crisp replicas of photos such that these come out like they were developed in a photo lab.
Here is where it gets a bit more complex. In the case of these types of products, there is a great degree of variation. You can have the budget photo printing box that is priced between $100 to $200 that delivers excellent photos, all the way to those that are professional grade used by large advertising agencies, that cost $800 and above.
If you’re a photographer, designer or someone who expects to get nice vibrant and precise photo prints, making sure that the inkjet you get is a photo printer is a must. That’s because aside from the better image quality, these often come with USB, microSD or memory card ports which let you easily transfer your photos from the camera or mobile device and have them printed out.
4. Multifunction Printer
The last class to consider is the multifunction printer or MFP. What this means is that aside from the ability make printouts, you also get a scanner, copier and fax machine in one package. Take note that you can have a laser or inkjet that are MFPs.
Many of our picks for the best printer for Mac fall under this category because they offer the best value for money.
These are slightly thicker than the print only inkjets because of the need to accommodate the other machines. However, these can save you extra cash because they eliminate the need to purchase the others separately.Small business owners and entrepreneurs are among those most helped by this type of device.
More often, you’ll see the term All in One (AIO) instead of Multifunction. The main distinction between the two is all in one printers have all four functions, namely printing, scanning, photocopying and faxing, where are MFPs often miss one of the other three, usually the fax.
While these devices have become more complicated, we are seeing more categories and sub classes of printing machines. However, these four are the main types.
Ready to Choose?
Now that you’ve seen some of the viable candidates, you have a better feel of what characteristics top rated products have. And so when choosing your own best printer for Mac, you know what to look for.