Which Printer Is Best: Canon or HP?

adjusting printer settings

Deciding which all-in-one printer to buy depends on what you need to print. With all the brands on the market, it can be overwhelming to narrow down the list to the best make and model. 

Canon and HP are arguably two of the most well-known printer brands on the market today. They both produce high-quality all-in-one printers at a reasonable price. Here are some of the pros and cons to consider before you choose an HP or Canon printer for your home or office.

Look for Outside Reviews

Third-party reviewers are essential for getting an impartial and fair look at each brand. Use an impartial online source that has tested dozens of multifunction laser and inkjet printers to discover which ones live up to their promises. 

Text Print Quality for Inkjets

Inkjet printers have come a long way in recent years and perform text printing well when compared to their laser counterparts — especially if you use high-quality paper. Canon models TS6020 and MG3620 print the kind of text you might find in a book. HP models across the board also are capable of high-quality text printing.

If you perform a lot of two-sided printing, consider a model with a duplexer that maintains quality on both sides of the page. Take note of duplexers that produce lighter two-sided text, such as the Canon TS6020.

Quality varies when printing PDF documents, with HP models performing consistently well  — although Canon’s TS6020 prints the sharpest and sleekest letter forms.

Graphics on plain paper are the domain of HP and HP ink, notably the Envy 5540 and OfficeJet 4650 models which produce fine detail and deep saturation, along with seamless transitions when printing photographs.

Canon wins in text printing overall when you are considering quality and speed, with the TS6020 delivering at 9.8 ppm. Not far behind in quality, the HP Envy 5540 prints text at 8.1 ppm.

canon printer tray closeup

Copy and Scan Quality

HP models using plain paper, particularly the HP Envy 5540, reproduce intense and detailed color, along with sharp textures, while making transitions smoothly. However, the HP OfficeJet 4650 disappoints here, lacking the fine detail and strong dark shades of the Envy 5540. 

The OfficeJet model also returns speckled textures on its grayscale copies, and quality diminishes with the 4650 when using its automatic document feeder.

HP wins overall among color copies using plain paper, with the HP Envy 5540 and HP OfficeJet 4650 notably producing the best graphics with the deepest detail and saturation.

Most inkjet printers, regardless of the manufacturer, perform impressively in scan quality, but Canon edges the competition because of models such as the Pixma TS6020 which perform at a much quicker pace than competitors.

Print Speed

HP and Canon models differed very little on speed for text documents. Overall, HP’s average speed was tops at 8.6 ppm, with Canon finishing at 7.7 ppm. Canon’s fastest model was the TS6020, at 9.8 ppm. HP’s fastest was the OfficeJet 4650, producing at 9.1 ppm. 

For printing graphics, Canon averaged 2.8 ppm, with the Pixma TS6020 model leading individuals at 3.1 ppm. HP averaged 2.1 ppm, with the Envy 5540 producing 2.6 ppm.

Canon wins the print speed battle, with the Pixma TS6020 leading the pack for producing high-quality glossy photos and graphics using plain paper.

Copy and Scan Speed

HP models lag here, taking 24.2 seconds to produce a black-and-white copy, compared with Canon taking 13.4 seconds. Using color, HP took 35.2 seconds, with Canon averaging 23.3.

The same goes for color scans in high-resolution, with Canon models taking 49.2 seconds to produce a JPEG scan at 600 dpi. The quickest Canon model, the MG3620, took 39.4 seconds. HP models averaged 91 seconds.

HP and Canon were close when scanning black-and-white PDFs, with the Canon MG3620 quickest at 8.9 seconds, followed by the HP Envy 5540 at 9.7 seconds.

hp convention center booth

Ink Price

A low purchase price for an all-in-one printer tends to obscure an inconvenient truth: If you use the printer a lot, the cost of ink will make any inexpensive printer costlier than it seemed. Canon models cost 8.3 cents per page, and HP runs 9.2 cents. Using high-yield cartridges, Canon drops to 6 cents, and HP falls to 7.2 cents. 

Color ink costs per page don’t vary much, with Canon ink (21.1 cents) edging HP (23.3). When it comes to high-yield color operating costs, Canon distances itself, averaging 10.9 cents to 18.5 for HP. Canon’s TS6020 model runs lowest, at 8.5 cents per page. 

Canon wins this category easily.

Laser All-In-One Printers

If you need a printer for typical business tasks where glossy color photos aren’t relevant, laser printers will deliver faster speeds at lower costs than inkjets. 

Laser printers produce an average of 13.7 ppm vs. 8 ppm for inkjets. Canon models were fastest, with the MF217w printing text at 15.9 and black and white graphics at 12.2 ppm. The HP M127fw produced 13.5 ppm for text and 6.1 for graphics. Both models are priced similarly.

Canon’s ImageClass MF229dw averages 3.5 cents per page to print text using an $84 toner cartridge rated to last for 2,400 pages. Compare that to the typical inkjet costing 5.9 cents per page of text when using a high-yield cartridge. For a couple hundred dollars, the HP LaserJet Pro M127fw produces at 4.3 cents per page using a $64 toner cartridge rated for 1,500 pages.

Color models are available, if you need them, and cost about 30-40% more. Prices for color toner, as with ink, varies. 

Canon wins among the laser printers, with the ImageClass MF217W leading because of quick print times, high-quality images, and low page costs.

So Who’s the Best?

Canon won seven categories — with the TS6020 model distinguishing itself individually — though the margins overall were very close. HP’s color copies were the best, and Canon’s overall images and speed were impressive.

Find the ink you need for your HP or Canon printer at Inkjet Superstore.