As August approaches, many first-time college students are prepping for the big move from high school to university.
For some, this means picking out new décor to fit a dorm room. For others, it may mean making a longer commute from their parents’ house. Either way, college is a big milestone in a student’s life.
Most students and parents think about big picture concerns: dorm essentials, apartment renting costs, and whether to attend a local community college or an out-of-state college.
However, one thing many students don’t think about until the semester’s already in full swing is printing costs.
Most colleges charge students for printing on campus, and the running costs can be high, especially for students in paper-heavy classes, like English 101 or upper-level writing courses.
For example, many public universities in Texas charge around .20 cents per page for black-and-white printing. If you’re printing 100 pages a semester, then that leaves you paying at least $20 a semester, on top of tuition, food, and housing fees. For first-time students who don’t have time for a full-time job or those who are working tirelessly to pay their own way through school, these out-of-pocket printing prices can be a surprisingly heavy burden.
It can also be difficult to find printing stations on campus, requiring students to plan far in advance just to find a place to print.
Printing on campus could mean an hour-long walk to a printing station before class, and for students who live at home or in an off-campus apartment, the timeline could become even more frustrating.
The fact is that, even post-pandemic, many college instructors require students to physically print assignments and turn them in by hand, so a printer is a smart investment for a college student who wants to save time and money.
Our print experts at STPT have been in the business for almost 40 years, and we want to use our expertise to help college students and their parents find the right printer for the right price.
Keep reading to learn more about the pros, cons, and costs of the 4 best printer options for college students.
4 Best Printers for College Students
1. HP Tango X
• Print Speed: Up to 11 pages per minute (ppm)
• Recommended Monthly Print Volume: 100 to 300 pages
• Monthly Duty Cycle: 500 pages
• Base Model Dimensions: 15.3” x 24.4” x 10.2”
• Base Model Weight: 7.5 lbs
• Cost: Around $200
For the tech-savvy student, The HP Tango X is a smart option (literally.) Touted as one of the world’s first smart printers, the Tango X comes equipped with voice activation software and smart home features.
The HP Tango X is designed specifically for printing from mobile devices, which makes it a good option for college students who want to print easily from their iPhone or android devices.
While the Tango X is undoubtedly a cool option for college students, there are some downsides to using it. The printer has to be controlled by the HP Smart App from a smartphone, meaning that you need to use your phone for almost every print. Although HP markets the Tango X as an all-in-one machine, you also have to scan and copy documents using the app on your phone, which isn’t very practical when scanning or copying long, multi-page documents.
At only 7.5 lbs, the Tango X is small and compact, and its design is complimentary for Apple products users: small and sleek, this little printer looks so much like an Apple device that it's actually sold by Apple.
With a cost per page that is slightly cheaper than most on-campus printing services (.16 cents per page) and a relatively low upfront price, the Tango X is a good choice for a student who wants to save money on printing. Its small size also makes it appropriate for small dorms and apartment living.
The Tango X comes with a fabric cover for college students who don’t want to ruin their perfectly coordinated dorm décor. It also comes with an additional HP promotion: 5x7 smartphone photo prints are free for Tango X users.
Photo courtesy of Apple
2. Brother HL-L2390DW
• Print Speed: Up to 32 pages per minute (ppm)
• Recommended Monthly Print Volume: Up to 2,000 pages
• Monthly Duty Cycle: 15,000 pages
• Base Model Dimensions: 14.0” x 14.2” x 7.2”
• Base Model Weight: 15.9 lbs
• Cost: Around $150
This monochrome laser printer is the cheapest on our list, making it a good option for a student who wants to finish their dorm room checklist on a tight budget. At a cost of only .2 cents per page, this printer can save students more money on printing over the course of their entire college career than the HP Tango X.
However, as a monochrome laser printer, the HL-L2390DW does not support color printing or extra features, which means this would not be a good choice for a student who wants to print photos or make copies.
This Brother printer does support more printing and prints faster than smaller models like the HP Tango printer.
Photo courtesy of Brother.
3. Xerox C235
• Print Speed: Up to 24 pages per minute (ppm)
• Recommended Monthly Print Volume: Up to 1,500 pages
• Recommended Monthly Duty Cycle: Up to 30,000 pages
• Base Model Dimensions: 16.2” x 15.5” x 13.6”
• Base Model Weight: 43 lbs
• Cost: Around $400
The Xerox C235 is a great choice for mobile printing. With Wi-Fi connectivity and mobile printing applications, the C235 allows you to print and scan from smartphones, laptops, tablets, Chromebooks, and desktops.
Although this printer is the most expensive on our list, its printing capacity is comparable to the Brother HL-L2390DW and it is an all-in-one printer that supports color printing and extra features, like scanning and copying from multiple devices.
Weighing about 43 pounds with dimensions of 16.2” x 15.5” x 13.6”, the Xerox C235 fits in compact spaces and would be suitable for a large dorm room or apartment.
This printer is a good choice for a student or group of students who wants to save on printing costs over the course of their college career. Unlike the Brother HL-L2390, which offers a similar savings metric for students, this color laser printer also allows students to print in color and scan documents.
Its high monthly duty cycle makes the C235 a good option for students living in a dorm or apartment who want to share printing costs. Unlike the Tango X, this printer is really designed for groups and would work best as the print option for a dorm or for a group of students living together in an apartment.
Photo courtesy of Xerox.