According to First Research, there are over 25,000 printer companies in the United States.
The industry is rampant with companies of all sizes, but there are only a few that dominate the area on a global scale.
Looking through all the options and trying to pick the brand that most aligns with your goals can be challenging because, at first glance, the only differences might be their company name and logo.
While there might not be an overwhelming difference between one company’s multifunction printer to another’s in basic functionality, there are disparities in what companies have to offer in terms of features, accessories and promotional incentives.
As a locally managed print vendor for almost 40 years, we know everything there is to know about the broader printer industry and can properly highlight the key traits of different companies.
This is partly because we sell Xerox’s products specifically, and Xerox is one of the biggest printer manufacturing companies in the world and will be included in this article.
However, we’re not going to say Xerox is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition; there are multiple companies whose product catalog is on par with Xerox, and we’d be lying if we said otherwise.
In this blog, we’ll be addressing each company’s product specialties and unique services, as well as providing basic overviews of the brands to help you begin your research process.
We will also be providing tips on how you can navigate the broad printing spectrum and discuss the alternative purchasing option if you find that purchasing directly from a manufacturer is not for you.
Need a printer/copier? Download your free copy of the Complete Guide to Purchasing or Leasing a Printer for Your Business and become informed on everything you need to know before purchasing.
The 4 Factors That Went into This List
Before we dive into the list, let’s go over the factors that were considered in formulating this list:
1. Company Reputation and Pedigree
Being a part of any “Best Of” list requires companies to have renowned credibility and influence across the entire industry.
Company reputation played a critical role in forming this list. This includes grading high in worldwide stature, customer satisfaction and product and quality innovation, among other things.
2. Product Efficacy and Features
Of course, you can’t have a list of the top printer/copier manufacturers without heavily considering the products they sell and the unique features that come with purchasing from their company.
Product effectiveness and distinctive product features played a major role in sifting through the different printer manufacturers and narrowing it down to the five best.
3. Empirical Data
While not as much of a factor as the first two, statistical indicators were used to help corroborate initial findings.
Data was primarily gathered from Statista, which is a company that specializes in market and consumer data. They rank as “Least Biased” on the Media Bias/Fact Check website.
4. Revenue and Finances
Lastly, revenue and finances were considered to help map out who the top companies were in terms of bottom-line performance.
Company revenue is usually one of the premier barometers for measuring success; however, for this list, it was the least determinative factor considered because this list is focused more on consumers rather than company performance.
The 5 Leading Printer Brands in the Industry
With those factors as a backdrop, let’s get into the list, which is not in any particular order:
Hewlett-Packard (HP) was founded in 1939 by Bill Hewlett and David Packard in a one-car garage in Palo Alto, California.
HP specializes in laser products, mainly computers and printers, and the HP LaserJet is often credited with starting the desktop publishing trend upon its introduction in 1984.
They contain printing options for businesses and personal use, while also containing the HP+ Smart Printing System, which turns an HP printer into a Smart device.
In addition to their machines, they also offer their own Managed Print Service, which targets the hybrid work environment and revolves around “security, flexibility and manageability,” according to their website.
As of last year, HP accounted for the highest share of global printer shipments, and its revenue grew from $2.8 billion to $6.5 billion last year, according to Statista, making them a logical choice as one of the five best printer manufacturers.
Read our blog comparing HP and Xerox to learn more about HP and how they compare to another brand.
Canon’s origins date back to 1933 in Japan, but the company became fully entrenched in the U.S. with the establishment of its New York branch in 1955.
They sell many kinds of technology but specialize in cameras and printers. On the printing side, Canon has an abundance of solutions for office, personal, large format and production printing, while also providing professional and cloud-based print services.
Canon offers a large range of production options in particular, including ID Card Printers, Label Printers, Card & Badge Printers and Cable and Wire Marker Printers.
Because of Canon’s reputational prowess and the fact that they made up the second most global printer shipments by an individual company in 2021, they deserve a spot on this list.
Read our blog comparing Xerox and Canon to see how Canon's products compare to another brand.
Xerox forged its beginnings in Rochester, New York, in 1906 and is credited with making the first xerographic plain-paper copiers.
While HP (computers) and Canon (cameras) focus on other areas in addition to office solutions, Xerox primarily centers its products on printers/copiers, including single-function and multifunction devices for production, office and the remote work environment.
Xerox devices are known for their ConnectKey technology features and App Gallery, while also including services such as DocuShare Enterprise Content Management and CareAR’s Augmented Reality Support.
Xerox currently reaches over 160 countries and has more than 8,500 active patents for innovation. They’ve been included on Statista’s list of global printer shipments for three of the last six years.
Because of their consistent status as one of the premier printer manufacturers, as well as their unique features and services, Xerox is a worthy inclusion on this list.
Brother International Corporation originated in Japan in 1908 and currently has a U.S. headquarters in Bridgewater Township, New Jersey.
Brother Printers’ product strategy focuses on office solutions such as printers, scanners and label makers, for workgroups ranging from approximately 1-20 users.
They are also known for their sewing, embroidery and quilting machines, and their industrial machines serve many industries, including clothing, automotive, travel and the medical field.
Brother ranked third on Statista’s Printer Market Share Worldwide list in 2021 and has a distribution presence in over 100 countries.
Because of their recent global growth and overall product quality, Brother earns a spot on the current list of best printer manufacturers.
Read our blog comparing Xerox and Brother to see the similarities and differences between the two companies.
Epson is a Japanese-based company that was founded in 1942 and is credited with launching the world’s first miniprinter, the EP-101, in 1968.
They offer a variety of printer and scanner options, including selections for personal and office use, which include Supertank Printers, Photo Printers and Impact Printers, in addition to basic single-function and multifunction machines.
Epson also sells robotic office solutions and has five different categories of paper options for customers: photo paper, presentation paper, professional imaging media, scrapbook and craft paper and copy and printer paper.
Epson has made Statista’s Global Printer Share list in all but one of the last five years accounted for and has used its global footprint to become one of the biggest multinational printer manufacturers in the world.
Epson’s steady global presence and its reputation as an innovative technological brand award them the final spot on this list. As with the other brands on this list, we've written a comparison between Epson and Xerox to detail how the two companies match up in key areas.
How Do I Know Which Printer Brand to Choose?
Now that you’ve seen the list of the top five printer brands, you might be asking yourself, “Which one do I go with?”
The answer to that question depends on a lot of factors, and the brief overviews of the five companies listed in this article won’t be enough for you to accurately choose which company’s products would be the best fit for you.
It should be said that if you’re looking for basic single-function or multifunction printer options, all the major manufacturers will carry quality options. The top manufacturing companies don’t get to be as successful as they are if their products are subpar.
With that being said, here are four questions you can ask yourself to help decide which brand to go with:
What features do I desire on my ideal printer?
What unique services does this brand offer, and would they be valuable to me?
Does this brand have a good reputation and a satisfactory consumer history?
What are the company’s security and environmental measures?
These questions don’t cover everything that you will need to consider in your research process. Factors such as how much a printer costs, the volume with which it can print at and the size of the machine play heavily in the decision on which printer you should buy---which will ultimately decide who should you purchase from. But, if you ask yourself these questions first, it’ll serve as a useful precursor before starting a more comprehensive evaluation process.
For more helpful tips on how to figure out which brand or machine is right for you, read our blog on the "Top 6 Things to Consider When Buying a Printer."
Alternative to Buying Directly From Printer Brands
Not everybody is a fit to buy from a direct manufacturing company, which is why you have the option to either buy directly or through a local vendor who sells the manufacturing company’s products.
Some benefits of buying from a local vendor that you don’t get from buying directly from a manufacturer include:
A more accessible relationship.
Consistent managerial infrastructure.
A direct point of contact.
In general, if you’re a nationwide company that maintains multiple locations across the country, then purchasing from a direct manufacturer would be the best option so you have one problem-solving medium to rectify any issues that arise with your printer arsenal.
On the other hand, if you’re a locally run business that seeks a more personable and consistent option, then buying from a nearby print vendor that sells the direct manufacturer’s products would be the better option.
For a broad look at the differences between buying directly from a printer brand vs. a local vendor, read our blog about the two consumer-purchase options.
Need Help Choosing Which Printer Brand to Go With?
Comparing and contrasting a printer brand against another is not an exact science.
If you’re wanting to buy from a direct manufacturing company and want a list that’ll guide you to the best in the industry, then this blog would be a beneficial resource for you.
However, we didn’t even scratch the surface of what you should consider about your unique situation. Factors such as your budget, monthly print volume and key features will always take precedence over company reputation and image when deciding who to go with.
As a long-time local print vendor, we want to provide you with our expert-driven input so you’re fully informed and aware of all the things you need to consider when conducting a thorough research process to find the best printing solution for you.
Now that you have a resource to help you decide who to buy from, it's time to figure out which machine is right for you. Download your free copy of the Complete Guide to Leasing or Purchasing a Printer for Your Business so you can get the right printer in place the first time.