Canon vs. HP Printer: The Best Choice for Reliability, Ink Costs, and More

best photo printers

Canon vs. HP Printer: The Best Choice for Reliability, Ink Costs, and More

Key Points

  • Canon and HP are both well-established printer brands known for their quality.
  • Canon printers generally produce higher quality prints with more natural colors, while HP printers tend to have warmer tones.
  • Canon printers are faster than HP printers, especially when it comes to printing graphics and images.
  • Canon printers have slightly lower ink costs compared to HP printers.
  • Both Canon and HP offer ink subscriptions to help save on ink costs.

Whether you need a printer for your home or office, the first thing to decide is which brand to choose. Two heavyweight names are Canon and HP. Both companies have been manufacturing printers for decades, and they are a guarantee for quality.

Nevertheless, there are differences in model types, paper handling, and costs — both the cost of the printer and the cost of ink.

If you can’t decide which brand to focus on, this in-depth comparison between the Canon and HP printers might help you pick.

Let’s dive right in!

Canon vs. HP Printer: Side-by-Side Comparison

Canon PrintersHP Printers
Printer TypesInkjet, laser, ink tank, all-in-one, portableInkjet, laser, ink tank, all-in-one
Printer PriceAround $60 to $800Around $50 to $500
Cartridge CostsAround $10 to $80Around $15 to $100
Yield Per CartridgeAround 180 to 400 pagesAround 100 to 450 pages
Ink Subscription Plan?YesYes
Subscription CostsFrom $3.99 per monthFrom 0.99 per month
Print and Scan SpeedsFasterSlower
Black and White Printing QualityHigherLower
Color Printing QualityHigherLower
Photo Printing QualityMore natural-lookingWarmer tones
Paper HandlingGoodAverage
Smart App?YesYes
Firmware UpgradesN/A3 years
Great Display
Canon Pixma TR150 Wireless Mobile Printer
  • Supports AirPrint
  • 5.5ppm color print speed
  • Print size: 8.5 x 11 inches
  • 1.44 inch sized OLED display included
  • Battery sold separately
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01/16/2024 04:03 pm GMT
Best for Portability
HP OfficeJet 250 All-in-One Portable Printer
  • Includes Wi-Fi Direct for mobile printing as well as Bluetooth
  • Charges within 90 minutes while the printer is off
  • 2.65-inch color touchscreen
  • 10-sheet auto document feeder
  • 19ppm in color and 20ppm in monochrome
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01/16/2024 01:57 pm GMT

Canon vs. HP Printer: What’s the Difference?

HP and Canon are pioneers in the printer world. The latter developed the first laser printer in 1975 and introduced the world’s first plain-paper reader/printer in 1984. A year later, in 1985, Canon released the world’s first inkjet printer using Bubble Jet technology.

Hewlett-Packard (HP) is more famous for its computers, but the company introduced its first laserjet printer in 1984. The company’s range of printers expanded over the past decades to include a variety of simple and multifunction machines that compete with Canon. But which of the two brands is really worth it?

Let’s break down everything you need to know about the Canon and HP printers.

Printer Types

Both Canon and HP manufacture similar printer types. You can find laser, inkjet, and ink tank printers in each brand’s lineup.

Allegedly, both brands also manufacture portable printers. However, while HP’s idea of portability is that of compact full-size printers, Canon manufactures mini printers that are not much larger than a laptop.

Canon also includes photo printers in its lineup, which are about the size of a smartphone or compact camera — some models are cameras and printers in one. These models are ideal for folks who want to snap and print pictures on the go.

All-in-one printers are also available from both brands. Depending on your needs, you can pick from 3-in-1 models that print, scan, and copy or 4-in-1 machines that also include a fax.

A close up shot of a portable photo printer
Canon manufactures a series of ultra-compact portable printers that are easy to use on the go.

Print and Quality

The quality of a print is affected by numerous factors, including the type of printer and the ink being used. Laser printers, for instance, typically produce better results than inkjet models — even though both Canon and HP now manufacture some inkjet printers that are comparable to the laser models in terms of results.

When compared side-by-side, however, Canon has the upper hand. For instance, Canon’s PIXMA TS35 inkjet printer produces darker blacks and razor-sharp text when printing plain text documents. It also produces more natural colors when printing PDFs.

Canon printers also maintain the natural hues when printing photographs, whereas HP printers produce warmer tones that might alter the quality of your photos. As far as plain text is concerned, the HP models, such as the ENVY 6055e, deliver good quality results, but the black is more of a dark gray. The warmer tones are also seen in all color prints, including PDFs.

Great Color Depth
Canon PIXMA TS35 22 Series Wireless Color Inkjet All-in-One Printer
  • Wireless
  • Print, copy, scan
  • Mobile printing compatible
  • Up to 50 sheets paper tray
  • Up to 4,800 x 1,200 DPI
  • 1.5" LCD display
  • HDMI cable
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01/16/2024 12:07 pm GMT
Efficient and Great Quality
HP ENVY 6055e Wireless Color Inkjet Printer
  • Wireless
  • Print, scan, copy
  • Easy setup
  • Mobile printing
  • Instant Ink with HP+
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01/16/2024 06:42 am GMT

Copy and Scan Quality

While Canon excels in terms of printing quality, the tables turn when it comes to copying and scanning. When producing copies on plain paper, the HP printers have smoother transitions and capture more details — especially when copying pages containing colors and images.

The same is true for scanning. HP’s models manage to maintain the details and retain the text’s sharpness when scanning pictures or documents.

Copies from most Canon printers have rougher-looking textures and copied or scanned images tend to lose some details in the darker areas.


Canon might not excel at making copies or scanning, but it wins the speed contest against HP. On average, a Canon model can print around 10 pages per minute of plain text. Most HP printers only manage to turn out 9 pages in the same amount of time.

Sure, the difference isn’t excessive as far as plain text is concerned, but it becomes steeper when printing graphics and images. On plain paper, Canon has a speed of around three pages per minute. HP prints under two pages per minute.

Printing a letter-sized photograph on glossy paper takes around two and a half minutes with an HP printer and under two minutes with a Canon.

Printer and Ink Costs

When buying a printer, you must consider the upfront cost (the price of the machine) and the ongoing cost, which is the purchase of ink bottles or cartridges.

Laserjet and inkjet printers are relatively affordable upfront, and there aren’t major differences between Canon and HP in terms of price. If you are on a really tight budget, however, HP tends to be the most affordable of the two.

Ink tank printers are more expensive up front, with some models costing over $500. The main advantage of these models is the low ongoing cost. Ink bottles are cheaper than cartridges, and a full tank is usually enough for printing 1,000 or more pages.

Comparatively, you could spend anywhere between $10 and $100 for a laserjet or inkjet ink cartridge, but the yield is rarely superior to 400 pages. On average, most cartridges print between 200 and 300 pages. As far as costs go, Canon wins with slightly lower costs for ink cartridges and ink bottles.

As a way to save on ink and cartridges, both Canon and HP offer ink subscriptions. You can choose from various bundles, including pay-per-print options.

Canon’s Pay Per Print option costs around $0.20 per page. You can also choose from printing packages containing 30 to 200 pages per month. These can cost you between $4 and $10 per month. HP’s subscriptions are cheaper, with the most affordable option allowing you to print 10 pages per month for around $1. Plans go up to 700 pages per month for $25, and extra sets of 5 to 20 pages cost $1 if you exceed your monthly limit.

Both Canon and HP subscriptions include unused page rollover to the next month.

Paper Handling

The era of toner printers, which were notorious for paper jams, is over. But not all new printers handle paper properly. Cheaper HP models typically run into more trouble than Canon or higher-end HP models. If you’re on a tight budget but need a printer to use for the foreseeable future, a Canon model might be better.


Today, the vast majority of Canon and HP printers are wireless, connecting to your computer or mobile device via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Mobile and desktop apps allow you to print and scan documents on your phone or computer.

Canon’s app also allows you to adjust the printer’s settings and save files in the Canon cloud. However, the brand could improve the connectivity issues that sometimes arise.

HP’s app is a lot more stable and reliable. In addition to printing and scanning, you can also use the app to edit photos before printing them, print a range of free arts and crafts cards, and use the mobile fax function.

best wireless printer
Most Canon and HP printers are wireless, so you can print documents and photos from your mobile phone.

Firmware Upgrades

Like any other device that connects to the internet, wireless printers are vulnerable to malware and hacker activity. The first step to protect yourself is setting a strong password. Upgrading the firmware is another essential step, helping you update the security patches.

Both Canon and HP release new firmware upgrades regularly. HP offers three years of updates from the date of the model’s release. While Canon doesn’t disclose how many firmware upgrades it offers for its printers, you should be covered for at least a few years.

Canon vs. HP Printer: 5 Must-Know Facts

  • Both Canon and HP are leaders in the printing industry. Their lineups include home and professional models.
  • Canon’s lineup includes more printer types, including pocket-sized photo printers and cameras with built-in printers.
  • HP generally manufactures more affordable printers, but the cost of ink bottles and cartridges is higher compared to Canon.
  • Canon produces higher-quality prints than HP, but HP’s copies and scans are better than Canon’s.
  • Most Canon and HP printers are wireless, but HP has a more reliable and user-friendly app.
Best for Businesses
Canon GX6021 All-in-One Wireless Supertank Printer
  • Print, scan, copy, and ADF
  • White
  • Small design to take up less space on your desk
  • Easy Wi-Fi setup in minutes
  • Easy to fill with ink
  • Load up to 250-Sheets of plain paper in the bottom cassette
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01/16/2024 09:17 pm GMT
Best for Ease of Use
HP Color LaserJet Pro M255dw Wireless Laser Printer
  • Easy-to-use smartphone application
  • Prints up to 22 ppm
  • Affordable option
  • Features Alexa voice controls
  • Wireless printing
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01/16/2024 07:37 am GMT

Canon vs. HP Printer: Which One is Better?

Canon printers are superior to HP as far as the printing quality is concerned. They are more expensive upfront, but the cartridges and ink bottles are more affordable, so you’ll save in the long run. These printers lose some points in the copy and scan departments, but if you mostly need the machine to print color pages and photos, you can’t go wrong with this brand.

If you need an all-in-one printer that can produce high-quality copies and scans as well as good prints, then HP is a better choice. You’ll have to settle for less natural colors, though, and slightly higher ink costs. HP is also the better option if you’re on a really tight budget and need an affordable printer — upfront, HP printers are cheaper than Canon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do Canon printers use so much ink?

Your Canon printer could use more ink when using the wrong print settings. For instance, if you’re printing plain text but your printer is set to print photographs, it will consume more ink. You can fix this issue by setting the printer to plain paper and the print quality to standard or fast rather than high.

How do I update my HP printer?

Depending on your printer model, you should select Printer Maintenance or Tools in the printer’s settings. Select Web Services and Printer Update, then follow the instructions to download and install the new firmware.

Is it cheaper to refill ink cartridges or buy new ones?

It is cheaper to refill ink cartridges, but it isn’t wise to do so. The main issue is that your printer might not recognize that the cartridge is full (some printers can recognize the old cartridge and signal it as empty even though you refilled it).

Using ink from third-party providers might also affect the print quality and potentially damage your printer. If you print a lot, the best option is an ink tank printer that you can refill when empty.

What is the lifespan of an HP printer?

The average lifespan of an HP printer is three to five years. The machine could potentially last longer with proper maintenance, but HP typically discontinues its models after a few years. This means that you might not be able to find replacement cartridges or ink refills for your model.

How do I know when my printer needs to be replaced?

Glitches and printing errors are usually the first signs that your printer starts failing. An increment in ink consumption is another sign of wear and tear, but you should check the settings first to make sure you’re using the right parameters. Fading text, print streaks, and missing pages are other signs that you should buy a new printer.

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