Theyre still the leaders of the pack. In 2005, Canon surged ahead on the printer portion of our survey, pulling alongside perennial printer favorite Hewlett-Packard. In 2006, the two are Readers Choices again.
In fact, Canon, with some stellar ratings, has a slight edge, especially among first-year products, and HP is showing signs of faltering.
Collectively, the 2006 printer scores take some interesting turns. Most notably (though it is most likely explained by our having eliminated high-volume, high-maintenance floor-standing printers from our analysis), repair rates are down, to 8 percent from 11 percent.
Yet, among printers less than a year old, all the companies except Konica Minolta and Samsung saw slight increases in units needing repair. And though readers are less pleased with the way repairs are handled (the average rating drops to 6.5 from 6.8), theyre happier with basic tech support (the average rating jumps to 7.0 from 6.7).
That said, the overall printer rating, 7.8 out of 10, is unchanged.
Our readers reported on over 6,500 printers, including home and business models—everything from color ink jets to mono lasers. Where possible, we sort ratings according to printer type, and for the most part these breakdowns mirror the overall scores.