Top Feed vs Bottom Feed Printers: Which is Best?

When it comes to printing, the details matter. Two popular types are top feed and bottom feed printers. But which is best? Let’s unpack the differences and find out

Key Takeaways: Understanding Top Feed vs. Bottom Feed Printers 🖨️

Top Feed Printers (Rear Feed) 📄👍

  1. Better for Special Media 🎨: Ideal for thicker or specialty papers like card stock and photo paper.
  2. Fewer Paper Jams 🛑✅: Straight paper path reduces jamming.
  3. Ease of Access 👐: Simple to load and check paper.

Cons of Top Feed Printers 📄👎

  1. Space Requirements 🏠📏: Needs more overhead space.
  2. Limited Capacity 📉: Smaller paper capacity means more frequent reloading.

Bottom Feed Printers (Front Feed) 📃👍

  1. Compact Design 🏠✨: Fits well in small spaces without extra space for paper.
  2. Higher Paper Capacity 📈: Can hold more paper.
  3. Less Refilling 🔄🛑: Ideal for high-volume printing.

Cons of Bottom Feed Printers 📃👎

  1. Potential for Paper Jam 🛑: More bends in paper path can increase jamming.
  2. Limited Media Flexibility 🎨⚠️: Not great for thick or specialty media.

Check out the best top and bottom feeding printers right now broken up into premium, mid-range, and budget price categories.

When it comes to printing, the details matter. Whether you’re a business professional printing marketing materials, a student preparing a report, or just someone who needs to occasionally print documents at home, the type of printer you use can make a significant difference.

Two popular types are top feed and bottom feed printers. But which is best? We’ll cover everything you need to know below, so make sure you stick around until the end for our recommended options.

Let’s now dive into the specifics of each, helping you make an informed decision for your printing needs.

Understanding Top Feed Printers

top feed printerPin

Top feed printers, also known as rear feed printers, have their paper feed stacked on top of the printer. Here’s why they might be the right choice for you:


  • Better for Special Media: Ideal for printing on heavier or specialty paper, like card stock and photo paper, without bending.
  • Less Paper Jamming: Tends to have fewer paper jams due to the straight paper path.
  • Ease of Access: Easy to load and monitor the paper.


  • Space Requirements: Needs more overhead space, which might be a problem in tight spaces.
  • Limited Capacity: Often have smaller paper capacity, requiring frequent reloading.

Understanding Bottom Feed Printers

bottom feed printerPin

In contrast, bottom feed printers, also known as front feed printers, have a tray at the bottom where the paper is loaded. They offer different benefits:


  • Compact Design: More suitable for small spaces as they don’t require extra space for paper loading.
  • Higher Paper Capacity: Generally, these printers can hold more paper.
  • Less Frequent Refilling: Ideal for high-volume printing due to larger paper storage.


  • Potential for Paper Jam: More bends in the paper path can lead to increased paper jams, especially with thicker paper.
  • Limited Media Flexibility: Not as effective for printing on thick or specialty media.

Which is Best for You?

For Business and High-Volume Printing:

  • Bottom Feed Printers are often the go-to choice for businesses with high-volume printing needs. Their larger paper capacity and compact design are ideal for office environments.

For Photographers and Designers:

  • Top Feed Printers are typically preferred by photographers and designers who frequently print on thicker media like photo paper. The straight paper path ensures quality prints without bending the media.

For Home Use and Students:

  • The choice depends on your specific needs. If you’re printing documents occasionally, a bottom feed printer might suffice. But for varied printing needs, including occasional photo prints, a top feed printer could be more versatile.

Wrapping Up / Final Thoughts

The choice between a top feed and a bottom feed printer largely depends on your specific needs. Consider the type of media you’ll be printing on, the volume of printing, and your space constraints.

By understanding the pros and cons of each, you can choose a printer that best suits your requirements, ensuring efficient and high-quality printing.

Remember, the right printer can save you time and frustration, making your printing experience smooth and efficient. Whether for professional or personal use, making an informed decision on top feed versus bottom feed printers will pay off in the long run.

Whether you prefer top feed or bottom feed printers, there are options available at various price points. Here’s a breakdown of our top recommended printers in each category, from premium to budget-friendly choices:

Top Feed Printers

Premium Option: Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850

  • Best for: High volume printing with cost-effective ink usage.
  • Features: All-in-one inkjet model, large ink tank for thousands of prints, and economical replacement ink.
  • Ideal for: Offices and individuals with frequent printing needs.

Mid-Range Option: Brother MFC-J4335DW

  • Best for: Moderate printing requirements.
  • Features: Uses ink cartridges, yields about 2,000 black prints, various connectivity options.
  • Ideal for: Home use and small businesses.

Budget-Friendly Option: Canon PIXMA MG3620

  • Best for: Occasional printing.
  • Features: Simple all-in-one inkjet, high-quality black and color prints with black and tri-color cartridges.
  • Ideal for: Users needing occasional prints without compromising on quality.

Bottom Feed Printers

Premium Option: Brother HL-L2350DW

  • Best for: High-quality laser printing at an affordable price.
  • Features: Low operating costs, quick printouts, various useful features.
  • Ideal for: Businesses and individuals needing fast, efficient printing.

Mid-Range Option: Brother MFC-J4335DW

  • Best for: Diverse printing needs with affordability in mind.
  • Features: All-in-one printer, cost-effective, sharp text, and good glossy prints.
  • Ideal for: Home offices and small businesses looking for versatility.

Budget-Friendly Option: Pantum P2502W

  • Best for: Basic printing needs on a budget.
  • Features: Affordable, good performance, suitable for basic print jobs.
  • Ideal for: Students or anyone seeking a no-frills, economical printer.
Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He has written for Den of Geek, Fortean Times, IT PRO, PC Pro, ALPHR, and many other technology sites. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.

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