The 7 Best Print Servers
This wiki has been updated 19 times since it was first published in February of 2019. If you're working with an older printer that doesn't have built-in networking capabilities, a dedicated server can breathe new life into it. These are built to accept a USB or DB25 serial connection and hook up via cable to a LAN or wireless router. Take note that you may have to change a few settings within the network for some of these to work, so a bit technical expertise may be needed. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
January 22, 2021:
By design, print servers are meant to function with legacy devices, so there's little recent advancement in the field. Nonetheless, we did find the relatively recent X-Media PS110P, which is about as close to plug-and-play as one of these things gets. The StarTech PM1115 remains a good wireless-enabled option, although it will require some know-how to get working perfectly. If tech know-how is your thing, though, you could probably build an even more effective print server using the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 B+ than anything you can buy outright.
April 18, 2019:
Print servers are a great way to extend the life of older printers in offices and homes. They're especially useful for large-format or other specialized printers. The main drawback of these devices is that they aren't always easy to install. They do require that your network is set up in a certain way, so you might need some help from the IT department to get them working just right.
With that said, the TP-Link will likely give you the least trouble. It's about as close as they get to plug-and-play. The HP JetDirect is similarly straightforward, though it's a touch older and slower. Of note is the D-Link, whose 3 total ports can keep 3 active printers at the ready, which is great for busy offices. The StarTech and the IOGear are both very compact and relatively inexpensive, though there are mixed reports of their compatibility with later operating systems, especially MacOS.
Which brings us to the Raspberry Pi. If you're handy enough to install all of these, you might also be capable of programming this bad boy. It'll take a little time, but it comes with all the physical pieces you'll need, and there are a lot of step-by-step tutorials online that explain how to configure the Linux-based CUPS software that will turn the Pi into a highly capable wireless print server. If you're willing to put in that time and effort, and learn something in the process, it's almost certain to deliver extremely high performance as well as reliability.