The home isn't the only battleground for these two printing giants. If you're running a small office, there are affordable and feature-packed business printers available. Depending on your specific requirements, you can choose between laser's fast print speeds and accurate documents, or go for an inkjet that can produce glossy documents that are great for presentations.
The PIXMA MX7600 is Canon's high-end inkjet multifunction for the business market. For the same price as a low-end monochrome laser multifunction, you get automatic duplexing, Ethernet, a fax and even a multi-card reader. Interestingly, the PIXMA MX7600 uses pigment-based inks, which produce photo quality prints with laser quality and sheen. You can print off those presentations during the week and your precious family photos on the weekend.
HP's slightly cheaper option, the Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless (A909), has even more features. You get Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, a touch-sensitive screen and consumables that won't blow your budget. It prints faster than the PIXMA MX7600, but the resulting documents are of poorer quality.
The choice comes down to priorities: if you're after speed and features, the Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless wins hands down. However, if you need the utmost quality and enough features to get you through the day, Canon's PIXMA MX7600 is a good choice. In the meantime, we'd pick the HP, if only so we can print those quick mobile snaps.
If you only need to print off a quick black and white document, you probably don't need 10 different connections and a fax you'll never use. Both Canon and HP offer bargain-bin laser printers that deliver monochrome documents fairly quickly at a running cost that is too good to ignore.
Canon's Laser Shot LBP 3100B is arguably the uglier of the two options. Still, if you can get over the unwieldy paper output tray, this laser printer manages 16.6 pages per minute (ppm). Though it ships with starter cartridges, subsequent consumables are relatively cheap: the LBP 3100B will cost only 5.9c per A4 page.
The Laserjet P1005 is HP's option, a more compact and somewhat more attractive alternative. Unfortunately, it is also slightly slower (15ppm) and more expensive to run (6c per A4 page) than Canon's laser printer.
Unless you have a particular aversion to ugly printers (and there are plenty of them out there), Canon's monochrome laser printer is the better choice.
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu