When you are in the market for an inexpensive printer, inkjet is definitely the way to go. There are numerous options that come in below the $100 mark, and most offer impressive features and print quality for the price. There are a few duds in the mix, though, so it is important to take your time to find the right one.
For starters, narrow your search for sub-$100 printers down to those that offer multiple connectivity options. The days of needing printer cables are long gone, and there is no reason to sacrifice the convenience of wireless connectivity to save a few bucks. Look for models that have Wi-Fi connectivity as well as a USB port. Since most of us now use our mobile devices more than we use our computers, it is also a good idea to shop for models that are compatible with Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print. These features allow you to print directly from your smartphone or tablet with ease. There are also printers in the sub-$100 category that offer NFC-based connectivity for even greater convenience.
Whether you are shopping for an affordable printer for personal or business use, be sure to choose one that is user-friendly. Most modern printers are pretty easy to use and have simple setup processes that allow you to start using them within minutes. If in doubt, check online reviews to see what others are saying about their experiences using a particular printer.
Even once you’ve narrowed down the options a bit, there are still a lot of printers to choose from in brands like Canon, HP, Epson and Brother. Which one is right for you? Without further ado, here are five of the most budget-friendly inkjet printers on the market.
HP OfficeJet 4650
For about $70, you can’t go wrong with the HP OfficeJet 4650. HP has long been a leader in the affordable printer market, and for good reason. The brand offers high-quality printers for personal and small business use at affordable prices.
The OfficeJet 4650 packs a lot of features in a stylish package with an affordable price tag. This all-in-one color printer has a 2.2-inch LCD touchscreen that allows you to manage all settings and printer assignments directly on the machine. It offers a multitude of connection options, including wired Ethernet, Wi-Fi, USB-based connection to a PC or direct connection to the printer using Apple AirPrint or a built-in wireless access point known as Wireless Direct.
The 4650 prints up to 9.5 pages per minute in black and up to 6.8 pages per minute in color. It also features a built-in flatbed scanner and fax capabilities that can transmit at a rate of up to four seconds per page. It’s also compatible with the HP Instant Ink Service that ensures you will never run out of ink or find yourself spending a fortune on new cartridges.
Also coming in around the $70 price point, the Brother MFC-J460DW is another strong contender in the affordable printer category. It is a great option for students and home offices and will meet your printing, copying, scanning and fax needs. A 1.8-inch display and adjacent buttons make it easy to manage settings. It supports two-sided printing and has an automatic document feeder. It also speeds through large print jobs at a rate of up to 12 pages per minute for black and white documents and 6 pages per minute for color.
You can connect the printer to your PC using a USB port, or you can opt for a wired Ethernet connection, Wireless N networking or a direct printer-to-device connection using Wi-Fi Direct. The Brother MFC-J460DW also supports Google Cloud Print, Apple AirPrint and a number of other services. Brother includes several built-in apps that allow you to print images and documents directly from Dropbox, Google Drive, Facebook and other cloud-based services. There are also pre-installed apps that allow you to create Office documents directly from scans or add effects to your prints.
The Brother MFC-J460DW is compact and takes up little space on your desk, making it ideal for areas where space is at a premium. Don’t let its small size fool you, though. This is one compact printer that packs a punch.
Canon PIXMA MX922
We can’t write an article about the best budget-friendly printers without including one from Canon’s PIXMA line. PIXMA printers are well-known for producing high-quality prints without breaking the bank, and this one is no exception. This all-in-one machine features a stylish design and offers print, scan, copy and fax capabilities. It is easy to set up and can be connected to your network via Ethernet or Wi-Fi. You can also connect it to your PC via USB cable for super-fast transfers. It has an auto document feeder that holds up to 35 sheets, and it has automatic duplex printing capabilities that allow you to print two-sided documents without manually turning over the pages.
The paper tray holds up to 250 sheets which ensures that even small businesses won’t have to reload constantly. There’s also a separate photo paper tray that holds up to 20 sheets of 4×6-inch photo paper. This allows you to switch between printing on regular paper and photo paper without changing the paper in the tray.
When it comes to print quality, you can’t do much better than the PIXMA MX922. It prints sharp text and beautiful photos. It also does a good job printing graphics. Whether you’re using it for personal purposes or business applications, this printer will get the job done and help you create high-quality prints you are proud to show off.
You can use this device to effortlessly print from Google Docs or Gmail thanks to Google Cloud Print compatibility. AirPrint allows you to print from your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad with ease. No matter what mobile device you need to print from, Canon makes it easy.
Epson Expression Home XP-430
The compact and easy-to-use Expression Home XP-430 from Epson makes everyday printing a breeze, and at a price tag of just under $90, you can’t go wrong. It features a 2.7-inch high-resolution LCD screen that makes navigation and setup a snap and a 100-sheet capacity that means you will need to reload paper less frequently.
The XP-430 is a complete wireless solution. It features Wi-Fi Direct for network-free printing, or you can connect to your PC via your home or office’s Wi-Fi network. There is also a built-in card slot that allows you to preview, edit and print documents without connecting to your PC. Built-in software lets you scan and share your photos on Facebook or print using a number of popular cloud-based services.
If your desk is already just about filled to capacity with devices, chargers and must-have accessories, you’ll love the XP-430’s compact size. With the nickname “small-in-one,” you know it has a small footprint and will fit on even the most crowded desk. It will fit in a space measuring just 15.4 inches wide by 11.8 inches deep, and it stands just 5.7 inches tall when the paper trays are not fully extended. With both paper trays fully extended, it stands just 11 inches tall and requires 20.8 inches of space from front to back. This is much smaller than many comparable models, and it is the perfect solution for most home offices.
Canon PIXMA MG6820
We love the Canon PIXMA line so much that two printers from it made our top five. The PIXMA MG6820 is a top-quality photo printer that is perfect for personal and small business use. This all-in-one solution has print and scan capabilities but lacks a fax component. Since the Internet and email are quickly making faxes obsolete, though, it probably isn’t a big loss for most people.
The PIXMA MG6820 has a roomy 3-inch screen that allows you to easily navigate settings, print and scan without ever needing to touch your computer or other device. There is also a range of built-in features that you can apply to your photos before printing.
While most printers at this price point only use two ink cartridges–one for black and one for cyan, magenta and yellow–this printer has slots for five different cartridges. There’s one for pigment black, one for black that is to be combined with color, one for cyan, one for magenta and one for yellow. It may seem like replacing five cartridges instead of one would get expensive, but it actually helps users save money. These individual cartridges cost less, and since you only need to replace them as a certain color runs out, you’ll no longer find yourself needing to throw your entire tri-color cartridge away when you’ve used up all the cyan but still have plenty of yellow and magenta left.
The PIXMA MG6820’s speed is pretty impressive. It cranks up to 15 pages per minute in black and up to 9.7 pages per minute in color. When it comes to connectivity, you have plenty of options. Tether it to your PC via USB or connect wirelessly over Wi-Fi. You can also print directly from your mobile device using Canon’s user-friendly app. The device also supports Google Cloud Print and Apple AirPrint.
The market is filled with printers promising to provide top-notch results at an affordable price. While there are some options that are cheaper than those listed above, we have found that many of them do not provide suitable output. Many also lack convenient features like Wi-Fi connectivity and compatibility with cloud-based services.
Consider your needs before committing to a particular printer. Do you mostly print text-based documents, or do you plan on doing a significant amount of photo printing? Do you print several pages per day, or will you only be using your printer on occasion? Because printers are all designed with different target users in mind, it is vital to know exactly how you plan to use your new machine prior to purchasing it. If you need to do a lot of printing, look for one with fast output. If you will only be printing a few photos from time to time, you need one that is built to print high-quality photos, but you probably don’t need to be too concerned about print speed. Knowing exactly which features and functions are most important to you makes it much easier to find the right device at the right price.
When you are shopping for a budget-friendly printer, it is important to look at more than just the upfront price. Ink costs vary dramatically from one manufacturer to another, and they have a huge impact on how much your printer will cost you during its lifespan. Models that use separate cartridges for cyan, magenta and yellow ink tend to be the most economical in the long run. Because you only need to replace each individual color as it runs out, this also reduces waste. Some brands also support the use of recycled inkjet cartridges while others do not. Opting for one that does means you could save significantly on your replacement cartridges.
Before investing in any printer, take the time to do some research. Check online printer reviews and talk to your friends and family members about what types of printers they use. There are several budget-friendly options on the market and talking to people who have actually used them can make choosing the right one a lot easier.