These days, printers come in all different price ranges, but if you're on the hunt for something more affordable, it can still be a little challenging to find the best printer on a budget. However, you don't need to break the bank to find good performing printers at a reasonable price. Although printers often go on sale, we've chosen printers that have a low Recommended Retail Price (RRP) rather than a low sale price so that even when there isn't a discount available, they remain very affordable picks.
We've tested over 70 printers, and below are our recommendations for the best cheap printers you can buy. You can also check out our recommendations for the best printers with cheap ink, the best wireless printers, and the best home printers.
The best cheap printer that we've tested is the Canon PIXMA TR7520. This all-in-one inkjet model is a very good option for families who are into scrapbooking and can be a big help to students printing out their homework. It has a flatbed scanner, which is great if you need to scan fragile photos or large textbooks. It also has an automatic document feeder to quickly scan multi-page documents.
The overall low-cost-per-print is great, and the cartridges are reasonably priced, which will help keep prices from rising too quickly. Also, it's capable of printing some great-looking photos, with deep blacks and colors that look well-defined. You can connect it via Bluetooth, USB, or Wi-Fi, and it's compatible with the outstanding companion app, Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY.
Unfortunately, while photo quality is great, the color accuracy isn't as good. Not only that, but the cartridges run out of ink quickly, resulting in a low yield. The display screen has sub-par sensitivity, meaning you'll have to apply more pressure than needed to input commands. That said, if you're on a budget and want a very good family printer, this versatile option is one of the best cheap printers that we've tested.
If you're looking for an even cheaper printer, consider the Canon PIXMA MG3620. Its scanner features and connectivity options aren't as impressive as the Canon PIXMA TR7520, but its cost-per-print for black-only is only marginally higher while the printer itself is significantly cheaper. The quality of photos it can produce is pretty good, with acceptable color accuracy and passable printing speed. Its scanner features aren't too impressive, as it lacks an automatic document feeder and a sheetfed scanner. However, it's compatible with the outstanding Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY app, where you can print and scan directly from your mobile device.
If you want something with better scanner features and connectivity options, get the TR7520. However, if you want a printer that's even cheaper and has an affordable cost-per-print, get the MG3620.
The best cheap photo printer that we've tested is the HP DeskJet 3755. This all-in-one inkjet model is one of the smallest we've tested, so it's perfect for tight spaces like a small office or dorm room, and it comes in three flashy colors in case you want to match it with your work set up. It has easy access to paper jams and ink cartridges, and despite its small size, it has an automatic document feeder for hassle-free document scanning.
Its photo printing quality is good, with pictures looking quite detailed, although there's some banding on the grayscale. You may be disappointed if you need exact color reproduction since some colors come out a little oversaturated, but otherwise, it's accurate enough for filling up a photo album or adding color to a document. You can connect to the printer via USB cable, Wi-Fi, and through AirPrint or Mopria Print, plus it's compatible with the HP Smart app where you can check ink levels and order cartridges from your mobile device.
Unfortunately, its terribly low page yield causes the cost-per-print to be very high, and you may need to replace the cartridges fairly often. Photo printing speed is also very slow, so you can't be in a rush to have photos in your hand. Nevertheless, this is a good choice if you're looking to occasionally print good-looking photos, and it's among the best printers under $100 that we've tested.
The best cheap laser printer we've tested is the Brother HL-L2370DW. This monochrome laser model is an excellent option if you only need to print black-and-white documents. This well-built option has a very simple design, and it provides easy access to both paper jams and the toner cartridge. Its 250-page paper tray feels sturdy and durable, and it has a slider to accommodate most common paper formats.
Its page yield is remarkably high, which results in an incredibly low cost-per-print. It's also exceptionally quick a printing out documents, so you won't need to wait long to have a 30-paged document in your hand. It has great connectivity options, letting you print via Ethernet, USB, Wi-Fi, AirPrint, and Mopria Print. It also has an outstanding companion app, the Brother iPrint&Scan, which lets you print and perform a number of maintenance tasks right from your mobile device.
Unfortunately, since it's a monochrome laser printer, it's terrible at printing photos, and there's no color. It also doesn't have a scanner, so you need to make sure you won't need one before you buy it. Additionally, its drum unit is separate from its toner cartridge, so it's an extra cost when you need to replace it. Nevertheless, this laser model is one of the best cheap printers we've tested and is an excellent option if you only need to print in black and white.
If you're looking for a printer that has a scanner as well, consider the Brother HL-L2390DW. Its connectivity options aren't as good as the Brother HL-L2370DW's, and it has a lower page yield, but it has a scanner and a better design. This is a great choice if you only need to print black and white documents, and it has an excellent overall cost-per-print. It has an amazing build, with easy access to jams and a paper tray that accommodates various page lengths. Unfortunately, it lacks Bluetooth connectivity, and you can't plug in an Ethernet cable. However, it's compatible with the outstanding Brother iPrint&Scan companion app.
If you want something that has a better page yield and greater connectivity options, get the HL-2370DW. However, if you want a printer with a better design and absolutely need a scanner, get the HL-2390DW.
The best cheap printer for home in the budget category we've tested is the Canon PIXMA TR8520. This all-in-one inkjet model is great for families, thanks to its impressive scanner features and low cost-per-print. It has a flatbed scanner to help you digitize fragile old photos or scan your notes, and it also has a sheetfed scanner to automatically process multi-page documents. Photos come out with excellent detail, and although colors look a little oversaturated and inaccurate, it shouldn't be a deal-breaker for casual color printing.
Although its page yield isn't very high, the cost of the ink is relatively affordable, which results in a low cost-per-print. The cartridges are also available in a higher yield version, which should last you longer, although we haven't tested them. It has fantastic connectivity options, including via Ethernet, USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPrint, and Mopria Print, as well as directly from an SD card. It's also compatible with the Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY app, from where you can print, scan, copy, and perform maintenance tasks on your phone.
Unfortunately, it prints quite slowly, which may be frustrating if you don't like waiting long for your documents or photo. Also, it's only decently well-built, with some parts feeling quite flimsy, and you need to lift the display panel before printing anything, which may not be very intuitive to most people. Nevertheless, this is an impressive option for its price point, and it's one of the best photo printers we've tested.
11/27/2020: Updated text for clarity and structure, no changes in product picks.
09/02/2020: Moved the Canon PIXMA MG3620 as an alternative to the best Cheap Printer, made the Canon PIXMA TR7520 the Best Cheap Printer. Moved Canon PIXMA TS5320 to Notable Mentions and bumped the HP DeskJet 3755 to Best Cheap Photo. Added Brother HL-L2370DW, Brother HL-L2390DW, and Canon PIXMA TR8520 as picks.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best cheap printers for most people. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability.
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here's a list of our cheap printer reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no printer is perfect for every use, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.