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 100 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 MG3620. This is a simple all-in-one color inkjet model that doesn't have a display screen and feels rather poorly built and flimsy, but it has a flatbed scanner with a good scan resolution and color depth, and hinges that lift to scan thicker items.
While its overall page yield is disappointing, the cartridges themselves aren't very expensive, so the cost-per-print is great, particularly for color documents and photos. It prints photos at a very good speed, with good quality in the details and passably accurate color reproduction that should be fine for casual prints. You can print via Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service, and it also connects to Wi-Fi for networking capability.
Unfortunately, it doesn't have a sheetfed scanner, so processing multi-page documents could take a while. It also prints color documents slowly, and it only has one color cartridge, so you'll need to replace the whole cartridge if just one color of ink runs out. However, high-yield cartridges are available and should last longer, though we haven't tested them. All in all, this is a reasonably good printer if you only need to print occasionally and don't want to pay too much upfront.
The best inexpensive printer for photos that we've tested is the Canon PIXMA TR4520. It's an all-in-one inkjet that produces impressive-looking photos, with clear details and decently accurate, vibrant colors. While its color document page yields are poor, the cost-per-print for photos is satisfactory, so you shouldn't spend too much over time.
It has very good scanning features, with a flatbed scanner with hinges that can lift slightly for scanning thicker items like magazines, an automatic document feeder, and built-in fax. The connectivity options are decent, including Ethernet and a direct connection to your computer, and wireless options like Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service.
Unfortunately, it has a terrible black page yield at a poor cost-per-print, and it prints at a disappointingly slow speed overall. Since there's only one color cartridge, you'll need to replace it if you run out of only one color. Also, its automatic document feeder can't duplex scan, so processing double-sided, multi-page documents could be cumbersome. That said, this printer is a good choice if you're looking for a cheap unit that prints great-looking photos.
The best cheap laser printer we've tested is the Brother HL-L2370DW. This simple laser-only unit warms up decently quickly to print out the first page, and prints black text documents exceptionally quick so you won't have to wait. Its black page yield is superb, at a fantastic cost-per-print, meaning you won't have to replace the toner too often.
It feels very well built and easy to use, with easy access to the toner cartridge and potential paper jams. The connectivity options are great, including an Ethernet port and Wi-Fi, and Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service. The companion app is incredible, and you can use it to print the most common file types, check the toner level, and order new toner online.
Unfortunately, it doesn't have any kind of scanner, which could be a dealbreaker for some. Also, because it's a monochrome laser printer, it produces black-and-white-only photos with terrible quality. You'll also need to replace the drum unit separately from the toner, which will cost you extra. That said, it's an excellent choice if you need something for black-and-white printing, and it's among the best laser printers we've tested.
If you need a scanner, check out the Brother HL-L2390DW. It's an all-in-one black-and-white laser model with a lower black page yield and higher cost-per-print than the Brother HL-L2370DW, but it has a flatbed scanner with hinges that can lift for scanning thicker items. It's also a bit slower at printing but is still amazingly fast and should be fine for most people. Sadly, it doesn't have a sheetfed scanner or duplex scanning automatic document feeder, so manually processing multi-page documents might be a hassle. It also doesn't have an Ethernet port.
If you need a cheap laser printer and don't need to use a scanner, go with the HL-L2370DW. However, if you need to scan things and don't mind a few compromises, the HL-L2390DW is the better option.
The best budget printer we've tested is the Canon PIXMA TR7520. This all-in-one inkjet model is a great option if you're looking for a printer that's versatile enough for a range of uses. It has a flatbed scanner to scan thick or fragile items and an automatic document feeder to process multi-page documents quickly. While this option is difficult to find in stock, you may still find it at some retailers.
It produces detailed-looking photos with colors that are well-defined, deep, and reasonably accurate. Thanks to its relatively cheap cartridge cost, it has a very good cost-per-print, and it's especially excellent for color prints and photos. It offers a wide range of wireless and wired connectivity options, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and support for Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service.
Unfortunately, its black page yield is low, so you may need to replace the black cartridge often if you intend on printing many monochrome documents. Also, since it doesn't have a duplex scanning feature, you need to manually flip over any double-sided sheets, which may be tedious if you need to scan them often. Nonetheless, this is a good choice for home use if you're looking for a budget option.
Jul 16, 2021: Added the Canon PIXMA TS3520 to Notable Mentions. Verified availability and accuracy of picks, and updated text for clarity.
Jun 18, 2021: Added the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3820, Canon PIXMA TS6320, and Canon PIXMA TS6420 to Notable Mentions. Verified availability and accuracy of picks, and updated text for clarity.
May 21, 2021: Replaced the Canon PIXMA TR8520 with the Canon PIXMA TR7520 for 'Best Budget Printer' since the TR8520 is discontinued. Moved the TR8520 to Notable Mentions.
Apr 23, 2021: Checked picks to ensure we're still recommending the best products and that they're in stock.
Mar 25, 2021: Verified that product picks were still available and relevant.
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.