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 still remain very affordable picks.
We've tested over 55 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 to date is the Canon PIXMA TR7520. This all-in-one inkjet model is a very good option for printing casual family photos or even for students in need of black and white documents. It has some great scanning features like a flatbed scanner and an automatic document feeder. It also includes integrated fax.
It has a great overall cost-per-print and reasonably-priced cartridges that help keep expenses down. Also, the quality of printed photos is impressive due to well-defined colors and deep blacks. There are some great connectivity options, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or simply plugging the USB cable directly into the computer. Furthermore, the printer is compatible with the outstanding companion app, Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY.
Unfortunately, while the quality of printed photos may be great, colors aren't very accurate, with dark blues and greens, in particular, being problematic. Furthermore, it has poor black page yield as the cartridge runs out of ink quickly. You'll also have to press the display screen harder at times for commands to register due to sub-par sensitivity. That said, if you're in need of a printer and are on a tighter budget, this versatile option is the best cheap printer that we've tested so far.
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. It's 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 a printer 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 to date is the HP DeskJet 3755. This all-in-one model has a compact and light design that's available in three color variations and allows for easy access to paper jams and the ink cartridges. It has a sheetfed scanner that also has an automatic document feeder, which is good if you have many pages to copy at once.
Despite being a cheap printer, it can produce highly detailed photos with impressive color accuracy that should be more than suitable for adding color to documents. Furthermore, you can use it over Wi-Fi or hook it up directly to your computer via USB, and it's compatible with the HP Smart app, where you can print and scan directly from your mobile device.
Unfortunately, the price of printing adds up quickly, and replacing the cartridges can easily surpass the cost of the printer. Furthermore, printing speed is quite slow, with photos taking almost a minute to complete. That being said, if you want a cheap printer for the occasional photo at home, this is a good choice and one of the best printers under $100 that we've tested.
The best cheap laser printer we've tested to date is the Brother HL-L2370DW. This black and white printer has a straightforward design that's relatively compact and very user-friendly. The body feels durable, and access to the toner cartridges and paper jams should be effortless.
You'll be saving a lot of money in the long run due to its low cost-per-print. The black cartridge has an impressively high page yield, meaning you won't have to change it often. Printing speed is also quite fast once the first page has been printed out, and you can control your print jobs over the outstanding mobile companion app, Brother iPrint&Scan.
Unfortunately, this is a monochrome printer, so it isn't a good choice if you're looking to printing photos or add color to documents. Also, it completely lacks an integrated scanner, so if you need it to do anything other than print monochrome documents, you'll want to look elsewhere. That said, if all you need to do is print black-only documents, then it's more than up to the task.
If you're looking for a printer that has a scanner as well, consider the Brother HL-L2390DW. It's 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. Furthermore, 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 a printer 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 printer in the budget category that we've tested to date is the Canon PIXMA TR8520. This all-in-one inkjet model is a great choice for both students and families alike. It has a decent overall design that is made of solid plastic, and access to the ink cartridges and paper jams are effortless. It has a ton of scanning features, including a sheetfed scanner for larger or more fragile objects and an automatic document feeder for multipage documents.
Regardless if you're printing in color or black and white, the cost-per-print remains quite affordable, even when printing photos. The photos look excellent as well, with bright, vibrant colors and clear detail. Also, it has a ton of connectivity options, such as an Ethernet cable for a more secure connection, a USB input to connect to your computer directly, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi through your router. Furthermore, it's compatible with the exceptional Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY app, where you can scan, print, and copy directly from your mobile device.
Unfortunately, while photo quality is amazing, color accuracy is only mediocre and might be a dealbreaker if your profession depends on it. Furthermore, printing speed is quite slow, which may annoy or even delay you. That said, it offers great value at a budget price and is one of the best photo printers we've tested to date.
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.
08/12/2020: Minor update to text for clarity; no changes to 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 the list of all our 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.