If you only print occasionally, then it wouldn't make much sense to spend a fortune on a fully decked-out printer. Fortunately, there are pretty good options that you can get for under $100. They may not have advanced features like duplex scanning or a supertank ink system, but they get the job done, and you can save some money.
We've tested over 105 printers, and below are our recommendations for the best printers under $100 you can buy. You can also check out our recommendations for the best photo printers, the best all-in-one printers, and the best home printers.
The best all-in-one printer under $100 for families that we've tested is the Brother MFC-J1205W. This color inkjet uses the INKvestment Tank, a hybrid cartridge–tank system, to yield a good number of pages at an outstandingly cheap cost-per-print. It also has a flatbed scanner if you need to digitize photos or important documents.
The build quality is great, and there's easy access to potential paper jams via a door in the rear, and to the ink cartridges in the front. You can also push the output tray in to make it more compact. It prints decent-looking photos, and colors have passable accuracy which should be fine for everyday use. The connectivity options are decent, including Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service, and you can print, scan, and copy directly from the Brother Mobile Connect app.
Unfortunately, it doesn't support automatic duplex printing, so you'll need to manually flip the sheets over when printing double-sided pages. Printing documents is slow, but on the bright side, photos are faster, and the printer warms up rather quickly to print out the first page. All in all, it's a good choice if you need a family printer under $100, and it's also one of the best printers for college students we've tested.
If you need a printer with better printing features, consider the Canon PIXMA MG3620. Its page yields aren't nearly as good as the Brother MFC-J1205W, so its cost-per-print isn't as low, but it supports automatic double-sided printing, and also produces better-looking photos. The Canon also prints photos much quicker, so you won't have to wait as long. Unfortunately, it prints color documents much slower, it doesn't support Wi-Fi Direct, and it feels flimsier and not as well-built.
If you prioritize page yields and a low cost-per-print above all else, go with the Brother. However, if you often print double-sided documents and require a model with duplex-printing capability, go with the Canon.
The best printer under $100 for photos that we've tested is the Canon PIXMA TR4520. This relatively compact model shouldn't take up too much space on your desk, and its great photo printing quality and satisfactory color accuracy make it a good choice for printing photos. You can also use the Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY mobile companion app to perform maintenance tasks, print, copy, and even scan photos directly to your mobile device.
The scanning system is great with an automatic document feeder that makes scanning multi-page documents easy. It also has a flatbed with great scan resolution and color depth. While the input tray doesn't have a cassette and needs to be left open if you want to leave paper in it, it has a slider that adjusts to accommodate the most popular paper sizes. While it has Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service support, it doesn't have Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Direct capability.
Sadly, it has poor printing speed for both documents and photos, and due to its poor page yield, you might need to replace both the color and black ink cartridges often, leading to a disappointingly high cost-per-print that can easily add up in the long term. It also doesn't have duplex scanning, so double-sided documents might be more inconvenient to process. However, if you only need to print photos now and then and want to save money, this printer is a great choice.
If you want something compact, the best printer under $100 we've tested is the HP DeskJet 3755. This inkjet printer is very small and portable, making it suitable for tight spaces like a small desk or dorm room. It comes in three colorful variants if you want to add a pop of color to your workspace, and it provides easy access to ink cartridges and paper jams from the front of the printer.
Even though it's quite compact, it's equipped with a sheetfed scanner that can scan pages up to 8.5" x 14". It produces good-looking, well-detailed photos, although there's some banding in gray areas. Colors are impressively accurate, with only some colors looking a bit oversaturated. While accuracy may not be good enough for professions requiring exact color reproduction, it should be fine for casual photo printing.
Unfortunately, it doesn't yield many pages for either black or color documents, so you may need to replace the cartridges often, which leads to a disappointingly high cost-per-print. Also, it prints documents and photos very slowly, and it can't automatically print double-sided pages. All in all, this is a good choice if you're looking for a simple, compact printer that costs under $100 and can produce good-looking photos.
The best printer under $100 that we've tested which uses laser technology is the Brother HL-L2370DW. While its retail cost is over the price limit of this article, it's an excellent monochrome model that's fairly cheap for a laser printer, and it's an excellent option if you're looking for very high black text page yields at a low cost-per-print.
It feels very well-made, with a durable-feeling body and input tray. The drum unit and toner cartridge are easy to access from the front of the printer, and there's a panel at the back to take care of paper jams. It's incredibly fast at printing documents, although it takes a little longer to warm up. You can print via many ways, including Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Apple AirPrint, Mopria Print Service, and you can also plug it directly to your computer via a USB-A to USB-B cable.
Unfortunately, it doesn't have a scanner, so this isn't an ideal model if you need to scan items often and don't have a separate scanner. Also, since the drum unit isn't a part of the toner cartridge, you'll need to replace it separately, which adds an extra cost down the line. All in all, this is an amazing laser model if you need to print monochrome documents, and it's one of the best black and white printers we've tested.
Sep 17, 2021: Made the Brother MFC-J1205W 'Best Family' because of its superior page yields, and moved the Canon PIXMA MG3620 as its alternative. Removed the Canon PIXMA TS5320 as a main pick, and removed the HP LaserJet Pro M15w from Notable Mentions. Verified availability of picks.
Jul 19, 2021: Corrected some consistency errors; no change to product picks.
May 20, 2021: Verified that picks were still available and edited text for clarity.
Mar 23, 2021: Replaced the Canon PIXMA TR7520 with the Canon PIXMA TS5320 as an alternative to the 'Best Family Printer Under $100' since the TR7520's recent price increase doesn't match the price limit of this recommendation anymore. Changed the category name to 'Alternative with Better Connectivity Options'.
Jan 22, 2021: Replaced the HP LaserJet Pro M15w with the Brother HL-L2370DW for 'Best Laser Printer Under $100' since it performs better. Added HP LaserJet Pro M15w and Brother HL-L2390DW to Notable Mentions.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best printers under $100 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.