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 75 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 printer under $100 that we've tested is the Canon PIXMA MG3620. This inkjet model has a fairly small, compact design that doesn't take up too much space on a desk. The ink cartridges and paper jams are reasonably accessible. Although it has a flatbed scanner, it doesn't have an automatic document feeder, so each page of a scan needs to be done by hand, but this shouldn't be a problem if you don't scan multi-paged documents often.
It has a great cost-per-print with reasonably priced ink. Black-only text and color documents take quite a long time to print, but photos come out fairly quickly. The photo printing quality is pretty good, and although there's a bit of banding, photos are still quite detailed. Colors are a little inaccurate and tend to be oversaturated, but this should be fine for casual color printing. Although it doesn't have Bluetooth support, its connectivity options allow you to connect to it via Wi-Fi and USB, and it also supports Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service.
Unfortunately, it has disappointing build quality due to its thin plastic shell and flimsy scanner hinges. Also, it only has one color cartridge, and its page yield is pretty low for both black-only and color documents if you're not using a high-yield cartridge. Nonetheless, this is a decent inkjet model for scanning and printing photos if you want to pay under $100 and is among the best cheap printers that we've tested.
The Canon PIXMA TR7520 is a better performing but harder-to-find inkjet printer. While it's currently much higher than the price limit of this article, this is likely due to limited stock and increased demand since the regular price is normally under that. Although it's currently out of stock at many stores and can't scan thick documents or books, its color accuracy and other scanner features are superior than the Canon PIXMA MG3620. It has an automatic document feeder, which makes scanning multi-page documents much quicker and easier. Their costs-per-print are almost identical, but photo and color printing is cheaper for the MG3620, but its color cartridge is more expensive. Although its black-only page yield is lower, its color page yield is better, and its connectivity options include Bluetooth and Wi-Fi direct.
If you need a printer that's easier to find and need to scan thick documents often, check out the MG3620. If you want something with superior scanner features and color accuracy and you happen to find it in stock at its regular price, get the TR7520.
The best printer under $100 for photos we've tested is the Canon PIXMA TR4520. It's a relatively compact model that shouldn't take up much space in a small office or dorm room. If you want something to print nice photos with, this is a good option thanks to its impressive photo quality and decent color accuracy. It's compatible with the Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY app, which lets you print, scan, copy, and perform maintenance tasks directly from your mobile device.
It has great scanner features. It has a flatbed with good scan resolution and color depth, along with a sheetfed to automatically scan multi-page documents. Although it can't perform duplex scanning, this may not be a deal-breaker if you don't need to scan large, double-sided documents often. Its input tray has a slider to adjust to the most common paper sizes. It has decent connectivity options, letting you print via Ethernet, USB, Wi-Fi, Apple AirPrint, and Mopria Print Service.
Unfortunately, it has a poor page yield, so you may need to replace the cartridges often for both color and black ink. This causes the cost-per-print to be quite high, as the costs quickly add up in the long term. It's also disappointingly slow at printing documents, so it isn't the most ideal option if you're trying to work fast. Nevertheless, this is a great printer if you only expect to print photos occasionally and you want to save money.
The HP DeskJet 3755 is the best compact printer under $100 we've tested. 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 work space, and it provides easy access to ink cartridges and paper jams from the front of the printer.
Surprising for its small size, it's equipped with a sheetfed scanner that can automatically process multi-page documents. It produces good looking photos that are well-detailed, 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, leading 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 laser printer under $100 we've tested is the Brother HL-L2370DW. This monochrome laser printer is an amazing option if you only need to print in black and white. It has a straightforward, easy-to-use design with quick access to the toner cartridge, drum units, and paper jams. Its body and input tray feel durable and sturdy, and since it doesn't have a scanner, it's fairly compact and doesn't need much clearance above it. That said, it should fit well in most tight spaces.
It has an outstanding cartridge system that yields a high number of pages, so you shouldn't need to replace them too often. Thanks to this, it has a remarkably low cost-per-print. You can also buy higher yield toners that should last you even longer and keep your costs even lower, although we don't test these. While it takes a little long for its first page to come out, the subsequent pages are incredibly fast to print.
Unfortunately, this model doesn't have a flatbed or sheetfed scanner, so it isn't ideal if you need to do anything other than print documents. The drum unit is separate from the toner cartridge, and while this means you don't need to replace it every time you replace the toner, you do need to replace it eventually, which adds an extra cost down the line. Nevertheless, this is an excellent laser printer, and it's among the best black and white printers we've tested.
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.
Nov 24, 2020: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
Sep 25, 2020: : Moved Canon PIXMA TR7520 to 'Better Performing, Harder-to-Find Alternative' due to availability and price change, and made Canon PIXMA MG3620 the main pick.
Sep 04, 2020: Moved theCanon PIXMA MG3620 to Cheaper Alternative, made the Canon PIXMA TR4520 'Best Printer Under $100 For Photos', added the HP LaserJet Pro M15w as 'Best Laser Printer Under $100'.
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.