If you only print occasionally, 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 an automatic feeder with duplex scanning or a supertank ink system, but they get the job done, and you can save some money. Keep in mind that cheaper printers usually cost you a lot more in ink since their cartridges don't hold as much ink, so you may have to buy cartridges more frequently than if you spent more on a printer with better page yields upfront.
We've tested over 120 printers, and below are our recommendations for the best printers under $100 you can buy. You can also check out our picks for the best cheap printers, the best home printers, and the best all-in-one printers.
The best printer under $100 we've tested is the Brother MFC-J1010DW, an all-in-one inkjet model designed for home use. It has a sturdy build, Wi-Fi and USB connectivity, and a front panel with tons of buttons to make navigating the printer's functions easier. The scanner produces high-quality scans and processes up to eight pages per minute through its automatic feeder. It doesn't support duplex scanning, so you'll have to flip the pages manually when scanning double-sided sheets.
As for its print quality, black and color documents look amazing, and while it doesn't have the best color range or accuracy, photos still look incredibly detailed. Unfortunately, like most printers in this price range, the ink cartridges only yield around 200 black and 130 color prints, meaning you'll have to replace them regularly. The overall cost per print is still good because the cartridges are relatively cheap, although color printing can get expensive if you print a lot.
If you're willing to spend a little more upfront for a model with better yield, the Brother MFC-J1205W is worth checking out. Its ink cartridges last much longer, so you don't have to replace them as often. However, it doesn't have an automatic feeder, prints slower, and doesn't support automatic duplex printing.
If you don't want to deal with clogged printheads on an inkjet printer, get a laser model instead. We recommend the Pantum P2502W, a monochrome print-only unit. It produces high-quality black and white documents, and it doesn't cost much to maintain as the toner cartridge yields a large number of prints and is cheap. The cartridge contains the drum, so you won't need to replace the drum separately. It's a little slow to warm up, but it prints very quickly at 25 pages per minute once it gets going.
Naturally, there are a couple of downsides, the first being the lack of automatic duplex printing, so you'll have to flip the pages manually when printing double-sided sheets. Second, it tends to push printed pages off the output tray, resulting in out-of-order sheets. It doesn't happen often, but it's still inconvenient and annoying, especially during large print jobs. Lastly, while the mobile app is feature-rich, it doesn't have the most user-friendly user interface, making it hard to use.
If you're looking for a cheap printer that doesn't take up much space, the HP DeskJet 3755 might be just what you need. This compact all-in-one fits easily on an office desk or a cramped dorm room and comes in three colorful variants to spruce up your workspace. It has a sheetfed scanner despite its small size, which you can use to scan plain sheets up to 8.5" x 14" in size. It doesn't print black text documents all that well, but color documents look decent.
In terms of page yield and maintenance cost, you can expect to get around 100 black and 40 color prints per set of cartridges. The cartridges are cheap, but because you'll have to buy replacements often, it'll end up costing you a lot, not to mention that you'll also have to do more maintenance, potentially interrupting your print jobs. That said, if you only print once in a blue moon and want a compact model that can get the job done, it's worth considering.
If you want to print photos on the go, the Canon IVY Mini Photo Printer is the best one we've tested for under $100. It's a very compact printer designed for use with Android or iOS devices. You can connect to the printer via Bluetooth, and through its mobile app, you can print, create collages, or add stickers. It produces 2" x 3" photos on special ink-filled photo paper, which you can buy in packs of various sizes; just keep in mind that it can get expensive if you print a lot. The print quality isn't that great, but that's to be expected, as it's a printer intended to produce polaroid-like photos that you can keep in a wallet or stick on a fridge's door. The battery lasts long enough for 20 prints, though you can continue printing while it's charging.
Jan 24, 2023: Minor text changes to improve clarity. Replaced the HP LaserJet M209dwe with the Pantum P2502W because the HP is no longer on sale.
Nov 25, 2022: Replaced the HP LaserJet Pro M15w with the HP LaserJet M209dwe because the M15w is no longer available.
Sep 26, 2022: Minor structure change. Removed the Canon PIXMA TS6420a and the 'Best Photo Printer' category. Added the Canon IVY Mini Photo Printer as the 'Best Portable Photo Printer'. Replaced the Canon PIXMA MG3620 with the Brother MFC-J1010DW because the Brother has better build quality, an ADF, faster printing speed, and prints higher-quality documents.
Jul 28, 2022: Minor structure change. Removed the Brother MFC-J1205W and the 'Best Student Printer' category. Replaced the Canon PIXMA TS3520 with the Canon PIXMA TS6420a because the TS6420a prints better quality photos and has better page yield.
May 17, 2022: Replaced the Canon PIXMA TR4720 with the Canon PIXMA TS3520 since the TR4720 is currently well over the price limit of the article. Added details about the price and availability of the other picks.
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 our cheap printer reviews, sorted from least to most expensive. 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.