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'll get the job done, and you can save some money.
We've tested over 70 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 long 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 and deep, but this shouldn't be fine for casual color printing. Although it doesn't have a Bluetooth option, its connectivity options allow you to connect to it via Wi-Fi, USB, Apple AirPrint, and Mopria Print.
Unfortunately, it has disappointing build quality and design 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. Overall, 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.
A better performing but harder-to-find inkjet printer than the Canon PIXMA MG3620 is the Canon PIXMA TR7520. 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. 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, although 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 on, this is a good option thanks to its impressive photo quality and decent color reproduction. 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 help you scan multi-page documents automatically. Although it can't perform duplex scanning, it 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, AirPrint, and Mopria Print.
Unfortunately, it has a poor page yield, so you'll have 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 best compact printer under $100 that we've tested is the HP DeskJet 3755. Despite this all-in-one inkjet's budget price and the size, it produces surprisingly good quality photos. It has great color accuracy that should be sufficient enough to add a splash of color to your documents, and photos have good detail, even though there's some oversaturation in the reds, and darker tones produce a slightly green tint.
Despite not having Bluetooth support, you can connect it to your Wi-Fi network or directly to your computer via a USB input. Likewise, it's compatible with the HP Smart app, available on both Android and iOS. From here, you can print, scan, and manage HP's optional ink subscription. The printer itself comes in three colors, and the front cover allows easy access to the ink cartridges and paper jams.
Unfortunately, it has a low page yield for both black and color ink. While you can connect it via USB to your computer, it doesn't have external storage support, meaning you can't print off a USB flash drive or an SD card. Also, printing speed is quite bad, with black-only documents coming out slow and color ones even slower. However, if you just want a small, compact printer that can also produce some good quality photographs, this one is a great choice for the price.
The best laser printer under $100 we've tested is the HP LaserJet Pro M15w. It's a small and compact monochrome model, and you shouldn't have any problems fitting it in a tight space or on a small desk. It feels reasonably well-built, and it provides easy access to toner cartridges and paper jams. Its input tray comes with a width slider to accommodate some common paper formats.
It has an excellent cartridge system with extremely high page yields for black toner, so you shouldn't have to replace it too often. This keeps the cost-per-print outstandingly low. It has decent connectivity options, and you can connect to it by plugging it directly into your computer, through Wi-Fi, AirPrint, or Mopria Print. It's also compatible with the HP Smart app, where you can print, order new toner, and check toner levels directly from your mobile device.
Unfortunately, it's quite slow at printing which isn't ideal if you're in a rush. It's also terrible at printing photos, but this is to be expected from a laser printer. Since it's a monochrome model, you need to be sure you won't need to print in color before purchasing it. Nevertheless, this is a decent laser printer if you're just looking to print documents in black and white and you don't want to spend too much money upfront.
11/24/2020: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
09/25/2020: Moved Canon TR7520 to 'Better Performing, Harder-to-Find Alternative' due to availability and price change, and made Canon MG3620 the main pick.
09/04/2020: Moved the MG3620 to Cheaper Alternative, made the 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.