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The 6 Best Printers With Cheap Ink - Winter 2023 Reviews

Best Printers With Cheap Ink

Whether you've started to run low or you're now completely out of ink, you can be in for a nasty surprise when it comes time to replace your cartridges or bottles. Some ink bundles can cost up to your printer's original price, making refills costly. Printers themselves can also have a low page yield, so you're stuck constantly replacing your ink cartridges if you want to keep printing, which can quickly add up over time. Additionally, finding a printer with cheap ink isn't only about the cost of new cartridges but how cost-efficient their cartridges are over time. Generally, the most cost-effective printers are a bit more expensive, but dishing out the extra money is often worth it, thanks to the much larger page yields.

We've tested over 120 printers, and below are our recommendations for the best printers with cheap toner or ink you can buy, all depending on your needs. You can also check out our recommendations for the best home printers, the best photo printers, and the best all-in-one printers.

  1. Best Printer With Cheap Ink

    The best printer with cheap ink we've tested is the Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850, an all-in-one model with a refillable ink tank. A full tank yields thousands of prints, so you won't have to refill it often, and replacement ink is cheap, so it won't cost much to maintain over time. It produces very high-quality black and color documents, and it's fast, pushing out 25 black or color pages per minute. As for photos, they look detailed and colorful but a tad grainy. The scanner is equipped with an automatic document feeder so you can quickly process long, multi-page documents, and it can scan double-sided sheets, albeit in two passes. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and USB, and you can also print directly off a USB flash drive. It works with Epson's Smart Panel mobile app, which lets you print, scan, copy, and perform maintenance tasks right from your smartphone.

    If you're specifically looking to print photos and want better print quality, get the Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550, one of the best all-in-one printers with cheap ink we've tested. It has a wider color range and produces photos with less grain. Plus, it supports wide format paper sizes up to 13" x 19", which is great for making posters. However, it doesn't have an ADF, prints slower, and its document printing quality isn't quite as good as the ET-5850. If you don't need wide format printing, you can go with the Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8500 variants. It performs identically but only supports up to 8.5" x 11" paper.

    See our review

  2. Best Mid-Range Printer With Cheap Ink

    If you don't need a premium model like the Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850 above, get the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 instead. It's also a supertank model that yields thousands of prints, so you don't need to worry about high maintenance costs. It has the usual USB, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet connectivity options, along with support for Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service. As for its print quality, black documents look amazing, but color documents come out a little washed out. Its printing speed is decent as it churns out 15 black or seven color pages per minute. Unfortunately, it lacks duplex scanning and isn't ideal for photo printing, as printed pictures look grainy with inaccurate colors.

    See our review

  3. Best Lower Mid-Range Printer With Cheap Ink

    If you want something more affordable than the Epson EcoTank ET-3850, consider the Brother MFC-J4335DW, one of the best printers for home use with cheap ink we've tested. Unlike our picks above, this model uses ink cartridges. It yields roughly 2,000 black and 800 color prints, which isn't as good as supertank models but still outstanding, and you can get XL cartridges that'll last longer. It prints quickly at 17 black or 15 color pages per minute and supports automatic double-sided printing. The scanner processes up to 20 pages per minute through its automatic feeder and produces high-quality scans; however, it doesn't support duplex scanning.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget Printer With Cheap Ink

    Our pick for the best budget printer with cheap ink is the Brother MFC-J1205W. It's very similar to our mid-range pick, the Brother MFC-J4335DW, but as it's a more affordable model, it does come with some tradeoffs. Like most Brother printers, the cartridges are a bit expensive compared to other budget printers; however, it's still a cost-effective option since you can get a lot more pages out of the cartridges, meaning you won't have to replace them too often. There are a few compromises: it can't automatically print double-sided, the scanner lacks an automatic feeder, and there aren't any high-yield cartridges available for this model. That said, it's still a good choice if you're only looking for a budget printer with cheap ink and don't mind losing some features.

    See our review

  5. Best Color Laser Printer With Cheap Toner

    The best color laser printer with cheap toner we've tested is the Canon imageCLASS MF743Cdw, a sturdily-built all-in-one with tons of features. You get plenty of connectivity options, including Wi-Fi, USB, and Ethernet, and you can also print directly off a USB flash drive. Its ADF-equipped scanner produces high-quality scans, processes double-sided sheets in a single pass, and has an optical character recognition feature that lets you scan documents into text files for quick keyword searches.

    The toner cartridges yield a large number of prints, around 3000 black and 2000 color. The cartridges are expensive, but since you don't need to replace them often, the cost per print remains very low. They also contain the drum, saving you the trouble of replacing the drum separately. On top of that, the printer accepts third-party toner, which might be cheaper. It takes longer than most laser printers to warm up, but once it starts, it prints very quickly at 29 black or color pages per minute.

    See our review

  6. Best Monochrome Laser Printer With Cheap Toner

    If you only print black and white documents, we recommend the Brother MFC-L2750DW. This well-built all-in-one model has a scanner with an automatic feeder to process multi-page documents, extendable hinges to accommodate thick items, and single-pass duplex scanning capability. It yields around 2000 prints from a single black toner cartridge, and you can get an XL cartridge that'll last longer. It also accepts third-party toner. You have to replace the drum separately, but it's usually good for about 12,000 prints, so you likely won't need to do it too often. It warms up fairly quickly and prints quickly at 36 pages per minute.

    As with most Brother printers, there are many variants of this printer with minor differences in features and performance, so if you want to save money, you can get a cheaper model like the Brother MFC-L2710DW, which lacks duplex scanning and prints slightly slower. You can also find bundles that include a longer-lasting XL toner cartridge, like Brother MFC-L2690DWXL, which might be cheaper than buying the cartridge separately. You can see all the variants and their differences in our full review.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Brother MFC-J4535DW: The Brother MFC-J4535DW is one of the best home printers with cheap ink we've tested. However, it isn't worth getting over the Brother MFC-J4335DW because it's more expensive, and its higher price tag only gives you a larger input tray, a better display, and a slightly better black page yield. See our review
  • HP Neverstop Laser MFP 1202w: The HP Neverstop Laser MFP 1202w is a great alternative to the Brother MFC-L2750DW. It has a refillable toner tank that yields around 9500 prints; however, it's hard to find because it's discontinued. See our review
  • Brother HL-L2325DW: The Brother HL-L2325DW is a cheaper alternative to the Brother MFC-L2750DW if you don't need a scanner. It's identical to the MFC-L2750DW in print quality, but it prints a little slower and yields slightly fewer pages per cartridge. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jan 20, 2023: Minor text changes to improve clarity. Added the Brother HL-L2325DW as a Notable Mention. No change in recommendations.

  2. Nov 22, 2022: Verified accuracy of picks; no change in recommendations.

  3. Sep 23, 2022: Replaced the Canon PIXMA G7020 with the Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850 because it has more features, faster printing speed, and better print quality. Added the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 as an 'Upper Mid-Range' pick. Removed the HP Neverstop Laser MFP 1202w because it's discontinued and hard to find. Added the Canon imageCLASS MF743Cdw as the 'Best Color Laser' pick and the Brother MFC-L2750DW as the 'Best Monochrome Laser' pick.

  4. Jul 25, 2022: Restructured article to better match user expectations. Removed the HP LaserJet M209dwe and the 'Best Standalone Printer with Cheap Ink' category.

  5. Jun 10, 2022: Restructured the article to make it easier to read. Replaced the HP LaserJet MFP M234sdwe with the HP Neverstop Laser MFP 1202w since it has a much higher page yield.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best printers with cheap toner or ink. 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.