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The 6 Best Printers With Cheap Ink - Winter 2024 Reviews

Best Printers With Cheap Ink

Whether you've started to run low or are 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 also about 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 135 printers, and below are our recommendations for the best printers with cheap toner or ink you can buy, 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 inkjet model. If you're looking to save on ink costs, a supertank printer is the way to go, as these types of printers have a large ink tank that you can refill as you go. A full tank yields thousands of prints, and replacement ink is cheap, so maintaining the printer over time won't cost much. It produces high-quality black and color documents and is fast, pushing out 25 black or color pages per minute. As for photo printing, it produces pictures that look extremely detailed but noticeably grainy and overly warm. The scanner supports automatic double-sided scanning and optical character recognition.

    If you want a model that produces higher-quality photos, 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. You can get the Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8500 variants if you don't need wide-format printing. It performs identically but has a smaller 8.5" x 11.7" flatbed scanner and only supports up to 8.5" x 11" paper.

    See our review

  2. Best Mid-Range Printer With Cheap Ink

    Our best mid-range pick is the Epson EcoTank ET-3850, one of the best printers for home use with cheap ink we've tested. Like our top pick, it's an all-in-one supertank model that yields thousands of prints with a full tank. It has the usual USB, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet connectivity options and support for Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service, making it easy to print from various devices. The scanner has an automatic feeder to process long, multi-page documents and produces high-quality scans, but it doesn't support automatic double-sided scanning, a tradeoff for its lower price tag.

    As for its print quality, black documents look incredibly sharp with no visible artifacts. Color documents also look good, albeit slightly washed out. Photo printing is a little bit of a mixed bag. The pictures look detailed and colorful; however, the colors are noticeably inaccurate, and there's a fair amount of grain in the pictures. Printing speed is decent; it can get a single page out in 15 seconds and prints up to 15 black or seven color pages per minute.

    See our review

  3. Best Lower Mid-Range Printer With Cheap Ink

    If you want something cheaper than the Epson EcoTank ET-3850, consider the Brother MFC-J4335DW, one of the best home printers with cheap ink we've tested. Unlike the supertank models we recommend above, this printer uses ink cartridges. It yields around 2,000 black and 800 color prints, which isn't as good as a supertank printer but still very respectable for this type of printer. The cartridges aren't overly expensive, so your maintenance cost will remain low, and you can get XL cartridges that'll last even longer.

    This printer has great printing speeds. It doesn't take long to initialize and get a single page out, and it can churn out 17 black or 15 color pages per minute when printing longer documents. It has an ADF-equipped scanner that processes up to 20 pages per minute and produces high-quality scans; however, it doesn't support duplex scanning. The slightly more expensive Brother MFC-J4535DW variant is the same printer, but it has a larger display, an additional 250-sheet input tray, as well as an Ethernet port and NFC support.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget Printer With Cheap Ink

    For those on a tight budget, we recommend the Brother MFC-J1205W, also known as the Brother MFC-J1215W at Walmart. It's very similar to our mid-range pick, the Brother MFC-J4335DW, but it's a more affordable model. It produces high-quality documents; it just prints slower at nine black or six color pages per minute. As for photos, printed pictures look detailed but often too dark, as the printer has trouble reproducing bright, saturated colors.

    Regarding page yield, you can expect roughly 1100 black and 750 color prints from a set of regular ink cartridges, which is still far more than most budget inkjet printers on the market. There's no automatic document feeder, so you must scan everything manually. Overall, it's a good choice if you're only looking for a budget-friendly model 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 Brother MFC-L8905CDW. This all-in-one has nearly everything you'd need for a small or home office. It produces incredibly sharp documents, prints quickly at up to 32 pages per minute (black or color), and doesn't need much maintenance. While the toner cartridges are expensive, they last a long time, so your maintenance cost will remain low. You need to replace the drum separately, which is an added expense, but again, it isn't something you need to regularly replace since it's good for 30,000 prints. The scanner produces high-quality scans and can process multi-page and double-sided documents quickly through its automatic feeder.

    Like most printers, the MFC-8905CDW has many variants at different price points, so if you don't need features like duplex scanning and NFC support, you can save some money with a cheaper variant like the Brother MFC-L8610CDW. There's also the Brother MFC-L8900CDW, which has nearly the same features as the MFC-8905CDW except for a smaller display. You can see more details about all the variants in the full review.

    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 quickly and prints 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 with 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

  • HP Smart Tank 7301 [6001, 7001]: The HP Smart Tank 7301 is a good alternative to the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 if you print more color documents. It produces higher-quality color documents, and its color page yield is significantly better. However, it isn't as good for photos, as its narrow color range makes photos look flat and lacking in detail. See our review
  • Epson EcoTank ET-2840 Special Edition: The Epson EcoTank ET-2840 Special Edition is cheaper than the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 and comes with two additional bottles of black ink, which is equivalent to roughly 8,600 prints, according to Epson's estimate. However, it has no automatic feeder and only supports manual duplex printing. You can find this printer at Walmart or Sam's Club. See our review
  • Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw/MF654Cdw: The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw/MF654Cdw is a cheaper alternative to the Brother MFC-L8905CDW. It has the same features and print quality as the Brother but doesn't print as quickly and can only reach its maximum printing speed over a wired USB or Ethernet connection. 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 slightly slower and yields fewer pages per cartridge. See our review
  • HP LaserJet Tank MFP 2604sdw: The HP LaserJet Tank MFP 2604sdw is a good alternative to the Brother MFC-L2750DW. Its refillable toner tank makes it cheaper, and this tank yields significantly more prints than the Brother. However, it lacks duplex scanning and doesn't print as quickly. Also, the drum isn't user-replaceable; you can only get it replaced by an authorized service provider. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jan 24, 2024: Verified that all picks are valid and available. No change in recommendations.

  2. Nov 17, 2023: Added the Epson EcoTank ET-2840 Special Edition as a Notable Mention. No change in recommendations.

  3. Sep 19, 2023: Added the Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw and the HP LaserJet Tank MFP 2604sdw as Notable Mentions. No change in recommendations.

  4. Jul 20, 2023: Verified that all picks are valid and available. Added the HP Smart Tank 7301 as a Notable Mention.

  5. May 24, 2023: Replaced the Canon imageCLASS MF743Cdw with the Brother MFC-L8905CDW because the Canon is discontinued and hard to find.

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.