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 and can be expensive to refill. 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 add up over time. Finding a printer with cheap ink isn't only about the cost of new cartridges, but how cost-efficient their cartridges are over time.
We've tested over 105 printers, and below are our recommendations for the best home printers you can buy. You can also check out our recommendations for the best home printers, the best photo printers, and the best all-in-one printers.
The best all-in-one printer for home use with cheap ink that we've tested is the Brother MFC-J4335DW. It uses Brother's INKvestment Tank, which uses both cartridges and reservoir tanks, for excellent page yields and an outstandingly cheap cost-per-print. It prints documents very quickly, so you won't have to wait for important essays or reports.
It feels very well-built and sturdy, with easy access to the ink cartridges and potential paper jams. The scanning features are very good, with a flatbed scanner whose lid has hinges that raise when scanning thicker items, an automatic document feeder, and built-in fax. Colors are reproduced with decent accuracy and should be fine for casual use. There's a variety of connectivity options, including Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service, as well as an Ethernet port.
Unfortunately, it produces only okay-looking photos and also takes a very long time to print them, which might be a dealbreaker for some. It also can't print via Bluetooth or directly from external media like USB flash drives. The Brother MFC-J995DW offers superior page yields at an even cheaper cost-per-print, but it's difficult to find in stock at a reasonable price. All in all, this is a well-rounded family printer, and it's the best home printer with cheap ink that we've tested.
If you want a printer that saves you even more money in ink, consider the Epson EcoTank ET-3760. It doesn't have built-in fax, and it also prints much slower overall compared to the Brother MFC-J4335DW, but it uses a supertank ink system for exceptionally superior page yields at a far cheaper cost-per-print. The ink bottle refills themselves are much cheaper, which is helpful for when it comes time to buy new ink. It also prints better-detailed photos, but unfortunately, colors aren't nearly as accurate. Also, it doesn't feel as well-built, with a flimsy automatic document feeder, and a flatbed scanner lid that has hinges that raise only enough for a thin book.
If you need a family printer with faster printing speeds and built-in fax, go with the Brother. However, if you prioritize high page yields and a low cost-per-print, go with the Epson.
The best printer with cheap ink for offices that we've tested is the Epson EcoTank ET-4760. This all-in-one inkjet model uses four refillable ink tanks that yield an incredible number of pages, so you shouldn't need to refill them often. This helps to keep the cost-per-print exceptionally low, which is one of the lowest we've tested.
It's also packed with great features for an office, including a flatbed scanner with a high scan resolution and color depth. It also has an automatic document feeder to quickly scan multi-page documents. Black text documents print decently quickly, although color documents and photos take significantly more time. There are many ways to print, including via Ethernet, USB cable, Wi-Fi, Apple AirPrint, and Mopria Print Service.
Unfortunately, while it has an automatic document feeder, it can't perform duplex scanning, so you need to manually flip over each page of a double-sided document. Also, it doesn't support Bluetooth or printing off a USB flash drive. While the photo printing quality and color accuracy may not be enough for professional use, it should be fine for casual color and photo prints. All in all, this is a very good option for small or home offices if you want to save on ink.
The best black and white printer for home use with cheap ink that we've tested is the Epson EcoTank ET-2760. The build quality is fair, with a detachable power cable for easy replacement, and you can easily see the ink tank levels. There's a flatbed scanner with a good scan resolution and color depth, meaning that you can digitize old photos easily.
It uses a supertank ink system and yields an exceptional amount of black pages at an incredibly low cost-per-print. It can also print in color if you need and produces reasonably good-looking photos, with fantastic color page yields at a similarly outstanding cost-per-print. Connectivity options are great, including support for Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service, and you can use the Epson iPrint companion app to print, scan, copy, and perform maintenance tasks.
Unfortunately, the lack of an automatic document feeder can make it tedious to scan long documents, and printing speeds are poor overall. It also has bad color accuracy, but that shouldn't be a problem if you only plan to print in black and white. All in all, this is a good printer for black and white printing, and its cheap ink helps keep costs low in the long term.
The best all-in-one printer with cheap ink for photos that we've tested is the Canon PIXMA G7020. This inkjet model has many features, like a flatbed scanner, automatic document feeder, inbuilt fax, and great connectivity options, including Ethernet and Wi-Fi Direct. It feels solidly built, with good access to the ink tanks and paper jams.
It features an outstanding supertank ink system with refillable tanks instead of cartridges and yields a fantastic number of black and color pages. Refill ink is cheap, too, so the cost-per-print is incredibly low. Photos produce with very good quality, with only a bit of banding on darker areas, and the color accuracy is passable for daily use. You can use the Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY app, which lets you perform various printer tasks and order new ink.
Unfortunately, while it does print photos at a good speed, it prints documents slowly, so you'll have to wait if you're producing a long essay. It also has a poor two-line dot matrix display which might feel restricting. There's also no Bluetooth support, and it can't print directly from USB flash drives or SD cards. Overall, it's still good for casual photos and shouldn't cost you too much for ink, and it's one of the best photo printers we've tested.
If you're on a budget, the best printer for home use with cheap ink we've tested is the Brother MFC-J1205W. It uses Brother's proprietary INKvestment Tank, a hybrid cartridge–tank system, and yields a great number of both black and color pages at a remarkably cheap cost-per-print. There's also a flatbed scanner with hinges that lift slightly when you need to scan slightly thicker media like magazines.
For a budget-priced printer, it feels very well-built, with easy access to potential paper jams via a door in the rear. You can also push the output tray all the way in to make the printer more compact. Printed photos look decent, and the accuracy of colors is acceptable for casual use. The connectivity options are satisfactory, including Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service, and you can use the refreshed Brother Mobile Connect app to print, scan, copy, and perform maintenance tasks.
Unfortunately, printing documents is slow, there's no automatic duplex printing, and the lack of Bluetooth might be inconvenient for some. There's also no screen, but there are many function buttons and status lights to help make operation easier. All in all, it's a good printer if you're on a budget and need something that won't break the bank.
Sep 24, 2021: Replaced the Brother MFC-J995DW with the Brother MFC-J4335DW for 'Best Family', and moved the J995DW to Notable Mentions. Added the Brother MFC-J805DW INKvestment Tank to Notable Mentions. Verified availability of picks.
Aug 26, 2021: Made the Brother MFC-J1205W 'Best Budget Printer With Cheap Ink', and moved the Canon PIXMA MG3620 to Notable Mentions. Added the Epson EcoTank ET-2760 as 'Best Black And White Printer With Cheap Ink'. Added the Canon MAXIFY GX7020, the Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850, and the Canon PIXMA TR8620 to Notable Mentions. Verified availability of picks.
Jun 29, 2021: Verified accuracy and availability of picks, and updated text for clarity.
Apr 30, 2021: Replaced the HP OfficeJet Pro 9025 with the HP OfficeJet Pro 9025e in Notable Mentions now that the 9025 is discontinued.
Apr 02, 2021: Checked that picks were still relevant.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best printers with cheap ink 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.