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 60 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 printer for home use with cheap ink we've tested so far is the Brother MFC-J995DW. It's a very well-built printer that has great all-around performance and is an excellent choice as a family option. It uses ink cartridges that have outstanding page yield, especially with black and white pages.
You won't have to worry about replacing the cartridges for a while, but when one color runs out, you won't be able to continue printing until you replace that specific cartridge. They're a bit pricey, but they still won't put too much of a dent in your wallet over a long period. If you want to print photos, it prints on 4" x 6" and 5" x 7" paper, the color accuracy is okay, and the photo quality is impressive. Also, it has both a flatbed and sheetfed scanner, and it's able to scan at a high resolution.
Sadly, it doesn't print very fast. It only prints ten black and white or color pages per minute, and it takes a while to print a photo. On the upside, it has good connectivity options, as you can connect your USB or SD card to print directly from there. All in all, this is an excellent family printer with cheap ink most people should be happy with.
If you want a printer with cheaper ink bottles, the Epson EcoTank ET-3760 is a good alternative. It doesn't print photos as good as the Brother MFC-J995DW, but with its ink tank instead of cartridges, they cost a lot less, and you need to refill them less often. The page yield on the Epson is outstanding, so you won't have to worry about the ink levels for a while. Unfortunately, it's not a very well-built printer, and it's a bit difficult to access the ink tanks. However, it has a sheetfed scanner with an automatic document feeder, and like the Brother, it has a high scan resolution. It also prints black pages quickly, but it takes some time to print in color.
Overall, if you want the best printer with cheap ink, the Brother is a great all-around choice, but if you want to spend less on replacement ink, check out the Epson.
The best printer for small/home office use with cheap ink that we've tested to date is the Epson EcoTank ET-4760. This all-in-one inkjet model is great for scanning due to its automatic document feeder and flatbed scanner, which can be used to scan bigger documents like manuals. The input tray can be adjusted, allowing for multiple paper sizes to be printed.
Unlike traditional ink cartridges that can be found in most inkjet printers, this one has an excellent supertank system comprised of four separate tanks that are easy to top off once they run low. The cost-per-print ends up being exceptionally low, and ink bottles are cheap to replace. Not only that, but it's pretty quick at printing black-only documents, and those with some color in them are just a bit slower.
Unfortunately, since color accuracy is unremarkable, it isn't suitable if your profession involves printing graphics or photography. Overall photo quality is only adequate largely due to flat color tones and some banding in the grayscale. While it's lacking Bluetooth support, it does have a great variety of connectivity options and works with the Epson iPrint app. Overall, this is the best printer for home use with cheap ink thanks to its excellent cost-per-print and good printing speed for documents.
The best printer with cheap ink for printing casual photos is the Canon PIXMA G7020. It's a well-built all-in-one printer that's also a good choice if you want to use it at home or for your small office. Similar to the Epson printers, it uses a supertank ink system, resulting in an extremely high page yield, whether you're printing in black-only or color.
The replacement ink bottles for this printer are cheap, and when combined with its extremely high page yield, printing is very cost-effective over time. You won't have to worry about refilling the ink tanks for a while. It has good photo printing quality and detail. Sadly, its color accuracy is mediocre, so it's not suggested if you need photos with extremely accurate colors, but it works well for casual photos. It prints 4" x 6" and 5" x 7" photos, but like most printers, it doesn't accept 2" x 3" sized photos. The dedicated app allows you to print JPEG and PNG photos, and it supports other file types, like Microsoft Office files.
Unfortunately, it has a poor 2-Line Full-Dot Matrix Display, which makes it look like a vintage calculator. It can only display a bit of text at a time, so some may find it restricting to navigate the menus. On the upside, this printer has a sheetfed and flatbed scanner, but it doesn't accept duplex scanning. It scans in a high resolution too, great for scanning those precious family photos. All in all, this is a good printer for photos that won't cost you much over time.
The Canon PIXMA MG3620 is one of the best printers with cheap ink available in the budget category that we've tested so far. It's a simple printer that performs best for home use or if you're a student. Sadly, it's not the most well-built printer, and it doesn't have a display screen, so it may be difficult to navigate the menus.
It doesn't use a supertank system like the Canon PIXMA G7020, and it just has two cartridges. The color cartridges hold magenta, cyan, and yellow, so if one color runs out, you need to replace the whole cartridge. The color and black page yield are okay for a budget printer, and you can get about 200 pages from each cartridge. Luckily, the replacement cartridges are cheap, so printing is still cost-effective over time. Its color accuracy isn't bad, and it has good photo printing quality, so it's a good choice for casual photos.
Unfortunately, it prints pages slowly, so if you need to print a document with many pages, you need to plan ahead and be patient. It has a flatbed scanner with a high scanning resolution, but it doesn't have a sheetfed scanner. Fortunately, the Canon companion app is remarkable, and you can print most common files from it. All in all, this is the best printer with cheap ink in the budget category we've tested so far.
09/03/2020: Updated text for clarity and structure; no changes to product picks.
07/23/2020: Replaced the HP OfficeJet Pro 9025 with the Epson EcoTank ET-4760.
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.