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 70 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 we've tested is the Brother MFC-J995DW. It's a very well-built model 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. Also, it has both a flatbed and sheetfed scanner to suit all your needs.
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.
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 that most people should be happy with.
If you want a printer with more affordable ink, the Epson EcoTank ET-3760 is a good option. The printer itself costs more than the Brother MFC-J995DW, and its printed photos don't look as good, but its cost-per-print is lower and the ink cartridges are less expensive. Its supertank ink system yields an exceptionally large number of pages for both black and color documents, so you shouldn't need to worry about refilling the tanks often. Unfortunately, while its color accuracy is passable for casual photos, it isn't recommended for professional use. Photos come out decent, but they look quite grainy and most shades of gray have color present.
If you want the best printer for home use with cheap ink, get the Brother, but if you can spend the extra money for something with even cheaper ink, go with the Epson.
The best printer with cheap ink for home or small office that we've tested is the Epson EcoTank ET-4760. This all-in-one inkjet model uses a supertank system that has four separate ink tanks that you refill yourself. It has an outstandingly high page yield for both black and color ink, so you shouldn't need to buy refills often, which helps to keep the cost-per-print exceptionally low.
It has great scanner features, with a good scan resolution and color depth. The flatbed scanner is great if you need to scan small items like old photos or notes, and the automatic document feeder lets you quickly and easily scan long documents. You can also copy and fax directly from the printer. It has great connectivity options, letting you print via Ethernet, USB, Wi-Fi, AirPrint, and Mopria Print.
Unfortunately, the photo printing quality is only okay since there's banding present in gray areas and the colors look flat. The color accuracy is mediocre and not recommended if you need exact color reproduction for your profession, but it should be good enough for casual photos and color printing. Overall, this is a very good option with low ink costs for a home or small office.
The best printer with cheap ink for casual photo printing that we've tested is the Canon PIXMA G7020. This all-in-one inkjet model is a great choice for families who are into scrapbooking. The design is great, as there's easy access to the ink cartridges and paper jams, and the overall build is made of solid, sturdy plastic. It has a flatbed scanner for scanning old photos and thicker items like books, as well as an automatic document feeder.
It uses a supertank ink system, which results in an incredibly high page yield, regardless of printing in black or color. Also, the cartridges are quite affordable, and the cost-per-print is outstanding. Photo quality is very good, with nice detailing overall. It has great connectivity options, including Ethernet, USB, and Wi-Fi, and it's compatible with the outstanding Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY companion app.
Unfortunately, its display screen is very small and doesn't display much text. Printing speed is disappointing as well, regardless of what you're printing, and there's no Bluetooth support. Color accuracy is passable enough for casual photo printing, but those who depend on color reproduction should look elsewhere. Overall, this is a great choice if you want a casual photo printer with cheap ink.
The best home printer with cheap ink in the budget category that we've tested is the Canon PIXMA MG3620. This all-in-one inkjet model is a decent choice for family use. Paper jams are easily accessible through the back, but the unit must be on to reach the ink cartridges. Its scanner is limited to a flatbed for scanning items like books or fragile photos, but it has a high scan resolution.
The overall cost-per-print is great, and the cartridges are quite affordable, with high-yielding ones available to increase the yield. Printed photos have good detailing and are decent overall, while color accuracy is passable enough for casual use. It's compatible with the Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY companion app, where you can scan, print, and order new ink cartridges through your smart device.
Unfortunately, the overall build is disappointing as it feels flimsy and cheap. It has mediocre connectivity options, as it lacks Bluetooth, Ethernet, and external storage support. The cartridge system is disappointing, as there's only one color cartridge and one black one, and they both have low yields. That said, if you're on a budget and want a printer with cheap cartridges, this is a decent choice.
11/20/2020: 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.