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 ink cartridges or bottles. Some ink bundles can cost up to the original price of your printer 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, and that 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 30 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 family printer with cheap ink that we've tested so far is the Brother MFC-J995DW. This inkjet printer uses an INKvestment Tank Ink System, which can yield a lot of pages before needing to be replaced. Although its ink cartridges can be a little pricey when compared to others on this list, its cost-per-print ratio is outstanding, which helps to keep your long-term costs low.
This versatile printer has a great build quality and it's well suited for printing photos as it can reproduce detailed images with vivid color. If you need to scan old polaroids or the occasional work document, it's also well-equipped with both a sheetfed and a flatbed scanner. The Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) can help process any multiple-page documents you may have and you can even adjust the scan resolution up to 1200 DPI so you get the most detail from your items. Its print speed is quite good, too, as color documents print off just as quickly as black-text documents.
However, if you're printing photos using its borderless printing setting, it can come out misaligned and need manual straightening to correct it. It has acceptable color accuracy and while it should be enough for family use, professionals may find it disappointing. That being said, this printer has an outstanding ink cartridge system, keeping each print job you run affordable, even over longer-term use, and it's one of the best printers for home use with cheap ink that we've tested to date.
If you're looking to save a bit on replacement ink bottles, check out the Epson EcoTank ET-3760. While it doesn't feel as well-built as the Brother MFC-J995DW and the photos it produces look more grainy, it has an even more affordable cost-per-print ratio, thanks to its well-priced ink bottles. It can also yield more pages of both black and color ink, and it's slightly faster at printing out black-text documents. However, it lacks external storage support like an SD card port for your camera photos, and its display screen lacks a physical number pad, which can make entering network passwords more tedious, especially as it tends to lag when registering commands.
Get the Brother if you're looking to print detailed, vivid photos as well as process black and color documents quickly. However, go for the Epson if you're looking for more affordable ink and you don't mind its slow print speed.
The HP OfficeJet Pro 9025 is the best home office printer with cheap ink that we've tested so far. While the cartridges may seem a little high in price, each of them yields an outstanding large amount of pages before they need to be replaced. The ink cartridges also have a very low cost-per-print ratio over time, which further helps to justify their price.
It has a good print speed for black-text documents and you can even add a splash of color to your work documents without worrying about it slowing down your workflow too much. Thanks to its Automatic Document Feeder (ADF), duplex scanning, and integrated fax capabilities, you can quickly process a lot of forms in a row to send to others. The flatbed scanner lid can also raise slightly to accommodate larger items such as books. It has decent photo printing quality, and it has a borderless printing setting, which is a nice additional feature if you don't want to have to trim the borders on your photos.
On the downside, its companion app is a little lackluster as it can't print HTML pages or Word documents. It also doesn't have any Bluetooth support; however, it does have a USB port so you can print directly from your flash drive. That being said, its affordable cost-per-print ratio as well as its high page yields make this one of the best printers with cheap ink for office use that we've tested to date.
The best casual photo printer with cheap ink that we've tested so far is the Canon PIXMA G7020. If you're primarily printing off photos for your deskside or scrapbook, it has an amazingly low cost-per-print for photos and it can print them in under a minute. It's also very affordable to print black or color documents too, which is great if you have the occasional work or school report due.
This inkjet printer has a solid, sturdy build. Thanks to its Automatic Document Feeder (ADF), you can easily process a lot of documents at a time. Its flatbed scanner is also handy for saving old, fragile photographs, and its 1200 DPI max scan resolution ensures that you get a detailed copy of your item. The photo printing quality is good and although the colors are slightly oversaturated, the resulting photos still have good detail to them.
On the downside, it's extremely slow at printing off black-text or color documents, which isn't great if you're in a rush or have a lot of pages to process in one go. Its display screen is also very limited, as it can only show two lines of text at a time, and it has poor viewing angles. Still, if you're using this printer so that you can save your favorite family memories in glossy print, its cartridge system is affordable to replace.
The Canon PIXMA MG3620 is the best budget printer with cheap ink that we've tested to date. This affordable inkjet printer uses one black and one tricolor ink cartridge which both have a very good cost-per-print ratio. It's also fairly compact and its footprint doesn't take up too much room, making it suited for smaller spaces.
Although simple in design, it has a flatbed scanner for saving more delicate items like old family records. It can also print good quality photos and although colors may look a little oversaturated, your images still have nice detail to them. Its companion app is outstanding too as you can print off PDF files as well as webpages, images, and Microsoft Office files directly from your mobile device, which is handy in a pinch.
On the downside, its printing speed and color accuracy are both unremarkable. If you run out of one color, you'll also need to replace the entire tricolor cartridge, which can add up over time. Luckily, if you want to go for longer without having to replace your cartridges, you can purchase XL and XXL cartridges instead, but we haven't tested their yield.
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.