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 85 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 Brother MFC-J995DW is the best all-in-one printer for home use with cheap ink that we've tested. This family inkjet model features Brother's INKvestment Tank ink system, which yields a remarkable number of pages before the cartridges need to be replaced. This helps to keep the cost-per-print incredibly low, whether you're printing black-only text documents, color documents, or photos.
If you plan on printing photos often, it produces greatly detailed images with fairly accurate-looking colors. It's equipped with a high-resolution flatbed scanner to scan fragile items like old photographs, and it also has an automatic document feeder to quickly process multi-page documents. While black-only text documents and color documents are a bit slow to print, photos come out impressively fast.
Unfortunately, while it has a sheetfed scanner, it can't process double-sided documents automatically, so you need to manually flip over every page, which can be time-consuming if the document is long. Also, while it has a good range of wireless connectivity options, it doesn't support Bluetooth printing, and we couldn't get Mopria Print Service to work with our unit. Nevertheless, this is a well-rounded family printer that's fantastic if you're looking to print large amounts at a very low cost-per-print.
If you want to save even more money per page, check out the Epson EcoTank ET-3760. While photos don't look as detailed and it lacks a fax feature, it uses a supertank which yields significantly more pages, resulting in a much lower cost-per-print than the Brother MFC-J995DW. It has four refillable ink tanks that hold a lot of ink, so you shouldn't need to refill them often, let alone buy new ink bottles. While photos and color documents take more time to print, it's faster at printing black-only text documents. Unfortunately, while it supports a wide range of wireless connectivity options including Mopria Print Service, it doesn't support printing directly off a USB thumb drive.
If you're looking for a family printer with great photo printing quality and a fax feature, get the Brother, but if you want an incredibly high page yield at a lower 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, much less buy new ink bottles. This helps to keep the cost-per-print exceptionally low, and it's one of the lowest we've tested.
It's also packed with great features for an office. It's equipped with a flatbed scanner with high resolution and color depth, and an automatic document feeder to quickly scan multi-page documents. Black-only text documents print decently quickly, although color documents and photos take significantly more time. There are many ways to print to it, including via Ethernet, USB cable, Wi-Fi, and through its Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service support.
Unfortunately, while it has an ADF scanner, 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 thumb drive. The photo printing quality and color accuracy may not be enough for professional use, but 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 costs on ink.
The best photo printer with cheap ink that we've tested is the Canon PIXMA G7020. It's a versatile inkjet model that overall feels sturdy, and it provides easy access to ink bottles and paper jams by lifting the scanner bay. Photos are produced with very good detail, although dark areas contain some banding. Colors look slightly oversaturated and are acceptably accurate; while they may not be good enough for exact color reproduction, they should be fine for casual photos.
It has an exceptionally high page yield and, combined with its affordable ink cartridge price, the cost-per-print remains outstandingly low. It has great connectivity options, and it's compatible with the Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY app, where you can print, scan, copy, and order ink when you're running low. It has great scanner features, including a flatbed scanner with high resolution and color depth and an automatic document feeder to quickly scan multi-page documents.
Unfortunately, it has a small, monochrome display screen that doesn't show much text. Also, it's disappointingly slow at printing, with subsequent pages coming out almost as slow as the first page. Sadly, there's no Bluetooth support, and you can't print off of a USB thumb drive or SD card. Overall, it's still good for casual photos, 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 that we've tested is the Canon PIXMA MG3620. This all-in-one inkjet model has a great cost-per-print thanks to its relatively inexpensive cartridge price. Otherwise, this compact printer comes with a high-resolution flatbed scanner and a copy feature. Also, it comes in black, white, or red, so you can match your office setup.
While it doesn't have as many connectivity options as some other wireless printers do, it does support Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service. It produces photos with good detail, although there's a bit of banding in gray areas. Color accuracy is only mediocre, but it should be enough for casual color prints.
Unfortunately, its page yield is disappointingly low, so the cartridges may need replacing often, especially if you print frequently. It doesn't have a sheetfed scanner or Bluetooth printing support, and its printing speed is unremarkable. That said, this is still a decent printer if you're looking for a basic, inexpensive printer with cheap ink.
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.
Mar 03, 2021: Updated text for clarity and accuracy.
Feb 18, 2021: Verified availability and relevance of picks; no product changes.
Jan 19, 2021: Added the Epson Expression Premium ET-7750 EcoTank to Notable Mentions; updated rest of text for clarity and accuracy.
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.