You probably don't print as much these days, but you likely still need hard copies of documents from time to time and may be in the market for one of the best cheap printers. The technology for home printers has evolved from inkjet printers to sophisticated 3D models. The first home laser printers used mixed text and graphics, similar to dot-matrix printers. Until that point, home printing had been nowhere near the level of quality seen primarily in commercial typesetting systems. Eventually, laser printing was replaced mainly with inkjet printers as the go-to option for home desktop publishing. However, there are still some monochrome laser printers on the market today for no-frills, affordable black-and-white printing.
But while these early laser and inkjet printers could set you back a pretty penny, you could eventually get a decent printer for a fairly decent price. Today, low-cost printers are everywhere, and you still don’t have to spend a lot of money for the best cheap printers on the market. We’ve compiled some of the best options out there today, so you don’t even have to do the legwork to start printing at home.
— Best Overall: HP ENVY 6055 Wireless All-in-One Printer
— Best Laser: Brother HL-L2300D Monochrome Laser Printer
— Best All-In-One: Canon Pixma TR4520 Wireless All-in-One Photo Printer
— Best for Photos: KODAK Step Wireless Mobile Photo Mini Printer
— Best Wireless: HP OfficeJet Pro 6978 All-in-One Wireless Printer
How We Picked the Best Cheap Printers
With so many affordable printers on the market, it can be tough to pick just one! That’s why we’ve selected a few different types of printers to tackle a range of jobs: wireless printing, all-in-one printing for the whole family, printing photographs, and even a black-and-white laser pick for those who don’t need the range of options most inkjet printers tend to have.
But regardless of the type of printer, a primary consideration we kept in mind was eco-friendliness. Of course, paper printing, by its very nature, is not the best thing for the planet. However, all of these picks had eco-friendly options, such as automatic double-sided printing and recycled materials.
Stellar customer service is likewise crucial to factor in. Dealing with finicky machines like printers and copiers can often be frustrating, even with the top-rated picks. With all the printers we assessed, customer reviews specifically noted that customer service had been excellent when troubleshooting.
The Best Cheap Printers: Reviews & Recommendations
Best Overall: HP ENVY 6055 Wireless All-in-One Printer
Why It Made The Cut: Print, scan, and copy everything from documents and schoolwork to photos and more with an eco-friendly, all-in-one printer that’s great for the whole family.
— Printing technology: Inkjet
— Connectivity technology: Bluetooth, WiFi, USB
— Printer output: Color
— Print speed: 10 pages per minute black, 7 pages in color
— Borderless photos and documents
— Automatic two-sided printing
— 20 percent recycled plastic materials
— HP Smart account required
— Setup process can be confusing
As the best cheap printer overall, the HP ENVY 6055 All-in-One Printer printer is designed to make printing easier for the whole family. It gives everyone the option to print, scan, and copy everything from homework and other documents to borderless photos and more. In just a few easy steps, simply set up and connect the printer to all your family's mobile devices for remote scanning and sharing using the HP Smart app. Self-healing WiFi ensures that you’ll stay connected with minimal interruptions.
As a Climate Pledge Friendly product, this HP printer uses sustainability certifications to support a commitment to help preserve the natural world. For example, automatic two-sided printing saves time and paper, while the printer itself is 20 percent recycled plastic. When you enroll in the HP Instant Ink program, you’ll save money with plans that start at $2.99 per month following a two-month free trial, with both shipping and recycling included. Though the HP Smart app allows you to print and scan from virtually anywhere, some users don’t like that the app is mandatory for the printer to function. Others had issues with aspects of setup, citing a lack of detailed instructions.
Best Laser: Brother HL-L2300D Monochrome Laser Printer
Why It Made The Cut: When you need a basic, reliable printer to print double-sided black-and-white documents quickly, this laser printer produces high-quality detail at lightning speeds.
— Printing technology: Laser
— Connectivity technology: USB
— Printer output: Black and gray
— Print speed: Up to 27 pages per minute
— High-quality resolution of up to 2,400 x 600 dots per inch (dpi)
— Toner-saving mode
— Prints only in black and white
— USB cable not included
Our pick for the best laser printer, the Brother HL-L2300D is a fast, reliable choice for your home or office. It comes with a 250-sheet capacity that prints crisp documents at a high-quality resolution of 2,400 x 600 dpi at up to 27 pages per minute. Easily print two-sided documents with automatic duplex printing that’s eco-friendly while helping to save time and paper. You can also save ink by using the “toner save mode” for your less critical documents.
The manual feed slot and rear paper exit provide a user-friendly, straight-through paper path to ensure all your printed materials always look their best. Additionally, this laser printer handles letter or legal size paper and can print paper materials of varying thickness, including plain paper, bond, envelopes, and labels.nTo set the printer up, you need only connect a USB cable to the high-speed USB 2.0 interface. Some customers were surprised to learn that the cable is not included and must be purchased separately, unless you happen to have an extra around the house. It should also be noted that this is strictly a black-and-white printer and cannot print full-color documents.
Best All-in-One: Canon Pixma TR4520 Wireless All-in-One Photo Printer
Why It Made The Cut: This all-in-one wireless home printer is everything you need for your home office, with WiFi-enabled smart features for ultimate productivity and versatility.
— Printing technology: Inkjet
— Connectivity technology: WiFi, USB
— Printer output: Color
— Print speed: Black, 8.8 images per minute; color 4.4 images per minute
— Connects wirelessly to your smartphone
— Automatic document feeder for scanning and faxing
— Ink alert comes on early
— Paper tray must stay open when holding paper
The Canon Pixma TR4520, the best all-in-one printer, lets you get all your printing, scanning, and faxing done without a huge machine. This compact office printer effortlessly holds its own against bulkier office printers, with features such as WiFi connectivity, double-sided printing, and a built-in automatic document feeder for convenient scanning and faxing.
With the Canon Print app, you can wirelessly connect quickly and easily to print right from your smartphone or tablet. The printer is also Alexa-enabled, so you can simply ask the assistant to print your shopping list, to-do list, crosswords, coloring pages, and more. Alexa can even detect when ink or toner is running low and order more, so you’ll have it exactly when needed.
However, some users noted that the ink alert comes on after just a few prints, so you’d be better off ignoring it until the ink runs out entirely — even if Alexa does order more! Another slight drawback mentioned in some customer reviews is that the paper tray must stay open if you want to leave the paper in the printer at all times, so it could collect dust if not used regularly.
Best for Photos: KODAK Step Wireless Mobile Photo Mini Printer
Why It Made The Cut: Edit and customize your favorite photos, then print colorful, 2-by-3-inch pics that are great for decorating anything from laptops to scrapbooks.
— Printing technology: Zero ink (ZINK)
— Connectivity technology: Bluetooth
— Printer output: Color
— Print speed: 1 page per minute
— Full editing suite included with free app
— Innovative zero-ink technology
— Fits in the palm of your hand
— May not be compatible with Android Galaxy devices
— Comes with only five sticky-back photos
Step up your printing game with our pick for the best photo printer, the KODAK Step Wireless Mobile Photo Mini Printer. This handy, palm-sized mini photo printer connects to most iOS or Android smartphones and other devices so you can turn your selfies, portraits, and other images into physical photographs with the press of a button. Zero-ink (ZINK) technology eliminates the need for pricey cartridges, toners, or ribbons.
Instead, embedded dye crystals deliver affordable and beautifully detailed prints that are covered with an extra layer of protective smudge-proof coating that’s resistant to moisture, rips, and tears. For even more creative options, download the free Kodak app to create collages and customize your photos with filters, borders, stickers, and other types of personalized flair. Simply edit images in your camera roll, then send them to the app for printing in less than 60 seconds. You can even print photos with sticker backs, perfect for decorating refrigerators, laptops, lockers, scrapbooks, and more. But the printer itself comes with only five sticky-back photos, and purchasing more may require a back-order wait. At least one customer review stated that the printer was not compatible with Android Galaxy devices, so that’s a potential hurdle to keep in mind for Galaxy users.
Best Wireless: HP OfficeJet Pro 6978 All-in-One Wireless Printer
Why It Made The Cut: This printer is our choice for the best wireless printer because you can easily print when and where you need to from your smartphone, tablet, or notebook with convenient mobile printing options and a fully wireless setup.
— Printing technology: Inkjet
— Connectivity technology: Bluetooth, WiFi
— Printer output: Color
— Print speed: 20 pages per minute black, 11 color
— Print wirelessly from other wireless-enabled devices
— Color touch-screen operation
— Over a dozen paper sizes supported
— No scan-to-computer functionality for iOS
— HP ink can be expensive
The HP OfficeJet Pro 6978 All-in-One Wireless Printer lets you manage your printing budget with professional-quality color at up to 50 percent less cost per page than laser printers. To get started, just connect your smartphone or tablet directly to the printer and conveniently print, even without being connected to a network. Or, operate the printer manually using the color touch screen. With rapid print, scan, and copy speeds, you can set the pace for success.
Save paper and conserve resources with automatic two-sided printing that consumes up to 50 percent less paper. Scanning is likewise effortless and accurate, as you’ll never need to turn a page again to scan two-sided documents. In addition, with a wide range of paper sizes included, you can print on anything from letter and legal to panoramic and other custom sizes. Another great feature is the scan-to-email function. However, Mac users have found that the iOS platform is under-supported and that you must activate the scanner using Image Capture or HP Easy Scan. And while inkjet printing is indeed more cost-efficient than laser printing, HP’s proprietary inks are pricey and can add up over time.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Cheap Printer
If you’re in the market for a cheap printer, fortunately, there aren’t too many serious considerations before deciding on which one is right for you. First and foremost, what type of printing do you plan to be doing? If you’re printing primarily black-and-white documents, an all-in-one inkjet printer might be a waste of money and resources since you won’t use color cartridges. On the other side of the coin, if you want a printer mostly to print photographs, a full-sized inkjet may not be the wisest choice.
Additionally, purchasing toner and ink cartridges can be extremely pricey and add up fast. This is where a bit of research goes a long way. If expensive ink is a deal breaker, it’s a good idea to research what types and brands of ink a printer uses before purchasing. Many printers perform best using the company’s brand, whereas others can get away with off-brand or aftermarket ink cartridges. But sometimes, a printer is only as good as the ink with which you fill it.
Q: Which type of printer is the cheapest?
Of the three types of printers (laser, photo, and inkjet), inkjet printers are generally the least expensive and often priced under $100. If you need to make copies, scan, and print documents or photos, an all-in-one inkjet printer is the best choice.
Q: What type of printer is the fastest?
Laser printers technically print faster than inkjet printers. However, you may not notice when printing just a few pages at a time; people who print in high volume will definitely see a huge difference. It’s worth noting that laser toner cartridges are more expensive than inkjet cartridges and also less wasteful.
Q: Which is better, ink or toner?
In addition to being less wasteful, toner lasts longer than ink from inkjet cartridges. You won't need to replace the cartridges as frequently, since toner produces more images than ink before running out. Toner also boasts a longer shelf life compared with ink, which can quickly dry out in storage.
Final Thoughts on the Cheap Printers
Though we would recommend any printer on this list, our best cheap printer overall pick is the HP ENVY 6055 Wireless All-in-One. We love the family-friendly features, wireless technology, and eco-friendly details such as recycled plastic construction. However, if printing fun and colorful photos is your thing, then we can’t recommend the KODAK Step Wireless Mobile Photo Mini Printer enough. It also makes an excellent gift for kids and adults of all ages, with its fun templates and options to stick on your favorite accessories.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.