The best budget printers are something a lot of people are looking for right now, thanks to the cost-of-living crisis and rising interest rates. But you don't want to cut off your nose to spite your face.
So in this article, we'll pick out the best cheap printers that nonetheless deliver good quality, reliable prints... and won't cost a fortune in ink either.
These devices were all cheap at time of writing, but be warned that supply issues are still ongoing in the tech industry, and so prices can go up and down at a moments' notice. That's why we've installed shopping widgets on this page, which update in real-time, so you can be sure you're getting the best possible price available today.
Whether you're looking for the best photo printer or the best all-in-one printer that prints, scans and copies, we've got you covered. So read on to discover the best budget printers available today, covering a range of printer types.
The best cheap printer in 2023
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Want a decent printer, that also lets you copy and scan, but don't want to spend a lot of money? Then our top recommendation is the Canon Pixma TS6420, which at time of writing is available at for under $100 / £100.
For the price, it provides very good quality prints, especially when it comes to colour photos, at a resolution of 4800 x 1200 dpi. Print speeds of 13 pages per minute aren't bad either, at this price.
On the downside, as with all cheap printers, the cost-per-print is relatively high. That said, the TS6420 does offer the best value among the inkjet printers on our list when it comes to running costs.
The device gives you the choice of printing from your computer via USB or Wi-Fi, or from your phone or tablet using the free app. Automatic two-sided printing (aka duplex printing) is supported, and you can load up to 100 sheets at a time. You also get a 1.44-inch OLED screen and an LED status indicator.
See also Best Canon printers (opens in new tab)
If you only want a printer for occasional use, the Epson Expression Home XP-4100 is well worth considering. One of the best Epsom printers around, it delivers decent quality prints, at a higher resolution (5760 x 1440 dpi) than the Canon Pixma TS6420, above. Plus it's nicely compact and weighs less than 10lbs, so it's easy to move from place to place.
You can connect to this printer wirelessly, or via USB. It has a nice 2.4in colour screen, a 100-page input tray, and offers duplex printing. And while it's slightly slower than the TS6420, its speeds of 10 pages per minute in black and white, and five pages per minute in color, are still decent.
At time of writing, this printer cost just over $100 / £100. Be warned though, the cost per print is higher than that of the Canon Pixma TS6420. So if you're printing at high volumes, this isn't the best choice for your bank balance. If you're just an occasional user, though, there's a lot here to like.
If you're mainly interested in printing photos, then Canon Pixma MG3650S offers the best image quality on our list of budget printers, with sharp detail and vibrant colors.
Print speeds of 9.9 images per minute (ipm) for mono and 5.7 ipm for color mean that a 10 x15 cm borderless photo takes around 44 seconds. Other features include double-sided printing, optional high-capacity XL ink cartridges, and wireless connectivity. And as this is a multifunctional printer, you also get scanning and copying too.
Note, though, that there's no wired connection, and no memory card slot or LCD screen to print photos from either. So if you're not a fan of wireless printing, that's probably a good reason to avoid this model.
So far, we've only looked at inkjet printers, but you can get a laser printer for not much over $100. And our favorite right now has to be the Brother HL-L5100DN.
Laser printers are generally cheaper to run than inkjet printers, so they're a great choice if you expect to print a lot. Or even if you don't, because the supplied toner you get is good for a whopping 2,000 pages.
This device is also very fast, offering speeds of up to 40 pages per minute, and offers a generous 300-sheet capacity. On the downside, there's no Wi-Fi option (although it does support AirPrint) and it's not a multifunctional printer, so there's no faxing or scanning on offer.
If the printers we've listed so far still seem to expensive for your pocket, here's the cheapest printer we can recommend today.
At time of writing, the Canon Pixma TS202 costs just over $50 / £50, but it does make some compromises to achieve this. First of all, it's just a printer, and doesn't offer scanning or copying. Secondly, there's no wireless printing, so you can only connect via USB. And thirdly, no cable is included, so you have to supply that yourself. You can only load 60 sheets of paper at a time, and the print speed of 7.7 pages per minute is on the slow side.
On the plus side, this printer is nice and compact, and weighs just 5.5lbs, making it lovely and portable. It offers a decent print resolution of 4800 x 1200 dpi. And in use, it's solid, reliable and does a good job of the basics. All that, at such a low price, means you can't really complain about its limitations.(opens in new tab)
Cheap printers are cheap for a reason - they're just a doorway to what really makes printer manufacturers money: printer ink! Once you factor the small fortune you'll spend on ink over a printer's lifetime, the cost of the printer itself becomes relatively trivial, especially if you print in bulk.
That's where Canon's MegaTank printers start to make sense. Sure, this PIXMA G620 (G650 in Europe) isn't particularly cheap to buy, but its large volume, refillable ink tanks mean it works out massively cheaper to run in the long-term, and saves the need to frequently buy replacement cartridges. The yield from a full set of tanks works out to around 3,800 6x4-inch photos, or around 3,700 mono documents and 8,000 color documents.
The six dye-based refillable ink tanks comprise a photo-friendly light cyan and light magenta as well as the usual CMYK. Despite the lack of a pigment-based black, mono text is crisp and black, rather than the relatively feint grey often associated with dye-based black ink.
Canon PIXMA G620/G650 full review (opens in new tab)
The Canon Pixma TS3520 is another good budget printer for under $100, albeit one that doesn't excel at any one thing.
The print quality is good, the device is quick and easy to set up, and you get scanning and copying as well as printing. It includes a nice 1.5-inch LCD screen, and offers the choice of connecting via USB or wirelessly. Mostly, though, it's quite average, with low print speeds (maxing out 7.7 pages per minute), a limited capacity of 60 sheets, and an absence of duplex printing. At this low price, though, that may be a compromise you're willing to make.(opens in new tab)
The best portable printers offer an easy way to turn your smartphone shots into physical prints, and are light and small enough to carry. If you want one for under $100 / £100, check out the Kodak Step Instant Printer.
You connect it to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth using the supplied app for iOS or Android. And if you want to tweak your shot before printing, the app provides crop and rotate tools, lets you make tweaks to things like brightness, color temperature, and blur, and gives you the option of adding borders and stickers.
Some consumer reviews online complain about the yellow tone of prints, but we've found you can avoid this by editing your shots towards the blue end of the color temperature spectrum. Alternatively, some people actually like the yellowing effect, as it reminds them of the original Polaroids of the 70s and 80s!
Also note that printing with this device is ink-free: you just have to use the special Zink (as in zero-ink) paper, which is treated with a protective layer that shields it from tears, water damage and smudges. The printer runs off a rechargeable battery.(opens in new tab)
Want a portable printer for as little as possible? Then check out the Kiipix Portable Mini Printer, which costs just over $30 / £40 at time of writing. This mini printer is not just ink-free, but electricity-free too. You just have to add Instax min film, place your phone face-down on the scanner, and then you hand-crank out the prints. Easy!
As well as being super-cheap, this printer folds up neatly, making it super-portable. That said, the Instax film is a bit on the pricey side, so if you plan to make a lot of prints then you might be financially better off with the previous model on our list.
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