Picking the best cheap printer for you and your home can be confusing. You’d think that being on a budget would limit your options, but even when you exclude some of the more expensive printers from your shopping list, there’s still a lot of choices out there to sift through.
To narrow things down, it’s helpful to, first of all, determine what you mean by ‘cheap’. Are you after a printer that’s cheap to buy, or are you after something that’s cheap to run?
Consider your needs and how often you expect you’ll hit that ‘Print’ button before opening your wallet. If you only print documents once every month or so, then picking up something with a low initial cost might be better, even if it’s not the most economical option.
On the flip side, if you’re printing lots of sheets every week, whether that’s for homework reasons, coursework reasons, or you’re printing lots of newsletters, posters, and pamphlets, you’ll want a printer with the lowest possible cost-per-page that your budget can accommodate – picking something because it has a low price tag could end up burning a hole in your pocket in the long run, so it might be better to pick something with a higher RRP if it turns out to be a long-term saver.
Depending on your needs, you might also want to consider picking up a laserjet printer instead of an inkjet – we’ve covered the pros and cons of these printer types in our inkjet vs laser printers article.
In this round-up, we’ve picked the best cheap printer options going, mainly looking at printers in and around the £100 price range, some cheaper than that, some slightly more expensive than that, but included here because they’re very cost-effective.
For our top picks for all budgets, head to our best printers round-up.
- How to choose a good cheap printer
- Best cheap printers at a glance
- Best cheap printers to buy in 2021
Tip 1: look at the cost-per-page
Keeping an eye on running costs is a key consideration when shopping around for the best budget printer.
In terms of which printers have the cheapest ink, HP has some of the lowest prices going for its HP 305 black ink and tri-colour (cyan, magenta, yellow) ink cartridges. These cost £10.99 per cartridge and come with enough ink for roughly 120 and 100 printouts, respectively. That works out at a cost-per-page of 9p and 10p.
That’s about the standard per-page price you can expect from a cheap inkjet printer, but it’s by no means the cheapest option available to you.
For example, a single HP 44A black toner cartridge is priced at £52.99, far more expensive than the HP 305 ink cartridges, but it promises enough toner for around 1,000 printouts – which means that the cost-per-page falls to around 5p.
Even better value for money in terms of running costs is bottled ink. Printers like the Epson EcoTank ET-2750 – excluded from this round-up because it costs £349.99 upfront – are very cheap to run, with the cost-per-page less working out to be less than a penny.
Likewise, going for bigger XL ink cartridges will always be more expensive upfront, but your money will go further. Think about how many pages you’ll realistically be printing every month before making your choice.
Tip 2: research which ink subscriptions are the cheapest
While it’s useful to weigh up cartridge prices and yields, consider that a lot of printers these days are covered by subscription plans, which can save you money, not to mention the hassle of having to order fresh cartridges yourself.
These are typically only offered if you’re buying a printer that can be connected to the Internet, because services like HP’s Instant Ink and Epson’s ReadyPrint work by the printer monitoring ink levels and alerting the manufacturer when ink levels are getting low, which sees fresh cartridges popped into the post and sent out to you in advance of you running out of ink.
HP Instant Ink and Epson ReadyPrint subscription prices are therefore based on how many pages of paper you print in a month:
HP Instant Ink subscription prices
Epson ReadyPrint subscription prices
Tip 3: look at the up front printer price
If running costs are less of a consideration, then your job is made slightly easier by the fact that you’ll mainly, if not exclusively, looking at that initial price tag.
At the same time, consider what you need the printer for. If it’s just for documents, then get a mono printer, even if that’s not as cheap as a colour version, purely for the fact that you’ll only ever have to buy blank ink to replace it.
By the same token, if you want to print out the occasional photo or document with colour images, then there’s no point in buying a mono printer, even if it’s got a lower RRP.
- Cheapest colour printer to buy: Canon Pixma TS205 (£35.49)
- Best value all-in-one printer: Canon Pixma TR4550 / 4551 (£49.99)
- Best value all-in-one printer covered by HP Instant Ink: HP DeskJet Plus 4120 (£59.99)
- Best value all-in-one printer covered by Epson ReadyPrint: Epson XP-3105 (£59.99)
- Best quality all-in-one printer: Canon Pixma TS7450 (£79.99)
- Fastest budget colour printer: HP Envy Pro 6240 (£89.99)
- Cheapest mono laserjet printer: HP LaserJet Pro M15W (£89.99)
- Cheapest high capacity mono laserjet printer: Brother HL-L2350DW (£142.80)
Canon Pixma TS205, £35.49
Best value colour printer
- Very cheap to buy and run
- Good overall print quality
- Easy to set up and use
- Slow printing speeds
- Ink smudges easily
- No Wi-Fi or mobile app support
The Canon Pixma TS205 is a cheap and cheerful colour inkjet printer. Very cheap to buy at around £35, the TS205 is about as bare-bones as it gets – it’s just a printer, there’s no scanner and no photocopy function, and there’s no Internet connectivity, so it can’t even accept print jobs over Wi-Fi, and it can’t be controlled via a phone – working with Windows and Mac desktop and laptop PCs, the Pixma TS205 accepts print jobs over a USB connection, and that’s it.
Aimed at buyers who want a cheap, sub-£50 printer to use every so often, the Canon Pixma TS205 is included here as it’s one of the very cheapest colour printers on the market.
It’s very easy to set up and use and is suitable for running off homework, letters, boarding passes and the like. Despite its low price, the Canon Pixma TS205 can even print photos on glossy photo paper.
Print quality is generally very good, a lot better than you might expect from such a cheap printer.
It’s not without its drawbacks, though, and the main drawback is the fact that text printouts are very prone to smudging. Images, too, take a long time to dry out, so you need to be extra careful when lifting pages up off of the Pixma TS205’s tray, lest you smudge something and need to print it out again.
It’s also quite slow, something you’ll only really notice if you’re printing out multiple copies of the same document, or long essays.
That said, if time is not of the essence, and you only print things every so often, the Canon Pixma TS205 is one of the best cheap printer options currently going.
Read our full Canon Pixma TS205 review.
The Canon Pixma TS205 is available to buy from:
Canon Pixma TR4550 / TR4551, £49.99
Best value all-in-one printer
- Low upfront cost
- Versatile all-in-one device
- Lighter than the Canon Pixma TS7450
- Neither cheap nor expensive to run
- Not covered by ink subscription
- Bigger than the Canon Pixma TS7450
Canon Pixma TR4550 is a cheap-to-buy colour inkjet all-in-one printer that offers similar functionality to the impressive Canon Pixma TS7450 and similar running costs.
It’s available in two colours, the Canon Pixma TR4550 (black) and the Canon Pixma TR4551 (white).
For your money, you’ll get an all-in-one colour printer, scanner, copier which promises 8.8ppm (pages per minute) printing speeds for black text, 4.4ppm for colour images on plain A4, and 4×6-inch colour photos in around 65 seconds.
Weighing 5.29kg, the Canon Pixma TR4550 is also lighter than the Canon Pixma TS7450, which weighs a more considerable 8.2kg, although the TR4550 is also bigger, so despite being easier to move around, it will take up more desk space.
Running on Canon’s PG-545 (£18.49) and CL-546 ink (£21.99) cartridges, which both promise around 180 pages’ worth of ink, the Canon Pixma’s running costs are 10p and 12p respectively, which is about the norm for most cheap inkjet printers.
As always, the bigger PG-545 XL (£25.49) and CL-546XL (£25.49) cartridges give you more ink, 400 and 300 pages’ worth respectively, and so the cost-per-page here falls to 6p and 8p.
The Canon Pixma TR4550 is not covered by any subscription plans, which may make it cheaper to run for busy households, but it is ultimately an all-in-one colour printer that’s reasonably inexpensive to run and costs £50.
The Canon Pixma TR4550 / TR4551 is available to buy from:
HP DeskJet Plus 4120, £59.99
Best value all-in-one printer covered by HP Instant Ink
- Good at printing graphics and photos
- Easy to install
- Text quality is middling
- Alignment issues
- Not cheap to run without Instant Ink
The HP DeskJet Plus 4120 hits a lot of tick boxes for buyers in the market for a cheap colour all-in-one printer. It’s capable of printing on glossy paper as well as regular A4, it can print over Wi-Fi and USB, and quality is very good, considering it’s a sub-£100 device.
Text quality on the default setting is admittedly pretty average, but move things up to higher quality settings, and you get higher quality results.
The HP DeskJet Plus 4120 uses the HP 305 Black (£10.99) and HP 305 Tri-Colour (£10.99) cartridges, which promise 120 and 100 pages’ worth of ink, which comes to a cost-per-page of around 9p and 10p each. Not especially cheap, but also terribly expensive, unless you’re printing lots every month, in which case, you’re better off looking at an HP Instant Ink subscription plan – £9.99/month will cover you for 300 pages’ worth, so that’s automatically a money-saver if you’re a heavy user.
The HP DeskJet Plus 4120 is also not the fastest printer on the market, which is perhaps understandable given the price. On the plus side, it’s lightweight and doesn’t hog loads of desk space, so it’s ideal for home offices that are on the small side.
Read our full HP DeskJet Plus 4120 review.
The HP DeskJet Plus 4120 is available to buy from:
Epson XP-3105, £55
Best value all-in-one printer covered by Epson ReadyPrint
- Great value colour all-in-one
- Lightweight and compact
- Cheap to run, with the option of ReadyPrint subscriptions
- No automatic document feeder
- Four ink system is less wasteful but more expensive
The Epson XP-3105 is a cheap all-in-one colour printer, scanner, copier that’s covered by Epson’s ReadyPrint subscriptions, making it a good option for buyers on a budget, as well as being reasonably cheap to run long-term. It can also be connected to the Internet, and controlled by iOS and Android apps, as well as Windows and Mac desktops and laptops.
Able to print on standard plain as well as glossy photo paper, the Epson XP-3105 is capable of holding up to 100 sheets of regular A4, and up to 20 photo sheets and quotes print speed times of 10ppm (pages per minute) for text, 5ppm for colour images, and single 4×6-inch colour photos in 42 seconds. Perhaps not the fastest printer in the west, but good enough for its price range, and it supports automatic double-sided printing, too.
Despite weighing just 4.3kg, the Epson XP-2105 packs a 1,200 DPI x 2,400 DPI scanner into its 375 x 300 x 170 mm body.
Drawbacks include the fact that while the Epson XP-3105 is an all-in-one device, there’s no automatic document feeder, so scanning and copying large documents could take a while.
Unlike some cheaper colour printers, which feature two cartridges for black ink and a tri-colour cartridge, the Epson XP-3105 uses a four cartridge set-up, black, cyan, magenta, and yellow.
The Epson Black 603 cartridges cost £12.49 each, giving you 150 pages’ worth of ink, while each of the 603 colour cartridges cost £6.99, for 130 pages’ worth, which works out as costs per page of 8p and 5p, respectively. This is admittedly less convenient than a two ink system and potentially could be expensive, but it’s less wasteful, and busy households could save money with the right subscription.
The Epson XP-3105 is available to buy from:
Canon Pixma TS7450, £79.99
Best quality all-in-one printer
- Excellent overall print quality
- Fast printing and scanning speeds
- Reasonably cheap to run
- Photos need to be printed on glossy paper
- Double-page printing is slow
- Only economical with XL cartridges
The Canon Pixma TS7450 is an excellent all-round colour printer, scanner, and copier which can be had for around £80.
Like a lot of printers in this price range, it’s not especially speedy, but quality is high, and the Pixma TS7450 is versatile, able to print on plain paper and glossy photo sheets, as well as print on both sides of plain A4, so it’s handy at producing letters, essays, and homework, as well as running of high-quality holiday snaps.
You can connect to the Canon Pixma TS7450 via Wi-Fi or USB, and control is with iOS and Android apps, as well as Windows and Mac machines. It supports Apple AirPrint, so getting up and running on a Mac OS device takes no time at all.
It’s pretty heavy at 8.2kg, and at 206 x 403 x 364mm takes up a bit more room than some cheap printers.
Running costs are about average, with the standard-sized Canon PG-560 (£17.49) and CL-561 (£17.49) cartridges, which give you 180 pages’ worth of ink each work out at 9p per page each. Not bank-breaking, but not cheap either, and while the bigger XL cartridges work out at 6p and 7p, respectively, there’s no option to go for a subscription, meaning it’s less economical for heavy users. Again, this probably won’t matter if you only print once in a blue moon or can pick up bundle deals on cartridges for cheap elsewhere.
Read our full Canon Pixma TS7450 review.
The Canon Pixma TS7450 is available to buy from:
HP Envy Pro 6240, £89.99
Fastest budget colour printer
- Fast print speeds
- Excellent text and graphics quality
- Low, compact design
- Occasional paper jams
- Problems printing on glossy paper
- Expensive without an Instant Ink subscription
A lot of budget printers tend to be a bit on the slow side, but the HP Envy Pro 6420 is one of the faster all-in-one colour inkjets available, producing 20 pages of text in 1m 36.72 seconds – or 12.04 pages per minute – and single pages in 4.58 seconds.
The HP Envy Pro 6420 also boasts an interesting, compact design, measuring 194 x 432.5 x 511.5 mm, and is reasonably light at 6.16kg, so for people strapped for space, it could be a good buy for that reason, too.
Like a lot of printers these days, you can connect to the HP Envy Pro 6420 over Wi-Fi or USB and control it remotely using the HP Smart app for iOS and Android.
However, in testing, we were unable to print on glossy photo paper, despite the spec sheet telling us that we can. There may well have been an issue with our specific review unit, but regardless, we can’t comment on how well the HP Envy Pro 6420 prints on photo paper. It might be that this isn’t high up on your list of considerations for a printer, or even on your list at all, in which case, the HP Envy Pro 6420 is a fast and compact home office printer that kicks of text documents and colour images quickly.
Read our full HP Envy Pro 6240 review.
The HP Envy Pro 6420 is available to buy from:
HP LaserJet Pro M15W, £89.99
Cheapest mono laserjet printer
- Sharp and bold quality
- Low running costs
- Low upfront cost
- Only prints on plain A4
- Cartridges are high yield but pricey
- Not covered by an HP Instant Ink subscription
The HP LaserJet Pro M15W is a cheap mono laserjet printer priced under £100 that is aimed at people who only need to be able to print documents, and lots of them, quickly – up to 19 pages per minute – and in super-sharp quality.
Measuring 159 x 346 x 189 mm and weighing a mere 3.8 kg, the LaserJet Pro M15W won’t take up much space, and nor will it be a problem to shift around.
Able to connect to devices over Wi-Fi or USB, it can accept print jobs from iOS and Android devices as well as Windows and Mac desktops and laptops, and as it’s Apple AirPrint-compatible, it’ll take no time at all for Mac users to get connected and get printing.
It’s got a reasonably high-capacity paper tray that’s able to hold up to 150 sheets of plain A4. The HP 44A (CF244A) black cartridges promise enough toner for 1,000 prints, which means unless you’re rattling off hundreds of prints every week, you won’t have to pick up any new cartridges for a while.
That’s perhaps just as well, as the HP 44A (CF244A) cartridges cost £52.99. While that gives you a very nice cost-per-page of around 5p, that’s still a fairly big upfront cost. As the Instant Ink plans don’t cover the HP LaserJet Pro M15W, you might want to shop around for some cheaper bundle deals instead.
The HP LaserJet Pro M15W is available to buy from:
Brother HL-L2350DW, £142.80
Cheapest high capacity mono laserjet printer
- Very low cost-per-page
- High-capacity paper tray
- Automatic double-sided printing
- High yield toner cartridges are expensive
- No subscription plans are available
- Relatively large and heavy
Priced at £142.80, the Brother HL-L2350DW is an outlier in this round-up, as it’s priced slightly above the £100 mark, but it’s included here, largely because it’s got a bigger capacity tray than the HP LaserJet Pro M15W – 250 sheets of A4 vs 150 – and promises a top printing speed of 30 pages per minute.
The Brother TN-2410 and TN-2420 black toner cartridges are also higher yield, coming with approximately 1,200 and 3,000 pages’ worth of black toner each. They’re expensive, mind, costing £44.39 and £81.59 each, but this works out at an incredibly low cost-per-page of 3p. For buyers wanting to keep tabs on the bottom line, the Brother HL-L2350DW represents a very economical choice.
The Brother HL-L2350DW may therefore be better suited to home office users who need to print several copies of multi-page documents and don’t want to be having to reload the paper in-tray as frequently.
Print jobs can also be queued from iOS and Android devices via the Brother iPrint&Scan app and over Wi-Fi and USB from Windows and Mac devices; It’s AirPrint-compatible too, so Mac users can get up and running without having to install any drivers.
Measuring 519 x 438 x 283mm and weighing 8.3kg, it’s pretty heavy and won’t be suited for anyone with a small home office set-up. Otherwise, it’s a fast, powerful, and cheap to run unit that does one thing – print text documents – very well.
The Brother HL-L2350DW is available to buy from: