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When it comes to printers, sometimes you only really need the bare essentials. Massive all-in-one workstations that come with multi-function suites aren't always the best solution for anyone who needs to put ink to paper, and hulking laser printers may not be in your price range.
For users who just want a simple, affordable way to print out homework assignments, concert tickets, or other necessities of daily life, a cheap printer will do. Whether the printer is meant to quickly shoot out pages upon pages of a thesis or help diligent taxpayers keep records of their yearly forms, it needs to be reliable and feature a swath of useful options.
These picks are appropriate for users with a wide variety of budget constraints, use cases, and anyone looking to try different brands. There's a surprising amount of excellent cheap printers out there that won't force you to choose from affordability and reliability. If you're in the market for a new printer, be sure to check out the selection below.
Best Overall: Brother HL-L8360CDW
Sometimes a high-yield and intuitive copier is the best thing you can buy for your small business, and the Brother Business HL-L8360CDW gets the job done for cheap without sacrificing core printer functionality. The HL-L8360CDW doesn't have scanning, copying, or fax capabilities, but it excels at a singular task, printing.
This laser printer is fast, reaching speeds of up to 33ppm and is capable of automatic duplexing for two-sided printing. It also features some business-level security functions like an administrative lockout, Active Directory Support, and an integrated NFC card reader that can allow tap-to-unlock logins. If you're just getting your business up and running, the HL-L8360CDW has all you need to replicate documents efficiently, and unlike with many cheaper laser printers, you have the ability to utilize color for your prints.
Best Wireless All-in-One: Canon PIXMA TR8520
Printers used to be a huge pain to use, however, cloud printing is a tech that seeks to make the process of bringing digital documents to the physical world. One of the best printers with cloud functionality is the Canon Pixma TR8520. You can pair this printer to your Google or Apple account and print to it from anywhere in the world with a compatible device. The TR8520 also offers scanning, photo printing, copying, and faxing functionalities. Surprisingly, the ink is also very affordable, even if you choose to buy a name brand.
Best for Home: Brother HL-L3210CW
If you're looking to go a step above your typical inkjet and upgrade to a laser printer, it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. The Brother HL-L3210CW offers color laser printing for only a bit more than a standard inkjet printer. While it's not quite as fast as other business-class models, the HL-L3210CW prints at a respectable 19 ppm. It's not an all-in-one, so you won't get copying, scanning, or faxing, but if you don't need all those functions you can save a bundle with this printer and still get high-quality performance.
Best Inkjet: HP OfficeJet 5260
If you're just starting your small business, you're going to need a printer, but you probably don't want to spend a ton of money on it. If you don't already have one you can use, you can save by going with a reliable inkjet printer. The HP OfficeJet 5260 doesn't print particularly fast but has all the stability and functionality you need to make your business a success. With the OfficeJet 5260, you can print, scan, copy, and fax. This printer also qualifies for HP's Instant Ink service and comes with a $120 credit to jump-start your savings.
Best for Photos: Epson Expression Premium XP-7100
There's one area where inkjet still beats laser, and that's budget photo printing. If you want to have physical copies of all those precious moments, you'll want a good inkjet printer that is designed around making photos. The Epson Expression Premium XP-7100 can print up to 8"x10" and has a handy full-color touchscreen panel allowing you to bypass your computer completely and print straight from your phone, USB drive, or SD card. With the onboard scanner, you can directly copy and print photos right from your family albums, which makes this an excellent gift for anyone who loves to scrapbook or is getting into photography for the first time.
Best Duplexing: Brother MFC-J895DW
Two-sided printing without a duplex feature is remarkably annoying. If you find yourself making booklets or two-sided reports often and are tired of getting up, making sure the paper is reloaded the right way, and praying everything comes out in the proper order and right side up, then look into the Brother MFC-J895DW. This all-in-one inkjet printer is one of the cheapest to feature duplexing capability and is fantastic if that one feature is essential to your printing needs. It also features copying, scanning, cloud printing, and is feature-rich considering the low price.
Best All-in-One Inkjet: HP ENVY Photo 7855
the HP Envy Photo 7855 proves that it's possible to get a decent jack-of-all-trades printer on the cheap. While advertised as a photo printer, the Envy 7855 is feature-packed and offers copying, scanning, faxing, and more. The 7855 is also has a wide range of wireless options, including NFC touch-to-print and mobile printing which will be great for those who often find themselves printing from their mobile devices. While the Envy 7855 doesn't excel at any one aspect, it's a great all-around device and allows you to execute a variety of tasks without breaking the bank.
Best Monochrome: Brother HLL2390DW
The Brother HLL2390DW monochrome laser printer is the spiritual successor to noisy daisy chain printers. Instead of slowly chugging out documents while making more racket than a sawmill, the HLL2390DW is silent and fast, hitting up to 32 ppm. This bad boy is just for black and white printing, so you won't get any fancy graphics, but it does feature a flatbed scanner which also lets you make copies. That's as fancy as this printer gets, and for the price, that's all you need if you're just looking to churn out a ton of text documents quickly.
Best All-in-One Monochrome: HP Laserjet Pro M148dw
Read Next: The Best HP Printers
If you need every feature you can get in a laser printer except for color; then the HP Laserjet Pro M148dw is the machine for you. It has copying, scanning, duplexing, and mobile printing. The only caveat to this extremely affordable printer is that it can only output in monochrome. The Laserjet Pro M148dw is excellent for college students who need to print a ton of papers, but don't want to run to the library every time. This printer has loads of utility and is one of the best in terms of value on our list.