Printers: How to buy the best printer Buying a cheap printer and ink
What to look out for with cheap printers
We’ve seen printers for sale for as little as £25. If you’re short of cash, prices like this can be tempting. However, our tests have shown that some cheap printers have high running costs.
Some have cost as much as £1.83 in ink for one A4 photo, or 31p for a colour graphics document. It's perfectly possible to find a good-quality printer that costs 85% less than this in ink per print, so there's plenty to be saved by checking our ink running costs before you buy.
Discover which are the five cheapest printers to run that you can buy.
Cheap laser printers
Laser printers can seem pricey next to inkjet printers, but they can still be an excellent choice for those on a budget, particularly students.
Laser printers generally have lower running costs than inkjet printers, so in the long run can save you money, particularly if you do a lot of printing.
Black-and-white (mono) laser printers are the cheapest type of laser printer. If you don't need to print colour documents, buying a mono printer can save you money in ink costs.
Colour laser printers are expensive to buy, so aren’t a good choice if you’re on a budget.
Find the best laser printer with our laser printer reviews.
Cheap inkjet printers
Another way to save money when buying a printer is to go for a basic model without fancy features. There's no point in paying extra for a model that copies and scans if you won’t use these functions.
Similarly, choosing a model without wi-fi connectivity may save you money on the initial purchase price and needn’t have an impact on print quality.
Ink costs vary a little depending on how much and how often you print. The cost of cartridges and the amount of ink a printer uses to print a page are things you should keep in mind.
Our reviews list typical ink running costs, so you can check the likely ink costs of a printer before you buy.
Find the best inkjet printer by reading our inkjet printer reviews.
Get a good price on new cartridges
You can help to reduce your own ink costs by shopping around for discounts on ink and toner.
We've seen some retailers charging twice as much for the same cartridge as another retailer.
When most inkjet cartridges cost upwards of £7, you could be throwing a significant amount of money away on ink before the cartridge even gets into the printer by buying from an expensive supplier.
Buying online tends to be cheaper than buying in a store, but make sure you get free delivery, or factor in the delivery cost when trying to find the cheapest option.
Save as much as possible on your ink costs - find out who sells the cheapest printer ink.