Best cheap printers
Top five best cheap printers to run for 2019
By Andrew Laughlin
Article 1 of 2
It’s all too easy to buy a low-priced printer, only to get caught out by high ink costs. Some printers waste a lot of ink cleaning their print heads, meaning you'll have to be constantly ordering pricey new cartridges.
An inefficient printer could cost you £100 more a year to print the same number of pages as a cheaper-to-run model.
However, the Best Buy printers in the table below won’t hit your wallet, having achieved a very low cost-per-page in our unique tests.
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Top five cheap printers to run
Although you may baulk at the price of this all-in-one laser printer, you’ll be won over by its rock-bottom printing costs. It is one of the cheapest printers to run we’ve ever tested. Plus, it is also a near perfect multi-function printer – printing, copying and scanning to a high level.
If you aren't bothered about printing in colour, this laser printer is a fantastic choice. It can copy, scan and fax, as well as print, and the cost of printing is really cheap. You won’t need to make frequent shopping trips for new toner with this affordable Best Buy.
This is what we call a ‘refillable tank’ printer. It has built-in ink tanks that you refill with black and colour ink when they get low. This helps it have printing costs that are cheaper than even the best laser printers. Thankfully, its print quality impresses, too.
Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct at September 2018.
Not found the product for you? Browse all of our printer reviews.
And here are three printers to avoid
While the printers above match top quality prints with affordable printing costs, not all models reach such levels of excellence.
Some printers cost a fortune to buy, underwhelm in terms of their print quality and then, to make matters even worse, will drive up your bills with high printer ink costs.
Below, we've picked out three printers that aren't the bargain they may first appear.
Three expensive printers to run
Don't get stung with high printing costs
We know that there’s more to printer running costs than manufacturers’ figures may let on. Many printers automatically clean their print heads every so often, using up precious ink that never makes it to the paper. This makes a big difference to how much you’ll end up spending on printer ink.
Our unique occasional printing tests take this extra ink into account, so we can give a more realistic idea of printing costs.
We’ve found that the worst offenders use up to six times as much ink as the best when you leave time between print jobs, which can more than double the amount you spend on ink.
We also set our printers up to run almost continuously, printing as many text, spreadsheet and photo pages as we can from three new sets of ink cartridges. This is much like the method manufacturers use to come up with the page yield figures displayed on the box of the printer
To give you an idea of how much a printer will cost you to run, we give one, two and three running cost estimates for all tested printers in the Tech Specs. Or, to find the best value printer ink, head over to our expert guide to the best cheap printer ink.