Table of Contents
- Best printer with cheap ink
- How to Purchase a Cost-Efficient Printer? – 3 Golden Rules
Printer prices have taken a dive in recent years. Users can now purchase branded printers from HP, Canon, & Epson for as less as $49
Does it seem too good to be true? That’s because it is!
According to our research, most printer companies are selling their printers at a loss and then compensating it by selling expensive printer ink. This sounds terrible but sadly, it is true.
In fact, printer ink is often more expensive than the printer itself. On average, one year’s printer ink can cost you around $1,200! Its hundreds of times more expensive than the printer you purchase for $100 or less.
Printer companies are selling cheap printers to unsuspecting customers and then tricking them into paying thousands for expensive ink.
Therefore, if you want to purchase a printer that is cost-efficient, you need to look at ink price & ink consumption before making a decision.
In this article, we will explain the 3 golden rules of choosing cost-efficient printers along with a list of best printers with cheap ink for your convenience. Almost all models I am going to reveal in this article have been proven to save a lot of money over & over again.
Best printer with cheap ink
|Printer Name||Free Ink||Editors's Score||Price|
|1. HP Smart Tank Plus||6, 000 pages||9.60/10|
|2. HP NeverStop Laser Printer||5,000 pages||9.50/10|
|3. Canon Pixma G5020||6,000 pages||9.10/10|
|4. Epson EcoTank ET-2720||4,500 pages||8.50/10|
|5. Brother INKvestment||Upto 1-Year of Ink||8.00/10|
If you are looking for a printer with cheap ink, you have to do some legwork to find the best one because you are looking to save money and it comes with time investment.
If you are in a hurry, you can pretty much use the comparison table to make your decisions and maybe do some more research retailer websites. My comparison table would help you to get a pretty good handle on how much money you can save using models I selected for this article.
. But if you want to dig deeper and see how each printer works and how it can save you some money. read my entire guide.
I am going to touch the nitty-gritty of each printer I selected to help you narrow down your research process.
1. HP Smart Tank Plus
- Best ink tank print quality in class...
- Easy mobile printing: Easily set up your...
- 2 years of ink in bottles included: The...
- Simple, spill-free refill: With this...
- Reliable connectivity with dual-band...
The HP Smart Tank Plus 651 is one of the newest ink tank printers by HP.
HP has been slow to respond to the rising reservoir printers’ trends, but this latest model makes up for the lag.
Manufactured for home and home office solutions, the HP SmartTank Plus 651 is a multi-functional, wireless, and colored inkjet printer. It is suitable for printing both text and photo documents.
After an in-depth analysis, we found the Plus 651 had multiple qualities, including its aesthetically pleasing look, dependable print quality, ease of use, versatile connectivity, and competitive ink cost. On the other hand, features such as a lack of double-sided printing and low page capacity let it down.
The most impressive feature of the ink tank printer is it’s running cost; the maximum cost of printing one page is 0.00188 or less than 18 American cents. In addition, 2 years’ worth of ink (of all four colors) is included in the box.
Just 2 years worth of ink can make it pretty strong consideration if you are up for saving some money on ink.
This cost is negligible as compared to ink/toner cartridge printers; on average, the minimum cost per page of an ink/toner cartridge printer is 70 cents, which is many times more expensive.
The cheap cost of printing does not compromise printing quality; the HP Smart Tank Plus 651 has an optimized resolution of up to 4800 x 1200 dpi. You can easily print text documents or photo documents at professional quality.
Additionally, it supports wired and wireless connectivity, mobile printing, and cloud printing. It also a one-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.
On the other hand, its 11 ppm speed is slow as compared to comparable printers from other brands. In addition, the printer does not support automatic duplexing; the printer does not print on both sides of a document automatically.
One more flaw is the limited capacity of its trays, 100-sheet feeder tray, and 30-sheet output tray. It also has a low monthly duty cycle of 1000 pages and a recommended monthly page volume of 200 – 500 pages.
2. HP NeverStop Laser Printer
- Lowest cost per page on laser printing...
- Less than 1 cent per page: This wireless...
- Reload with more toner, for a lot less:...
- The best-in-class mobile print app, HP...
- Print with or without a network: The...
HP NeverStop Laser Printer MFP 1202w is a multi-functional laser printer with the added benefit of a toner tank. HP claims that with its refillable toner tank technology, you can print for a long time before needing a refill.
After dividing the ink refill bottle price with the page yield, we discovered that the cost per page of HP MFP 1202w is 50 cents.
Although it is higher than its inkjet counterparts, it is still much cheaper as compared to printers with toner cartridges. Additionally, for the sake of fairness, we have reported the maximum cost per page. We have not factored in discounts and third-party ink refills, which can bring the cost per page even lower.
Along with the affordable cost of printing, the HP MFP 1202w has some amazing features, which makes it a great printer for offices.
At 600 x 600 dpi, the print resolution is perfect for professional-looking documents and presentations. Additionally, it can churn out 21 pages within a minute, making it well-suited for a busy office environment.
You have to keep in mind – The more DPI you get the more costly it gets because you get more clear quality. That is the reason, why black and white printer is a cheaper option as compared to a color one.
Its volume and capacity are appropriate for offices as well; it has a duty cycle of 20,000 pages and a recommended monthly print volume of 250 – 2500 pages.
Other useful features include an automatic paper sensor, wireless and mobile connectivity, internal memory of 64 MB, 150-sheet feeder tray and 100-sheet output tray, duplex printing, HP one-year hardware limited warranty, and multiple media compatibility.
On the other hand, it also has some small flaws; the duplex printing is manual instead of automatic, which is a shame at this price point. Secondly, although it supports a wide variety of media, it only has 1 envelope tray capacity.
Overall, this printer gets 3.5 out of 5 stars for its low running cost, multiple useful features, and a sleek look. We recommend it for small offices and businesses.
This one can be a great option if you want a heavy-duty printer. I have seen a lot of people using this model at home. If you are e-commerce guy selling stuff online or a student needs to print out some notes in large quantity, this one is the best one for you.
3. Canon Pixma G5020
- Canon MegaTank Printers have Integrated...
- The PIXMA G5020 Wireless MegaTank Single...
- Tired of replacing ink cartridges? Get...
- With an impressive high page yield,...
- FOR NUMBERS LISTED IN PRODUCT...
The Canon Pixma G5020 is a single function reservoir (ink tank) printers with an affordable upfront cost and extremely economical ink cost. It is ideal for home, home offices, and small businesses.
The cost per page of Canon Pixma G5020 is less than 19 cents! The price can be further lowered with third-part ink refills and bulk purchases. Additionally, users get 2 black ink refills free upon purchasing the printer.
Please note, per print price is directly proportional to how long you are willing to use the printer. Thes companies usually make huge money on ink re-filling. If you don’t intend to use this printer for 5-10, you can probably just buy it use the ink for couple of years and throw it away.
Ink Bottles are included in this package, and these ink bottles can print up to 5,000 pages which is crazy. If you generally print 10-15 pages every day. it can last for years.
The built-in ink tanks contain 70 ml of colored ink and 170 ml of black ink. Users can print thousands of pages before their ink runs out. Additionally, there is no fear of the ink drying inside the tanks!
Along with its affordability, the Canon Pixma G5020 provides excellent print quality for text and photos. Canon is notable for its image print quality, and the G5020 is no different; at 4800 x 1200 dpi, users can print great-looking photos at a super affordable price.
The print speed of the printer is 13 ppm; although not very fast, this is more than good for home and home office printers. Other useful features include automatic duplex printing, high capacity feeder trays, multiple media support, wired and wireless connectivity, mobile and cloud connectivity, easy setup, 1-Year Limited Warranty with InstantExchange Program, 5000 pages duty cycle, and voice activation support for Google and Amazon Alexa.
There are not many flaws in this efficient printer; if we had to nit-pick, we would point out its lack of internal memory and the absence of a touch panel. But let’s be real, at this price point, we won’t crucify canon for not providing these perks.
It is a pretty cheap model and I think one can sacrifice these flaws to get a good deal.
Overall, Canon Pixma G5020 is a great ink tank printer for home use, especially for crafters because it has a high image print quality. It is also great for home offices and small businesses.
4. Epson EcoTank ET-2720
- Your family needs a printer that’s...
- Innovative Cartridge-Free Printing ―...
- Dramatic Savings on Replacement Ink ―...
- Stress-Free Printing — Up to 2 years...
- Zero Cartridge Waste – By using an...
The Epson EcoTank ET-2720 is an amazing option for home and home office users who want excellent print quality at an affordable price.
At less than 19 cents per page, the Epson EcoTank ET-2720 printer provides dirt cheap printing. What is more, you will get 2 years’ worth of ink inside the box upon purchase! Not only do you get a top of the line printer at an affordable price, but you also don’t have to worry about ink cost for the next two years!
Despite the low running cost, Epson does not compromise on print quality; at 5760 x 1440 optimized dpi, the ET-2720 provides the highest resolution amongst printers in the same price category.
Our analysis showed that the ET-2720 produced high-quality prints of text and graphic documents. In fact, it printed graphic documents such as PowerPoint slides without any reproduction flaws. You might have to align paper setting before you start printing, misalignment may cause streaking. But if you add up these features, it can cost you a lot more money. I think it is best deal in this price range.
To our great surprise, the photo quality of the ET-2720 is impressive as well. Although not as high as a top of the line canon printer, the ET-2720 holds its own in the price range.
Other than the low running cost and high print quality, the ET-2720 has limited features; it has an entry-level printer speed of 10 ppm, light and compact design, mobile connectivity, wireless connectivity, compatibility with multiple OS, and multiple media types.
On the flip side, it lacks automatic duplex printing, automatic document feeder, automatic page sensor, ethernet port, and internal memory. If you are the one who can sacrifice these features, I’d highly recommend ordering this one. It can save you ton of time
Furthermore, the feeder trays are of a very low capacity as well; it may require you to refill the feeder tray frequently, which might become tedious.
Overall, we loved the Epson EcoTank ET-2720; it is an amazing entry-level ink tank printer, most suited for home and home-office users.
5. Brother INKvestment
- Print, Copy, Scan & Fax: The MFC-J6545DW...
- Unit Dimensions: 22.6" W x 18.8" D x...
- Includes: Color Inkjet MFC-J6545DW...
- Upto one year of ink in box: the Brother...
- Versatile paper handling: The 250-sheet...
Brother INKvestment series is their attempt at ink tank printers; the MFC-J6545DW is a popular model in the series. It is a light to medium duty ink tank printer suitable for the printing needs of a small office or work teams of 2-4 people.
It is perfect for offices not only because of its duty cycle but also its multi-functional capabilities; this ink tank printer prints, scans, copies, faxes, and email documents, which makes it perfect for any office.
What is more, this is a wide-format printer; at 11 x 17 inch the printer prints tabloid-size documents. Although it is wide-format, it is slim and compact enough to not require dedicated shelf space.
The most impressive feature of the tabloid-sized printer is its low ink cost; it can produce prints at 10 cents per page, which is extremely affordable. As a bonus incentive, Brother gifts buyers 1-years’ worth of ink with the purchase of the printer. Therefore, you save a lot of money right from the get-go.
The print quality of the MFC-J6545DW is excellent as well; it can print good-quality text and graphic documents. The speed of the printer is 22 ppm, which is very suitable for offices.
Other useful features include automatic double-sided printing, 250-sheet capacity adjustable paper tray, Up to 50-sheet automatic document feeder enables easy copying and scanning, a 100-sheet capacity multi-purpose tray to print on card stock, envelopes, built-in wireless, directly print-from and scan-to popular cloud apps feature, and a 1-year limited warranty.
Brother is a very reliable printing solution brands, and this printer is a testament to their expertise. We have found no flaws in this printer! It is excellent for its price range. This seems to the best options for home use if you are too worried about ink cost. You can print documents pretty cheap using this model.
How to Purchase a Cost-Efficient Printer? – 3 Golden Rules
1. Printer Cost
Although the price of a printer is not the only thing to be considered, it is important. Printer price is dependent on numerous factors, including function, types, features, specifications, brand value, and usage.
In general, single-function (print-only) printers are cheaper than multi-function (print, scan, fax, email) printers.
Similarly, printers with more features such as LCD touch screens, multiple connectivity options, automatic duplexing, and automatic feeder trays are more expensive as compared to printers with basic features.
In the same manner, printer types also affect printer price. There are three main types of printers: laser, inkjet, and dye sublimation. Dye sublimation printers are dedicated photo printers and the most expensive.
On the other hand, laser printers have the lowest resolution and are only appropriate for printing documents; they are generally the cheapest. Inkjet printers are the most diverse; their price ranges from low to high depending on their features.
Printer specifications also have a high impact on printer price; printers with faster speed, higher resolution, and higher page yield are more expensive than printers with slow speed and lower printer resolution.
Brand value also affects printer price; non-branded printers are often cheaper as compared to branded alternatives like HP and Canon.
Even among branded printers, brands with more notoriety are more likely to sell expensive printers.
Finally, usage is also related to printer price; printers for home, home-offices, and small businesses are cheaper as compared to printers for medium and large businesses.
To purchase a printer that is cost-efficient and yet satisfies your printing requirements, you need to consider the above factors. We recommend that you set a criterion and then search for the most affordable printer that meets your buying criteria.
Rule 2: Ink Efficiency
earlier, the cost of ink is hundreds of times more than the price you pay for a new printer. Often, it is cheaper to buy a new printer than to purchase an ink refill!
Therefore, in order to buy a printer that is truly cost-efficient, you need to purchase a printer that’s ink efficient as well.
What is ink efficiency? Most commonly, ink efficiency is described as the amount of ink it takes your printer to print one single page. The more pages it prints, the higher its ink efficiency.
Another way to look at it is to calculate the cost of printing one page by dividing the cost of the cartridge with page yield. Page yield is the maximum number of pages that can be printed by one cartridge.
The smaller the cost per page, the more efficient your ink.
Cost Per Page=Cost of Cartridge Page Yield + Paper Cost
To purchase an ink-efficient printer, consider the following useful tips:
Recommendation – Toners have the lowest cost per page.
Not all printers use the same type of ink. The most popular ink types are:
- Laser Printers – Toner Cartridges
- Inkjet Printers – Dye-Based or Pigment-Based Inks
- Solid Ink Printers – Solid Wax Inks
- Dye Sublimation Printers – Dye-Sublimation Ink
There are advantages and disadvantages to every ink type. Consider the table below to choose the ink that best suits your printing needs:
|Ink Type||Toner||Dye-Based Ink||Pigment-Based Ink||Solid Ink||Dye-Sublimation Ink|
|Used For||Laser||InkJet||InkJet||Solid Ink Printers||Dye-Sublimation printers|
|Standard Cost||Expensive Starting at $30||Less Expensive Starting at $10||Less Expensive Starting at $14||Very Expensive Starting at $87||Expensive Starting at $50|
|Standard Yield||High yield||Low – Medium Yield||Medium Yield||High yield||Low – Medium Yield|
|Advantages||Cost-effective||Easy to replaceBetter qualityBright colorsMany color options||Color Permanence High QualityMultiple color optionsEasy to replace||No Waste High quality Color Permanence||Professional finish Only ink for specialty printers Durability High quality|
|Disadvantages||Lower quality||Slightly less permanent than pigment-based inkDries slowly Low yield||Dries slowly as compared to laser Low yield ||Expensive Unable to print on photo paperMakes paper waxy||Expensive|
Every ink and toner has an ISO/IEC 24711 specification, which provides its page yield. Before purchasing ink/toner, look at this page yield to buy a cartridge that produces more prints for less money.
Recommendation – Buying XL cartridges is more cost-effective for users with medium-high printing needs.
Ink Manufacturers sell ink/toner cartridges of multiple sizes and capacities. Typically, there are two sizes: standard and high yield or XL sizes.
If you have medium-high printing needs, a pro tip is to purchase a high yield ink/toner cartridge rather than the standard pack because it prints twice as much for less money.
However, if you have a light printing requirement meaning that you print less than 300 pages per month, than the standard cartridge is more suitable because cartridges tend to dry off and become useless after some time.
If you have light printing needs and you purchase an XL cartridge, it will become dry in a few months from lack of use, and your money will be wasted.
2.2 OEM, Aftermarket, & Remanufactured Cartridges
Recommendation – Good-quality third-party and remanufactured ink/toner cartridges are more cost-efficient than OEM ink/toner cartridges.
3 types of printer Inks/Toner cartridges are readily available: Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), Aftermarket or compatible cartridges by third-party vendors, and Remanufactured or Recycled Cartridges.
OEM cartridges are produced and marketed by the manufacturer. For example, Canon, HP, Epson, Xerox, and Brother are all printer brands that manufacture ink/toner cartridges for their printers. OEM cartridges are expensive. Brands claim that their ink/toner cartridge is of the highest quality, and that’s why it is expensive.
On the other hand, you can find more affordable third-party ink/toner cartridge alternatives. Many companies develop ink/toner cartridges that are compatible with a range of printers from various brands. These inks are less expensive; however, their quality depends on the manufacturer. Popular printer brands like Canon, Epson, and HP claim that knock-off third-party inks do not go through the rigorous quality process that their ink/toners do. They argue that third-party inks do not have the durability, saturation, and finish that their inks provide. Furthermore, third-party inks can damage the printer; they can clog in the printer head and may end up costing you more.
Additionally, most modern printers are only OEM compatible; they don’t support third-party cartridges at all.
Finally, remanufactured or recycled ink/toner cartridges are also an option when considering replacement ink/toner. Remanufactured ink/toner cartridges that have been professionally cleaned and refilled by the Original Manufacturer. The aim here is to reduce waste by recycling empty cartridges. Since they are made from recycled materials, remanufactured cartridges are cheaper than OEM cartridges while providing similar print quality.
2.3 Ink cartridges vs. Ink tank
Recommendation – According to our research, you can save a lot on ink if you purchase an ink tank printer instead of an ink cartridge printer.
Lately, brands have started to produce Ink Tank, Continuous Ink tank, or Reservoir printers instead of the traditional ink cartridge printers. These new printers help you save a lot on ink as compared to the traditional cartridge printers.
The traditional ink cartridges are small ink containers with a dedicated print head. The standard cartridge holds up to 20 mils of ink inside. A color printer requires at least 4 cartridges; black, cyan, magenta, and yellow. Some printers even have two blacks; 1 matte and 1 glossy for extra detailing.
Once the ink runs out in a cartridge, the entire cartridge has to be replaced, which is very expensive.
On the other hand, in Ink Tank printers, the printhead is not in the ink tanks, but in the printer. The printer contains permanent mechanical printhead instead of the disposable thermal printheads in cartridges.
The ink is supplied to the printhead through refillable built-in ink tanks. These ink tanks contain large amounts of ink (starting from 70 ml), which is many times more than the standard cartridge. Users can print large amounts of prints (at least 6500) before needing to refill the ink tank. Additionally, even when you refill the ink tank, the price of ink is very low as compared to ink cartridges. Since the manufacturer is only providing the ink in bottles instead of the entire cartridge.
Ink tank printers are not only more economical, but they are also more environmentally friendly. On the downside, ink tank printers are more expensive than ink cartridge printers. You have to ask yourself whether you want to buy a cheap printer with expensive ink or an expensive printer with cheap ink costs?
2.4 Single Vs. Bulk Purchase
Recommendation – Buying in bulk is more economical than buying single ink/toner cartridges.
Bulk pricing is a marketing concept in which manufacturers reduce prices in exchange for quantity. They entice you to buy more at a lesser price.
Manufacturers offer bulk pricing in different combinations; they can market it as value packs or combination or combo packs etc. A value pack may contain multiple cartridges of the same color, whereas a combination pack may contain 1 cartridge of multiple colors.
A combination pack may even contain other accessories like paper.
Usually, you get more value for your money by purchasing in bulk.
- Ink Subscriptions and Other Sales Promotion Offers
Along with bulk purchases, other sales promotion offers such as buy 1 get 1 free, sale prices, and ink subscription programs can also help you get cheap ink.
HP’s Instant ink system claims to provide one month’s ink for just $2.99. Similarly, canon, Epson, and other printer brands also offer monthly ink subscriptions that are cheaper.
Recommendation – Online retailers have the lowest ink/toner prices.
Finally, where you purchase the ink is also essential to ink cost. Big online retailers have higher bargaining power, and so they provide low-priced products to their users.
The same product is often more expensive on the OEM website as compared to an online retailer.
Rule 3: Increase Ink Efficiency
The cost of printing can also be reduced by adopting efficient practices that minimize ink consumption and wastage. We offer 5 useful tips to help you get more from one cartridge.
3.1. Clean Your Printhead Regularly
Printer maintenance is of the utmost importance if you want high ink efficiency. The ink from ink cartridges can dry and get stuck in the printhead or the nozzles. The dried ink is not only useless, but it’s also a waste which increases your cost per page.
Therefore, check your printhead and nozzles regularly for blockage and then clean them to maintain a continuous ink flow for efficient printing.
Keep in mind that the automatic printhead function consumes ink for cleaning the printhead. Therefore, don’t do it too often, or all of your ink will be consumed by the cleaning process. It is best to check before you clean.
Another way to save ink when cleaning a printhead is to set ink intake to the lowest recommended volume. Find out the minimum recommended ink intake required to clean all nozzles of your printer’s printhead and then changes the setting to that amount.
You can find the amount easily by visiting the manufacturer’s website.
3.2. Proofread Before Printing
Another simple yet effective way of saving ink is to proofread before you print. So many of us print our documents willy-nilly and then realize that we have made a mistake. Printing the same document multiple times not only wastes paper but also ink.
Therefore, we recommend that you read and re-read your document for formatting, grammar, and other errors before hitting print. When you hit print, your computer or laptop will present a print preview dialogue box to you, use that preview to spot any mistakes before proceeding.
3.3. Customize printer settings
A printer has multiple settings; high-resolution settings guzzle more ink, whereas low-resolution settings consume less. You can play with the settings of your printer to find a setting that gives you the best of both worlds; a satisfactory resolution for your printing requirements and low ink consumption.
By changing the settings, you will be able to print more with the same cartridge.
Changing the settings is very simple, here is how you can access printer settings from your computer or laptop:
- On a window’s compatible printer, select start > printers > right click with mouse > Preferences
- Most modern printers have an LCD touch screen. You can access the printer setting by selecting settings on the touch screen.
Here are a few ink-saving setting changes for your consideration:
- Change the print quality to draft.
- Change the print settings to Greyscale instead of color. You can always revert the settings if you need a color print.
- Select or unselect auto-duplex feature as per requirement
3.4. Don’t Remove Your Cartridge at Low-Cartridge Warnings
Just like the fuel warning on a car, the low-cartridge warning is given well before the ink level is actually low. The accuracy of these warnings varies from brand to model, and while some are quite accurate, it is better to wait then to lose money by changing the cartridge too soon. One research shows that when the low-cartridge warning appears, there is 8 – 45% ink left within the cartridge.
With continued use, you will come to understand whether your printer’s low-cartridge warnings are accurate or premature; until then, keep using the cartridge until it goes completely. In some models, the ink cartridge has a sensor. The sensor automatically detects the ink volume. In some cases, the sensor won’t let you print when the ink is below that level. You can cover the sensor to bypass it and keep on printing.
3.5. Get Every Last Drop from the Cartridge
It is possible to extend the life of your ink cartridge by utilizing a few hacks. When the ink cartridge is almost empty, and you are getting faded prints, here is what you can do to wrangle the last drop of ink:
Shake the Cartridge
Sometimes, gently shaking the cartridge can dredge up ink that’s stuck at the bottoms or the sides. Turn the cartridge upside down, shake it gently, and then replace it in the printer.
Use a Hair Dryer
Another thing that works is the hairdryer; blow warm air into the printhead’s nozzles to melt the ink that’s stuck in the nozzles and the print head. This removes the blockage and allows the rest of the ink to come out.
Important Note – When your cartridge is really empty (print is faded or illegible despite trying these methods), change it promptly. If you keep trying to print on an empty cartridge, it may damage your printer.
We recommend that you purchase a spare cartridge when the low-cartridge warning appears.