Looking for a solid printer around $100 or less is like panning for gold: A real pain in the neck. This specific market slice is dominated by HP and Canon, followed by well-known printer manufacturers Epson and Brother.
For starters, you want to choose an affordable printer with multiple connectivity options. That includes wireless connectivity so you can print from any device (or gadget) in your home. You also need a USB connection on the side, and an easy setup process so all you do is connect and print.
Features like Google Cloud Print, Apple AirPrint, and NFC-based connectivity are great benefits in a sub-$100 printer. If you can live without the bells and whistles, however, any of the following models should suffice.
Canon PIXMA MG6820 ($130)
Here’s another affordable all-in-one solution capable of printing on both sides. What you won’t find here is a fax component, which is a dying technology anyway thanks to email and the internet. In its place you’ll get a larger three-inch LCD screen to easily navigate and adjust the printer’s settings. You get a side dish of built-in filters, too, for adding special effects to your prints such as Blur Background and Soft Focus.
What’s unusual about this printer is that it doesn’t rely on one cartridge for black, and one cartridge for cyan, magenta, and yellow. Instead, Canon provides five slots for five separate ink cartridges: Pigment Black, Black (to be combined with color), Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow. That means you replace only the color that’s low, at just $13 per cartridge. You can get these cartridges in combo packs as well.
HP DeskJet 3755 ($70)
One of the most affordable printers in this guide, the HP DeskJet 3755 might look less impressive and imposing than its contemporaries. However, its compact sizing and high-print quality make it one of the best choices for a low-cost printer today. It’s fully Wi-Fi compatible for wireless printing and weighs just 5.13 pounds, making it easy to squeeze into pretty much any space.
With this kind of price tag you do have to make some sacrifices, most notably in copier and scanning resolution limitations. The on board display and button-controls aren’t the most expansive either, but you don’t buy the DeskJet 3755 for its ability to do everything better than most. It can do what most others do and it does a passable job at all of it, but it’s far from class-leading. When it comes to photo printing, though, we were impressed with its detail and color reproduction in our own testing.
It’s not fast, it is a little loud, but it’s very affordable, and if you need to save space with your printer, this one’s a great choice.
The WorkForce Pro WF-3720 is Epson’s take on the all-in-one printer in the sub-$100 bracket. This model packs a 35-page auto document feeder, automatic two-sided printing, and a 2.7-inch color touchscreen for navigating and changing the printer’s settings with just a finger. It includes a fax component too in case you still need that old-fashioned document transport technology.
What makes this printer stand out is its support for NFC technology. That means if your mobile device packs an NFC component (and it probably does), all you need to do is touch that device to the printer’s surface for a direct connection. Otherwise, you can print to the WF-3720 using a USB cable, through your wired/wireless network, or directly through Apple’s AirPrint or Wi-Fi Direct.
Brother MFC-J460DW ($90)
This compact printer is an all-in-one solution for your home office, covering your fax, printing, copying, and scanning needs. It includes a 1.8-inch color display to easily manage the settings, an automatic document feeder, and support for two-side printing. It promises print speeds of up to 12 pages per minute using only black, and up to six pages per minute using color.
On the connectivity front, Brother’s printer includes a USB port for a wired tether to your PC (cable not included), an Ethernet port for a wired connection to the local network, Wireless N networking, and Wi-Fi Direct for a wireless printer-to-device connection. It also supports Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, and several other services.
With the MFC-J460DW, Brother provides a free suite of apps for your mobile devices for printing images and more from Facebook, Google Drive, Dropbox, and other cloud-based services. The printer actually includes built-in apps for adding effects to your prints, or creating editable Office documents from a scan. The fax portion relies on a 14.4K modem.
Dell E310DW ($45)
Finally, if you’re looking for a simple printer that only deals with black ink, Dell’s E310DW may be the affordable solution you need. It’s the only monochrome unit in our batch, capable of cranking out up to 27 pages per minute. There’s no built-in LCD panel for touch-based navigation, but it does pack automatic two-sided printing, and a cassette input paper tray to keep dust off your paper.
On a connectivity front, you can tether this printer to your PC using a USB cable, tether it to the network using a wired Ethernet connection, or throw it on your wireless network for cable-free printing. It’s backed by the Dell Document Hub cloud service suite for printing your files and pictures from cloud services including Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and more. You can also use this suite to print files, pictures, and documents straight into these services.