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The best printers with cheap ink from Brother, Epson, and HP

Buying one of the best printers is always a good move but it can prove expensive in the long term. While the initial outlay might seem affordable, you have to keep your printer stocked up with ink on a regular basis. Printer ink can be incredibly expensive over a long period of time and can even make buying cheap printers feel more sustainable. No one likes that kind of waste, plus it means you miss out on some of the best printer technology by keeping things super cheap.

Instead, you’re best off buying one of the best printers with cheap ink. That can mean an expensive printer at first but one that uses cheap ink so in the long-term, you’re not actually spending too much to maintain your printer. Alternatively, some of the best printers with cheap ink can use less ink than you’d expect, therefore keeping prices down. We’ve picked out all the best printers with cheap ink, based on expert opinion. We’ve considered printers that are high-end devices with remarkably cheap ink, as well as looked at more budget offerings that still provide good value ink in the future.

The best printers with cheap ink

  • The best premium printer with cheap ink:
  • The best budget printer with cheap ink:
  • The best all-in-one printer with cheap ink:
  • The best high yield printer with cheap ink:
  • The best home office printer with cheap ink:

Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850

Best premium printer

The Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850 on a white background.
Pros Cons
Fast printing Expensive
Great quality

The Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850 isn’t cheap by any means but it is a very worthy investment if you’re looking ahead and planning on printing a lot of documents and images. It uses Epson’s EcoTank system which means rather than replacing cartridges, you refill specific colors as needed, thereby keeping costs down and cutting down on waste as well.

It’s also a fantastic printer with the Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850 capable of printing up to 25 pages per minute with no warmup time for fast first page out. While fast, it also provides great picture quality with print-shop level of standards. Epson Durabrite inks are pigment-based so you get crisp vibrant prints with color that is instantly dry for added convenience.

Any time you’re printing, you won’t have to worry about refilling the Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850 with paper either as it has a 500-sheet paper capacity with two front trays and a rear feed for specialty paper. Working as a scanner and copier, the Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850 has all the bases covered for anything you could need.

Print Speed: Up to 25 pages per minute
Printing type: Inkjet
Maximum input sheets: 500

Brother MFC-J1205W INKvestment

Best budget printer with cheap ink

The Brother MFC-J1205W INKvestment on a white background.

Pros Cons
Cheap Fairly basic
Mobile printing works well

As we discussed, not everyone needs a printer that is fast or high-end The Brother MFC-J1205W INKvestment fulfils that role, simply working well as an inkjet printer with basic scanning functionality, but nothing more. It promises up to one year of ink via the four cartridges that come with it with replacement inks proving cheap too.

The Brother MFC-J1205W INKvestment isn’t the fastest offering speeds of up to 16 pages per minute in black and white and up to 9 pages in color, but it’s fine for occasional use. It has a 150-sheet paper tray so you won’t need to swap out paper too often, while there’s mobile app printing capabilities which are useful. Don’t count on two-sided printing or anything too fancy though — the Brother MFC-J1205W INKvestment is pretty simple. Think of it as the printer for occasional use along with the odd scanning task.

Print Speed: Up to 16 pages per minute
Printing type: Inkjet
Maximum input sheets: 150

Epson EcoTank ET-2400

Best all-in-one printer

The Epson EcoTank ET-2400 on a desk in an office environment.
Pros Cons
Relatively compact design Slightly cumbersome setup
Great value ink

With the kind of design that will look great in your home office, the Epson EcoTank ET-2400 is a good all-rounder for your home, whether it’s your kids or yourself that need to print something. It’s not exactly fast at 10 pages per minute in black and white but it’s just fine for occasional use such as printing your child’s report or some other kind of basic document.

Alongside that, the ink feels never ending with Epson promising up to two years worth of ink in the box. It has enough to print up to 4,500 pages in black and white with up to 7,500 in color. Besides great ink longevity, the Epson EcoTank ET-2400 also has a built-in scanner and copier which is always useful while you can always print wirelessly or even via voice commands. It’s all simply done and just right for the home environment.

Print Speed: Up to 10 pages per minute
Printing type: Inkjet
Maximum input sheets: 100

HP Smart -Tank 7301 Wireless All-in-One Cartridge-free Ink Printer

Best high yield printer

The HP Smart -Tank 7301 Wireless All-in-One Cartridge-free Ink Printer on a white background.
Pros Cons
Useful extra features Little slow for the price
Good print quality

The HP Smart -Tank 7301 Wireless All-in-One Cartridge-free Ink Printer packs a lot into its fairly sleek shell. While it’s not the fastest for printing, it has useful features like a 35-page automatic document feeder along with the option for borderless prints. The auto document feeder is the big time saver that makes up for average print speeds.

It’s also a copier and scanner so the HP Smart -Tank 7301 Wireless All-in-One Cartridge-free Ink Printer is perfectly versatile for a family home. Via HP’s refills system, you can swap out bottles of ink to get things set up nicely without any spillage and without wasting any ink either.

The HP Smart -Tank 7301 Wireless All-in-One Cartridge-free Ink Printer is fairly self-sustaining right down to its self-healing dual-band Wi-Fi that detects and resolves any connection issues. That means you don’t really have to do much other than get printing as needed. It’s those little things that soon add up to make the HP Smart -Tank 7301 Wireless All-in-One Cartridge-free Ink Printer invaluable for many homes.

Print Speed: Up to 15 pages per minute
Printing type: Inkjet
Maximum input sheets: 250

Brother MFC-J4335DW

Best home office printer

The Brother MFC-J4335DW on a white background.
Pros Cons
Great ink efficiency Lots of buttons to learn
Fast printing speeds

As a good all-rounder option, the Brother MFC-J4335DW does pretty much all you could need. I’m not a huge fan of its many buttons on the front panel but aesthetics aside, it’s pretty competent. It prints reasonably speedily at up to 20 pages in monochrome or 16 pages per minute in color. It’s possible to print anything from work reports to borderless photos or brochures.

Additionally, the Brother MFC-J4335DW uses the INKvestment tank system to ensure that its ink lasts a long time. Count on up to a year’s worth of ink just from the cartridges that come with the printer, saving you plenty of money. There’s also the Brother Mobile Connect app to make it simple to print, copy, and scan, from any location.

Other useful extras include automatic two-sided printing, the ability to print up to 8.5-inch x 14-inches, along with the option to print from and scan to popular cloud apps for added convenience. It’s those little things that are sure to save you plenty of time as you use it more and more.

Print Speed: Up to 20 pages per minute
Printing type: Inkjet
Maximum input sheets: 150

How to choose a printer with cheap ink

When buying a printer with cheap ink, you need to consider a few factors. Probably the most important one is to think about what your budget is. It’s possible to spend only $100 or so on a printer with cheap ink but you can also spend hundreds of dollars on one and still gain cheap ink. In some cases, it makes sense to invest ahead of time to keep ink cheap while other times, you can spend a little and still enjoy cheap ink. Think about some key considerations before you dive right in.

Think about what you specifically need

Buying the best all-in-one printer sounds like the right idea but do you actually need it? If you’re solely interested in printing documents rather than scanning or copying, you don’t need to focus on all the extras or how well they work. Don’t buy more than you need. It’s not worth the cost if you just leave features untouched or end up buying a high-end printer when you have no need to print particularly fast.

Consider if you need photo printing

Photo printing is pretty popular these days but that doesn’t mean you need it all the time. You may just want to print a couple of images once in a while or not at all. If that’s you, you don’t need to pay attention to photo printing capabilities. A good photo printer can add to the cost quite substantially so don’t worry about paying the extra.

Think about speed

Generally, the pricier the printer, the faster it prints. That sounds idyllic but it does mean you’re spending more. If you simply need to print a few documents once in a while, you’re hardly going to notice the speed boost that comes from a more high-end printer. It really isn’t necessary and you can save some cash by buying something a little slower. Slower doesn’t mean inferior quality or vice versa.

How we chose these printers with cheap ink

We picked out the best printers with cheap ink based on a few factors more than solely offering cheap ink. It’s false economy to buy a printer solely based on the price of its ink if the printer itself is poor quality. Instead, we’ve looked at printers with cheap ink that are also good in their own right. Because of that, we looked at how fast the printer works, how good the image quality is on printed items, and any extra features that we deem useful to regular use. Reliability was key too in a bid to keep costs down after the initial expenditure.

We’ve used tons of printers over the years. These include printers from different brands, offering different features, and requiring ink of varying prices too. Thanks to that expert knowledge along with everyday use, we know what to look for in a printer with cheap ink.

This article is managed and created separately from the Digital Trends Editorial team.

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Jennifer Allen
Jennifer Allen is a technology writer with over 10 years of experience. She primarily writes about the best deals coverage…
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