Product Reviews

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an illustration featuring three printers for a story on the best printers under $150

Best Printers for Under $150

A few low-cost standouts from CR testing on more than 160 models

Shopping for a printer is always tricky. You don't want to spend a penny more than necessary and yet the bargain models that line showroom shelves often come with hidden costs.

When you factor in the price of replacement ink—up to $87 per ounce—you can end up paying more than three times the printer's original cost just to keep it running for two years, according to our testers. The $70 HP OfficeJet 4650, for example, could set you back $490 for typical use during that span.

That's what we call the "cost of ownership."

To help you make a more informed decision, we’ve done the homework to measure ink use and find the best printers for less than $150. All have a two-year cost of ownership of $300 or less.

To test printers, we purchase new models from retailers and grade them on nearly 360 data points. This year, our labs have reviewed more than 20 models from brands such as Epson, Canon, HP, Brother, Lexmark, Kodak, and Dell.

There are 166 models in all in our current ratings. (If you’re not sure which type to consider, check out CR’s printer buying guide.) Read on for CR ratings and reviews of the best printers for under $150.

1
Basic Laser Printer
Brother HL-L2360DW

Brother HL-L2360DW

If you're shopping for a black-and-white laser printer, this Brother model hovers around $100 and offers wireless printing and auto duplexing, which lets you print on both sides of a page. Better yet, it will cost you only about $240 in total over two years when you add in the cost of ink. For some families, however, the model may not be adequate. It lacks a scanner, can't print photos, and only received a Fair rating from our testers in graphics quality. If you're looking for a printer that does more, keep reading.

    2
    All-in-One Laser Printer
    Samsung Xpress M2070FW

    Samsung Xpress M2070FW

    If you're looking for crisp, cheap mono printouts and the ability to scan, this $150 laser printer might be the best option for you. (For others, read this.) After two years of typical use, the cost of ownership will once again be about $240, according to our estimates. Like the previous model, the Xpress M2070FW can't print photos and it's only average when it comes to graphics quality. If those features are important to you, consider the inkjet options below.

      3
      All-in-One Inkjet Printer
      Canon Pixma MG3620

      Canon Pixma MG3620

      If you want a bargain-priced all-in-one inkjet that stays affordable, the Canon Pixma MG3620 is one of the best. For $80, it will let you print, copy, and scan to your heart's content. And after two years of typical use, it will have a total cost of roughly $300, which is low for an inkjet. On the downside, you have to replace the entire color ink cartridge each time a single hue runs out.

        4
        Another All-in-One Inkjet Option
        Kodak Verite 65 Plus

        Kodak Verite 65 Plus

        The $60 Kodak Verite 65 Plus did not make our recommended list, despite earning high marks for text, graphics, and photo quality. That's because it received a Fair rating for maintenance ink use, which means it goes through more ink than usual to keep the printheads clean after the printer has been sitting idle. However, you may be cool with that. Here's why: When we calculated the two-year cost of ownership, we estimated the total to be only $200. As with the printer above, though, you have to replace the entire ink cartridge when a single color runs out.  

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          Tercius Bufete

          I'm an avid photographer and tech nerd with a passion for writing about gadgets and consumer technology. Originally from Los Angeles, I'm now an East Coast transplant searching for the perfect burrito in Brooklyn. Follow me on Twitter @terciusbufete