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Great Printers for Under $150

Low-priced standouts from CR's ratings of more than 200 models

An illustration of a printer.
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Shopping for a new printer is tricky. You don’t want to spend a penny more than you have to, but the bargain models lining store shelves often come with hidden costs.

The Epson Expression Home XP-5100, for example, costs about 70 bucks in a store. But the cost of ownership balloons when you add in the whopping $371 in typical yearly ink costs, according to Consumer Reports’ calculations.

By contrast, all of the printers below have estimated yearly ink costs that top out around $100. The initial prices aren’t too high, either. You should be able to find every model here for $150 or less. They perform well in our tests and come with handy features such as WiFi connectivity, auto-duplexing (which lets you print on both sides of a page), and available optical content recognition (OCR) software to help you edit scanned documents in a word processor.

To test printers, we purchase new models from retailers and grade them on almost 360 data points. We test dozens of printers every year from such brands as Canon, HP, and Brother.

To generate an Overall Score for each printer, we combine those results with predicted brand reliability and owner satisfaction ratings that are based on an annual survey of CR members. There are more than 200 models in our current printer ratings.

Here are our picks of the best printers under $150.

1
Best All-In-One Inkjet Overall
Brother MFC-J895DW
Brother MFC-J895DW

    Brother MFC-J895DW

    The Brother MFC J895DW has long been among Consumer Reports' top-rated printers, and a recent price drop makes it all the more appealing. Based on our estimates, ink costs will come to about $101 per year, which is typical for an inkjet.

     

    Those prices equal great value given this model's performance in our testing. The J895DW merits Very Good scores for text and graphics quality, and an Excellent score for text speed. The one blemish is photo quality, where it earns just a Good score.

     

    At best, all-in-one inkjet printer brands get middling scores in our predicted reliablity and owner satisfaction ratings, but Brother's models score as well as any, with a Good rating for both criteria.

    2
    Budget All-In-One Inkjet Printer
    Canon Pixma MG3620
    Canon Pixma MG3620

      Canon Pixma MG3620

      The Canon Pixma MG3620 is an inexpensive all-in-one printer that stays affordable, and it's a great option for those who need to spend as little as possible up front. Our estimates show typical users will spend about $108 per year on ink, typical for an inkjet but a good value when you combine that with the low up-front price.

      Based on our tests, the MG3620 should be fine for basic printing needs but might not be suitable when high-quality printouts are essential. The printer earns a less than impressive Fair rating for text quality and rates just Good for graphics quality, but it does better on measures of text speed and photo quality, with a Very Good rating in both categories.

       

      Canon's all-in-one inkjets get Good ratings for predicted reliability and a Fair rating for owner satisfaction, not unusual for inkjets.

      3
      All-in-One Monochrome Laser
      Brother MFC-L2710DW
      Brother MFC-L2710DW

        Brother MFC-L2710DW

        This all-in-one black-and-white laser printer is one of the best options on the market for consumers looking for cheap monochrome printouts and the ability to scan.

         

        It gets only a Fair score for graphics quality; look for an inkjet if you want to print photos. But like most lasers, it produces black-and-white text with Excellent quality and speed, and this machine is much less expensive to buy and operate than most of its competitors. Our estimates suggest that the typical user will spend only about $44 a year on toner, the laser printer equivalent of ink.

         

        This model delivers a number of useful features, such as fax capability. It also gets Excellent scores for brand reliability and owner satisfaction, and our testers note that it’s exceptionally easy to use.

        4
        Basic Laser Printer
        Brother HL-L2350DW
        Brother HL-L2350DW

          Brother HL-L2350DW

          This dedicated machine won't scan or make copies, but it shines as a regular printer. It gets an Excellent score for text quality and speed. Its graphics quality is subpar, but it will be a workhorse for tasks such as printing forms or driving directions.

           

          The Brother HL-L2350 is frugal enough to earn our Best Buy designation, and estimated yearly toner costs come to $48, low even compared with other black-and-white lasers. It's also relatively compact, even with a second tray for full-sized paper.  

           

          Brother scores among the best black-and-white regular laser printers, with Excellent predicted brand reliability and owner satisfaction ratings.

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