Product Reviews

Welcome to Consumer Reports.

We’re so glad to have you as a member. You now have access to benefits that can help you choose right, be safe and stay informed.

Most Cost-Efficient Printers

Looking for a printer that performs all sorts of tasks without drowning you in ink costs? Here are some great options.

For many consumers, buying printer ink or toner is a dreaded chore. Consumer Reports surveys have repeatedly shown that many people feel frustrated by how frequently ink cartridges run out and how expensive they are to replace.

You can take steps to be more frugal with any printer's ink supply. But when it's time for a new machine, it makes sense to buy an efficient model, one that sips ink instead of guzzling it.

Doing this means looking at more than just the printer's sticker price.

Consumer Reports combines the up-front price of a printer with the cost of keeping it supplied with ink or toner over the first couple of years to calculate the overall cost of ownership. And we've seen that the total financial outlay can balloon quickly.

To arrive at our calculations, we use the price of replacement cartridges, data on how much consumers print from our member surveys, and measurements of ink consumption from our lab testing

Consider the Canon PIXMA TS8120. It may seem like a bargain in the store with a price of around $90, but the total cost of ownership is $500 after two years of typical ink use, according to CR's estimates.

Like most of the printers people buy for home use, that Canon is an inkjet model. However, Consumer Reports also tests laser printers, which use toner rather than ink—and toner cartridges last much longer.

Inkjets tend to be cheaper than lasers, especially color lasers, and they are better at printing photos. However, if you want to go for long stretches without having to replace ink or toner, it's worth considering a laser printer. As an added advantage, laser printers tend to outperform inkjets on predicted brand reliability and owner satisfaction, ratings that are based on annual surveys of Consumer Reports members.   

For more info on the replacement ink costs of specific models, along with other test and survey results, members can consult our printer ratings, which feature more than 200 models. 

Here are several cost-efficient printers that score well in our ratings. Every one has features such as a scanner, touch-screen navigation, WiFi connectivity, and auto-duplexing (which permits you to print on both sides of the paper).