Best cheap printers for 2024: Office printing on a budget

Best cheap printers: A photograph of the Epson Expression Home XP-4100, overlaid with the IT Pro Recommended Award logo

Anyone setting up an office or a business on a budget has probably found themselves asking "What are the best cheap printers?", along with its inevitable follow up "and are they any good?". The happy news is that many budget printers and multifunctions deliver the features a business needs – we discover plenty of them in our regular testing.

For this list, we've collected six of the best cheap business printers. They're a varied group, ranging from a bargain home MFP through to a fast, refillable color inkjet. They may be suited for different jobs in different businesses, but they share a common ability to deliver a high amount of bang for your buck. With the cheapest squeaking in at less than £60, and the most expensive just a little more than £300, we've got something for every business – find your next cheap office printer here.

How to choose the best cheap office printers

We can't pretend that every cheap printer will tick all your boxes, so it's best to start with an idea of what's essential, and what you can live without. Cheap printers generally compromise on speed, features, or running costs – work out which ones are critical for you.

Single-function printers are always cheaper than their all-in-one equivalents, so if you don't need to scan, copy, or fax, aim for a simple device. Consider, too, whether you need useful features like multiple paper trays, or (on a multifunction) an automatic document feeder (ADF) – going without may leave more budget for other areas. If you're buying for a quieter office, you can probably forgo high-speed prints and scans. But if you need a workhorse for a busy team, don't compromise on speed or running costs.

Whatever your needs, don't be tempted to scrimp on your budget office printer. Going too cheap could land you with a device that simply isn't up to the job, and you'll end up spending more to replace it. And in all cases, it's vital to look at the total cost of ownership -- many printers that look expensive have cheap ink or toner, and could cost you far less to own over 3-5 years of daily printing.

Whatever printer you buy, it pays to keep it in business as cheaply as possible. If there's a choice, always buy the highest capacity supplies unless you print extremely rarely – they're more expensive, but they invariably cost less per page. Investigate ink and toner subscriptions, too, particularly if you print a fairly constant and predictable amount each month. We've seen options that, in ideal circumstances, could reduce what you pay by two-thirds or more. You could also consider third-party inks and toners, although in our experience these tend to be inferior to OEM supplies, and they don't always deliver the savings you'd expect.

The best cheap printers

Canon PIXMA TS5350i

Best printer below £60/$60

Reasons to buy

Good specs at this price
Strong quality on plain paper
Supports PIXMA Print Plan subscriptions

Reasons to avoid

Quite slow

The Canon PIXMA TS5350i on the ITPro background

(Image credit: Canon website)

We don't generally recommend home devices for business users, but the Canon PIXMA TS5350i is a compact inkjet MFP for under £60 – that's very keen pricing. It's missing an ADF, and it can't send or receive faxes, but if you just need a basic device to make prints, scans and single-page copies, the TS5350i more than has you covered. Helpfully it has two paper inputs, so you could load one with plain paper and use the other for headed sheets or photo media.

This isn't the best photo printer, but on plain paper it's surprisingly capable, turning out excellent prints and copies. It's not especially fast, however, so it's definitely not suitable if you have more than a couple of users or you often need to reel off long print jobs. The TS5350i has an excellent scanner, so it's a shame it isn't equipped with an ADF.

Buy your own cartridges and this MFP works out at more than 11p per full color page, but you can bring this down by subscribing to one of Canon's PIXMA Print Plans. The most generous of these gets costs down to 4.5p, although it only allows 200 pages per month. That, and its slow speeds, mean the TS5350i is really only suitable for very light use, but if your priority is a low up-front cost, this attractive MFP is a good choice.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
TechnologyInkjet MFP
Maximum print resolution4,800 x 1,200dpi
Maximum paper sizeA3
Input tray100-sheet cassette, 100-sheet multipurpose feed
Speed13/6.8ppm mono/color

Price when reviewed: £58 exc. VAT

HP OfficeJet Pro 9010e

Best all-round budget office printer

Reasons to buy

Flexible features and paper handling
Reasonable running costs

Reasons to avoid

Not great for photo prints or scans
Good quality all round

The HP OfficeJet Pro 9010e on the ITPro background

(Image credit: Future)

HP's OfficeJet Pro 9010e gives the lie to the idea that all cheap printers are basic. It can print, scan, copy, or fax, and can duplex all four of them, for example letting you put your feet up while it makes two-sided copies of a lengthy report. Optionally you can sign up for the HP+ "smart printing system", or the Instant Ink subscription service, but even if you buy your own cartridges you're looking at a reasonable 5.3p per full-color page.

This is quite a fast printer, reaching 18.8 pages per minute (ppm) on black text, and even 7.3ppm on our very demanding color graphics test. It's a rapid scanner and copier too. We loved its plain paper print and copy quality, and scans were good too at middling resolutions. The only real let-down here is a reasonably basic, single-paper tray, and the fact it's no good at printing photos. If you can live with that, this is the perfect small business multifunction – happily, it's also the second cheapest device on our list.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
TechnologyInkjet MFP
Maximum print resolution1,200 x 4,800dpi
Maximum paper sizeA4
Input tray250-sheet cassette, 35-page ADF
Speed22/18ppm mono/color

Price when reviewed: £133 exc. VAT

Read our full HP OfficeJet Pro 9010e review for more information.

Canon Pixma TS6250

Best bang-for-your-buck alternative to Pixma TS8350

A photograph of the Canon Pixma TS6250

Only slightly more expensive than the Epson Expression Home XP-4100 is the Canon Pixma TS6250, for £67 excluding VAT. And it offers an awful lot for that money, with superb print quality and speeds of up to 12.7ppm for mono sheets and 3.9ppm colour prints.

Canon’s five-ink system, which uses two types of black pigment for text and photo prints, means that running costs are perhaps a little above average, but not dramatically so: you’re looking at costs of around 2.8p per mono page.

There’s no fax functionality and it can be a little noisy when operating, but considering the low cost of entry, we find it hard to stay too mad with the Canon Pixma TS6250, and you’ll likely be equally enamoured by the sheer bang for buck it provides.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Maximum print resolution4,800 x 1,200dpi
Maximum paper sizeA4
Input tray100-page input tray, 100-page rear feed (or 20 photo sheets)
Speed12.7 mono/3.9ppm colour

Price when reviewed: £67 exc. VAT

Read our full Canon Pixma TS6250 review for more information.

Epson Expression Home XP-4100

Best cheap printer for light workloads

A photograph of the Epson Expression Home XP-4100

Compact and surprisingly feature packed, you get an impressive amount of value from the Epson Expression Home XP-4100… assuming you don’t get through hundreds of printouts a day. That’s because once you use the bundled ink, you need to use the company’s four-cartridge system, which equates to prices of 5.2p per mono page and 12.8p for colour sheets. Yes, you can subscribe to Epson’s cartridge subscription service, which brings the costs down to around 3.3p to 4.3p per page, but users with heavy workloads are still advised to look elsewhere.

If that doesn’t apply to you, however, there’s an awful lot to like, including a generous 100-sheet paper tray, 10ppm mono print speeds, lightning fast photocopy times and its ability to print double sided. And while standard print quality is a bit ropey, upping this to high quality eliminates the issues when it really counts, making this a bona fide bargain.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Maximum print resolution5,760 x 1,440dpi
Maximum paper sizeA4
Input tray100-page input tray
Speed10ppm mono/3ppm colour

Price when reviewed: £60 exc. VAT

Read our full Epson Expression Home XP-4100 review for more information.

Brother DCP-J1140DW

Best multi-function printer for an office

A photograph of the Brother DCP-J1140DW

As a rule of thumb, the MFC line is for occasional home use, while the company’s DCP range is for more intense office wear and tear.

That’s largely the case here. It’s built for more frequent use, is slightly more fully featured and a touch more nippy — especially when dealing with colour prints. Notably, this one won’t fax, which is curious as you’d assume that’s more an office throwback than something for the home, but there we are.

You get a lot for your money here, but print quality could be better, and it could be cheaper, too, with prints coming to around 2.9p per mono page and 7.9p for colour ones.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Maximum print resolution6,000 x 1,200dpi
Maximum paper sizeA4
Input tray150-page input tray
Speed15.6ppm mono/7ppm colour

Price when reviewed: £129 exc. VAT

Read our full Brother DCP-J1140DW review for more information.

Xerox B230

Best monotone office printer

A photograph of the Xerox B230

If you only ever print in monotone and value speed over everything else, then the Xerox B230 is well worth a look. A compact printer that’s comfortable with Wi-Fi or wired connections, it can rattle through up to 27.3 pages per minute.

But it won’t do so quietly, and the results aren’t the best we’ve seen either. While black text was near perfect in our tests, mono graphics had a bit more banding then we would comfortably recommend for the price. Still, with costs of 2p per page after you’ve worked through the 1,200-page starter toner, it’s a good investment if you need to print a lot of text documents in a hurry, and don’t mind a mild racket as the trade off for that impressive speed.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
TechnologyLaser mono
Maximum print resolution600x600dpi
Maximum paper sizeA4
Input tray250-sheet input tray
Speed27.3ppm mono (no colour option)

Price when reviewed: £116 exc. VAT

Read our full Xerox B230 review for more information.


Are monochrome printers cheaper than colour?

Although the majority of printers support colour printing by default, there are still some monochrome options available. It may seem a little counterintuitive to invest in a printer that’s missing a major capability, but if you don’t need colour printing, a mono machine can actually offer some notable savings.

The ticket price for mono printers is often lower than equivalent colour models, for one thing, and running costs are cheaper too. That’s primarily because there aren’t any colour consumables to worry about. As they’re a bit more specialised, mono printers aren’t at the very cheapest end of the market, but factor in these highly affordable running costs, and you can make significant savings over the long term.

Are inkjet or laser printers cheaper to run?

The price of a printer is one thing, but as previously mentioned, if its efficiency is too low or the cost of its consumables is too high, this can sometimes mean that you’re actually paying more over the long run. Running costs are an important factor, and for many years, laser printers had a definite edge in this arena.

Nowadays, however, the differences are a lot less cut and dried; running costs for inkjets have come down significantly over the years, thanks in part to innovations such as refillable ink tanks and ink subscription services. For seriously high-volume printing, laser machines will usually still just about work out cheaper, but for moderate use, the differences are negligible.

How long do cheap printers last?

You may be under the impression that cheap printers don’t last as long as more expensive models over the long term, and will need to be replaced sooner than a more expensive model, but this isn’t necessarily the case. It’s true that more affordable printers often tend to shave down the price tag by making compromises on build quality and materials, but they’re not inherently more failure-prone than their pricier counterparts.

The standard lifespan for a printer is between three and five years - and they can last longer when properly maintained. There are a number of tips and tricks that can be used to keep your printer running smoothly and fix problems when they occur, and if you keep it in good working order, there’s no reason why a cheap printer can’t last just as long as any other.

Can I still buy ink for my cheap printer?

Printer manufacturers have a vested interest in encouraging customers to upgrade their machines, and one of the ways inkjet vendors do this is through the cartridges the machines use. Printer companies routinely update the design of their cartridges, and many won’t be backwards-compatible with older models.

In some cases, you may find that although your printer itself is still perfectly functional, getting hold of compatible cartridges becomes a pain, with low stock and high prices. You may find that third-party cartridge manufacturers have stepped in to fill the gap, but this can bring its own problems, particularly if your printer includes DRM software to prevent this. The best advice is to buy the newest model possible to ensure consumables remain available for the longest time, and to check ink availability for a specific model before you buy.

How we test cheap printers

When we review printers, there are a number of elements that we test for to measure their technical aptitude. First and foremost is the quality of the prints themselves, which we gauge by analysing a series of colour photographs and black and white images and documents, looking for any evidence of fuzzy text or colour banding.

We also test print speeds for both colour and mono documents; the latter uses a 25-page text batch, while the former is tested with 24 pages of mixed presentation slides, web pages and magazine pages. We test how quickly each batch completes, as well as how long the printer takes to deliver the first page once the job is initialised. For inkjet printers, we’ll also repeat the mono tests in draft mode, and duplex print speeds are measured by running the first ten pages of the mixed colour batch.

Where scan functionality is included, we gauge image quality by looking at scans of a colour photo, a colour input target chart and an office document. For scan speeds, we measure how fast it can create a single photocopy, as well as measuring the scan speeds at different resolutions, and how quickly preview images are displayed.

ADFs aren’t often seen on cheaper units but when they are, we’ll use a ten-sheet copy operation to test their speeds, in colour as well as mono where we can. In the event that both printer and ADF are duplex units, we’ll time a ten-page double-sided job as well.

Alan Martin

After a false career start producing flash games, Alan Martin has been writing about phones, wearables and internet culture for over a decade with bylines all over the web and print.

Previously Deputy Editor of Alphr, he turned freelance in 2018 and his words can now be found all over the web, on the likes of Tom's Guide, The i, TechRadar, NME, Gizmodo, Coach, T3, The New Statesman and ShortList, as well as in the odd magazine and newspaper.

He's rarely seen not wearing at least one smartwatch, can talk your ear off about political biographies, and is a long-suffering fan of Derby County FC (which, on balance, he'd rather not talk about). He lives in London, right at the bottom of the Northern Line, long after you think it ends.

You can find Alan tweeting at @alan_p_martin, or email him at