Best printers under $100

Get one of these budget-friendly printers if you need a simple, easy-to-use device for mostly text output and intermittent photo printing.

Buying a printer on a budget is tricky -- if you tighten your belt too much, you run the risk of falling victim to the classic bait-and-switch purchasing model and spending more on consumables (ink and paper) in the long term.

That said, the $100 mark is a great place to start shopping for a low-cost printer. At that price, you have the option of getting an all-in-one multifunction device that incorporates a scanner and a copier in addition to the printing functions, and some models like the Epson Stylus NX430 even give you convenient extras like a 2.5-inch LCD touch panel and wireless connectivity.

Both laser and inkjet printers are included in the list below. The general rule is that inkjet printers are better for graphics-heavy documents and photos, whereas laser printers (especially the monochrome models) are better for producing speedy text documents in a business environment.

Sarah Tew /CNET

Epson Stylus NX430 Small-in-One
The Epson Stylus NX430 lives up to its "small-in-one" moniker with the size and features to match. It doesn't have an auto document feeder and or do double-sided prints, but its Wi-Fi connectivity, quick print speeds, and iPrint apps for smartphones make this multifunction device a worthwhile grab for students and small offices cramped for space. Read the full review .

Sarah Tew/CNET

Canon Pixma MG2220
Canon cuts the right corners to keep costs low for the Pixma MG2220. By lowering the warranty period and skipping fancy features like a large LCD screen, an autoduplexer, and an auto document feeder, Canon gives this device only what's necessary to perform its basic copy, scan, print, and fax functions. It's an excellent performer at its core, and families on a budget will be impressed by its output of school projects, presentations, and the occasional snapshot photo. Read the full review .

Sarah Tew/CNET

HP Photosmart 5510 e-All-in-One
The HP Photosmart 5510 is a worthwhile purchase if you can acquire it for less than the $100 retail price. Among HP's competition at its list price, the Epson Stylus NX430 is a better option that gets pages out faster with the added benefits of manual double-sided printing and a larger-capacity input tray. If you have your choice between both at the same price, your money would be better spent on the Epson Stylus NX430. Read the full review .

Sarah Tew/CNET

Brother HL-2270DW
The Brother HL-2270DW laser monochrome printer provides a viable alternative to the classic bottomless money pit that today's inkjet printer has become. Although it's not without its shortcomings, such as poor graphic document output, the Brother HL-2270DW balances out with speedy text printing and simple 802.11 b/g wireless for under $100. Read the full review .

Looking for specs and pricing? Compare these printers head-to-head.

Read the full CNET Review

Epson Stylus NX430 Small-in-One All-in-One Printer

The Bottom Line: The Epson NX430 "Small-in-One" printer is a solid investment for students and office jockeys who print high-quality photos and documents but don't have the space for a large format device. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

HP Photosmart 5510 e-All-in-One

The Bottom Line: The HP Photosmart 5510 all-in-one printer demonstrates reliable performance with excellent scores in both speed and quality tests, but falters in its feature offering. For people who need more than just speeds and feeds, I prefer the Epson Stylus NX430 instead. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Brother HL-2270DW

The Bottom Line: With improvements to its output speed, the Brother HL-2270DW improves on its legacy model and provides small businesses an efficient output device for high-volume black-and-white prints. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Canon Pixma MG2220 w/PP-201

The Bottom Line: Targeted at individuals with a limited budget and modest printing demands, the Canon Pixma MG2220 earns a recommendation for its expansive software offering and excellent photo image quality. / Read full review

About the author

Justin Yu covers headphones and peripherals for CNET. When he's not wading through Web gulch or challenging colleagues to typing tests, you can find him making fun of technology with Jeff Bakalar every afternoon on The 404 show.



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