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Get a Lexmark inkjet printer for $29.99 shipped

Okay, so you need to BYO USB cable and black ink cartridge. But if all you need is basic coloring printing, this will get you going on the cheap.

The Lexmark Z2300 offers basic color printing for a low, low price.
The Lexmark Z2300 offers basic color printing for a low, low price.

Need a spare printer for the den? A cheap inkjet the kids can use to print their pictures? Something affordable for a cash-strapped student? has the Lexmark Z2300 color inkjet printer for $29.99 shipped. It's about as entry-level and no-frills as printers get, but if you have light printing needs, it should get the job done.

The dual-cartridge Z2300 promises 22 pages-per-minute (ppm) for black output and 16 ppm for color. It can produce borderless photos as large as 8.5 x 11 inches, and it supports 6-color printing (if you replace the black cartridge with an optional "photo ink" one).

Bundled Lexmark software affords basic photo editing, while a "Web toolbar" lets you print exactly the parts of a Web page you want.

Now for a couple caveats. First, the required USB cable is not included. (Here's a 6-footer for $2.79 shipped.) Second, the Z2300 comes with only a tri-color ink cartridge, so you'll have to pony up extra if you want a black one (Lexmark 14 or 14A). These start at around $21, though you can get a refill kit for as low as $9. (That's assuming you have a cartridge to refill, of course.)

Before you get too riled up about the ink, remember that all inkjet printers use pricey cartridges--so you might as well get the best deal you can on the printer itself.

And, again, the Z2300 is not for people who do heavy-duty printing. It's for folks who need to print a school paper here, a few photos there, and so on. And for that crowd, $29.99 is an awfully tough deal to beat. (Disagree? Give me what-for in the comments.)

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