Top five cheapest printers to run [updated]
Keeping ink costs down is a high priority when it comes to home printing. That’s why we test printers for running costs as well as quality, speed and ease of use.
By comparing the number of pages printed in our labs, with the amount of ink used and cost of the cartridges, we can work out how many pennies worth of ink is used on each printed text, graphics and photo page.
The below printers are those that achieved the lowest ink costs per page. However, given that a home printer is only likely to be used occasionally, they may not be the best for infrequent use. Be sure to read each printer’s full review, or see our comprehensive advice guide, to find out which printers perform best when only used on occasion.
1. Samsung Xpress M2825DW
If you’re looking for a mono laser printer this Samsung Xpress M2825DW may appeal. This Samsung mono laser printer is great for printing quick text pages. It can’t print in colour and it doesn’t scan and copy, but printing costs are very low if you’re printing a lot in one go.
It is wi-fi connected too, but if you don’t need wi-fi you could go for the similar Samsung Xpress M2825ND for around £20 less.
Samsung Xpress M2825DW – find out more about the Samsung’s print quality.
2. HP Officejet Pro 276dw
This slightly bulky-looking officey HP inkjet printer is packed with features. It can print, copy, scan and fax. The automatic document feeder (ADF) on top of the printer can handle double-sided pages too, so you can save on paper as well as keeping costs down if you print lots in one go.
It’s a wi-fi printer with memory card slots and a preview screen, so you can print photos direct from a memory card without having to use your computer.
HP Officejet Pro 276dw – find out if it’s cheap to run if you only print occasionally.
3. Brother MFC-J4510DW
This printer may be more than a year old, but it’s still a goodie. It can print on pages up to A3 size, although the scan/copy glass is only big enough for up to A4 size pages. It also has wi-fi and ethernet connections, so you’ll easily be able to print from a number of wireless devices on your home network.
Like the HP, it has an automatic document feeder (ADF) on top for scanning, copying and faxing multiple page documents, but this Brother one can’t automatically scan and copy double-sided. Photo prints are relatively low cost, but use an additional 11p-worth of ink compared with the HP model.
Brother MFC-J4510DW – see the full review for our definitive verdict.
4. Epson Workforce WF-3520DWF
This Epson’s running costs are pretty good when printing lots in one – indeed, it’s the best Epson inkjet in our tests for printing costs under these printing conditions. That said, its photo print quality falls far from the best we’ve ever tested.
The WF-3520DWF includes a fax function, has wi-fi connectivity and like the other inkjet printers here it has auto-duplexing – so you can set it up to automatically print on both sides of a page.
Epson Workforce WF-3520DWF – read the full review for exact details on its print quality.
5. Canon Pixma MG5550
The Canon Pixma MG5550 is the cheapest printer to buy of the five here, priced at less than £100. It doesn’t scrimp on features either. It has automatic double-sided printing, wi-fi connectivity and the ability to print wirelessly from smartphones using operating systems that are compatible with Canon’s print apps.
Text prints look good from this inkjet printer, even if it is a bit noisy to use. If you’re printing lots in quick succession, this is one of Canon’s cheaper printers to use.
Canon Pixma MG5550 – find out whether it’s pricier to use for occasional printing
Costs depend on what you print
The printer that’s cheapest for you will depend on how much of each type of document you print and how frequently you print.
The printers above are cheap to run based on test data from our continuous-print, ink-cost-per-page test. The printer with the highest ink costs per page used £81-worth of ink on printing our 310 text, graphics and photo test pages, compared with just £11 for cheapest model.
Printing occasionally can increase ink running costs five-fold for the most wasteful printers – something we also test for with our occasional printing test. For more information about ink running costs see all our advice on printers, ink and cheap prints.
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