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Finding a Great Deal for a Little Cash


Updated April 5, 2011. If you've got limited cash to burn but are still in the market for an excellent printer, there are still a lot of great options. This list of the best printers I've tested that are under (or almost under) $100 will give you some great printers to choose from (inkjet, photo, and even laser printers), even when money is tight. If you're looking for a great deal on a photo printer, try the Top Five Budget Photo Printers. Also check out the Top All-in-One Printers if you have a bit more to spend. There's also a list of the Best Wireless Printers and the my picks for overall Best Printers

1. Brother MFC-255CW All-in-One Printer

Brother MFC-255CW All-in-One Printer
Photo courtesy Brother

Brother's MFC-255CW is a very good color inkjet printer that is a great value at under $100. Like some other Brother all-in-ones I've tried, it has slow print speeds across a wireless network, but it scores high points for print quality--especially photos, which come out looking fantastic.

2. Epson Workforce 60 Color Inkjet Printer

Photo copyright Epson
The Epson WorkForce 60 is a bare-bones color inkjet printer. It has very good print speeds at normal quality (and laser-like text at high quality printing), with handsome prints and very good photo quality. Wireless 802.11n is built in, as is a duplexer. Otherwise, you won't find any bells or whistles on this Epson Workforce, such as a scanner or copier, multiple paper trays, an automatic document feeder, or media-card slots. If you're all about speed, or need laser-like prints but don't want to pony up the extra money for a laser printer, you'll like the WorkForce 60.

3. Epson Workforce 30 Color Inkjet Printer

Photo copyright Epson

The Epson Workforce 30 is limited in functionality--you won't get a fax or scanner or copier in this almost-full-size unit--but it what it does, it does very well. In particular, photos look fantastic, in large measure thanks to the DuraBrite ink that Epson uses, but you won't sacrifice basic black-and-white quality either. For well under a hundred bucks (I've seen it as low as $39), this is a good deal.

4. Canon Selphy CP780 Photo Printer

Canon Selphy CP780 Digital Photo Printer
Photo courtesy Canon

Fantastically sharp and richly colored photos are typical for Canon printers, but for the price--under a hundred dollars--there was no reason to expect that pictures would look as good as they do from the Canon Selphy CP780. A Bluetooth adapter and battery are optional equipment (if you wanted both, you'd add about $130 onto the price) so it's not the kind of printer you can bring anywhere--but the price and the quality of the prints are both fantastic!

5. HP Deskjet F4280 Color Inkjet Printer

Photo copyright HP

For the money (only about 50 bucks), it's hard to raise a complaint about this HP all-in-one printer. The Deskjet F4280 did an excellent job on black-and-white as well as color graphics, and photos look great as well. While it lacks a fax and is made for casual use only, it still performs as requested. For heavier use, though, the consumables (replacement inkjet tanks) might eliminate any initial cost savings.

6. Canon Pixma MP480 Color Inkjet Printer

Photo copyright Canon

For about a hundred bucks, you can hardly go wrong with the Pixma MP480 all-in-one--unless you intend to use it a lot. Then, you're likely to find that the options it lacks (an automatic document feeder, a paper tray) will make a more expensive all-in-one a better choice. And while it's advertised as a photo printer, it's not as portable as other photo printers in this price range, so decide what you're looking for and what you need before you buy.

7. HP Officejet 4500 All-in-One Inkjet Printer

HP Officejet 4500 All-in-One Inkjet Printer
Photo courtesy HP

The HP OfficeJet 4500 Wireless is not exactly a speed demon, but for the price (I've seen it below $129.99, and cheaper if you don't want wireless), it's a very good deal. For that price, built-in wireless, an automatic document feeder, fax, and (manual) duplex come as welcome surprises. Print quality for text documents was not the best I've seen, and duplex pages will bleed through, but color photos looked lush and wonderful.

8. Canon Pixma MX330 Color Inkjet Printer

Photo copyright Canon

An outstanding, low-end all-in-one printer from Canon--what else needs to be said? It retails for just over $100, so it doesn't exactly fit the category; but you get all the features you could want, plus the quality and dependability of Canon. Sure, the LCD is a bit small and it doesn't network, but nevertheless, this is certainly a best buy.

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