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Best Cheap Printers Guide 2016

If you're after a cheap printer that gives great quality for the price, or just the best budget printer available for the office, you'll find everything you need here.

We recommend the best budget printer available and update this as new machines come out, saving you the hassle of research.

Last updated: July 2016. This guide gives you the best cheap printers you can buy in 2016. If you see an older printer listed as a recommendation don't fret, it's because it's still the best available even after reviewing newer models!

Important points to note about this guide:

  • We provide links to buy the top rated printers
  • We only sell top recommended printers if we would use them ourselves
  • This guide is updated as Best Buy printers change
  • Budget printers are nearly always expensive to run, but we try to recommend ones with lower running costs

Tips For Buying A New Budget Printer

Do's Don'ts
Find a good printer deal and check the price of cartridges Buy a printer because it is on sale
Check how many pages a cartridge is quoted as doing Assume cheap cartridges are better value
Read user reviews online Blindly follow in-store recommendations
Consider different brands
Check print quality - not all budget printers are equal

Key Questions:

Am I able to spend a little bit extra on a printer?

While there are some good budget printers, if you can afford to spend an extra £40-£50 you'll get something that is, in all likelihood, far cheaper to run and a bit better quality. Take a look at our home printer buying guide and see if you can afford a little extra.

Am I going to print too much for a budget printer?

Budget printers are not cheap to run - the manufacturers essentially sell the printer at a loss and make their money back with the consumable cartridges. If you are printing more than ~100 pages a month your overall printing costs will work out far higher than buying a more expensive printer that has cheaper cartridges.

The Best Budget Printer

Epson Expression Home XP-235 

Reviewed on: January 2016

Epson had #1 spot throughout 2015 with the Epson XP-225 which has now been discontinued, but replaced with the incredibly similar and equally reliable Epson XP-235. You get the same solid print quality and functionality, all in a tiny printer that takes up very little space. 

It is not the cheapest printer to run and if you choose to use the Epson originals your costs will quickly mount up, as is normal with any budget printer, but the ease of use and reliability make it come out on top. Read our complete Epson XP-235 printer review.

Important note: This printer is only our top rated Budget printer if you choose to use compatible cartridges. If you're wanting to stick to genuine inks take a look at the HP Deskjet 2540 instead.

Key Features:

Separate colour cartridges; very good print quality. 

Perfect for you if...

You want a good, all-round printer and you're willing to use compatible ink.

Cartridges: Epson XP-235 ink cartridges

Buy the Epson XP-235 Printer

The Best Budget Office Printer

Epson Workforce WF-3640dwtf

Reviewed on: March 2015

The Epson WF-3640dwtf fits in a stunning amount of functionality for the price, giving everything an office needs in one tidy, low priced package. Running costs for this office machine are a real highlight if you're willing to use third party cartridges, with incredibly low running costs that mean you won't break a sweat if your office suddenly has a huge printing influx.

Wondering what all of the letters mean after the model number? They're the way manufacturers show you the functionality a printer has. So in this particular model, dwtf indicates the printer has; duplex, wireless, an extra paper tray and fax. Easy peasy and a great feature list for the price. Read more on this printer in our Epson WF-3640dwtf review.

Key Features:

Two paper trays; high-capacity cartridges; Wireless; Duplex 

Perfect for you if...

Your office works on a tight budget and you want a solid machine with lots of functionality.

Cartridges: Epson WF-3640dwtf ink cartridges

Buy the Epson Workforce WF-3640dwtf Printer

The Best Budget Photo Printer

Epson Expression Home XP-235

Reviewed on: January 2016

The Epson XP-225 held this spot until being discontinued, and it's newer model takes the mantle as a best buy recommendation. If you're after cheap photo printing at a great low price you'll be hard pressed to find better than the XP-235. Easy to use, easy to maintain, simple menu options and wireless printing all back up the excellent quality on offer. 

Don't get us wrong, we still recommend spending a bit extra and buying one of our top recommended photo printers, but if you're working off a tight budget and want to experiment with your own photo prints you won't find better value. See our full Epson XP-235 printer review.

Key Features:

Separate colour cartridges; Wireless; Scanner

Perfect for you if...

You need photos but don't want to pay a premium.

Cartridges: Epson XP-235 ink cartridges

Buy the Epson XP-235 Printer

The Best Budget AirPrint Printer

HP Deskjet 2540

Reviewed on: March 2015

Nearly our top-rated overall budget printer, the HP Deskjet 2540 is a brilliant budget printer for anyone that only prints a few pages every now and then. With ease of use and simplicity obviously a focus, HP have made this printer a master of the bare necessities and it does everything it needs to well

The AirPrint is incredibly simple to set up and works like a charm, but do not buy this printer if you will be printing quite a few pages as your costs will quickly mount up. Read our full HP Deskjet 2540 review for more information. If you're after a newer model of printer then take a look at the Canon MG3650 we reviewed January 2016, otherwise this HP will do you proud.

Need other AirPrint recommendations? Check out our comprehensive AirPrint guide.

Key Features:

AirPrint; Scanner. 

Perfect for you if...

You want a good, all-round printer and AirPrint is a must.

Cartridges: HP Deskjet 2540 ink cartridges

Buy the HP Deskjet 2540 Printer


Our Other Printer Buying Guides

We have guides for pretty much any printing requirement, so whether it's a new home machine for your inner-artist, or a cheap printer to send away with a student, we have you covered.