Most people opt for inkjet printers; these are the standard for people who need to print occasionally in small batches. (A laser printer is the opposite; if you need to print a book, then it's the obvious choice.)Among inkjets, some printers consistently use less ink, and some others have low-cost cartridge replacements. Some printers both use less ink and have low-cost replacement cartridges.
|Printer Model||Price||Printer + Copier||Fax||Photo Quality||+ Pros
|Cost / 100 Pgs. (3rd Party)|
|$228.76||Yes||-||Low||+ Ink Saver||$1.22|
- No Camera Printing
||+ Prints Quickly
- Uses Up Ink Quickly
|$89.90||Yes||-||High||+ 6-Color Process
for Superior Photos
- Higher Cost to Replace
|$104.99||Yes||Medium||+ Good Compromise Of
Cost and Quality
|$79.99||Yes||Medium||+ Space-saving Design
- Slower Print Speed
-No 3rd Party Cartridges
|$63.79||Yes||-||Medium||+ Fewer Cartridges to Replace||$3.99|
|$195.00||Printer Only||-||High||+ Large Cartridges||$0.69|
Pages per cartridge, like cents per ounce in groceries, is the measurement you'll want to compare among printers. This gives you an apples-to-apples comparison of what to expect for your typical print job. But that's only half the equation, as Consumer Reports writes, ink is routinely wasted when printers run maintenance cycles to clean the print heads. These maintenance cycles occur after the print is powered up, so keeping your printer on is one of the best ways to avoid ink waste. Brother's printers, despite not being great for photos, save you most; however, those cartridges also hold less ink overall.
Likewise, it's important to remember that smaller cartridges, like the HP Envy 4500's no. 61 black cartridge, will need to be replaced more frequently. In contrast, HP's cartridge no. 951XL (used in the Officejet Pro 251DW), prints many more times of pages.
One way to avoid expensive OEM cartridges is to buy 3rd party cartridges, often every bit as good as the original for a fraction of the cost.
The HP OfficeJet Pro 251DW is the best printer we found, both in terms of efficient use of ink and low cost of replacements. If you look at the table above, you can see the cost-effectiveness of this printer compares favorably to all others. In addition, it prints slightly faster than the competition. However, it lacks a scanner and the convenience of printing directly from devices (cameras, et cetera), so this device is a good fit for users who will be printing primarily documents.
A close second is the Epson Xpression Home 800, which has a comparable cost per hundred pages, and also includes a built-in memory card reader, scanner/copier/fax, dedicated photo output tray, and a smaller profile than most printers which have the same capabilities. Consider it when those features matter more than speed and savings in printing.
And the winner is...
The HP OfficeJet Pro 251DW. It sports:
And the runner-up:
The Epson Xpression 800, for a full range of features and good savings.