Top 10 economical printers of the world 2014
So let's firstly look at the best inkjet printers around - hit the second page for the best laser printers. Please remember that the prices shown here are for guidance only.
1. HP DeskJet 1000 - $29
How do they do it for the money? It's not just that this printer is cheap, because with most budget printers you get stung later on with high-priced consumables, but the black and tri-color ink cartridges for the DeskJet 1000 are pretty reasonably priced, and you can get XL high-capacity versions too.
And for a budget printer, it's pretty fast, with a quoted maximum of 16ppm mono, 12ppm color. There are no fancy extras - you even have to supply your own USB cable - but it does exactly what it says on the box, providing low-cost, fuss-free printing for as little money as possible.
Buy from CompuBIZ
2. HP Photosmart 7510 - $150
With print quality very high and prices ultra-low, what can multifunction printer manufacturers do to improve on previous models? This new HP Photosmart 7510 sets itself apart by offering a huge range of features, but it also leaves a few behind.
The HP Photosmart 7510 uses five ink tanks: CMYK, plus a pigmented black for clear, waterproof text. It connects to your Mac through USB or to your home network using Wi-Fi b/g/n, and has AirPrint for printing from iOS devices.
Read our HP Photosmart 7510 review
3. Lexmark Genesis S815 - $90
Lexmark's Genesis S815 is full of fresh ideas. Instead of a standard flatbed scanner, this multifunction device uses an image capture system based on a digital camera. It can capture an entire page in three seconds. It boasts a range of integrated mini-applications too. Downloadable apps include a calculator, clock, Facebook and Twitter integration, graph or music paper printing and there's even an app to display news and sports feeds from Apple, ESPN and the BBC. Overall print quality is good, too.
Read our Lexmark Genesis S815 review
4. Canon Pixma MX870 - $100
If you're looking for a stunning printer for your small office or home office, the Canon PIXMA MX870 is for you. Like most recent Canons, it uses a five-tank system with pigmented black for crystal-clear and waterproof text printing. It can't print directly onto optical discs, but its fax facilities and 35-sheet document feeder are probably more use for a small-office machine.
Connectivity is through USB, Ethernet and WiFi. It took almost five minutes to print our 20-page text document, which is a little slow for an office printer, but its print quality is fantastic.
Read our Canon PIXMA MX870 review
5. Kodak ESP 9250 - $129
Kodak's top multi-function printer has a much stronger business slant than its cheaper consumer models. Kodak's drive to reduce running costs means both documents and photos could cost you less in the long run, even though the 9250's initial asking price is quite high.
And because it uses just two separate ink cartridges, it's simple to maintain. Photo output is, actually, a bit disappointing, but if the built-in fax machine, 30-sheet automatic document feeder, wi-fi and Ethernet connectivity make up for that.
Read our Canon Kodak ESP 9250 review
6. Canon Pixma iP100 - $150
It's fine using a laptop when visit friends, customers or colleagues, but that's a fat lot of good when your printer's back at the office. The portable Pixma iP100 is the answer, printing anything from photos and business cards to regular A4 documents, and at a decent speed, too.
The rechargeable battery's good for up to 300 prints, which is remarkable in itself, and the quality is fine, both for photos and regular documents, so you could even use it as your everyday desktop printer too.
Read our Canon Pixma iP100 review
7. HP Envy 110 All-in-One - $180
This is the ideal printer for those who like a little style with their technology. It's also great for printing from mobile devices. It's AirPrint-compatible, so you can print directly from an iOS device such as an iPhone or iPad that's connected to the same wireless network, and HP's useful new ePrint feature means you can print out documents and images from any device that can send an email simply by emailing it to the printer's unique address.
Buy from Amazon
8. Brother MFC-J6910DW - $290
If you need to print in A3, this Brother printer can be bought for under $300. It's as compact as it's possible to be for an A3 multifunction device, sturdily built and has two paper trays so you can load A3 and A4 paper simultaneously, and a rear sheet feeder for the occasional photo paper print or letterhead. Connectivity is through USB, Ethernet or WiFi, and it features an 8.3cm touchscreen.
Like many Brother printers, the MFC-J6910DW's print quality is merely workmanlike. Text is a little grey, and photos are a little over-red. But it's fine for day to day use.
Read our Brother MFC-J6910DW review
Best printer: best laser printers
1. Samsung ML-1665 - $100
Laser printers have a lot going for them. They're cheaper to run than inkjets, they produce sharp, dry, smudge-free printouts, they're civilized and they're quiet. They've also got a reputation for being too expensive for anything but office use, but the the ML-1665 changes all that.
You might expect a cheap laser to be crude and slow, but the Samsung is neither. It also has a really smart "screen print" button that outputs whatever's on your computer screen at the time - perfect for grabbing a quick hard copy without all the fuss of print dialogs and page setup.
Buy from eBay
2. HP LaserJet P2055d - $250
If you want color printouts, networking and built-in scanning and copying, you're going to have to look elsewhere, because the HP P2055d is an old-school mono laser built solely for quality, speed and efficiency.
It can churn out pages at up to 33ppm, it has an "instant on" feature which means you don't have to wait for it to warm up, and it offers automatic duplex printing too. The 1200dpi resolution generates super-sharp text, and the 250-sheet feeder means you're not constantly having to shovel in more paper.
3. Samsung CLX-3185FW - $450
The CLX-3185W is a multi-function printer that combines a color laser, scanning and copying and faxing, and includes networking capability via Ethernet or wireless network - it even comes with a 15-sheet document feeder.
For a machine which does so much, it's surprisingly compact. If it has a flaw, it's the single-drum design, which means that color documents have to go through in four passes, and this has an impact on the color print speeds, but you have to set this against the Samsung's features and sheer value for money.
4. Brother HL-4150CDN - $290
Color lasers were once very expensive, but the HL-4150CDN shows just how far prices have fallen, even for well-specced business models. You get a lot for your money, here, including very good print quality (though photos aren't quite so good), decent print speeds, duplex printing and Ethernet connectivity.
This is ideal for small offices or workgroups, and the Brother also has a neat PIN protection scheme that means sensitive documents won't be printed until you go over and enter a PIN on the printer itself.