- The Epson EcoTank ET-2800 is the best overall printer under $300, offering cost-efficient inkwell printing, wireless connectivity, and additional scanning and copying capabilities.
- The Brother HL-L3270CDW is the best printer under $300 with laser technology, providing lower upkeep costs and duplex printing.
- The Canon PIXMA TR4720 is the best printer under $300 with InkJet technology, offering affordable printing, scanning, copying, and faxing capabilities.
- The Canon PIXMA iX6820 is the best printer under $300 with AirPrint and Cloud technology, providing wireless printing options and compatibility with Windows 11.
- The Brother HL-L2350DW is the best printer under $300 with monochrome technology, offering an affordable entry point to laser printing with wired and wireless connectivity.
Printing out a document or photo might seem like a simple task, but there’s actually more than one way to skin a cat in this task. While one might think “a printer is a printer” at first, there are many moving parts in the printing process that can drastically change your experience. The good news is that you don’t need to spend a boatload of cash to get a good printing experience.
Let’s take a look at the following options for the best printer under $300:
- Best Overall Printer: Epson EcoTank ET-2800 Wireless Color Cartridge-Free Printer
- Best Printer with Color Laser Technology: Brother L3270CDW Wireless Digital Color Printer
- Best Printer with Inkjet Technology: Canon PIXMA TR4720 Wireless Inkjet All-In-One Color Printer
- Best Printer with AirPrint and Cloud Technology: Canon PIXMA iX6820 Wireless Business Printer
- Best Printer with Monochrome Laser Technology: Brother HL-L2350W Compact Monochrome Laser Printer
#1 Best Overall Printer Under $300: Epson EcoTank ET-2800
- Uses a refillable ink tank
- 5ppm color printing
- Wi-Fi and USB connectivity
- Compatible with Windows and Mac
- Built-in scanner and copier
Our choice for the best printer under $300 you can get today is Epson’s EcoTank ET-2800. This printer is an excellent marriage of startup and upkeep cost efficiencies. Epson specializes in making inkwell printers, which are more cost-efficient than traditional ink cartridge printers.
The EcoTank ET-2800 comes in black and white and is a medium-sized printer perfect for small or large spaces. It’s also wireless. So, all your devices can use it without fiddling with cables whenever you need to print from a different device.
This printer is excellent for a budget-conscious household that needs to print from multiple devices. It costs just $199.99, an excellent price for an inkwell printer. It also doubles as a scanner and a copy machine. So you won’t have to buy additional hardware for those tasks.
Its image quality is 5,760×1,440 dots-per-inch (DPI,) and it prints at a speed of five pages per minute (PPM.) The paper tray can hold up to 100 sheets of paper, and it can handle many paper sizes including standard and envelope. However, it can’t handle legal paper.
However, it is worth mentioning that this printer does not have a fax function. If you need to fax things, you must purchase a different one. Epson does make fax-ready printers, but they are a bit more expensive than the $300 price point. Check out the Epson EcoTank ET-2800 Wireless Color Cartridge-Free Printer on Amazon.
|Ink tank technology has a cheaper upkeep cost than inkjet technology.
|This printer does not have a fax function.
|This printer comes at an affordable price.
|It can also scan and copy documents.
Best Printer Under $300 with Laser Technology: Brother HL-L3270CDW Compact Wireless Digital Color Printer with NFC
- 250-sheet capacity
- 25ppm in color and monochrome
- Built-in wireless, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and USB connectivity
- 600×2,400 DPI
- 2.7-inch color touchscreen
Laser technology like the ones used in Brother’s HL L3270CDW Compact Wireless Digital Color Printer is a slightly more expensive printing technique with a lower upkeep cost than equivalent ink models. While ink printers use ink and toner, laser printers only need toner. So they have a lower upkeep cost.
However, they tend to be a bit more expensive from the outset since the technology requires more sensitive components and a higher level of engineering to produce the same product. So, the startup cost is a little heavier even though laser printers cost less overall to maintain.
This printer also features duplex printing, allowing it to print on both sides of a sheet of paper simultaneously. It’s small and compact, perfect for small home offices. It also has built-in wireless, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and USB connectivity options.
Its print resolution is 600×2,400 DPI, and it can print 25PPM in both monochrome and color. The paper tray can hold 250 sheets of paper, and it can handle letter or legal paper.
This printer comes much closer to the maximum price point of this list at $285. This is going to be on the more expensive side for people looking to get a printer under $300. So, if that doesn’t work for you, you might want to consider an inkwell printer instead. Those have a lower upkeep cost than ink cartridge printers. However, they aren’t as initially expensive as equivalent laser printers. Check out the Brother HL-L3270CDW Compact Wireless Digital Color Printer on Amazon.
|Laser technology has the lowest upkeep costs in printing.
|This is the most expensive printer on the list.
|This printer allows color printing with laser technology.
|It is more affordable than other laser color printers.
Best Printer Under $300 with InkJet Technology: Canon PIXMA TR4720 Wireless Inkjet All-In-One Color Printer
- 4-in-1 print, copy, scan, and fax
- 4.4ppm color printing and 8.8ppm monochrome
- Automatic two-sided printing
- 100-sheet capacity
- 4,800×1,200 DPI
Canon’s PIXMA series is an excellent budget inkjet printer line, and the Canon PIXMA TR4720 doesn’t disappoint. This printer is a superb budget printer that captures all the things you might need in your home office in one convenient package.
This printer has printing, copying, scanning, and faxing capabilities for an affordable price. Many other companies will wall fax functions behind a hefty price tag, but Canon will get you set up and faxing documents for just $69.99.
This printer’s print speed is a bit slow, at just 4.4PPM in color and 8.8 in monochrome. Its print resolution goes up to 4,800×1,200 DPI. It can handle up to 100 sheets of regular printer or glossy photo paper in sizes up to 8.5×11 inches.
However, it’s important to remember that this low price tag has a more considerable upkeep cost. Inkjet printers can only use ink cartridges, which are well-known for being excessively expensive to purchase. This printing process runs out of ink much faster than inkwell printing, meaning you’ll replace the cartridges more often than filling an inkwell.
Additionally, you’re paying for the physical cartridge instead of just the ink. You can return empty ink cartridges to various office supply stores for store credit. Usually, you’ll get $2–$5 for each cartridge you return. It’s a nominal amount, but it’s better than nothing, and it does get you some of the money you spent on these exorbitant office supplies back. Check out the Canon PIXMA TR4720 Wireless Inkjet All-In-One Color Printer on Amazon.
|This printer allows printing, scanning, copying, and faxing.
|Printing with ink cartridges is the most expensive overall printing method.
|It is under $100.
|You can return the printer’s cartridges to office supply stores for store credit.
Best Printer Under $300 with AirPrint and Cloud Technology: Canon PIXMA iX6820 Wireless Business Printer
- Compatible with Windows and Mac
- Supports Air Print, Google Cloud Print, and Pixma Printing Solutions (PPS)
- Inkjet printer with individual ink tank system
- 150-sheet capacity with auto-feeding
- 9600 x 2400 DPI
- 15ppm color print speed
Not all printers support AirPrint or Cloud printing technology, but the Canon PIXMA iX6820 does. This printer brings these wireless printing technologies to your home at an affordable price. It’s an ink tank printer as well. So, it will be a bit cheaper to upkeep than the typical Canon inkjet models.
The PIXMA iX6820 has received firmware updates that allow it to continue running on Windows 11 PCs, meaning you can use it even on the most up-to-date, cutting-edge computers. It’s compatible with AirPrint and Google Cloud Printing. The latter is not compatible with as many printers out there. So, it’s a nice touch to have the option to use it with this one.
It has a maximum DPI of 9,600×2,400 DPI and prints at speeds of up to 15PPM in color and 14.5 in monochrome. The paper tray can hold up to 150 sheets of paper and can glossy photo paper.
However, we’re inclined to remind you that this is not an all-in-one printer. It doesn’t have scan, copy, or fax functions. It’s strictly a printer with additional cloud and wireless printing functions. So, if you need an all-in-one printer, you’ll want to pass on this one. Check out the Canon Pixma iX6820 Wireless Business Printer on Amazon.
|This printer is AirPrint and Google Cloud Print enabled.
|It is not an all-in-one printer.
|It has received an update allowing it to work with Windows 11.
|This is an inkwell printer which is cheaper to upkeep than inkjet printers.
Best Printer Under $300 with Monochrome Technology: Brother HL-L2350DW Compact Monochrome Laser Printer
- 250-sheet paper capacity
- Prints up to 32 pages per minute
- Manual feed slot
- Wireless connectivity
- USB interface
If you don’t need color printing, Brother’s HL-L2350DW Compact Monochrome Laser Printer is an excellent choice. This printer is a monochrome laser printer. So, it only prints in black and white, but it’s a perfect way to save money on the initial cost while still getting all the benefits of laser printing technology.
Brother is a famous printer manufacturer, loved and trusted by photo printing companies worldwide. So, you can trust them with your documents, whether you’re printing in color or black and white. This printer is an excellent budget option for people who don’t need access to color printing but still want laser printing, with a price point of just $149.99.
It prints at a speed of 25 PPM on average, and claims to be able to go up to 32 PPM. The print resolution varies based on what you’re printing but goes up to 1,200×1,200 DPI. The paper tray can hold up to 25 sheets of paper.
This printer can be used wired or wirelessly. You can connect it to one computer via USB or use it with multiple devices with Wi-Fi connectivity. This printer supports printing from computers, phones, and tablets. So, you can print your documents no matter what device they’re stored on! Check out the Brother HL-L2350DW Compact Monochrome Laser Printer on Amazon.
|This printer offers an affordable entry point to laser printing technology.
|This printer only offers monochrome printing.
|It can be used both wired and wireless.
|Brother’s printers are regarded as some of the best printers on the market.
How to Pick the Best Printer Under $300
There are many features you should consider when choosing a printer. While many people don’t care about their printer’s functionality, not all printers are equal. Not viewing your printer’s make and model can lead to not having the process work the way you want it to and leave you with documents that you can’t process effectively. Let’s look at the differences between printers.
- Printing Technology
- Printer Accessories
- Paper Handling
- Duplex Printing
- Print Speed
- Connectivity Options
- Alternative Printer Functions
Let’s assess these factors in detail.
Perhaps the most essential feature when choosing a printer is that printing technology can differ wildly between different models, even within the same manufacturer. There are three types of printers for home offices: inkjet, inkwell, and laser.
Inkjet printers use an ink cartridge filled with ink. Cartridges can be either two-ink or four-ink types. Two-ink inkjet printers use black and universal color inks. Four-ink printers use black, cyan, magenta, and yellow inks, separating the three essential parts of the color wheel into different inks.
Inkwell printers use large, refillable inkwells. They typically have four or five inkwells for black and color printing. Finally, laser printers use a laser head to heat toner and attach it to the paper, creating an image without ink. Laser technology is traditionally monochrome, but more recent printers can laser print colors as well.
Each technology has ups and downsides. So, you’ll want to consider what kind of printer will best suit your specific needs. For instance, inkjet printers are very cheap to purchase. You can find suitable inkjet printers for less than $100 easily. However, they’re very costly to maintain as the ink cartridges run out frequently and are expensive to replace.
Conversely, laser printers require more advanced technology and engineering to produce. Thus, they’re more expensive at the initial purchase. However, since laser printing doesn’t use ink, users only have to replace toner. Printing doesn’t use as much toner when using laser technology. So, laser printers are less expensive to maintain since the toner doesn’t have to be replaced as often and it’s cheaper than ink.
It’s also important to consider what accessories a printer needs to perform its duties. The most important accessory you’ll need is the ink and toner. Inkjet and inkwell printers need ink and toner, while laser printers only need toner.
Additionally, wired printers must be close enough to the source machine to connect by wire and may only support USB connectivity. Printers also use a unique connection that isn’t typically compatible with any other device. Printer cables may not even be compatible with other printers.
So, if you have an animal that chews cables, you may want to strongly consider a wireless printer to reduce the number of cables that can be destroyed. Even if you don’t have an animal but want to use your printer with multiple devices, a wireless printer will serve you better since it can connect to many source machines.
You’ll also want to consider the printer’s quality, measured in dots-per-inch or DPI. A printer’s DPI measures how many ink dots it can place in a square inch of paper. The more dots, the higher the image’s definition and sharpness.
Printers offer a wide range of DPI options, from 600×600 to 4,800×4,800 or higher. However, it’s essential to recognize that higher-definition printers come at a premium price. It’s a classic case of “you get what you pay for” regarding dots-per-inch.
Luckily, ultra-high definition isn’t necessary for every user. Unless you’re printing and selling photos, you probably don’t need the highest DPI printer on the market. A mid-range printer is perfectly serviceable for printing out most office work documents.
Paper Tray, Type, Size, and Handling
Paper is also not a one-size-fits-all situation. Many different paper sizes exist, and they serve other functions worldwide. If you need a printer that can handle many paper sizes, check those specifications yourself. You can’t assume that every printer can handle every paper size.
Legal-sized documents have different dimensions than typical paper. If you regularly need to use legal-sized paper, you’ll want a printer that can handle this paper type. Don’t assume every printer can do so.
People who need to print long documents or print frequently may also want a high-capacity printer that can hold a ton of paper. Having a large paper tray will ensure that you can print many pages without having to refill it.
Additionally, if you have a laser printer, you can’t use inkjet photo paper. So, if you need to print documents and photos, you’ll want to choose an inkjet printer. Laser printers also perform better when using quality laser paper, which can be an additional cost for an already expensive technology.
You’ll also want to consider whether you need double-sided or duplex printing. If your printer doesn’t do it and you want a document printed on both sides, you’ll need to manually flip the pages over and feed them back into the printer.
If you need duplex printing, you must be willing to pay more for a printer that supports it. Not every printer can print both sides at once.
Print speed is measured in pages per minute (PPM) and can be important for people who need to print large documents often. Nothing is worse than sitting next to your printer for ten minutes while it slowly chugs away at your document.
If you only print documents every so often or the documents you print are only a few pages, you probably won’t notice a low PPM. However, people who print long documents often will see if their printer takes a while to get through a file.
Laser printers generally offer a higher PPM, with most providing speeds between 20 and 50 PPM. Inkjet and inkwell printers are much slower, most falling between 5 and 25 PPM. However, you may find some printers on both technologies that fall outside these ranges on both ends.
If you have multiple devices you want to print from, you’ll also want to consider what connectivity options your printer has available. All printers can be used with USB connectivity, but many newer printers can also use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to connect to source devices.
When deciding what connectivity you need, you must assess what devices you plan to print from. If you’re only looking to print from a single desktop computer, you may not even need wireless connectivity at all. However, if you want a household printer for multiple people, Wi-Fi connectivity will be necessary for everyone to access the printer.
Many Bluetooth devices can also connect to printers using Wi-Fi. However, this is not universal. If you need Bluetooth connectivity, you must pay for that feature. Since it is a proprietary technology, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) must pay to implement it in their devices. So, Bluetooth-enabled devices tend to come at a premium price.
Alternative Printer Functions
You’ll also want to consider whether you need an all-in-one printer. If you don’t need additional printer functions, you can forgo them and get a printer at a lower price. As with anything, the more functionality you buy, the higher the price. So, if you can drop some functions, you’ll also see the price decrease.
Most printers are also scanners and copy machines nowadays, but some are also fax machines. Typically, fax-enabled printers are a bit more expensive than just scanner/copiers. However, there are some notable affordable fax machine models, mainly from Canon.
What to Know Before Buying a Printer Under $300
The most important thing about buying a printer under $300 is getting what you pay for. If you expect a cutting-edge, top-of-the-line printer, you will be disappointed. Budget printers provide budget solutions. If you want a top-quality picture, you must spend more money. There’s just no way around that reality.
You should also know that printing is an all-around expensive venture. Unfortunately, we’ve developed and accepted a culture of printing documents being a premium user experience. However, you’ll have to choose between a high startup cost and a high upkeep cost.
Printer ink is one of the most expensive substances in the world. So, whether you’re using inkjet or inkwell, you’ll still be paying a huge cost for the ink. However, laser printers are more expensive to manufacture and, thus, buy.
If you don’t have the disposable cash to buy a laser printer, an inkjet or inkwell printer might be your only option. However, if you can buy a laser printer, it will pay for itself in its low upkeep costs pretty quickly. It can be hard to decide which to buy!
Using Printers Under $300: What It’s Like
Using a printer under $300 is pretty straightforward. Regarding the user experience, it’s not that much different from using a more expensive printer. The difference is in the output documents and images. Simply put, a lower-quality printer will print lower-quality images. So, you may see that your images are slightly fuzzy on the edges, but that’s normal for cheap printers.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©New Africa/Shutterstock.com.