3 of the Best Desktop Printers Under $50

Many college students will be looking for new tech to add to their dorms this summer, and a nice yet affordable desktop printer is a no-brainer. Some are cheap with expensive ink, and some of the cheap ones do not work well at all – even for the basics. This article will cover the best printers, mainly from Amazon, that work great for basic functions that are also under $50.

1. HP DeskJet 1112 Compact Photo Printer


The HP DeskJet 1112 is advertised as a photo printer, but it is an absolute beast for printing documents as well. It is my personal favorite, and it is what I have in use currently on my personal desktop. Setup is simple enough: just plug it in via USB and install the necessary drivers from HP’s support site.

Documents print extremely quickly, with a full page of just black and white text printing in as little as four seconds. With that, the text can be slightly distorted. It is not, however, the level of distortion that would cause the printer to become unusable. The price can not be beat at just $29.99 at the time of writing on Amazon. The printer includes both black and color ink cartridges to get started, but refills are just $30.99 from HP on Amazon directly. You could find ink for as low as $18.99 if you go third party.

The DeskJet 1112 has no wireless capabilities: a single power button is featured atop the device, and plastic pull-out pieces are incorporated to better hold recently printed documents. For the bare bones basics in terms of functionality, look no further than the DeskJet 1112.

2. Canon PIXMA MG3020


This Canon Pixma MG3020, in white specifically, will run for slightly under $50, at $43.69 at the time of writing. It touts wireless printing and all of the features you have come to expect from a fully-fledged printer and scanner.

Some of the main complaints are that it grabs multiple pages from time to time and that it runs through ink quite heavily. If you can look past this, the setup process takes all of a few minutes – and it does just what it should do for a printer of the price bracket.

3. Epson Expression XP-330


The Epson Expression includes a color LCD display for adjusting settings, wireless capabilities, an SD card port, a large capacity tray for paper, and individual color replacement support. For the majority of users, this is an awesome point. You will end up spending less overall on ink by just having to replace the specific colors that you need.


That having been mentioned, there is no ink included in the box – this helps keep the initial cost low and below $50. On Amazon at the time of writing, the Epson Expression XP-330 is $44.99. If you want black ink included, rather than having to find some from another source, you will have to pony up $57.96, which is a little bit over budget. For color ink, too, this price jumps to $85.94.

The Epson Expression is a good option, but if you do not need the other bells and whistles (including a full-size document scanner) you may prefer a more cost-efficient pick.


Getting a decent printer under a $50 budget can be quite difficult, but it certainly can be done. For those who do not need to copy, scan, or print wirelessly directly, the DeskJet 1112 would be a perfect fit for your needs. On the other hand, the Epson Expression does all of that and more within a similar price range. Whichever printer is the pick for you, there is a great deal of options out there to choose from.

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Corbin Telligman Corbin Telligman

I'm a junior at UT Dallas, a tech enthusiast, an adreneline junkie, and a coffee fanatic.


  1. The problem with inkjet printers is that the replacement ink cartridges are expensive. You buy a $50-$60 printer but the replacement cartridges run you $80-$100.. It’s cheaper to buy a new printer. Amazon is not much better than Staples or Office Max. Even if you buy the cartridges from Costco or BJs, you’re looking at $50-$80 per set. Used to be that you could reuse your old cartridges by using an after-market refill kit, or you could buy third party cartridges. No more. Most, if not all, inkjet printers require cartridges with chips in them.

    I found that I was using one Black cartridge every couple of weeks so I bought a Brother HL-2300D laser printer from Newegg on sale for around $55. It prints up to 27 ppm. It can duplex. The input paper tray holds 250 pages. It can use third party 2700 page capacity toner cartridges. Newegg has the on sale regularly for $19.99. The one shortcoming of the printer, if you can call it that, is that it only prints monochrome. However, after having put two kids through college, I can tell you that 95% of their reports will be printed in monochrome. Besides, each student gets a free allowance of X numbers of pages that can be printed on school’s printers. That takes care of any color printing that the student might want to do.

  2. Check prices on Ebay for your printer model. I had an Epson and could get ink for about 10% retail, if I brought 10 cartilages(15 dollars for all 10 mix of black and colour) compared to about 15 dollars for one retail.

    1. Since these low-priced printers can be considered disposable, I suppose that buying third party ink on eBay is OK. Even if the ink messes up the printer, one can always buy another one for pocket change. :-)

  3. Thank you for sharing this useful information with us. I have used a Fuji Xerox CT201632. Definitely, HP printer is a reputed brand and provides us high quality prints. In my view it is the best printer to increase work performance.

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