The 2 Best Cheap Printers of 2023


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Jul 18, 2023

The 2 Best Cheap Printers of 2023

We’ve added the Brother MFC-J4335DW as our favorite cheap all-in-one printer

We’ve added the Brother MFC-J4335DW as our favorite cheap all-in-one printer pick.

Printers are not our favorite household gadget, but sometimes they’re necessary. If you run a home business that has to generate receipts, shipping labels, or tax documents, for example, or if someone in your household is in school, you probably need a basic printer. Here are a couple of relatively inexpensive models that we recommend based on our tests for our guides to laser printers and all-in-one inkjets.

Offering low operating costs, quick printouts, and useful features, this is the best laser printer you can get for around $150.

Who this is for: Anyone who needs a basic monochrome printer for straightforward print jobs.

Why we like it: Laser printers are well suited for people who don't need to print often. That's because toner cartridges don't clog like ink tanks do, so you can go months between print jobs without any issue. Laser printers also print faster and produce sharper text, and their output doesn't run or smear if it gets wet, the way some inkjet prints might. The Brother HL-L2350DW is no exception—it's a simple, straightforward printer that delivers great print quality reliably and quickly.

Setting up the printer is a breeze because it has native Mac and Windows drivers. It works automatically with AirPrint on iOS, too, and you can add it with the Brother Print Service on Android. Print jobs start within seconds of your sending them, and they print fast. Plus, at just 7.2 inches tall, this model can easily fit on a bookshelf or in a tight desk area.

The HL-L2350DW comes with a starter toner cartridge that yields about 700 pages and an imaging drum that yields around 12,000 pages. A new toner cartridge costs about $80 at this writing, so the cost per page, including drum wear, comes out to about 3.3¢, right in line with the cost per page for other laser printers we’ve tested.

Out of the box, the HL-L2350DW produced decent prints in our tests. With a little tweaking of the toner density and resolution settings, however, we managed to get great-looking prints that were sharp, contrasty, and readable all the way down to 2-point font sizes. This model's one-year warranty is unexceptional but standard for printers.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The display on the HL-L2350DW is just a one-line monochrome LCD surrounded by a few rubberized buttons, which makes changing settings (and especially typing in Wi-Fi passwords) a bit of a pain. Note too that Brother uses cheaper plastic parts in this model: The unit we received for testing was a little banged up during shipping, and we had to call customer service to get it fixed. Thankfully it was a quick fix, and we were back to printing in no time.

Learn more about other printers we recommend in our full guide to the best laser printer.

If you don't print that often, or if you need a basic color printer that can also scan, this inkjet is a relatively inexpensive model that handles a variety of print jobs.

Who this is for: People who don't require much from a printer and want to keep their printing costs to a minimum, but who also need a scanner.

Why we like it: The Brother MFC-J4335DW is cheap to run, and in our tests it produced sharp text and good glossy prints. This model comes with 1,080 pages’ worth of black ink and 720 pages’ worth of color ink in the box, which should last you about a year (by Brother's estimates). Or, you can upgrade to high-yield print cartridges that can print up to 6,000 pages’ worth of black ink and 5,000 pages’ worth of color ink. The cost works out to roughly 1¢ per page for monochrome and 4.7¢ for color.

The MFC-J4335DW reliably prints crisp, dark text and vibrant glossy photos, so it's a solid choice for casual use, whether you’re printing documents, homework, or a family photo to stick on the fridge.

This model works with Brother's iPrint&Scan app, which is available on iOS and Android, or with AirPrint (iOS) and the Brother Print Service Plugin (Android). The mobile app lets you print from Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, and OneDrive, or you can choose documents and photos stored locally on your device. Brother covers this printer with a two-year limited warranty.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Like many Brother printers, the MFC-J4335DW was a bit clunky to set up in our tests because its unintuitive website installers were difficult to navigate. The archaic design of the tiny display screen and navigation buttons marginally added to the setup stress.

This all-in-one model also posted some of the slowest scan speeds we’ve encountered, averaging at 7 seconds compared with the 3 to 5 seconds we saw from half the printers we tested, including our HP all-in-one pick, the OfficeJet Pro 9015e. That's a small difference in speed, but one that can feel like an eternity when you’re working against a deadline and have dozens of pages to scan.

And don't expect the MFC-J4335DW to produce a perfect copy of your favorite photos. In our testing, this printer overcompensated its scans by adding too much contrast, diminishing the detail in darker portions of our test images.

Learn more about other printers we recommend in our full guide to the best all-in-one printer.

If you need to print a photo or two to stick on your fridge, our cheap all-in-one pick, the Brother MFC-J4335DW, is more than capable of handling the job. If you’re looking to print art or photography and you’re on a budget, consider sending your images off to a print lab, because you won't find a photo printer that can give you high-quality, color-accurate images in large format for less than $700.

This article was edited by Phil Ryan and Erica Ogg.

Phil Ryan

Phil Ryan is Wirecutter's senior staff writer for camera coverage. Previously, over 13 years he covered cameras and other photo-related items for CNET and Popular Photography. As the latter's tech editor and then senior tech editor, he was responsible for maintaining and refining the lab testing for cameras, and as the main camera tester, he used and wrote reviews of many of the cameras released in that timeframe.

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Who this is for: Why we like it: Flaws but not dealbreakers: Who this is for: Why we like it: Flaws but not dealbreakers: