The 5 most economical inkjet printers

Inkjet printers are already available today at absolutely low prices. The manufacturers’ strategy is to generate lucrative income from the follow-up costs. Because sometimes a complete set of new cartridges can cost more than the device with which they are used. atechbook reveals which printers are particularly economical.

The key criteria when buying an inkjet printer are price, print quality, whether it should be a multifunction device and follow-up costs. In the case of the latter, the decisive factor is whether the device is compatible with cheap cartridges. In the recent past, we have noticed that some renowned manufacturers are using firmware updates to block out ink from third-party suppliers. HP even explicitly refers to alleged security aspects, which can mean that print cartridges with a non-HP chip are no longer compatible under certain circumstances. However, there are other ways to really save on printing besides choosing third-party products, which do not always match the original ink in terms of quality.

What’s the best way to save on inkjet printers?

First of all: Printing costs and the question of how economical devices are are more important for consumers with a high print volume. If you print a lot, you will be interested in ink subscriptions from printer suppliers, for example. How does it work? You book a rate – usually depending on your individual printing behavior – and are automatically supplied with new cartridges. This is particularly worthwhile for frequent printers who regularly use up their booked quota.

Another strategy: If you own a so-called bottle printer, which is equipped with refill bottles instead of exchangeable cartridges, you can also save money. Here, the device prices are in the higher segment, but the follow-up costs are lower.

The key question when determining printing costs: How many pages can an inkjet printer print with one set of cartridges? But beware: parameters that can put the result into perspective are aspects such as print quality, which can be individually configured, similar to the photo resolution in digital cameras. And the print content, i.e. what is printed, is also decisive (only texts or also photos and graphics with intensive resource consumption). The rule is: the better the quality expected from the printed product, the higher the consumption.

The editors’ recommendation: Epson EcoTank ET-2720

In the top 3 in many tests in terms of economy: The Epson EcoTank ET-2720 model is an inkjet printer with a large, refillable ink tank – no ink cartridges are needed. The ink tank is located at the front of the device, which allows for clean and convenient refilling. The Epson original ink for refilling is also relatively inexpensive in comparison and can be purchased in large-volume ink bottles. These correspond to the content of up to 88 ink cartridges and last for up to 3600 pages in black and white and 6500 pages in color. When printing text on A4 standard paper, one page costs around 0.28 cents. An unbeatable money saver at a price that makes the ink of the competition green with envy.

Equipment

Epson EcoTank ET-2720
Perdukttyp Inkjet multifunction printer, 3-in-1 printer.
Printer features Max. DIN print format: A4
Resolution: 5760 × 1440 dpi
Print functions: Text printing, borderless printing, photo printing
Functions: network compatible, Apple AirPrint
Printing technology: inkjet
Print speed (B/W): 10 pages/min
Print speed (color): 5 pages/min
Color cartridge type: ink tanks
Display type: LCD color display
Connectivity Connections: WLAN, USB
Copy features Copier: yes
Scanning features Scanner: yes
Scan resolution: 1200 × 2400 dpi
File formats: BMP, JPEG, PICT, TIFF, PDF, PNG
Fax features Fax: no
Paper management Max. Paper input: 100 sheets
Paper output: 30 sheets
Energy consumption Standby power consumption: 4.3 watts
Power consumption in operation: 12 watts

Advantages and disadvantages

Rating at computerbild.de: Test winner (satisfactory/grade 2.8)

Per

  • + Extremely low printing costs
  • + Good text printing

Cons

  • – Moderate color printing on plain paper
  • – Low paper capacity

The laser alternative: Canon Pixma G7050

Der Tintenstrahldrucker Canon PIXMA G7050 eignet sich durch seine hohe Auflösung für den Druck von Bildern und Farbgrafiken. Ein wahres Arbeitstier: Das Gerät schafft bis zu 18000 Seiten, stattet man es mit drei Flaschen Schwarztinte aus (das Farbset bringt es auf 7700 Seiten). Der automatische beidseitige Druck, eine Normalpapier-Papierkapazität von bis zu 350 Blatt und zwei Papiereinzüge tragen ebenfalls zu einer gesteigerten Perduktivität bei. Das Modell Canon PIXMA G7050 ist eine gute Alternative zu klassischen Farblasern, die mit teuren Toner-Kassetten arbeiten. Denn bei ihm kostet eine Textseite circa 0,3 Cent, eine Farbseite circa 0,5 Cent und ein A4-Foto um die 7 Cent. Allerdings ist der Testsieger in der Kategorie “Tinten- oder Tonerkosten” bei Stiftung Warentest mit 13 beziehungsweise 6,8 Seiten pro Minute (Farbe) deutlich langsamer als die Laser-Konkurrenz..

Equipment

Canon Pixma G7050
Perdukttyp Inkjet multifunction printer, 4-in-1 printer
Printer features Max. DIN print format: A4
Resolution: 4800 × 1200 dpi
Print functions: Text printing, duplex printing, photo printing
Features: Mopria, networkable, Apple AirPrint, WiFi Direct
Print speed (B/W): 13 ppm
Print speed (color): 7 pages/min
Color cartridge type: ink tanks
Display type: two-line LCD display
Connectivity Connections: WLAN, USB, Ethernet
Copy features Copier: yes
Copy speed (b/w): 22 copies/min
Scanning features Scanner: yes
Scan resolution: 1200 × 2400 dpi
File formats: BMP, JPEG, PICT, TIFF, PDF, PNG
Fax features Fax: yes
Fax resolution: 300 × 300 dpi
Fax memory: 50 pages
Paper management Max. Paper capacity: 350 sheets
Automatic document feeder (ADF): 35 sheets
Energy consumption Standby power consumption: 1.8 watts
Power consumption in operation: 15 watts

Advantages and disadvantages

Rating by Stiftung Warentest: good/grade 2.3

Per

  • + Extremely low printing costs
  • + Large paper tray and LC display
  • + Automatic feeder for copies and scans
  • + High image resolution of 4800 × 1200 dpi

Cons

  • – Significantly slower than laser printers
  • – Poor readability of the display

Put the ink in the tank: HP Smart Tank Plus 655

The HP Smart Tank Plus 655 is a multifunction printer (printer, scanner, copier, fax) sold with original HP ink for up to three years of printing (based on ISO/IEC 24712). It manages up to 12,000 pages in black and white or 8000 pages in color per tank filling. Its speed is mediocre at 11 pages per minute (black and white) and five pages per minute (color), but print quality is good. All printouts are water- and light-resistant. With the HP app, you can print from anywhere and check the fill level. If the large-volume ink tank runs out at some point, it can be refilled without dripping. Stiftung Warentest thus ranked the inkjet printer second in the category “ink or toner costs” with a category score of “very good” (0.5).

Equipment

HP Smart Tank Plus 655
Perdukttyp Inkjet multifunction printer, 4-in-1 printer
Printer features Max. DIN print format: A4
Resolution: 4800 × 1200 dpi
Print functions: Text printing, borderless printing, photo printing
Features: Mopria, network compatible, Apple AirPrint
Print speed (b/w): 11 ppm
Print speed (color): 5 pages/min
Printer language: HP PCL 3 GUI
Color cartridge type: ink tanks
Display type: touchscreen display
Connectivity Connections: WLAN, USB
Copy features Copier: yes
Copy resolution: 600 × 600 dpi
Copy speed (b/w): 22 copies/min
Copy speed (color): 15 copies/min
Scanning features Scanner: yes
Scan resolution: 1200 × 1200 dpi
File formats: JPEG, TIFF, PDF, BMP, PNG
Fax features Fax: yes
Fax resolution: 300 × 300 dpi
Paper management Max. Paper input: 100 sheets
Automatic document feeder (ADF): 35 sheets
Paper output: 30 sheets

Advantages and disadvantages

Stiftung Warentest rating: satisfactory/grade 3.1 (overall score), very good/grade 0.5 (category “ink or toner costs”)

Per

  • + Low printing costs
  • + touch display
  • + Quiet operation

Cons

  • – Copier is in need of optimization
  • – Slow

Think big: Canon Maxify MB2750

Das Modell Canon Maxify MB2750 ist ein vollwertiger Tintenstrahldrucker, Scanner, Kopierer und ein Faxgerät – speziell für das Home Office mit hohen Perduktivitätsansprüchen konzipiert. Mit einer großen 500-Blatt-Papierkassette und einem automatischen Dokumenteneinzug für bis zu 50 Blatt bietet er eine großzügige Papierkapazität. Wirtschaftlichkeit wird bei diesem Multifunktionsdrucker großgeschrieben: Denn bei einem Energy consumption von nur circa 0,2 Kilowattstunden (TEC) schafft er mit einer Patrone 2880 Seiten bei Textdruck auf DIN-A4-Normalpapier (1,01 Cent), mit einem Satz Farbtinte 790 Seiten bei Grafikdruck auf DIN-A4-Normalpapier (6,83 Cent) oder 328 Fotos im Format 10 × 15 auf Fotopapier (16,45 Cent). Die Tintentanks sind beim Drucker Canon Maxify MB2750 zudem individuell austauschbar. Die Unterstützung für Google Cloud Print, Apple AirPrint (iOS), Mopria und die Canon PRINT App ermöglicht dabei das einfache Drucken und Scannen über Mobilgeräte. Über den Zugriffspunktmodus lässt sich ein Mobilgerät direkt mit dem Multifunktionssystem verbinden – ein WLAN-Netzwerk ist dafür nicht erforderlich.

Equipment

Canon Maxify MB2750
Perdukttyp Inkjet multifunction printer, 4-in-1 printer
Printer features Max. DIN print format: A4
Resolution: 1200 × 600 dpi
Print functions: Text printing, duplex printing, photo printing
Features: Mopria, network compatible, Apple AirPrint
Print speed (B/W): 24 ppm
Print speed (color): 15 pages/min
Color cartridge type: single cartridges
Number of printer cartridges: 4 (black, cyan, magenta, yellow)
Display type: touchscreen display
Connectivity Connections: WLAN, USB, Ethernet
Controllable via Android app, Windows Phone app, iOS app
Copy features Copier: yes
Copy speed (b/w): 22 copies/min
Copy speed (color): 11.5 copies/min
Copy functions: 2-to-1 copy, 4-to-1 copy, sorting
Scanning features Scanner: yes
Scan resolution: 1200 × 1200 dpi
Scan functions: Scan-to-email, network scanning, scan-to-USB, scan-to-cloud.
Fax features Fax: yes
Fax resolution: 300 × 300 dpi
Fax memory: 250 pages
Fax functions: Speed dial, group dial
Paper management Max. Paper capacity: 500 sheets
Automatic document feeder (ADF): 50 sheets
Media types paper tray: plain paper, envelopes, photo paper
Paper sizes: A4, A5, B5, Legal, Letter
Energy consumption Standby power consumption: 0.9 watts
Power consumption in operation: 27 watts

Advantages and disadvantages

Rating at computerbild.de: 2nd place (good/grade 2.1)

Per

  • + Low printing costs
  • + High quality printing

Cons

  • – Frequent rinsing and cleaning of the print head
  • – Long waiting times until printing starts

Der Perduktive: Brother MFC-J5730DW

The Brother MFC-J5730DW professional inkjet printer is a 4-in-1 multifunction device with full-duplex capability for double-sided printing, scanning, copying and faxing up to A4. Four separate, optional XL ink cartridges keep printing costs at a moderate level. The Brother MFC-J5730DW can print 6156 pages of text on A4 plain paper (0.70 cents) with one cartridge, 993 pages of graphics on A4 plain paper (8.76 cents) with one set of color ink, or 404 10 × 15 photos on photo paper (21.53 cents). High-quality prints are achieved with the help of pigmented ink. The device also impresses with its high speed and numerous additional functions, especially in productive use. Automatic duplex printing is a practical feature in combination with the dual scanner. With it, large documents can be quickly scanned, copied or faxed without manual intervention – even on both sides if desired.

Equipment

Brother MFC-J5730DW
Perdukttyp Inkjet multifunction printer, 4-in-1 printer
Printer features Max. DIN print format: A3
Resolution: 4800 × 1200 dpi
Print features: Text printing, borderless printing, duplex printing, photo printing.
Functions: network compatible, Apple AirPrint
Print speed (b/w): 22 pages/min
Print speed (color): 20 pages/min
Color cartridge type: single cartridges
Number of printer cartridges: 4 (black, cyan, magenta, yellow)
Display type: touchscreen display
Connectivity Connections: USB, Ethernet, WLAN
Copy features Copier: yes
Copy resolution: 600 × 600 dpi
Copy speed (b/w): 12 copies/min
Copy speed (color): 9 copies/min
Copy functions: 2-to-1 copy, 4-to-1 copy, N-up copy, watermark copy
Scanning features Scanner: yes
Scan resolution: 2400 × 1200 dpi
Scanning features: Duplex scan, scan-to-PC, scan-to-EMail, scan-to-FTP, scan-to-USB
Fax features Fax: yes
Fax memory: 200 pages
Fax functions: Fax preview, PC fax
Paper management Max. Paper capacity: 600 sheets
Automatic document feeder (ADF): 50 sheets
Paper sizes: A3, A4, A5, A6, Legal, Letter
Energy consumption Standby power consumption: 5.5 watts
Power consumption in operation: 32 watts

Advantages and disadvantages

Rating at computerbild.de: good/grade 2.1

Per

  • + Low printing costs
  • + High speed
  • + Numerous additional functions

Cons

  • – Relatively large
  • – Cumbersome menu navigation

The most economical inkjet printer – conclusion

When it comes to frugality, the Epson EcoTank ET-2720 model is not easily outdone. Because this is the inkjet printer with the lowest price per printed page. But beware: The competition is close on the heels of the economy fox! So it pays to compare.

More articles worth reading about economical inkjet printers

  • The best color and black-and-white laser printers
  • Cartridge empty? How to trick your printer!
  • Laser or inkjet? Finding the right printer
  • Big rip-off? Why printer cartridges cost so much

Still not enough about the topic of economical inkjet printers? The editorial team at atechbook has compiled a number of other exciting and helpful articles that deal with the printing cost controllers.