Buying a printer on a budget is tricky -- if you tighten your belt too much, you run the risk of falling victim to the classic bait-and-switch purchasing model and spending more on consumables (ink and paper) in the long term.
That said, the $100 mark is a great place to start shopping for a low-cost printer. At that price, you have the option of getting an all-in-one multifunction device that incorporates a scanner and a copier in addition to the printing functions, and some models like the Epson Stylus NX430 even give you convenient extras like a 2.5-inch LCD touch panel and wireless connectivity.
Both laser and inkjet printers are included in the list below. The general rule is that inkjet printers are better for graphics-heavy documents and photos, whereas laser printers (especially the monochrome models) are better for producing speedy text documents in a business environment.
Epson Stylus NX430 Small-in-One
The Epson Stylus NX430 lives up to its "small-in-one" moniker with the size and features to match. It doesn't have an auto document feeder and or do double-sided prints, but its Wi-Fi connectivity, quick print speeds, and iPrint apps for smartphones make this multifunction device a worthwhile grab for students and small offices cramped for space. Read the full review.
Canon Pixma MG2220
Canon cuts the right corners to keep costs low for the Pixma MG2220. By lowering the warranty period and skipping fancy features like a large LCD screen, an autoduplexer, and an auto document feeder, Canon gives this device only what's necessary to perform its basic copy, scan, print, and fax functions. It's an excellent performer at its core, and families on a budget will be impressed by its output of school projects, presentations, and the occasional snapshot photo. Read the full review.
HP Photosmart 5510 e-All-in-One
The HP Photosmart 5510 is a worthwhile purchase if you can acquire it for less than the $100 retail price. Among HP's competition at its list price, the Epson Stylus NX430 is a better option that gets pages out faster with the added benefits of manual double-sided printing and a larger-capacity input tray. If you have your choice between both at the same price, your money would be better spent on the Epson Stylus NX430. Read the full review.
The Brother HL-2270DW laser monochrome printer provides a viable alternative to the classic bottomless money pit that today's inkjet printer has become. Although it's not without its shortcomings, such as poor graphic document output, the Brother HL-2270DW balances out with speedy text printing and simple 802.11 b/g wireless for under $100. Read the full review.
Looking for specs and pricing? Compare these printers head-to-head.