Finding an affordable home printer that doesn’t cost too much to operate can be tricky. Printer ink refill costs can really add up over time. Knowing which printers offer the most affordable and cost-effective ink refills can help you choose the right model for your budget.
This comprehensive guide examines ink refill costs across top home printer brands. We’ll compare and contrast refill prices to reveal the printers that go the longest between refills and give you the lowest cost per page. Read on to find out which printer brands and models give you the cheapest ink refills.
Factors That Impact Ink Refill Costs
Several key factors determine how much you’ll spend on ink over the lifetime of a home printer:
- Ink cartridge yields – Printers with higher-yield ink cartridges need fewer refills. Yields are measured by the number of pages a cartridge can print.
- Ink cartridge prices – Higher-yield cartridges aren’t always more affordable. You still need to consider per-page printing costs.
- Printing frequency – How often you print pages affects how quickly you’ll need new ink. Infrequent printing extends time between refills.
Understanding these factors helps identify the cheapest ink refills across different printer models. Printers with the lowest cost per printable page ultimately give you the best value over time.
Cheapest Ink Refill Printers
When comparing prices across top home printer brands and models, these printers consistently offer the lowest ink refill costs:
Brother printers are renowned for affordable refill costs thanks to high-yield ink cartridges included with many models.
Brother MFC-J805DW – Best Overall
- Ink cartridge page yield: 6,000 black, 5,000 color
- Replacement cartridge price: $37 black, $68 color
- Average cost per page: 0.3 cents black/4.3 cents color
With above-average yields and very competitively priced replacement ink cartridges, the Brother MFC-J805DW tops the list with the cheapest ink refills overall.
Other Notable Brother Printer Models:
- Brother MFC-J995DW
- Brother INK vestment MFC-J895DW
- Brother HL-L3210CW
Brother invests heavily in maximizing ink efficiency. Nearly the entire Brother home printer lineup offers excellent value on ink.
Epson EcoTank Printers
Epson EcoTank printers stand out for their unique refillable ink tank system. Instead of cartridges, they use high-capacity ink reservoirs filled from bottles. This removes the need to frequently replace expensive ink cartridges.
Epson EcoTank ET-3760 – Best EcoTank
- Ink bottle page yield: 7,500 black, 6,000 color
- Ink bottle price: $13 black, $21 color
- Cost per page: 0.2 cents black/0.5 cents color
With incredibly high yields from cheaper ink bottles versus cartridges, EcoTank printers like the ET-3760 offer some of the lowest ink costs. Just be prepared for a higher upfront printer purchase price.
Other Notable EcoTank Printer Models:
- Epson EcoTank ET-3830
- Epson EcoTank ET-4800
All of Epson’s EcoTank printers leverage the same refillable ink tank technology for exceptional value on ink costs over time. The entire lineup offers cheap refills.
HP Instant Ink Printers
HP Instant Ink printers deliver ink to your door before you run out through a monthly subscription-based service. This helps prevent wasted expensive cartridge purchases.
HP Envy 5055 – Best Instant Ink
- Monthly page allowance: 100 pages for $4.99/month
- Average cost per page: 5 cents
The HP Envy 5055 is a solid budget-friendly Instant Ink model. Pay the $5 monthly fee for 100 printable pages. It’s easy to upgrade allowances as printing needs change.
Other Notable Instant Ink Printer Models:
- HP DeskJet 4155e
- HP Envy Pro 6452
- HP OfficeJet Pro 9010e
Most home HP printers now support Instant Ink. Subscribing nets major ink cost savings with plans scaled for light or heavy printing.
Canon MegaTank Printers
Similar to Epson’s EcoTank tech, Canon MegaTank printers feature refillable tanks for low-cost ink replenishments. Models like the G4210 offer comparable cost-efficiency.
- Ink bottle page yield: 7,700 black, 6,000 color
- Ink bottle price: $18 black, $30 color
- Cost per page: 0.3 cents black/0.8 cents color
Canon also produces some traditionally cartridge-based printers like the models below that provide better value for cheap refills:
- Canon MG3620
- Canon TS202
Comparison of Ink Costs – Key Takeaways
Based on yields and ink prices, these are the average cost ranges you can expect per printable page when refilling these printer models:
- Brother printers: 1 to 6 cents per page
- Epson EcoTank: 0.2 to 1 cent per page
- HP Instant Ink: 4 to 5 cents per page
- Canon MegaTank/cartridge printers: 0.3 to 2 cents per page
The Brother MFC-J805DW tops our list by delivering full color printing at under 5 cents per page. But Epson EcoTanks and Canon MegaTank models offer even cheaper refills if you print predominantly in black.
No matter which affordable printer model fits your budget, choosing ones with cheap ongoing ink costs saves considerable money over time.
Optimizing Printer Use to Reduce Ink Costs
Your specific printing habits also determine ink usage and refill costs. Here are handy tips to reduce your own costs:
- Print in black and white – Color pages use 4x as much ink! Set printer default settings to monochrome.
- Print fewer photos – Photos use a lot of ink to cover the entire page. Limit photos to save ink.
- Choose draft print quality – Lower print resolutions use less ink while retaining good legibility.
- Use both sides of the paper – Print duplex pages for double sided documents.
- Create digital copies – Scan, store and share documents digitally instead of printing copies.
- Refill cartridges yourself – DIY cartridge refilling kits save up to 50% for supported printers.
Following these best practices stretches your affordable printer’s inks further between refills or subscriptions.
Key Takeaways – Cheapest Ink Refill Printers
- The Brother MFC-J805DW, Epson EcoTank ET-3760, and HP Envy 5055 ranked as the top printers with cheapest ink refills in their respective classes.
- Printer costs per printable page average 0.2 to 6 cents across affordable home models.
- Optimizing printing habits saves considerable ink usage for fewer refills.
- Choosing printers with cheap inks reduces long term costs for home users.
Carefully compare printer ink yields, replacement ink costs, and usage habits when selecting an affordable printer. Models like the Brother MFC-J805DW and Epson EcoTank ET-3760 offer the best overall value for cheap ongoing ink refills.
Hopefully these printer recommendations help you find just the right fit for your home printing budget!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are third party ink cartridges less expensive for my printer?
A: Yes, compatible third party cartridges can save up to 50%, but print quality may suffer.
Q: Can I reset my printer to accept refilled original cartridges?
A: On some models, yes, using small electronics chips or modifications to reset ink level detections.
Q: Which black ink printer has lowest cost refills?
A: The Brother HL-L3210CW provides the cheapest black only refills around 0.8 cents per page.
Q: Why does color ink cost more than black ink?
A: Color cartridges require multiple separate reservoirs for cyan, magenta and yellow adding manufacturing costs.
Q: How many pages can a black ink cartridge print?
A: Standard cartridges print 180-330 pages. High-yield options print 600 pages or more before needing replacement.
Q: What printer brand is the most economical?
A: Brother printers are renowned for economical costs long-term thanks to affordable ongoing ink refills.
Q: Can you refill original Epson EcoTank printer bottles?
A: Yes, EcoTank ink bottles are designed for affordable refilling from Epson and most third-party bottled refills.
Q: Does Epson EcoTank come with full starting ink bottles?
A: Yes, a complete set of filled ink bottles ship with the printer getting you started printing right away.
Q: How often should I expect to refill HP Instant Ink subscriptions?
A: Base plans include monthly deliveries. Higher page allowances deliver less frequently every 1-3 months.
Q: What determines monthly costs for HP Instant Ink service?
A: Number of pages printed compared to your monthly page allowance dictates eventual service charges.
Q: Is HP Instant Ink more affordable long-term than cartridges?
A: For moderate home usage, absolutely. Just right-size your monthly allowance to stay cost efficient.
Q: Where can I buy refill bottles for Canon Mega Tank printers?
A: Canon sells refill bottles directly compatible with Mega Tank printers for easy first-party refills.
Q: How many pages can the Canon G4210 Mega Tank print before refilling?
A: Approximately 7,700 black and 6,000 color pages based on included initial bottles.
Choosing an affordable home printer with cheap ongoing ink refills saves tons of money over years of ownership. Models like the Brother MFC-J805DW, Epson Eco Tank ET-3760 and HP Instant Ink Envy 5055 ranked at the top of their classes by enabling you to print reams of pages at just pennies per page in ink costs.
Do some quick calculations to determine total cost of ownership based on your own estimated monthly print volumes. And consider adjusting default settings, enabling duplex printing, limiting photos and eliminating unneeded color pages to further lower recurring ink costs.
With a little research and optimization, you can easily land the right home printer that won’t bleed your wallet dry when refill time comes. Happy affordable printing!