Top 10 bargain-basement printers: great deals for under $200

Cheap printers can be plagued by poor print quality and flimsy construction. Here are some of the exceptions.

  • HP Officejet J4580 All-in-One

    Price: $159

    Even when they have a bargain price, HP's printers have a sense of professionalism. They will provide at least the basic functions you need to get through your day productively. Along with an integrated fax, the Officejet J4580 offers an automatic document feeder and a front-facing paper cassette that cuts down on the overall footprint and makes for easier paper input. Though there are some understandable shortcomings, this is a great way to get printing without spending an arm and a leg.
  • Brother MFC-250C

    Price: $149

    Brother has always been known for providing tonnes of features for a low price, and the MFC-250C is a good example of just how much you can get for a minimal outlay. Print speeds are the main issue here, but good print quality and low running costs are still on offer. It's a good choice for a home printer. Brother's insistence on integrating faxes into every printer and its dog isn't entirely necessary, but the extra functionality won't go astray for the occasional fax at home.
  • Epson Stylus TX200

    Price: $99

    For merely a ninth of that imminent stimulus package, you can pick up a Stylus TX200 multifunction. It will allow you print, scan and copy to your heart's content. If you can put up with the poor build quality and odd direct printing method, the TX200 is worth considering.
  • Canon PIXMA MP480

    Price: $99

    Canon's $99 offering is certainly more attractive than the afore-mentioned Epson, and it even provides an LCD that can be used when printing from memory cards. Photo print quality is particularly commendable for this price, making it a good basic multifunction for family photos and the occasional scan or copy.
  • Epson Stylus TX300F

    Price: $149

    There are faults with the Stylus TX300F, but this multifunction printer has enough features for family and home office printing. It offers a fax, automatic document feeder and simple controls.
  • Canon PIXMA MP210

    Price: $89

    At a price that's cheaper again from the PIXMA MP480, the PIXMA MP210 multifunction printer is designed as the bridge between budget standalone printers and the entry into the multifunction arena. The result is extreme simplicity and ultimate minimalism complemented by adequate scan and print quality. It won't print your family photos to the best degree, but for an extremely basic multifunction for pocket change, the PIXMA MP210 is certainly a good option.
  • HP Photosmart C4580

    Price: $179

    The Photosmart C4580 performs well when it comes to photos and even throws in Wi-Fi connectivity for good measure. We still felt it was overshadowed by the HP Photosmart C5380 in some respects, but given the price and the features it is worth considering.
  • Brother HL-2140

    Price: $149

    We'd like to say that there are plenty of laser options in the sub-$200 range but there just aren't. Those that are available, however, certainly offer appealing reasons to ditch ink. Brother's HL series has always offered great quality for a cheap price, and the HL-2140 is a shining example of this. Offering good print quality and speed, Brother's cheapest mono laser printer is definitely a good buy.
  • HP Photosmart D5460

    Price: $119

    The Photosmart D5460 is one of the most feature-packed standalone inkjet printers in the sub-$200 price bracket, providing direct print functions, a colour LCD, and CD/DVD printing. A separate photo paper tray makes things slightly easier during use, and you simply can't go past the D5460's photo printing capability — for the price it is spectacular. If you don't need a multifunction, the Photosmart D5460 is worth checking out.
  • Canon PIXMA MP540

    Price: $179

    The PIXMA MP540 represents everything we love about Canon printers — simple to use, high quality results and just the right number of features. The MP540 manages to incorporate the basic aspects of high-end PIXMA printers without the accompanying price tag. The EasyScrollWheel and the quality of photo printing make for an exceptional (and exceptionally cheap) multifunction.
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