What is the Best Budget Printer for Designers?

What is the Best Budget Printer for Designers?

You have given yourself plenty of time to meet your deadline.

You have used your go-to graphic design software to complete a project, and now you need an impressive print out to submit.

That is where things can get complicated.

In the design field, the presentation is everything.

Whether you are a freelancer working from home or a veteran at a reputable firm, your visual work speaks just as loudly as your ideas.

However, it can be difficult for graphic designers to find the right printer once a project is finished – especially if you are working on a budget.

There are many considerations that you must take into account before purchasing a new printer for graphic design.

You may think that being constricted by a budget would narrow your options, but there are plenty of ways you can get affordable print work that will look flawless and professional for your next presentation.

Take a look at our recommendations for the best budget printer for designers, and you will be well on your way to assembling a five-star portfolio without breaking the bank!

1 – Assess Your Needs

The first step in choosing a printer is determining what you will need that printer to do.

If you primarily work in web design, you may only need to print out small-scale prototypes of how a client’s website will look.


However, if your job focuses on broader graphic design print work, it is possible that your print out could be a working template for a large-scale advertising campaign.

No matter what type of media design you focus on, a reliable budget printer can do a lot to help make your work easier – but if you do not need all the fancy bells and whistles of a top-of-the-line printer, you can cut costs by avoiding printer models with unnecessary features.

Will you be printing standard-size pages, or do you need a large-format printer that can accommodate bigger print projects?

Think about the page yield you will need to complete your largest assignments.

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Remember that a printer model can only use ink/toner cartridges that fit that model, so you will be bound by the number of pages that particular cartridge can produce (also called the page yield) before the ink/toner needs to be replaced.

Do you need all the features of a multifunction printer (MFP), like scanning, copying, and fax capabilities?

If not, you might be able to get by with a budget printer model that doesn’t include extra options.

Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 Wireless Color Wide-Format Printer, Amazon Dash Replenishment Ready
  • Epson printing system is designed to be used exclusively with Epson Genuine Cartridges. Use of non-genuine ink could cause damage not covered under the printer’s ltd. wnty. .What's in the box : Expression Photo HD XP-15000 printer, CD-ROM for product setup, Power cord, 4x Claria Photo HD 312-I ink cartridges (1x Black, 1x Cyan, 1x Magenta, 1x Yellow), 2x Claria Photo HD 314-I ink cartridges (1x Gray, 1x Red), 1 Cleaning Sheet
  • Professional ultra HD photo quality get brilliant border less prints upto 13 inches X 19 inches
  • Individual 6 color Claria photo HD ink includes red and gray inks for an ultra wide color gamut and enhanced black and white prints. Sound pressure level: Pressure: 49 dB(A)
  • Professional projects: Made easy features a 50 sheet rear tray for specialty media, including cardstock (1); Accommodates a variety of paper finishes and border less sizes from 4 inches X 6 inches To 13 inches X 19 inches
  • Ultra compact wide format A3 plus printer 30 percent smaller than its predecessor (2); Easily fits on your desktop

Consider your spatial limitations.

If you have a small workspace, you will not have room for a large, free-standing printer.

However, a desktop printer may not be sufficient for the type of work you intend to do.

Think about what you will need and where you can realistically set up that kind of equipment.

Look for a printer that offers a high print resolution.

Most budget printers on the market today boast a minimum resolution of 600 dots per inch (dpi), but high-end models can get a much higher resolution.

If you need better resolution, you should look for an example that prints with a higher dpi.

You will most likely need a colour printer, but if you work exclusively in a monochrome design, you may be able to purchase a printer that only takes black ink or toner.

This can help you save much money, but it does limit your printing capabilities.

Epson WorkForce WF-7720 Wireless Wide-format Color Inkjet Printer with Copy, Scan, Fax, Wi-Fi Direct and Ethernet, Amazon Dash Replenishment Ready
  • Epson strongly recommends the use of Genuine Epson inks for a quality printing experience. Non Epson inks and inks not formulated for your specific printer may cause damage that is not covered by the Epson warranty.
  • Get performance beyond laser — the workforce WF-7720, powered by Precision Core
  • Print-shop quality — borderless prints upto 13" X 19". Operating Systems - Windows 10 (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows 8/8.1 (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows 7 (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows Vista (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows Server 2003 (SP2) – Windows Server 20167, Mac OS X 10.6.8 – macOS 10.12.x8
  • Economical — uses upto 80 percent less power vs. Color laser printers (4)
  • High-volume printing — 500-sheet capacity, dual trays, Plus a rear feed for specialty paper; 125-sheet output tray

2 – Establish a Budget

Before you can begin shopping around for a printer, you need to decide what you are willing to spend on this purchase.

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High-end printers can be costly, yet it is no secret that they produce the type of professional-calibre images that can help you make a splash in the design world.

You will need to weigh your needs against the price of a given printer to determine whether that model is a good fit for your design work.


Determine the highest price you are willing to pay.

You do not necessarily need to spend that much when the time comes to make a purchase, but having a ceiling to your estimate will make it easier to shop around while staying within your budget.

Expect to spend anywhere from £50 to £1,000, depending on the size, resolution, and capabilities of the best printer model you choose.

You can get an excellent workhorse printer for designers for under £100, but if you need high-resolution work from a large-format printer, you will need to spend considerably more.

Find out whether you or your company can write off some or all of the printer’s cost (or its ink/toner) as a business expense.

The rules for tax write-offs will vary depending on where you live and conduct business, so talk to a tax service specialist about what you can and can’t deduct.

3 – Choose Between an Inkjet Printer And A Laser Printer

The two most common printer types are inkjet and laser.

Inkjet printers primarily spray a fine mist of liquid ink onto the page, while laser printers build up a static electric charge that forces toner (which is a powdered form of ink) to stick to the page in a pattern that replicates your design.

There are many advantages to each type of printer, and knowing which one is right for you will require you to think even more critically about your needs and what you are willing to spend.

Toner is often seen as more cost-effective than ink.


Most ink cartridges offer a page yield of several hundred printed pages, while toner cartridges can print anywhere from 1,000 pages to 25,000 pages, depending on your cartridge model.

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Inkjet printers typically offer higher-quality images than laser printers, though some recent laser device models are challenging that dictum.

Many people shy away from laser printers because they used to be quite expensive, but over the past few years they have also come down in price while improving in print quality.

Even though laser printers have advanced dramatically, many critics argue that they still cannot match the print quality of a high-end inkjet printer.

Images and graphic design work are where inkjet printers excel.

However, if a laser printer makes more sense for your creative and professional needs, you will need to make that decision for yourself.

What materials will you be printing on?

If you need to print on textiles other than paper, you will probably be better off getting an inkjet printer.

Laser printers heat up the page during the printing process, so printing on other surfaces like fabric could be risky.

4 – Do Your Research and Shop Around

The hardest aspect of buying a new printer is looking at specific printer models and comparing prices.

Once you have considered your needs, chosen a budget, and settled on whether to get an inkjet or laser printer, you will have a much better idea of what your options are.

Depending on your needs, you should expect to pay anywhere from under a hundred pounds to over a thousand pounds.


Large-format printers are expensive, though even a high-end standard size inkjet or laser printer can get very costly.

However, if you shop around, you should be able to find an inkjet or laser device that meets your needs while working within your budget.

HP, Epson, and Canon lead the way when it comes to wide-format colour printers.

You can find affordable, large-format desktop printers like the Epson EcoTank for as little as £400 ($500 USD) or free-standing printers like the HP Designjet ePrinter starting at £900 ($1100 USD).

Epson EcoTank ET-4760 Wireless Color All-in-One Cartridge-Free Supertank Printer with Scanner, Copier, Fax, ADF and Ethernet - White
  • Epson strongly recommends the use of Genuine Epson inks for a quality printing experience. Non Epson inks and inks not formulated for your specific printer may cause damage that is not covered by the Epson wnty.
  • Epson EcoTank is the Selling Supertank Printer
  • You can save up to 90 percent with replacement ink bottles vs. ink cartridges (1) — that’s about 1 cent per color ISO page vs. about 20 cents with cartridges (1)
  • You get up to 2 years of ink — in the box and with each replacement ink set (2); replacement set includes enough ink to print up to 7,500 pages black/6,000 color (3)
  • Less waste with Cartridge-Free Printing — one set of replacement bottles equivalent to about 80 individual cartridges (4); means fewer trips to the store
HP Designjet t120 24" ePrinter
  • HP Design jet T120 24" printer wide format color plotter
  • HP T120 Wide format color printer
  • design jet t120 printer
  • 24" Design jet plotter
  • Large format 24" T120 design jet

Standard inkjet printers are much more affordable, lighter, and more compact than wide-format units.

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These printers typically fit on your desktop, which is more convenient if you are short on space.

If you are looking for a high-quality desktop inkjet device, you can pick up a Brother MFC-J470DW inkjet printer for the affordable price of £100 ($110 USD) or a Canon PIXMA MG5620 for as low as £60 ($85 USD).

Canon PIXMA TS6220 Wireless All In One Photo Printer with Copier, Scanner and Mobile Printing, Black, Works with Alexa
  • Inspire your creativity with prints that will impress; From stunning photographs to detailed documents, put the 5 Color Individual Ink System to work and never compromise on speed or quality
  • Enjoy the simplicity of connecting your smartphone, tablet and all your favorite devices with ease.
  • The PIXMA TS6220 wireless printer is the All In One that fits perfectly anywhere in the home, is simple to use, and delivers outstanding quality results every time
  • Connectivity Technology: USB, Bluetooth
  • For numbers listed in product description see “specification sheet” in technical specification section below

A quality colour laser printer will run a little higher, but not by much. For example, a new Brother HL-3140CW laser printer starts at just £153.87 ($199.99 USD).

However, some laser printers do run a bit higher, depending on their features.

A higher-end laser printer that’s still relatively affordable would be the Brother HL-L8360CDW printer, which starts at £307.76 ($399.99 USD).

Your best bet when comparing printers by cost and quality would be to check out a reliable printer buying guide.

Stick with reputable publications like PCMag, which puts out an annual list of the best budget printers of the year.

Look for refurbished printers.

These are used printers that have been repaired or even rebuilt by professionals.

A refurbished printer that’s been worked on by a skilled repair person can produce the same calibre work as a brand-new printer while potentially saving you much money.

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However, you should only buy from reputable sellers.


5 – Lower Your Printing Expenses With Affordable Ink/Toner

Once you have paid for your printer, you may think your financial concerns are settled.

However, you will still need to purchase ink or toner cartridges for your printer.

Ink/toner can get very expensive, as many printer brands sell their inkjet or laser devices for a low cost knowing that consumers will spend hundreds of pounds every year on ink and toner cartridges.

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You do not want to get cheap ink since there’s always a risk that you will end up with a defective product or poor print results.

There are still ways you can lower your costs on printer ink without losing any print quality in your work.

Consider compatible and remanufactured ink/toner cartridges.

Compatible cartridges are brand-new, “generic” products that are not made by the original brand, but they fit into printers and perform just like an original cartridge would.

Remanufactured cartridges (also called “re-engineered”) are used cartridges that have been rebuilt with new components while recycling the plastic shell of an original brand cartridge.

Compatible/re-manufactured printer cartridges can help you save much money – as much as 85% of the original brand’s retail price!

Over the course of a year, the savings you will get from using compatible or remanufactured cartridges could easily pay for your printer!

High-quality compatible and remanufactured cartridges deliver the same page yield, shelf life, and overall print quality that you would get with original brand cartridges.

Smart Ink Remanufactured Ink Cartridge Replacement for Epson T288 288XL 288 XL (Black & C/M/Y 4 Combo Pack) to use with Expression Home XP-330 XP-430 XP-434 XP-446 XP-440 XP-340
  • Compatible with Epson Expression Home XP-330 XP-340 XP-430 XP-434 XP-440 XP-446 printers
  • Package Contents: 1 x Black 288XL, 1 x Cyan 288XL, 1 x Magenta 288XL, 1 x Yellow 288XL (4 cartridges in total)
  • Print More with XL: Up to 500 pages per XL Black, 450 pages per XL color cartridges (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow)
  • Always the Latest Chip Version: Smart Ink cartridges are equipped with the most up-to-date version of the chip and work perfectly with all compatible printers, including printers with the latest firmware
  • Excellent Print Quality: Smart Ink 288XL ink cartridges are remanufactured from OEM products, professionally cleaned, refilled, and tested to provide you with the same print quality as the original ink cartridges

You will get the same performance and print results that you would get from original brand products while lowering your print expenses!

When shopping for affordably-priced ink and toner, make sure the business you choose offers a generous warranty policy.

Many retailers offer a one-year warranty on printer cartridges.

It is important to get an extended warranty because you may not use a given ink cartridge for several months until that colour runs low.

Check how long a retailer has been in business before purchasing compatible or remanufactured printer cartridges from them.

Look for companies that have been around for several years, and check the online reviews that other customers have left, so you will know what kind of customer experience to expect.


There isn’t one single, magical printer model that will be perfect for everyone, so go with the printer that meets your needs.

If you are a freelance graphic designer in need of a quality printer that will fit on your desk at home, you will have the best luck with a compact desktop inkjet printer.

If you need a large-format printer and you have the room (and the money) in your office to accommodate one, check out affordable models from HP, Canon, and Epson.

Moreover, no matter what type of printer brand or model you favour, always shop around for the best deals on printers and the lowest prices on ink and toner.

Top 10 Best Budget Printer Options for Graphic Design

Bestseller No. 1
HP DeskJet 2755e Wireless Color All-in-One Printer with bonus 6 months Instant Ink (26K67A)
  • 6 FREE MONTHS INSTANT INK SUBSCRIPTION when you activate HP+ – Print up to 700 pages a month. Ink ships to you automatically so you never run out. After 6 months, monthly fee applies unless cancelled, and you'll save up to 50% on ink.
  • INCLUDES FREE HP+ SMART FEATURES – Activate HP+ free to get advanced features for mobile printing, security, automatic updates and more. HP+ only works with an HP account, internet connection and Original HP Ink for the life of the printer.
  • BEST FOR BASIC PRINTING – Print basic color documents like recipes, forms and travel documents. Dynamic security enabled printer
  • KEY FEATURES – Print, copy and scan in color, plus mobile and wireless printing
  • EASY SETUP – Get started fast on any device with the HP Smart app that guides you step by step
Bestseller No. 2
Brother MFC-J1010DW Wireless Color Inkjet All-in-One Printer with Mobile Device and Duplex Printing, Refresh Subscription and Amazon Dash Replenishment Ready
  • DELIVERING FULL FUNCTIONALITY IN A SMALL SPACE. There’s no sacrificing features with this welcome addition to any home, home office or small office space. This compact inkjet all-in-one delivers full functionality plus fast print and scan speeds.
  • PUT THE POWER OF PRINTING AT YOUR FINGERTIPS: The simple to use Brother Mobile Connect(1) App delivers easy onscreen menu navigation for printing, copying, scanning and printer management from your mobile device.
  • VERSTAILE PAPER HANDLING AND DUPLEX PRINTING. Use the 20-page capacity automatic document feeder for quick copying and scanning to handle a variety of media. The 150-sheet capacity adjustable paper tray minimizes paper refills.
  • WORRY-FREE PRINTING USING PAGE GAUGE(2).Eliminate the guesswork of ink replacement when you use the Brother Mobile Connect(1) App to access Page Gauge, so you know the amount of ink you’ve used and the amount of ink you have remaining(2).
  • USE ONLY BROTHER GENUINE INK: A full range of Brother Genuine ink cartridges deliver high quality prints and reliable page yields. Choose from Standard (LC401 Series) or High Yield (LC401XL Series) cartridges including select multi-pack options.
Bestseller No. 3
HP OfficeJet Pro 8025e Wireless Color All-in-One Printer with bonus 6 free months Instant Ink with HP+ (1K7K3A)
  • 6 MONTHS FREE INK when you activate HP+ – Includes 6 months free subscription for Instant Ink delivery service with HP+ activation. Ink ships automatically so you never run out. After 6 months, monthly fee applies unless cancelled, and you save up to 50%.
  • INCLUDES FREE HP+ SMART FEATURES – Activate HP+ free to get advanced features for mobile printing, security, automatic updates and more. HP+ only works with an HP account, internet connection and Original HP Ink for the life of the printer.
  • BEST FOR SMALL BUSINESSES AND HOME OFFICES – Print professional-quality color documents like forms, reports, brochures and presentations
  • KEY FEATURES – Fast color print, copy, scan and fax, plus 2-sided printing, mobile and wireless printing, and an auto document feeder
  • FAST PRINT SPEEDS – Print up to 20 pages per minute in black and 10 pages per minute in color
Bestseller No. 4
Canon PIXMA TR7020a All-in-One Wireless Color Inkjet Printer, with Duplex Printing, Mobile Printing, and Auto Document Feeder, Black
  • With a 1.44” OLED DISPLAY & LED STATUS BAR easily see and navigate your printer.
  • The PIXMA TR7020 has a COMPACT & STYLISH DESIGN that fits your space.
  • Great document and photo print quality from 2 CARTRIDGE FINE HYBRID INK SYSTEM.
  • EASY SETUP for smartphone and computer and a hassle-free printing experience
SaleBestseller No. 5
Canon PIXMA TR4720 All-in-One Wireless Printer Home use, with Auto Document Feeder, Mobile Printing and Built-in Fax, Black
  • PRINT, COPY, SCAN, FAX: The PIXMA TR4720 is a true 4-in-1 printer that is compact, versatile and easy-to-use..In The Box : PIXMA TR4720 Wireless All-in-One Printer, Set of Starter (PG-275/CL-276) Ink Cartridges, RJ-11 Telephone/Modem Cable, Power Cord, DocumentationFor numbers listed in product description see “specification sheet” in technical specification section below
  • EASY SETUP: Enjoy simple setup through the Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY app[1].
  • EASY TO INSTALL: Designed for easy ink cartridge installation and replacement.
  • FRONT PAPER TRAY: A fast and easy to load front paper tray with 100 sheet plain paper capacity.
  • QUALITY DOCUMENTS AND PHOTOS: Produce quality documents, photos and boarderless[11] prints up to 8.5" x 11"
SaleBestseller No. 6
Canon Pixma MG3620 Wireless All-in-One Color Inkjet Printer with Mobile and Tablet Printing, Black
  • Mobile device printing: Easily print from your iPhone, iPad, Android or tablet.In The Box : PIXMA MG3620 Wireless Inkjet All-In-One Printer, Manuals and other documents, Setup CD-ROM, FINE Cartridges (Black and Color), Power Cord
  • Quick and easy wireless setup
  • Powerful printing options: Airprint, Google Cloud Print, NFC, Mopria and Canon Print
  • Compact and space-saving design
  • Print on both sides of the page with auto 2-sided print
SaleBestseller No. 7
Canon TR8620a All-in-One Printer Home Office | Copier |Scanner| Fax |Auto Document Feeder | Photo and Document | Airprint (R) and Android, Black
  • The PIXMA TR8620 fits into almost any space with its SLEEK COMPACT SIZE
  • Large 4.3” LCD TOUCHSCREEN for an easy user interface experience
  • EASY SETUP for smartphone and computer so you can get to work
  • With a built in FAX and a 20 SHEET ADF the PIXMA TR8620 is ready to work
  • Built in AUTO DUPLEX PRINTING for convinience & paper savings
Bestseller No. 8
HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e Wireless Color All-in-One Printer with bonus 6 months Instant ink with HP+ (1G5L3A)
  • 6 MONTHS FREE INK when you activate HP+ – Includes 6 months free subscription for Instant Ink delivery service with HP+ activation. Ink ships automatically so you never run out. After 6 months, monthly fee applies unless cancelled, and you save up to 50%.
  • INCLUDES FREE HP+ SMART FEATURES – Activate HP+ free to get advanced features for mobile printing, security, automatic updates and more. HP+ only works with an HP account, internet connection and Original HP Ink for the life of the printer.
  • BEST FOR SMALL BUSINESSES AND HOME OFFICES – Print professional-quality color documents like presentations, brochures and flyers
  • UPGRADED FEATURES – Fast color print, copy, fax, auto 2-sided printing and scanning, mobile and wireless printing, auto document feeder, and print from USB
  • FAST PRINT SPEEDS – Print up to 22 pages per minute in black and 18 pages per minute in color
SaleBestseller No. 9
Epson EcoTank ET-2803 Wireless Color All-in-One Cartridge-Free Supertank Printer with Scan, Copy and AirPrint Support
  • Innovative Cartridge-Free Printing ― High-capacity ink tanks mean no more tiny, expensive ink cartridges; Epson’s exclusive EcoFit ink bottles make filling easy and worry-free
  • Dramatic Savings on Replacement Ink ― Save up to 90% with replacement ink bottles vs. ink cartridges (1) – that’s enough to print up to 4,500 pages black/7,500 color (2), equivalent to about 90 individual ink cartridges (3)
  • Stress-Free Printing — Up to 2 years of ink in the box (4) – and with every replacement ink set – for fewer out of ink frustrations
  • Zero Cartridge Waste – By using an EcoTank printer, you can help reduce the amount of cartridge waste ending up in landfills
  • Impressive Print Quality ― Unique Micro Piezo Heat-Free Technology produces sharp text – plus impressive color photos and graphics – on virtually any paper type
Bestseller No. 10
HP Color LaserJet Pro M283fdw Wireless All-in-One Laser Printer, Remote Mobile Print, Scan & Copy, Duplex Printing, Works with Alexa (7KW75A)
  • Big multifunction performance with high-quality color: This wireless all-in-one printer features print, copy, scan, and fax versatility, fast print speeds––up to 22 ppm, automatic two-sided printing, and a 50-page automatic document feeder
  • Print remotely with the HP Smart app: Set up your LaserJet printer, manage print jobs, receive notifications, and print and scan on the go with HP Smart––HP's best-in-class mobile print app
  • Save time with customizable shortcuts: Eliminate steps in repetitive tasks and organize documents 50% faster directly from your mobile device using exclusive office features in the HP Smart app
  • Strong security: Help protect your HP office printer and sensitive business data with built-in security essentials that help detect and stop attacks
  • Wireless connectivity you can count on: Have confidence in your printer's connection with steady performance from dual band Wi-Fi

Author Bio: Brian Matthew Pietrus is a writer and editor who lives in Los Angeles. He’s worked in e-commerce as the Director of Content Marketing for 1ink.com since September 2016, during which time he’s helped boost web traffic and improve site performance. You can read more of his work at https://www.brianpietrus.com.

Last update on 2023-03-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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1 thought on “What is the Best Budget Printer for Designers?”

  1. Hi Stuart. Thanks for ur insight.
    I really want to start a small digital printing press. I will appreciate if u guide me through cuz new in this. Thanks


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