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.

Best-Budget-Printer-For-Designers

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.

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
  • This printer is designed for use with Epson cartridges only, not third party cartridges or ink; Cartridges described as Compatible, Re manufactured, refilled or refillable may not work properly or at all; See product description for more details
  • 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+ 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.

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.

Commercial-Printer-For-Designers

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.

Inkjet-Vs-Laserjet-Printer

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.

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.

Best-Large-Format-Printer

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 No. 1 Best Selling Supertank Printer
  • You can save up to 90 percent with low-cost 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.

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 2986C002 PIXMA TS6220 Wireless All In One Photo Printer with Copier, Scanner and Mobile Printing, Black, Amazon Dash Replenishment enabled
  • 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; With IFTTT (IF This Then That) support, use various web services/applications to automate printing
  • 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.

However, you should only buy from reputable sellers.

Affordable-Printer-Ink

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.

Working from home as a Sole Trader? Here is what you need to know about the expenses

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.

Conclusion

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
Canon PIXMA TR4520 Wireless All in One Photo Printer with Mobile Printing, Black, Works with Alexa
  • With wireless connect and the Canon Print app, use your smartphone to quickly and easily set up your printer and print right from your smartphone or tablet
  • With features like AirPrint, Mopria Print Service, auto power On/Off, a built in ADF, and Wi-Fi it's easy to see why Pixma printers are so simple to use
  • Connectivity technology: USB. Printer technology: Inkjet. Mobile Operating Systems- iOS, Android, Windows 10 Mobile, and Fire OS (Amazon Fire) devices
  • Save 10 percentage on all ink reorders with Dash Replenishment; Upon activation your printer measures ink levels and places smart reorders when you are running low; No subscription fees; Cancel anytime
  • WORKS WITH ALEXA: Ask Alexa to print your shopping list, to-do list, crosswords, coloring pages, and more; To set up, say “Alexa, discover my printer;” Alexa can also detect when ink or toner is running low and orders more when you need it. Save 10 percentage on all ink or toner smart reorders; Restrictions may apply
Bestseller No. 2
HP OfficeJet Pro 6978 All-in-One Wireless Printer, HP Instant Ink, Works with Alexa (T0F29A)
  • Main functions of this HP color inkjet photo printer: copy, scan, fax, wireless printing, two-sided duplex printing and scanning, color touchscreen, automatic document feeder, Instant Ink ready so you'll never run out of ink, and more
  • Easily print when and where you need to from your smartphone, tablet, or notebook PC; get convenient mobile printing options and mobile setup; connect the way you want to with Ethernet and wireless networking
  • Ink delivered to your home: get your first 2 months free when you enroll in HP Instant Ink (optional) during printer set up; plans starting at 2.99 dollar per month after the trial period, shipping and recycling included
  • Built for business; produce fast professional-quality color for 50% less than lasers, save paper, and handle more tasks without slowing down
  • HP OfficeJet Pro 6978 is ideal for the home office or small workgroups that need professional-quality, affordable color with powerful productivity and fast functionality
Bestseller No. 3
HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e Wireless Color All-in-One Printer with bonus 6 free months Instant Ink with HP+ (1G5L3A)
  • 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
  • HP+ SMART PRINTING SYSTEM – The optional HP+ system enables your printer to think ahead so it's more secure, more productive and ready when you are. Requires an HP account, internet connection and use of only Original HP Ink for the life of the printer.
  • 6 FREE MONTHS OF INSTANT INK & AN EXTRA YEAR OF HP WARRANTY – when you activate optional HP+ and Instant Ink when setting up your printer. Only with HP+.
  • FAST PRINT SPEEDS – Print up to 22 pages per minute in black and 18 pages per minute in color
Bestseller No. 4
HP ENVY 6455e All-in-One Wireless Color Printer with bonus 6 months Instant Ink with HP+ (223R1A)
  • BEST FOR BUSY FAMILIES – Print documents, borderless photos, homework and creative projects
  • KEY FEATURES – Print, copy and scan in color, automatic 2-sided printing, auto document feeder, borderless photos, mobile and wireless printing
  • HP+ SMART PRINTING SYSTEM – The optional HP+ system enables your printer to think ahead so it's more secure, more productive and ready when you are. Requires an HP account, internet connection and use of only Original HP Ink for the life of the printer.
  • 6 FREE MONTHS OF INSTANT INK & AN EXTRA YEAR OF HP WARRANTY – when you activate optional HP+ and Instant Ink when setting up your printer. Only with HP+.
  • EASY SETUP – Get started fast on any device with the HP Smart app that guides you step by step
Bestseller No. 5
HP DeskJet 4155e All-in-One Wireless Color Printer, with bonus 6 months free Instant Ink with HP+ (26Q90A)
  • BEST FOR BASIC PRINTING – Print basic color documents like recipes, forms and travel documents
  • KEY FEATURES – Print, copy and scan in color, auto document feeder, mobile fax, mobile and wireless printing
  • HP+ SMART PRINTING SYSTEM – The optional HP+ system enables your printer to think ahead so it's more secure, more productive and ready when you are. Requires an HP account, internet connection and use of only Original HP Ink for the life of the printer.
  • 6 FREE MONTHS OF INSTANT INK & AN EXTRA YEAR OF HP WARRANTY – when you activate optional HP+ and Instant Ink when setting up your printer. Only with HP+.
  • EASY SETUP – Get started fast on any device with the HP Smart app that guides you step by step.
SaleBestseller No. 6
Xerox C235 Color Multifunction Printer, Print/Scan/Copy/Fax, Laser, Wireless, All in One
  • WORK FROM HOME: Perfect for small work teams or home offices that need technology that fits in tight spaces and is easy to setup. The Xerox C235 Color Multifunction Printer is perfect for anyone looking for a small, reliable, wireless Color all-in-one printer.
  • OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE: Color wireless All-In-One printer that can print, copy, scan fax and email with print speeds up to 24 Letter pages per minute / 22 A4 pages per minute, automatic two-sided printing, 250-sheet paper capacity and high resolution image quality.
  • CONVENIENCE AND CONNECTIVITY: Built-in Wi-Fi for Apple AirPrint, Mopria Print Service and Chromebook. And, simple installation without the need for local IT support means you are up and running right out of the box.
  • STAY SECURE: Comprehensive security features protect against rising and increasingly sophisticated cyber threats by safeguarding access and protecting sensitive data and documents.
  • INTUITIVE INTELLIGENCE: Simplicity drives productivity with Xerox Print Drivers and the Xerox Print & Scan Experience, take the guesswork out of complex tasks like auto straighten, receipt scanning and auto cropping images.
Bestseller No. 7
HP OfficeJet Pro 8035e Wireless Color All-in-One Printer (Oasis) with up to 12 months Instant Ink with HP+ (1L0H7A)
  • 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, an auto document feeder, and print from USB
  • HP+ SMART PRINTING SYSTEM – The optional HP+ system enables your printer to think ahead so it's more secure, more productive and ready when you are. Requires an HP account, internet connection and use of only Original HP Ink for the life of the printer
  • UP TO 12 MONTHS OF INSTANT INK & AN EXTRA YEAR OF HP WARRANTY – when you activate optional HP+ and Instant Ink when setting up your printer. Only with HP+
  • FAST PRINT SPEEDS – Print up to 20 pages per minute in black and 10 pages per minute in color
Bestseller No. 8
Brother Monochrome Laser Printer, Compact All-In One Printer, Multifunction Printer, MFCL2710DW, Wireless Networking and Duplex Printing, Amazon Dash Replenishment Ready
  • Print more, wait less. Engineered for increased efficiency with class leading print speeds of up to 32 pages per minute.
  • Dynamic features meet your evolving needs. The 250-sheet paper capacity helps improve efficiency with less refills and handles letter and legal sized paper.
  • Flexible printing. The manual feed slot offers flexible paper handling for a variety of papers and sizes, such as card stock, envelopes, etc. To help you create Professional looking documents.
  • Engineered to deliver productivity. Up to 50-sheet automatic document feeder helps save time with multi-page copy, scan & fax.
  • Printing as mobile as you are. Print wireless from your desktop, laptop, smartphone and tablet.
Bestseller No. 9
Brother MFC L2700 Series Compact Wireless Monochrome Laser All-in-One Printer - Print Copy Scan Fax - Mobile Printing - Auto Duplex Printing - Up to 32 Pages/Min - ADF - 2-line LCD + HDMI Cable
  • Print Up to 32 Pages/Min
  • Up to 250 Sheets Input Paper Tray Capacity, Up to 50 sheets ADF Capacity
  • Automatic Duplex Printing
  • Wireless, Wi-Fi Direct, Ethernet, USB Connection
  • 2-line LCD Display【Including iCarp HDMI Cable】
Bestseller No. 10
HP OfficeJet Pro 8025e Wireless Color All-in-One Printer with bonus 6 free months Instant Ink with HP+ (1K7K3A)
  • 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
  • HP+ SMART PRINTING SYSTEM – The optional HP+ system enables your printer to think ahead so it's more secure, more productive and ready when you are. Requires an HP account, internet connection and use of only Original HP Ink for the life of the printer
  • 6 FREE MONTHS OF INSTANT INK AND AN EXTRA YEAR OF HP WARRANTY – when you activate optional HP+ and Instant Ink when setting up your printer. Only with HP+
  • FAST PRINT SPEEDS – Print up to 20 pages per minute in black and 10 pages per minute in color

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 2021-10-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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