Skip to content

The Best Printer Under $300 for 2023: An In-Depth Guide

Investing in a quality printer can take your home office or small business to the next level in convenience and productivity. But with countless choices on the market offering varying features at differing prices, selecting the right budget-friendly model under $300 might seem tricky.

This comprehensive guide takes the guesswork out of deciding which affordable home/office printer best handles your needs and workflow.

Key Factors To Compare Printer Value

Beyond just assessing print quality and paper handling, several other aspects significantly impact overall value when purchasing a sub $300 printer. Comparing strengths around these areas help match models to your unique use case.

Dimensions and Placement Flexibility

Printers span a wide spectrum of shapes and sizes. Bulkier printers like laser all-in-ones hog considerable desk real estate versus compact inkjet models living peacefully on small counters. Before deciding, measure out intended fist print workstation areas to ensure your shortlisted models properly fit. Worst case large printers reside on nearby utility shelves as needed.

Ink tank and inkjets also give placement flexibility with the actual printer stationed in one spot while mobile devices connect over WiFi from afar. With laser printers, computer connects directly to printer with USB cables allowing less wireless workflow.

|| Inkjet | Laser| Ink Tank |
|-|-|-|-|
| Small Countertop Fit | Ideal | Varies | Ideal |
|Flexible Setup| Yes via WiFi | No cables limit | Yes via WiFi |

Operating Noise Levels

All printers generate some noise when churning out pages and this can impact where device lives. In general, most affordable choices stay around 50 decibels or lower when running – on par with moderate ambient home noise. High speed laser printers emit slightly louder humming plus whirring motors and fans ramping up when printing. If planning desktop location in say a bedroom, investigate ratings to confirm device noise won‘t distract.

|| Inkjet | Laser| Ink Tank |
|-|-|-|-|
| Noise Levels | Low 50db avg | Higher 58db+ | Low 50db avg |

Print Speeds For Tasks

Faster print speeds measured in pages per minute (PPM) improve productivity especially printing long monthly reports or piles of school homework. Inkjets historically lag with manufacturers rating real world color speeds around just 7 PPM for basic units. Middle tier Inkjets reach double speed around 15 PPM. Leading ink tank models print faster despite lower costs while laser printers continue winning fastest speed contest up to 30 PPM thanks to high intensity toner processes. Know print jobs and needs before settling.

|| Inkjet | Laser| Ink Tank |
|-|-|-|-|
| Speed Pages Per Minute | 7-15 PPM | 25-30 PPM | 10-20 PPM |

Security: Protect Print Jobs

Many latest printers now allow password protecting print jobs or requiring physical proximity to release. Helpful if printing sensitive financial, customer data. Some support smartcards/pin numbers. Also many models include port blocking to avoid security threats entering from network connections. Consider built-in capabilities if security matters.

|| Inkjet | Laser| Ink Tank |
|-|-|-|-|
|Print Job Passwords/PIN| Limited | Yes | Limited |
|Network Port Blocking | No | Yes | No |

Integrations with Smart Home Ecosystems

Modern printers connect beyond desktops/laptops/mobiles to integrate directly with smart speakers and home automation platforms using WiFi. Select models compatible with Amazon Alexa allow voice commanding prints without touching devices via speech interactions. While niche, another area to investigate if already leveraging home smart devices powered by AI assistants.

|| Inkjet | Laser| Ink Tank |
|-|-|-|-|
|Voice Commands w/Alexa | No | Few Models | No |
|IFTTT Triggers| No | Few Models | No |

Specialty Paper Handling Capabilities

Beyond supporting basic letter or legal sizes, specialty projects demand handling thicker card stock, labels or envelopes. Some document feeders jam on non-typical paper but better printers have main trays and manual feeds supporting diverse media. If planning homemade greeting cards or addressing wedding invites, validate paper weights before buying. Most handle 20lb+ stock and some borders but confirm.

|| Inkjet | Laser| Ink Tank |
|-|-|-|-|
Envelopes | Yes | Varies | Yes |
|Cards/Heavy Stock | No | Select Models | No |
|Labels| Yes | Yes | Yes |

Mobile and Tablet Printing Options

Road warriors demand printers supporting popular mobile ecosystems for sending last minute contracts from hotels or printing photos from vacations. Every printer here connects over WiFi but double check for direct mobile apps allowing iOS, Android, Chromebook prints. Or devices could utilize Google Cloud Print, AirPrint capabilities for platform-agnostic solutions albeit with less customization.

|| Inkjet | Laser| Ink Tank |
|-|-|-|-|
|Android & iOS Apps| Yes | Select Models | Yes|
|Chromebooks w/Google Cloud Print | Yes | Select Models | Yes |
|AirPrint Compatible | Select Models | No | Select Models |

Energy Efficiency and Plastic Waste

Consumers balancing tight budgets along with environmental footprints should consider energy costs and plastic waste when selecting affordable printers with lower operating expenses already top priority. Newer ink tank printers lead the pack saving energy most the time by avoiding ongoing cartridge replacements but still using some plastic. Laser printers consume slightly more electricity yet generate less plastic waste over time through toner cartridge reuse. No clear winner exists despite advances on both technologies.

|| Inkjet | Laser| Ink Tank |
|-|-|-|-|
|Energy Efficient| Average | Average | High |
|Low Plastic Waste| Low | High | Average |

Key Players: Printer Brand Industry Reputations

Veteran printing companies Canon, Epson, HP, Brother dominate 70%+ of total market providing exceptional reliability for lower cost consumer focused inkjets and lasers. Lesser known brands try competing through cheaper ink costs but may sacrifice quality or extra features. Stick mainstream when possible. Meanwhile Canon and Epson basically developed ink tank category giving them advantage on newer refill process. Check current brand respect and failures before large purchases.

|| Inkjet | Laser| Ink Tank |
|–|–|–|–|
|Market Leader| HP,Canon| HP,Brother | Epson, Canon|
|Reliability Rating|Excellent|Excellent|Excellent|
|Customer Support| Excellent| Good| Excellent|

Now armed with insights around key factors beyond printing itself impacting overall value, application below determines the best printer recommendations under $300 across typical home office needs and edge cases.

Top Printer Under $300 Picks By Category

Evaluate top contenders below selected as the ideal printer under $300 matching common situations in 2023.

All Around: Epson Ecotank ET-2800

Best For Most Homes

Ink Tank Printer

$229.99

  • Compact size fits anywhere
  • Refillable ink saves money
  • Quality colour prints
  • Scans/copies built-in
  • Lacks fax capability

For exceptional value across the board, the user-friendly Epson EcoTank ET-2800 takes top honors as overall best printer under $300. This ink tank printer cuts annoying and costly ink cartridge replacements way down through an integrated refillable ink reservoir supplying up to two years of ink. Despite higher initial purchase cost, it saves massively long term over inkjet models with expensive cartridges. The small countertop footprint fits those with limited desk space while integrated scanner/copier features maximize functionality.

It does lack a bit on print speeds coming in around 5 pages per minute. But the high quality colour printing, ability to print from various devices over WiFi, and massive ink cost savings make it easy to overlook. Sure an automatic document feeder would be nice but without breaking budget, it nails the sweet spot blending solid performance with outrageous ink value.

Laser on a Budget: Brother HL-L3270CDW

Best Black and White Documents

Laser Printer

$274.50

  • Crisp professional prints
  • Fast 25 pages per minute
  • 250 sheet capacity
  • Duplex printing built-in
  • No scanning/copying

For those willing to pay more upfront for lower operating costs over time, the Brother HL-L3270CDW offers best-in-class laser printing at this budget price point. It produces excellent quality color documents at speeds up to 25 pages per minute. Integrated auto duplex printing saves paper by using both sides. Toner lasts exponentially longer than expensive ink cartridges giving substantial cost savings for moderate to high volume printing. Add the bright touchscreen and multiple connectivity choices like WiFi and Ethernet for outstanding usability. While missing scanner/copier functions, it focuses on fast professional grade printing affordably under $300.

Family Hub: Canon TR4720 Inkjet

Feature Packed All-in-One

Inkjet Printer

$99.99

  • Prints, copies, scans, faxes
  • 100 sheet paper tray
  • Airprint and Canon app
  • 15 page per minute speed
  • No double sided printing

If your priority is maximizing functionality under $300, the Canon PIXMA TR4720 hits the sweet spot. This versatile inkjet printer cranks out documents at a decent clip while packing print, scan, copy and fax capabilities – key for busy households juggling everything. The two paper trays allow quick switching between document and photo paper as needed. Of course paying for cartridges stings but Print app compatibility and AirPrint handily facilitate easy wireless flow from phones and tablets. At just around $100, it gives outstanding bang for the buck across performance, scan quality and convenient bonus features families need.

Mobile Worker: Canon iX6820

Advanced Connectivity Features

Inkjet Printer

$179.00

  • Airprint and Google Cloud Print
  • 9600 x 2400 DPI enhanced resolution
  • 150 sheet paper capacity
  • Ink tank refill system
  • Lacks scanner and copier
  • No document feeder

Many lower priced printer models don‘t support handy technologies like AirPrint that facilitate easy wireless printing from Apple devices. But the Canon PIXMA iX6820 delivers compatibility with AirPrint and Google Cloud Print for seamless printing from phones, tablets and Chromebooks – key for busy mobile professionals juggling devices.

It prints faster than competitors at 15 pages color per minute with extra high 9600 x 2400 maximum DPI enhanced resolution. The refillable individual ink tank system skips frequent costly all-in-one cartridge replacements.Notable downsides include lack of a built-in scanner/copier and an automatic document feeder. But for Apple centric customers wanting affordable quality printing with flexible mobile device support, the iX6820 warrants consideration.

Student Essentials: Brother HL-L2350DW

Cheap Monochrome Printing

Laser Printer

$135.00

  • Only black and white
  • Up to 32 page per minute speed
  • 250 sheet capacity
  • Duplex printing built-in
  • No scanning or copying

College students churning term papers and reports don‘t need fancy color. So for those comfortable strictly outputting crisp black and white documents, consider the affordable Brother HL-L2350DW compact monochrome laser printer. Despite a mono laser focus, it still outputs texts and images faster than bulkier inkjets at speeds up to 32 pages per minute. The 250 sheet paper tray saves time refilling constantly. Integrated wireless connectivity makes it easy to deploy anywhere within existing WiFi networks around campus or apartments. While limited compared to all in one devices, price conscious students will appreciate quality printing essentials under $150 minus costly ink upkeep.

Choosing The Best Printer Under $300: Bottom Line

While lacking refined polish of advanced models, todays budget printers handle the basics wonderfully – delivering solid print quality, speeds and connectivity sub $300 cost. Set expectations around supplemental functions and paper handling accordingly depending on printer technology class.

Inkjet printers offer outstanding affordability but do cost more long term paying for replacement cartridges. Laser printers carry steeper up front pricing offset by cheaper ongoing toner costs over years. Emerging ink tank models enjoyment massive ink savings through refillable reservoirs.

Determine frequency and typical printer use cases before deciding on sacrificing features to meet strict budget. Home office warriors might splurge on a faster laser printer while dorm residents skimp, only printing black and white essays for the most cost efficiencies.

With the right informed compromises around needs, even spending below $300 secures lasting printer value for any savvy home consumer.