When some colleges reopen this fall, students will likely have less access to communal spaces like libraries. As a result, online searches for the best affordable printers for college students have surged. If you’re planning to attend any in-person classes in the coming months, it could be worth investing in your own printer, especially if your major requires a fair amount of essays.
They’re expensive, yes, but a quality printer will save you plenty of time that you’d ordinarily spend trekking to the nearest publicly available printer on campus, which might not even be an option this semester. Plus, if used properly, any printer should last you for years to come. Consider it a future investment that will also alleviate some uncertainty during one of the strangest moments in history.
Believe it or not, there are tons of awesome printers available for less than $200, whether you’re looking for a traditional inkjet device or a specialized photo printer. Not sure what you’re looking for? Below, we’ve rounded up nine of the best affordable printers for college students. Each allows for both black and white and color printing, and they’re all small enough to fit in a dorm room or cramped campus apartment.
Keep reading to find the printer that’s right for you.
HP OfficeJet 3830 Inkjet Printer
This compact printer from HP has the ability to print crystal clear documents and photos, along with copying, scanning, and faxing capabilities. With a touch screen control panel and wifi connectivity, it’s less than two feet wide, so you could easily store it on your desk and still have room to spare. An added plus: The black color means it won’t become visibly dirty. Some reviewers note that the Officejet 3830 uses up ink cartridges fairly quickly, so consider signing up for an ink subscription through Best Buy’s Easy Replenish program.
Pros: Affordable, compact, mobile printing capabilities
Cons: Uses up ink quickly
Epson EcoTank ET-2720 Printer
Epson’s new eco-friendly printer might be on backorder, but there’s no doubt it’s worth the wait. The ET-2720 model from the brand’s EcoTank line comes with enough black ink to print six thousand pages, and instead of replacing cartridges, you’ll fill up a reservoir by hand with a supplied ink bottle. Replacement bottles are inexpensive and produce less waste than traditional cartridges, which is a major win. It’s also got all the hi-tech features you’d expect from a printer in 2020, like built-in wifi and mobile printing capabilities.
Pros: Eco-friendly, mobile printing capabilities, two color options
HP Envy Pro 6455 Printer
The HP Envy Pro is one of the most user-friendly printers on the market, making it ideal for college students. The wireless all-in-one printer features a design that’s super simple to figure out, with the scanner exactly where you’d expect it to be and buttons that light up when different parts of the printer need attention. Print, scan, and copy anything you’d like using traditional paper or photo paper, and this printer will deliver exactly what you need it to every time. In the event that it somehow falls short of your expectations, no worries: Each one comes with a yearlong warranty.
Pros: Wireless, mobile printing capabilities, intuitive design, one-year warranty
Cons: Time-consuming setup process
Canon Selphy CP1300 Photo Printer
If you’re prioritizing top-notch photo print quality, the Selphy CP1300 from Canon is the printer for you. The ultra-sleek photo printer can print images as squares, rectangles, and even photo booth-style strips of pics. Since you can edit the photos directly on the printer’s screen, you can be sure every image will print exactly the way you want it to. Print candids from your phone using the printer’s Bluetooth and wifi connectivity, or straight from your favorite camera using its multiple memory card slots and USB port.
Pros: Affordable, compact, mobile printing capabilities, wireless
Cons: Only prints photos
Epson XP-7100 Inkjet Printer
Not only is this inkjet from Epson a stellar photo printer, but it also allows for automatic duplex (AKA double-sided) printing, scanning, and copying of any documents you choose. Its standout feature is that it houses a whopping five ink tanks, which require far less replacing than the ordinary ink cartridges you would find in most other small printers. It can even print CD covers, in the event that you’re looking to throw it back to the early 2000s.
Pros: Compact, mobile printing capabilities, wireless, five ink tanks
HP Tango X Printer
The Tango X might be small, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to replace its ink cartridges on a regular basis. The printer is compatible with special high-yield cartridges, which require far less frequent replacement than typical cartridges and will save you money long term. Equipped with both wifi and Bluetooth, it’s easy to set up, and you can even tell it what to print via a voice-activated system. When it’s not in use, store it in the provided linen cover to keep it looking brand new.
Pros: Easy setup, protective cover, mobile printing capabilities, voice-activated printing
Cons: Expensive, no photo tray
Lexmark C2425dw Color Laser Printer
Unlike traditional inkjet printers, laser printers use melted toner powder to print, which allows them to print faster and ensures your documents will be dry to the touch the minute they come out. However, it’s rare to find an affordable laser printer that can print in color, which makes this one from Lexmark extra special. Some reviewers note that it was initially tough to connect it to the internet, but once it’s been done, you won’t need to do it again.
Pros: Laser printer, wireless, mobile printing capabilities, energy-efficient
Cons: Expensive, time-consuming setup
Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5210 Printer**
Epson’s WorkForce Pro is the perfect printer for every college procrastinator. It requires no warm-up time before printing, so you can crank out all of your last-minute assignments without unexpected delays. The WF-C5210’s replaceable ink packs last far longer than regular cartridges, printing up to 10 thousand black and white and five thousand color documents each. In other words, you’ll save money and lower your carbon footprint by investing in this wifi-enabled printer.
Pros: Fast printing time, eco-friendly, mobile printing capabilities, money-saving
Brother HLL2300D Printer
If you simply want a no-fuss printer that will get the job done under $100, then Brother’s HLL2300D printer is for you. Affordable, compact, and easy to set up, you can store this in a corner of your desk and use it when it’s time to cramp all those last-minute notes for your test or that essay you just finished with 1 hour to spare.
__Pros:__Compact, easy set-up, affordable
Cons: Doesn’t connect via Wi-fi, doesn’t bring the USB needed to set-up
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