Often, cheaper printers can cost you a lot to run. So a low purchase price doesn't necessarily mean you're going to save money overall.
Testers print thousands of black-and-white pages, as well as color, to see how many each printer can churn out on one ink cartridge. They use that information to calculate the cost per page for each machine. Some print pages for as little as a penny, while others cost more than 8 cents a page!
Consumer Reports also prints pages of text and graphics to assess clarity and overall quality. Testers look for things such as crispness of the lines, saturation of the colors, and no banding in the areas of color. Testers also print photos to see how well the printers can represent bright colors and clear definition.
In the end, Consumer Reports found a few all-in-one printers that hit the sweet spot. They are inexpensive to purchase and run. Testers recommend the Dell model V715w for $120. You can also use it as a scanner and copier.
If you don't need to make copies or scan documents, Consumer Reports says a good single-function printer is the HP Photosmart D7560. It costs just $100 and delivers very good text and excellent photo quality.