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Finding a Printer that Won't Break the Bank

A Facebook asked, what printers can I buy that "won't break the bank?"

In inkjet printing, there are two points where money is typically spent: the initial purchase and the ongoing cost.

If you use the printer often, the ongoing cost is the most important concern. You'll want a printer with large tanks that costs less per ink unit. The Canon PRO-1000 and Epson P900 - pigment ink printers are at the high end and designed for fine photo and art reproduction. Then you have Epson EcoTank and Canon MegaTank printers. They have large tanks of dye-based ink - print quality can be quite good, but they only print images that will resist fading for a few decades. Examples are Epson ET-8550, ET-8500, Canon MG620. We recommend those when you want 20-30 years of fade resistance and will not be too upset if they fade a bit over time.

Depending on the model, the initial cost can vary from $100 to $7000. Desktop printers range from $100 to $1300. You can get a surprisingly good printer for $200 and a shockingly good one for $500-$1300. The two things you are paying for are print size and ink type. The more you spend, the wider the printer can print, and it will almost certainly use pigment inks. These are for fine photo and art reproduction. Build quality should be better at the higher price point, and print quality will be professional. 

At this point, there is no intersection of the highest quality printer and the lowest cost of entry. Be prepared to pay more for a top-tier printer, but some of these models will reward you with a lower cost of operation.

Red River Paper is an acknowledged expert in photo and fine art printing. We have many years of experience serving customers since the dawn of the digital camera and print revolution. Contact us with questions about printing, paper, and printers.

Last updated: March 16, 2023