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Best Printers for College

Best Printers for College

College is right around the corner and a cheap, compact printer is an essential for back to school.  Printers are usually pretty far down the dorm shopping priority list, but they are definitely worth the investment.  Most college print services are “pay to print,” which means you’ll be regularly loading up a card with money and spending anywhere between .10 cents to .99 cents a page, depending on your school and their printing policy.  Those pages can add up quickly, especially if you have to print out power points or study guides for class.  Luckily, there are a number of printers with low cost ink that can outrival your school’s printing policy.  In this article, we will go over some of our favorites and break down the cost per page of each machine, so you can compare printing costs and put that printer card money towards something more worthwhile.

 Canon® PIXMA® TS5020

4 Stars on Amazon – $69.99*

Canon’s PIXMA line is an incredibly popular printer series and the TS5020 is one of their least expensive options, currently selling for just $69.00 on Amazon.  It offers print, scan and fax capabilities and an easy to setup wireless option is compatibile with a number of printing apps, including Canon Print, Apple® AirPrint® and Google® Cloud Print.  With dimensions of 14.7 x 12.5 x 5 inches, the TS5020 is compact and storable, perfect for placing just about anywhere in your dorm room.   The printer uses five separate cartridges, so you only need to replace each color as needed.  Cartridges are sold in a standard yield and high yield size but high yield cartridges are generally a better deal if you print regularly due to their higher ink capacity. The Canon PGI-270XL high yield black cartridge goes for $28.99 and prints 300 pages. The Canon CLI-271XL color cartridges go for $24.49 apiece and also print 300 pages.  The cost per page for the black cartridge is 9.7 cents per page and the color cartridge is 34 cents per page.  To bring the cost down significantly, consider buying the LD compatible version of the cartridges.  LD sells the compatible PGI-270XL black cartridge for $6.99, touting a cost per page of just 2.3 cents.  The LD compatible color cartridges are also priced at $6.99 and offer a cost per page of 9.2 cents!

Cartridge Price Cost Per Page Comparison
Original Canon PGI-270XL Black Cartridge $28.99 9.6 cents per page
Original Canon CLI-271XL Color Cartridges $24.49 34 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible PGI-270XL Black Cartridge $6.99  2.3 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible CLI-27XL Color Cartridges $6.99 9.2 cents per page

Brother® MFC-J985DW

4 Stars on Amazon – $149.99

The Brother MFC-J985DW is the most expensive printer on our list at $185.26, but a low cost operating easily makes up for the high initial price point.  Print, scan and fax features are standard and a convenient automatic duplexing features lets you quickly print on both sides of the page, ideal for saving paper on those lengthy study guides.  Part of Brother’s Inkvestment series, the printer’s LC20E XXL extra high yield cartridges offer a generous page yield at a cost per page of less than 1 cent..  There is a good chance you won’t need to replace your cartridges at all during the school year, with the black cartridge printing around 2,400 pages for $24.59 and the color cartridges printing 1,200 pages for around $16 dollars each.  LD brand compatible cartridges can cut down printing costs even more.  The LD compatible black cartridges goes for $8.49 and each color cartridge is just $7.49.

Cartridge Price Cost Per Page Comparison
Original Brother LC20E XXL Black Cartridge  $24.59 1.0 cents per page
Original Brother LC20E XXL Color Cartridges $16.29 4.9 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible LC20E XXL Black Cartridges $8.49 .35 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible LC20E XXL Color Cartridges $7.49 2.2 cents per page

Epson® Expression® Home XP-440

4.5 Stars on Amazon – $49.99

Epson’s XP-440 printer is a quiet, compact machine that is easy to set up and wireless ready.  Print, scan and copy options are convenient features for any student and the budding photographer will appreciate it’s ability to produce first rate color photos. A built in memory slot even lets you edit your photos without a computer with built-in tools that remove red eye and optimize color quality. Download the Epson Creative print app to print directly from Facebook or Instagram.  The printer’s four Epson 288 cartridges are offered in a standard yield and high yield size.  The Epson 288XL high yield black cartridge prints 500 pages and sells for $35.49.  Each color cartridge prints 450 pages and is for $19.59.   LD brand remanufactured 288XL cartridges are just $9.99 and we also offer a four pack for $35.96

Cartridge Price Cost Per Page Comparison
Original Epson 288XL Black Cartridge $35.49 7.0 cents per page
Original Epson 288XL Color Cartridges $19.59 19.9 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible 288XL Black Cartridges $9.99 1.9 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible 288XL Color Cartridges $9.99 2.2 cents per page

HP® DeskJet® 3755

4 Stars on Amazon – $59.89

The Deskjet 3755 is an all-in-one machine that’s a solid space-saving option for students that print occasionally.  Wireless printing is a breeze with the HP mobile printing app and it’s scan and copy features are a definite plus for class projects.  The cartridges are not quite as generous in terms of capacity compared to some of the other printers mentioned here, but at an initial price point of $58.00, it may be worth it if you don’t want to invest a lot of money upfront.  The printer uses both a black and tri-color HP 65 cartridge, which are offered in a standard yield and high yield cartridge size.  Staples sells the XL black cartridge for $30.19, printing 300 pages and the tri-color XL goes for $35.39, which also prints 300 pages.   The LD brand remanufactured version of the black 65XL cartridge is far cheaper at $18.99 and the color version goes for $20.99.

Cartridge Price Cost Per Page Comparison
Original HP 65XL Black Cartridge  $28.89 9.6 cents per page
Original HP 65XL Tri-Color Cartridge  $33.99 43.5 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible 65XL Black Cartridge  $18.99 6.3 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible 65XL Tri-Color Cartridge $20.99 27 cents per page


Now that you have a few different printers that are worth considering, you can make the best buying decision based on your needs and your budget.  Before you buy, make a note of how much the cost per page is for the prospective machine and compare it against your college’s printing plan.  Odds are, your overall printing costs will likely win out over those pesky printing service fees!



*Savings based on price comparison between remanufactured/compatible cartridge prices on and OEM cartridge and printer prices from Amazon and Staples. All prices effective as of February 25, 2019.  OEM names are registered trademarks of their respective owners and are not affiliated with, and do not endorse LD Products.

1 Comment

  • please help, with xp 440 , brand new, no printing at all, white sheet. I think I am hooked up to my wifi.
    rene lichtman

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