For college students or anyone else on a limited budget, the temptation of a cheap printer can be tough to resist. The substantial savings may seem worthwhile, but be cautious when shopping for low-end printers, because you'll typically get what you pay for. Photo quality can be average at best, and you may spend more on paper and ink than you would with a model that's a little more expensive.
Fortunately, some reputable companies offer excellent models costing $100 or less. Or, if you keep your eye out for deals and incentives, you might find a higher-end model discounted to something within your price range. Customer loyalty programs and special promotions can help when you shop for any type of electronics.
At the top of our list is the Canon Selphy CP900 (*Est. $80) . It has a 2.5-inch tilting screen and weighs only 2 pounds. An optional battery pack and charger (*Est. $80 each) make the printer truly portable, but increase the up-front cost. The CP900 can print from a computer or memory card or via PictBridge, and has built-in Wi-Fi so you can print wirelessly from smartphones and tablets. Its only drawback is that ink and paper are expensive compared to other photo printers at about 32 cents a page.
Canon Selphy printers use thermal-dye technology, which is a ribbon containing colored dyes. The heated print head vaporizes the dyes and transfers them to the paper. While reviewers say this process produces very good photos, it's expensive and rather slow.