Basic inkjet printers might not have many exciting features, but they can produce clean output for everyday use without putting too big of a dent in your wallet. Some can do an acceptable job of outputting graphics and even photos.
The top choice in the sub-$100 class is the HP Officejet 6100 ePrinter (*Est. $85) . It continues HP's legacy as a leader in utilitarian printers that promise speed and good print quality. Not only is the Officejet 6100 affordable, but it's also fast and holds up to 250 sheets of paper. Ink consumption is a surprising strong point, earning more praise than pans in consumer reviews. However, that's after you use the low-capacity starter cartridges that the 6100 ships with.
The printer is also remarkably versatile considering its price. It can connect wirelessly via Wi-Fi, accept output from Apple devices such as an iPhone and iPad via Apple AirPrint, or receive emailed documents from any device, anywhere, via HP's ePrint service.
However, other bells and whistles are few and far between. There's no memory card reader or PictBridge support for printing directly from a digital camera, nor does it have a preview screen. Automatic two-sided printing is not an option. There's only one paper tray, which means you need to empty and refill it if you want to print on different paper stock.
Printing out clean text is this printer's strength, but only for personal or internal business use, says PCMag.com. "Text lacks the crispness that you'd get from a laser printer, and I wouldn't even consider using it for, say, a résumé," says M. David Stone. Likewise, the 6100 can print out photos and other graphics, but don't expect the output to wow you. Best results are achieved on glossy stock.
User reviews turn up a few additional rough spots, including complaints of paper jams. In addition, some say the HP Officejet 6100 ePrinter is a bit on the noisy side.