If you are looking for a low-cost inkjet printer, you may want to consider the Brother MFC-J497DW InkJet Printer. It is available for about $80 to $150 online. [ Amazon, Best Buy, Staples ] Availability may be limited as explained below. You may see different suggested bundles for this printer that include ink cartridges of standard capacity or high capacity. Below is a visual of what the printer looks like.
Brother MFC-J497DW Resources
Here are some links to helpful resources.
- Consumer Reports Review of the MFC-J497DW [View]
- Official Brother Product Page [View]
- PC Magazine Review of the MFC-J497DW, 18 Jul 2018 [View]
Replenishment Ink Supplies
Ink cartridges are available in low capacity or high capacity XL size. These offer 200 pages or 400 pages estimated printing output. It’s most economical to purchase color ink in a set of three for all three colors, but if you run out of a single color it is possible to replace an individual color ink cartridge.
The full set of four ink cartridges is about $40 to $60 depending on the capacity:
- Amazon: Color XL Set $40 and Black XL $22
- Best Buy: Color Standard Set $24 and Black Standard Yield $14
- Staples: Color XL Set $38 or Standard Set $24 and Black XL Set $23 or Standard $14
Shortage of Inexpensive InkJet Printers
If you search Amazon, Staples, or Best Buy websites, you’ll find that many inexpensive inkjet printers are out-of-stock and no longer in stores locally, or completely sold out and unavailable nationwide for ordering online. This is similar to the shortage of laptop computers that we saw in 2020 as a result of people working from home due to the pandemic.
Benefits of Ink Tank Printers
Anyone looking for a printer that is inexpensive to operate with very little environmental waste should consider an ink tank printer. These are available from Brother (InkVestmentTank), Canon (Supertank), Epson (EcoTank). These printers are typically $200 to $300 and come with enough ink for two years of printing.
Responding to consumer pressure, public environmental concerns, and perhaps multiple class action lawsuits, HP now offers a Smart-Tank ink tank printer for about $450. However, HP seems to prefer push their high revenue inkjet printers with an ink replenishment plan that guarantees customers get locked into purchasing HP ink with automatic billing. Due to a variety of consumer concerns, I don’t recommend HP as a best choice. [Learn More]