/ Technology

Are home printers still worth having?

Printer sales surged in 2020, probably owing to an increase in working from home. But could the days of the home printer be numbered?

Not that long ago, a home printer was a handy tool to have around. But in an era where bank statements, boarding passes and even signatures are increasingly digital, the value of having a printer isn’t always as obvious as it once was.

Ink wastage and blockages

It’s reassuring to have physical backups of travel tickets and passports, even if I’ve never actually needed them. But most entry-level inkjet printers aren’t designed for such occasional use – they’re prone to nozzle blockages when not used regularly. At worst, this can put a printer out of commission. At best, it wastes precious ink, which is used during cleaning cycles.

Ink waste and blockage issues aren’t as pronounced in laser and ink-tank printers, but you pay a pretty penny for that privilege, with prices starting at over £100. That’s hard to justify when I can pop down to my local library and print for 15p a page (or 50p if I want to treat myself to colour). Of course, not everyone is lucky enough to have a convenient library around the corner.

Home offices

Even for those with a home office or children at school, a lot of work is now completed and submitted online. I’ve not printed a single piece of paper in more than a year at Which?, and kids can often upload work and answer homework on online portals. Marks, merits and reports are often recorded online too, so parents can see more clearly how their kids are doing.

Do you have a printer at home?
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Are you still using a home printer? What do you mainly use it for? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Andrew West says:
11 January 2022

I have a desktop Mac, and I used to have an Epson scanner/printer connected to it that would print on A3 thick paper, The reason I required this was to be able to print out music orchestra parts for my private use (only) as an amateur violist (using thick paper so it would not fall off the music stand).
Very often the image is too small on the original to see it , especially when you are in your late 70’s and eyesight is failing.
Apple and Epson both let me down badly. the Apple system (now on Big Sur 11.6.2 ) and try as I may, I could not get an updated driver nor any other help from the on-line provisions of Epson. I cannot see a replacement on the market and about 2 or 3 (?) years ago I reluctantly took my Epson printer to the local dump! Of course covid may have solved the problem for good, we shall have to see!

I am currently using macOS Monterey 12.1, the current version at the time of writing, and my five year old HP A3 printer has been working fine.

It’s a pity you have disposed of the printer, Andrew, because printer manufacturers may release updates. Many years ago I had an Epson scanner that would not work after an OS update but a couple of months later it was up and running again.