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