Printer Use Has Dropped, But They Are Still Really Useful Tools

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Home printer usage has dropped around the world in recent years. Some people feel that yearly costs like ink cartridge replacements and repairs are higher than the costs of equivalent printing services. They need to print documents and other items so infrequently that they believe it's less expensive for them to print what they need at work or a professional printer or office supply store, bank or library. Some people loathe printing any and all types of hard copies, including documents and photos. They prefer to share everything electronically.

Yet, given that an increasing number of people are stuck at home because of the global pandemic and dealing with inflation from supply chain disruptions, now is exactly the best time to reconsider a printer investment. Printers are incredibly useful tools that can actually help people save money. This guide covers common print jobs and the types of printers best suited for these tasks.

Jobs Requiring Printers

Home printers can perform a wide range of printing tasks that save people money over time. For example, people often purchase holiday wrapping paper, labels, gift boxes and greeting cards at discount "dollar" and other budget-friendly stores. As announced via news outlets recently, many of these discount stores are increasing their retail prices because of supply chain disruptions, which means that buying these items in a store isn't as cost-effective as in the past. As long as a printer owner has purchased the correct printing medium, such as copy or letter paper, card stock, photo paper, canvas or transfer paper, and the printer is large enough to handle the job, they can print just about anything, including legal documents, stationery, postcards, calendars, goal charts, a family planner, a custom journal, note pages, study flash cards, nametags, banners, posters, standard and tear-off flyers, labels and stickers. If their printer is rated to print at photo-quality levels, they can quickly transfer a photo from a mobile device to a printer and display the hard copy on a desk or wall.

Hobbyists and club members can also use their printers to make a variety of printed items. For example, they might make a cook's conversion chart, grocery list pages or pie boxes. People involved with fundraisers might make a fundraising cookbook, raffle tickets or announcements. Musicians can print out music sheets. Other items include transferable image decals, scrapbooking decorations, pinhole cameras, globes and maps, coloring pages, rulers and protractors, placemats, paper dolls, dollhouse decorations, playing cards, luminaries, origami squares, stencils, holiday decorations, sewing and quilting patterns, garden seed packets and plant tags.

Popular Printer Models

Top home printer brands come from major manufacturers that have been in this business for decades, such as Brother, Canon, Epson and HP. The brand and model that a person picks usually depends on the tasks they need it to perform. That said, many printer manufacturers have designed the latest models to handle most common tasks. These models often include a separate scanner, photo-printing features and copy, fax and even cloud-sync capabilities. Some manufacturers have recognized consumer dissatisfaction with repeated, high-cost cartridge replacements as well. To prevent these consumers from buying low-quality cartridges elsewhere, they now offer super large or refillable ink cartridges and bottle ink tank designs.

What are some of the most popular models? The Brother MFC-J895DW All-In-One (AIO) offers it all for everyday usage. It's an inexpensive printer that allows the user to print from any wireless device and the cloud. It features a 150-sheet capacity, duplex printing, copying, scanning and faxing options, a document feeder, a 2.7-inch colored touchscreen and an incredible ink workload capacity. People who want to print high-quality photos and don't need an AIO might prefer to invest in the Canon PIXMA iP8720 or really any recent Canon PIXMA series printer, which can print document-size, high-quality images in under two minutes. 

Another option? The Epson SureColor P600 also prints high-quality photos. It's slower than Canon, but can print panoramas up to 10 feet and features long-lasting, high-definition pigment ink and an option to purchase extra-large tanks. 

Lastly, people concerned about replacement ink costs should look into Brother INKvestment, Canon MegaTank, Epson EcoTank and HP Smart Tank printers that offer tanks that users can refill with bottled ink.