My 2024 Printer Buying Guide

Printers are one of those devices that are incredibly aggravating and expensive.. But we all need one at one time or another. In my latest video I run through the current choices in the market to help you better understand what might meet your needs!

Personally, I’ve found laser printers to be more economical for my infrequent printing needs. They are reliable, even after sitting idle for months, as they don’t suffer from the clogging issues common in inkjet printers. Although color laser printers often carry a steeper cost per page vs. ink jet printers, they are more efficient and usually cost less on a per page basis.

However, for those who print color photos or other documents frequently, inkjet printers, especially the newer tank models, might be more appealing. These tank printers, while more expensive on the hardware side vs. a cartridge printer, offer a lower cost of ownership in the long run, particularly for high-volume printing. The ink for these printers is significantly cheaper, but it’s important to be aware of some hidden maintenance costs, like replacing ink-absorbing sponges or print heads.

I also explored ink and toner subscriptions, where manufacturers like HP, Canon, and Brother offer plans that deliver ink as needed for a monthly fee on a per-page basis. These plans are particularly cost-effective for low-volume printing, as they offer a lower per-page cost compared to buying cartridges individually. However, it’s important to remember that these printers need a constant internet connection, and the cartridges stop working if the subscription is canceled.

I also spoke about my experiences with generic ink and toner replacements. While they can be cost-effective, printer manufacturers often try to prevent their use through authenticity checks. I’ve personally used a generic toner cartridge in my Lexmark printer with success, but it’s a gamble. Consumer Reports suggests caution, as the quality and reliability of generic cartridges can vary greatly. It’s important to carefully research the cartridge manufacturer before buying.

The good news with all of the choices we have today is that it costs a lot less to print now than it did a few years ago. Tanks and subscriptions give users more options to save money and the price of laser printers are now pretty close to what you’d pay for an ink jet model.