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When should I buy a new printer?

When should I buy a new printer?

Even with regular maintenance, printers can’t last forever. Here is when you should start thinking about an upgrade.

We all have different reasons for wanting a new printer. Some users need a new printer because their printing needs have changed, some are for economical reasons, and some simply need a new printer because their old unit has run its course.

What’s the average lifespan of a printer?

The average lifespan of a printer is around 3-5 years.  With proper upkeep and maintenance, some printers can last longer, but eventually your machine will need an upgrade. Here, we cover a few common signs that signal it may be time for a new printer so you can plan ahead and find the best printing solution for your home or office.

#1. It doesn’t make sense for your needs

Inkjet printers and laser printers are designed to accommodate two very different types of printer users. If you are using a printer that doesn’t fit your needs, you are wasting valuable printing dollars on an inefficient machine.  Inkjets are best for casual home printing and photos, while laser printers are built to handle text heavy office prints.  Take a look at what sort of documents you print frequently and read our inkjet vs. laser guide to learn more about the benefits of both types of printers.  Then, decide whether your needs are in line with the features and functionality of your current printer.

#2 – Your cartridges are too expensive

Pricey printer cartridges can make or break any printer budget.  If new cartridge replacements cost more than the price you paid for the printer, it’s time to get a new machine.  Most printers (and their cartridges) follow the razor and blades business model.  Razor companies perfected this sales tactic years ago by selling their razor handles for cheap, only to charge a premium for the blades.  The printer industry thrives off of this same model, selling their printers at break even or a loss, only to make up for it with expensive cartridges.  Instead of overpaying for cartridges every time, you will want to find a printer that uses inexpensive cartridges with a high page yield.  Ink tank printers like the Epson EcoTank series are a good option for home users with high volume printing needs and laser printers are best suited for businesses.  Learn how to choose a budget-friendly printer with our complete buying guide here.  Buying low cost compatible cartridges from LD Products is another great way to save.  We have been helping our customers print affordably for over twenty years, delivering the same exceptional print quality and performance as the name brand, at a fraction of the price – and we back every compatible cartridge with a lifetime guarantee!

#3 – Print speed is too slow

The more miles you put on your printer, the slower it tends to get due to worn out parts and repeated use.  Print speed is calculated in ppm (pages per minute) or ipm (images per minute), depending on what printer model you own.  A few different factors can contribute to print speed, including the type and size of the document you are printing, whether you are printing in black, color (or both) and the quality of the print job.  One way to test the speediness of your machine is by printing in draft mode, which is generally pretty speedy since it doesn’t use a lot of ink to create a print.   If draft mode is printing slowly, it may be time to trade in your printer.

#4 – The print quality is poor

Poor print quality is inevitable with any printer that gets used regularly.  However, just because you are getting poor prints, doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel just yet.  There are a few simple troubleshooting tips that can improve print quality instantly.  Streaky or light prints can usually be resolved by running the cleaning function on your machine.  We recommend only running a cleaning 1-2 times.  You don’t want to clean the printer multiple times in a row, as it does deplete the ink inside the cartridge.  Should the cleaning not work, consider replacing the cartridges.  Sometimes a fresh set of cartridges are all you need.  Check out our common printer troubleshooting guide for more tips on improving print quality.  If the quality doesn’t improve after replacing the cartridges, your printer is likely ready for replacement.

#5 – The internal parts are worn

Clicking or grinding noises and frequent printer jams are another sign of age.  Paying for repairs may be enticing but it often costs more than the purchase price of the actual printer.  That, and factoring in the down time while your printer is in the shop, is probably not worth the wait.  If you are really attached to your printer, get a quote from a local repair shop before committing to the repair work.  Switching to a newer printer model may not be as scary as you think.  As new printer models get released, most only have slight changes in printer technology and cartridge features between versions.   There’s a good chance your new printer will feel an awful lot like your old one, just with a couple of additional advanced features. If you do decide to go for an upgrade, make sure you properly dispose of your old machine- we show you how in our printer recycling guide.

Now that you know what to look out for, you can keep an eye on your printer and make a smart buy when it’s ready for retirement.  If you aren’t sure what printer is right for you, drop us a line in the comments, we’d be happy to help you out!

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25 Comments

  • hp Photosmart 4700… The right side edge is being lost when I try to copy from the internet

    • Have you tried tweaking your margins to see if that does anything? It sounds like the problem lies in the program you’re using to print.

    • I really messed-up with my HP Deskjet D4300 series printer that I’ve had for about 13 years or more! In my limited tech ignorance, I ended-up with multiple printers with different names of the same printer!! Most the time it wouldn’t print, I got errrors, etc Then a miracle happened. I found, Online, the best method was to go to Control Panel, select Devices and Printers, right click on Printer (or list of printers) causing error, select REMOVE, and click YES. Then unplug printer COMPLETELY….and RESTART PC…plug in the printer again in order to reinstall it…SO SIMPLE!.. Now I’m back to using my original (1) printer I’ve had for over 13 years!

  • Awesome content.
    As per my experience, I can say that it depends on the usage and how often you use your printer. Some of my friends have older HP printers, and those are working for so long. Newly printer builds with low quality, so their average lifespan is 5 years.

    • Im using Monoprice Mini 3D Printer and it work perfectly fine for me

  • I own a Brother hl-3090 cw color laser printer that I purchased in June, 2011. Since 2016 (last records I have) I have purchased 18 toner cartridges and 4 new drums. The outlay for the color cartridges has been $1,170. I was getting about 12 to 18 months out of the color and and 6 to 8 months out of the black. That time is deteriorating to lass than a year on the color. Obviously we do a lot of printing especially of cakes and decorating techniques. I am wondering if the Epson Eco Tank would be a replacement. I can’t figure out the cost of the ink. I know I can buy the printer for the same $300 I spent on the laser. Any thoughts?

    • How many pages are you printing a month and what type of documents are you printing? The Epson EcoTank ink bottles are lot cheaper than Brother toner, so they would be worth considering.

  • I have a HP Photosmart 8150 had it many years, love it, but I love to print photos and the pictures just don’t come out as nice and bright anymore. My computer that my printer is connected to is a DELL windows 8. If you could suggest what kind of printer to get I would appreciate it.

  • I had an HP 750, if I didn’t have to upgrade my OS I’d still be using it. Workhorse easy maintenance. And I bought it used.

  • I have a 4502 HP envy. (cartridge 61).. When printing photos there is a line across the picture. Would this have something to do with the printhead. This printer is for home use and light printing use but I use it for my photos. It is probably about 5 years old and I have been pleased with it.

    • Hi Carolyn, have you tried running the cleaning function on your printer? If you printer has been sitting for a while, you might need to prime the cartridges to get them printing properly again and a cleaning usually does the trick. You could also try adjusting the settings to “photo paper” to try and improve the print quality.

  • I ended-up with multiple printers with different names of the same printer!! Most the time it wouldn’t print, I got errrors, etc Then a miracle happened. I found, Online, the best method was to go to Control Panel, select Devices and Printers, right click on Printer (or list of printers) causing error, select REMOVE, and click YES. Then unplug printer COMPLETELY….and RESTART PC…plug in the printer again in order to reinstall it…

  • good article, thanks!
    When do the new HP printer models get released for 2021???
    I have been eying the HP9025, but its been around for 2 years and I suspect there are mew product lines right around the corner.

    • Hi Scott,

      We are not affiliated with HP so we don’t know when they plan to release their new printers but you are correct about the HP OfficeJet 9025 being out for about 2 years, it came out around March 2019. The printer model series it replaced, the HP 8600 series, came out in March 2016, so going off of that, there could still be some time before the 9025 gets replaced, but you never know! HP released a new version of the 9025 called the 9025e in November that is targeted towards customers that use their instant ink program. Hope this helps!

  • What is the best printer value? My EpsonXL 440 and hp6958 quit working.. I probably print a hundred pages per month.

    • Hi Bob, if you print just in black, go for an inexpensive laser printer like the Brother HL-L2350DW. If you need color, an ink tank printer will probably work well for you. The ink is inexpensive and should be a good value if you print a 100 pages a month. The Epson EcoTank 2720 is one of the cheaper Epson options or the Brother Inkvestment MFC-J995DW is a good option too.

  • I have an HP Officejet Pro 8610 (appx 5 years old), that keeps bringing up an error message “Missing or Failed Printhead” – I’ve followed all of the online instructions to reset, but nothing works. Is it worth taking it to a repair shop or should i break down and buy a new printer? I’m looking at the Canon G7020 because I am now working from home and need all of the features this one has. If I don’t take the HP into a repair shop, is this Canon a good option?

    • Hi Angela, if you have tried troubleshooting and are still getting that error message it may be time for a new printer. You could look into buying a replacement printhead but they are usually more expensive than the printer, so most choose to buy a new printer. The G7020 is an ink tank printer which is great if you print a lot and you need to print in black and color. You should also consider the Epson EcoTank series if you are looking at ink tanks. We have a buying guide for ink tanks here: https://www.ldproducts.com/blog/best-ink-tank-printers-of-2018/. If you want to get something similar to the 8610, the OfficeJet 9015 is a newer version of that printer but uses different cartridges (HP 962s). Hope this helps!

  • I’ve had my hpphotosmart 7960 for about 20 years and it’s still printing beautifully. I use color a lot, in that I print all of my holiday and birthday cards on it. Also, photos still look great. I’ve been using remanufactured ink cartridge’s for twenty years, and this past year I frequently get a printing message that my Black cartridge needs replacement , even after installing a new one. However, I ignore the message and it prints just fine. I also have an HP ENVY 5661 that I’ve had for well over seven years and it too is working fine. However the quality is no where near the quality that I get out of my Photosmart. Also, I’ve never run the cleaning function on my Photosmart, I’ve had several printers in the past, and my Photosmart is still the best. I’m sorry HP discontinued this series.

  • I have a year old HP color laser jet pro m452dn that work perfectly with Windows laptops but will not duplex with my new Acer Chromebook 315. What printer would be a good choice for the chromebook as I wish to stop using the windows machines. The color, laser and duplexing are a must.. HP has not been helpful in answering my questions about chromebook.

  • My Epson WF 3620 was ok for my needs but now yellow wont print no matter how many times I clean the had and follow all instructions to remedy situation. In seeking Epson tech support was advised to download an important fix for 3620 but install failed with message saying 3620 was downgraded and the fix could not be installed. Nor sure what that was all about but wonder if it’s time to buy a new printer. I have four new packages of ink cartridges 252XL. Do I shop for a printer that uses this ink or just forget the ink investment when I make my choice?

    • Hi Jeannie, since that cartridge series is a little older, you will have a hard time finding a printer that uses them, unless you go with a refurbished printer. If the cartridges are unopened and were recently purchased, you may still be able to return them. Most unopened original cartridges have a a limited return window, it depends on where you bought them. If you are looking for a replacement printer, the Epson Workforce Pro WF-3820 came out in October of last year and has similar features to the WF-3620. It uses the 822XL ink series, which offers a comparable page yield to the 252XLs. Hope this helps!

  • I would love to know which printer has the lowest lifecycle cost for home use needing color at times. Any suggestions?

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