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The secret to a longer lasting printer

The secret to a longer lasting printer

April 2014

Fifteen years ago, opening the hood and cleaning the interior of your printer—unclogging inkjet print nozzles, wiping down gears and rotors, vacuuming up dust and grime—was standard operating procedure for those wishing to extend printer life. Unfortunately, while things may have often looked cleaner before the hood was reclosed, in fact sensitive parts had been damaged, dust had been blown about rather than removed, and printer life had been shortened, not extended.
 
By contrast, many printers today are typically self-cleaning. Often, the hood is bolted shut—it’s not even possible to open the printer and poke around inside. Printers just work, without any need for cleaning or repairs. There’s no need to replace parts—only paper and ink. And when a printer finally wears out, purchasing an affordable, high-quality new printer is far and away the most cost-effective response.
 
Still, there are steps you can take to extend the life of your printer. For instance…
 
1. Avoid remanufactured ink and toner
This is far and away the most important step you can take to extend the life of your printer. Some businesses may try to reduce printing costs by purchasing ink or toner “remanufactured” by a third party. It may seem less expensive up front, but too often, using remanufactured ink or toner means sacrificing print quality and ink or toner cartridge reliability—and adding hidden costs in the form of support calls, having to reprint low-quality output, and wasted supplies. [1, 2, 3, 4]
 
Remanufactured toner is also more likely to harm your printer. In one study, nearly 1 in 10 HP LaserJet printer customers using remanufactured toner ended up with damaged printers—and 26 percent experienced printer downtime as a result of cartridge problems. [3]
 
The bottom line: to extend printer life—and enjoy consistently high-quality printer output—stick with the manufacturer’s ink or toner. If you want to save money on printing, print on both sides of the page, use lower-quality (e.g., “draft”) print settings for everyday use, and shrink documents to fill fewer pages. If you want to save money on ink or toner, buy higher-capacity cartridges if they’re available for your printer.
 
2. Turn off your printer before unplugging
You may not realize it, but sudden power surges or cuts aren’t the best thing in the world if you’re looking to maximize the life of your printer. To lessen your risk in this regard, try to be sure to power down your printer before unplugging it—and if your printer is plugged into a power strip, try not to turn it off without first powering down. And if by mistake you unplug your inkjet printer in the middle of a print job, don’t try to move the print nozzle back to its standard resting position—instead, power the printer back up, which will cause the nozzle to return to the standard resting position automatically. Using a surge protector to protect your printer can also reduce the risk associated with power surges, especially if you’re in a lightning-prone area.
 
3. Use quality paper
There’s good paper—quality multipurpose or recycled paper, or paper made specifically for laser printing or special jobs like photos, glossy brochures, and iron-on transfers. And there’s bad paper, often made of ground-up newsprint, which leaves an excess of dust behind inside your printer, is more prone to jamming, and results in lower-quality print jobs. Good paper requires only a minimal additional investment, and is more than worth it if you want to produce higher-quality documents and extend the life of your printer.
 
Of course, regardless of what steps you take to extend printer life, eventually even the most well-cared-for printer will need to be replaced. Luckily for your bottom line, manufacturers have a variety of trade-in programs which can offer significant savings via discounts or rebates. For example, HP’s trade-in program offers allowances you can use toward the purchase of any new HP product.
 
Related products
HP printers and multifunction products
HP printer support (videos)
Easily find the cartridges you need and purchase supplies online with HP SureSupply
 
[1] Based on a Buyers Laboratory Inc. 2011 study commissioned by HP for the on-average performance of cartridges refilled by leading refill service providers compared to Original HP ink cartridges (60XL, 56A, 57A 74XL and 75XL) sold in North America. For details, see http://www.buyerslab.com/products/samples/HP-Inkjet-Cartridges-vs-Refilled-Cartridges.pdf.
[2] From a 2012 NA Photizo Group/Lyra Research study, commissioned by HP. Results based on a total of 1034 HP Color LaserJet users who have used both Original HP and non-HP toner cartridges, of whom 575 experienced problems with non-HP cartridges. For details go to www.photizogroup.com/information-hub.
[3] From a 2012 NA Photizo Group/Lyra Research study, commissioned by HP. Results based on a total of 1009 HP monochrome LaserJet users who have used both Original HP and non-HP toner cartridges, of whom 424 experienced problems with non-HP cartridges. For details go to www.photizogroup.com/information-hub.
[4] A SpencerLab 2013 study commissioned by HP compared Original HP LaserJet toner cartridges with ten brands of non-HP cartridges sold in North America for the HP LaserJet P2035 and P1102 printers, HP 05A and 85A cartridges. For details, see www.spencerlab.com/reports/HP-Reliability-NA-2013.pdf.

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