Are laser printers good for home use? I recommend them. Their upfront cost is higher than a low-end inkjet but they tend to be more reliable and economical in the long term, especially on the extremes. If you print only occasionally, consider a laser. If a ream of paper lasts you about a week, consider a laser.
Laser printers tend to be very reliable, but not all of them are designed with service and repair in mind. But generally speaking, the cost of owning and operating a laser printer is lower than that of an inkjet.
Why lasers are cheap to operate
Toner lasts indefinitely, so if you use the printer sporadically you don’t have to worry about the ink drying out. Rebuilt cartridges for my printer cost $40 and last 10,000 pages, even if I only print 500 pages a year. I simply buy a cartridge for $40 from 4inkjets each time my printer says the toner is low. I get enough time between the warning and when printing gets smeared to order a cartridge.
The downside is laser printers aren’t good for photos, but I can print a lot of photos at the drug store for the cost of a color ink cartridge and paper. Printing photos at home may be more convenient than having the drug store print them, but it’s not really much cheaper, if it’s cheaper at all. For everything else, laser printers are superior. And the cost per page is lower. This makes laser printers great for home use.
Do laser printers go bad?
Like any machine, laser printers need occasional maintenance to keep working. But do laser printers go bad? I guess it depends on how you look at it, and maybe, to an extent, on what kind of printer you buy. I tend to keep my laser printers for 15 years or more. As long as you replace the consumables like the toner and the drum, the main thing that goes bad in them is the rollers. You can buy replacement roller kits for most printers off Ebay, and then the printer will be good for several more years. You’ll know it’s time to replace the rollers when the printer starts having trouble pulling the paper.
This is why I like laser printers for home use. I can buy one and it’ll be as dependable as my appliances.
How long will laser printers last?
I bought a used HP Laserjet 4050 sometime around 2010. It was built in the 1999-2001 timeframe, so that printer is pushing 20 years old. I had to add memory to it to print modern documents, as documents are much more complex today than they were at the turn of the century, but aside from changing the rollers, which is a 15-minute job, and changing toner, the printer has been great. I bought it hoping it would last me five years, and I’ve gotten a lot more than that. I bought my first laser printer in 1994, and I owned a Lexmark 4039 in between. So I’ve been getting a decade or more out of laser printers I buy, which is rather good.
It’s more likely that a laser printer will go obsolete before it breaks. But when that happened to my printer, adding memory took care of that problem. I use and recommend used office printers, but an inexpensive laser printer from Brother that you buy at the local big-box store is reasonably good too, and more compact. If I were going to buy a consumer grade laser printer, I’d go with Brother.
Why clean your laser printer?
Cleaning a laser printer makes it last longer and saves you money. Cleaning the rollers helps you avoid phantom paper jams, and helps them last longer. You don’t have to be obsessive about it, just blow out the dust and wipe down the rollers when you change the toner and you should be fine.