If you’re headed off to college, there’s one very important item that may be missing from your shopping list; a printer!
Before you think that it’s just another expense you can do without, consider all the assignments and course handouts you will most definitely need to print. Will you really want to pay every time?
Having your own printer is an excellent investment that will save you a lot of money and time! In this post, we’ll show you that it really doesn’t have to be an expensive one.
Before You Pick Your Printer!
Here are a few things you should consider while deciding which printer to buy:
- Will You Need Colored Prints?
Unless you’re in an arts or media major chances are you won’t be needing to print in color all that often, so you should focus on getting a Laser printer instead of an Inkjet. The reason is that laser printers are usually more affordable and easier to maintain. Inkjets are ideal for photos and high-resolution artwork but will also require more maintenance.
- Will You Need Custom Printing Sizes?
Again chances are most of you will mostly be printing on A4 sheets, so there’s no point in investing in a printer that can print larger sizes. A lot of printers nowadays will allow some flexibility of printing on smaller sizes. Consider using a print shop for those occasional custom needs instead.
- What Features Should My Printer Have?
Nowadays printers come with a ton of features but honestly, you don’t really need those features. For instance, do you really need a touchscreen? Bluetooth, wireless, and NFC connectivity? What about a special mobile app to send your prints from your mobile to your printer?
These features seem pretty neat and flashy but a simple wired connected printer will get the job done too and will be less hassle. Think about it, what if your wireless connections stop working or your app gets buggy you will eventually just use the wire than waste time on troubleshooting those issues. Not to say you shouldn’t buy a printer with these options but those shouldn’t be the focus!
- Wired Vs Wireless: the Truth!
If you’re going to be living in a dorm we’d advise against a wireless printer or at least not relying on wireless printing for the majority of the time. Because of the number of people likely to be using the same frequency channel, your printer is going to run into issues. There can be delays or just the printer not getting your print job.
Our Top 5 Picks for Printers
Our top 5 picks are some of the most economical and compact choices available that also offer quality printing and low running costs to help you keep within your budget.
This is a no frills basic printer meant for quick and volume printing.
From the printing speed to large capacity trays, this is built for time-saving printing. It’s simple to set-up, with USB connectivity and double-sided printing. The starter cartridge will also last you a while.
This is an affordable printer retailing at $99 while you can also find it discounted frequently.
Our second recommendation for a Laser printer is also the most compact of all choices, so will easily fit on a shelf.
This comes with both USB and wireless connectivity as well as scanning and copying functions!
It also offers a smartphone app for mobile printing.
The major drawbacks are the print speed, lack of in-built double-sided printing and cartridge costs.
Though if you buy this via Amazon, you can use their auto-replenish feature to save on time and money. The good news is that a single cartridge can give you up to 1000 prints. The printer itself retails just over $100 but is often available at discounted rates at Walmart and BestBuy.
Retailing from $49-$69 this is the cheapest of our picks.
The Canon Pixma TR4520 is an inkjet All-In-One printer with plenty of features. This is most suited for those with low to medium print requirements for text and color as refills run expensive for heavy volume-printing.
If you choose to buy it from BestBuy they offer an auto-replenish option to save you the hassle of monitoring and buying the toners yourself.
This is one of the most loved printers around and is a great balance between quality and price. It retails for $129 but again plenty of deals push the price down like this BestBuy deal nearly halves the price at $79.99!
This printer has all your bases covered as an all-in-one printer and multiple connectivity options to appeal to most people.
The print quality is good enough for printing your own photos too.
HP offers an ink replacement service to help manage your renewal requirements smartly. They’ll send you only the cartridges that are running low. The cheapest plan is $2.99 for 50 pages per month. However if you choose to buy the replacements yourself they’re still affordable.
For those who expect to be printing in color very frequently, Epson has one of the best options out there. What makes the Epson EcoTank so special is not just all the features this comes with but that it has one of the lowest running costs around.
This printer uses ink reservoirs instead of cartridges and when you buy the printer you also get the ink bottles with it that are equivalent to 80 ink cartridges. This allows you to print around 4500 black or 7500 colored pages!
The one drawback is the initial cost of $199 but the savings in ink costs does make for it.
TIPS FOR SAVING MONEY ON PRINTING
Now that you have an idea of what type of printer will suit your needs and budget the best, there’s a few things you can do to keep your running costs low:
- Draft Mode: If you’re just printing notes or reference material for yourself you should print it in draft mode. This will tell the printer to use far less ink while still giving a good enough output!
- Maximize Space Usage: By fitting more on the same page you can reduce the amount of paper you use. Some easy ways to this is by reducing the font size, margins, line spacing and image sizes.
For PDF files you can actually switch to printing two pages on one page. Again this isn’t meant for your assignments just documents for personal use.
- Duplex Printing: Printing double-sided will again reduce paper wastage and cost. If you consider combining this tip with the previous one for PDF files, you will be fitting 4 PDF pages onto one page. Oftentimes your professors may share their class notes/ slides in PDF format. Because the content on slides isn’t very dense you can actually then fit four slides on one side of a page and eight slides on one page.
- Proofread: Always proofread your assignments before pressing print to avoid re-printing.
- Preview It: Before clicking print check the preview so you can make any adjustments and fixes and avoid re-printing.
- Recycle: Any single sided printouts you have can be used to print on the blanks sides.