This digital age has reduced the use of printers. With smartphones and tablets always in our hands, the reality is that we don’t need printouts much.
But still, it’s an important device that we all infrequently use for various needs.
Choosing a printer that you are not going to use regularly is tough and you need to be creative in how you plan too choose a printer for infrequent use.
In this article we look at the best printers for infrequent use that we believe can reliably store the ink without drying for longer period of time.
You must know that there aren’t specialized printers made specifically for infrequent use. Generally, it is up to the user to take good care of the inks.
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Print Cost (cents)
USB 2.0, WiFi, WiFi Direct
USB 2.0, WiFi, WiFi Direct
USB 2.0, WiFi, WiFi Direct, Ethernet, USB Thumb Drive, NFC
USB, WiFi, WiFi Direct,
10.5 ppm (Black)
USB 2.0, WiFi, WiFi Direct
12.5 ppm (Black)
Laser Printer Toner Vs Inkjet Cartridge
It is a well known fact that no matter what you have i.e toner or an ink cartridge, it WILL DRY OUT over time.
It is also a know fact that TONERS tend to last much longer compared to ink cartridges.
Therefore, you will notice that most of the printers we select below are LaserJet that use toners.
LaserJet do not suffer from the same issues as inkjets such as nozzles getting clogged up etc.
While laserjet do seem to be the best option for infrequent use, the color laserjets are expensive both to acquire as well as to operate compared to inkjets and therefore not within everyone’s reach.
Therefore, we have also selected a few inkjet printers. You can read further about why we have selected them below.
List of Best Printers for Infrequent Use & Reviews
Here is a list of our chosen printers.
- 1HP Laserjet Pro M15w – Monochrome Laser Printer With Robust Smartphone Integration
- 2Brother Laser Printer, HL-L2350DW – Popular Monochrome Laser Printer with Cheap Operating Cost
- 3Canon Color imageCLASS MF644Cdw – Entry Level COLOR AIO Laser Printer
- 4Epson Expression ET-2720 – InkJet Printer with Cheapest Operating Cost
- 5Canon TS5120 – Inkjet Printer with Lowest Upfront Cost
Let’s look at some salient features of these printers.
1. HP Laserjet Pro M15w – Monochrome Laser Printer With Smartphone Integration
- WORLD’S SMALLEST LASER PRINTER IN ITS CLASS...
- FAST PRINTING – HP LaserJet Pro M15w is a...
- BEST IN CLASS MOBILE PRINT APP(1) – The...
- WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY YOU CAN COUNT ON –...
This is a monochrome laser printer so it only prints in black. This is great for printing documents for your office or for your school.
The best aspects about this printer are that it has a very low upfront cost compared to color laser printers, it is the smallest printer of its class, and has robust connectivity options.
It not only offers WiFi, but the smart phone integration makes it one of the easiest printers to use via mobile devices. The HP printing app is also highly convenient to use. Besides that, you can connect it to a PC using a standard USB 2.0.
Since this is a laser printer, it offers a toner that naturally lasts much longer than inkjet printers and therefore, it is one of the best printers for infrequent use.
However, it does have its drawback. It has a fairly high cost per page at 5 cents. The Brother Laser Printer HL-L2350DW has almost the same upfront cost but also a much lower operating cost.
On top of that, it does not offer duplex printing and therefore cannot print on two sides automatically. The Brother HL-L2350DW can print duplex automatically.
All in all, if you need a compact monochrome laser printer, then this is one of the best printers for infrequent use. It is easy to use, has an affordable upfront cost and offers a toner which naturally lasts longer.
Check out the best small office laser printers.
2. Brother Laser Printer HL-L2350DW – Popular Monochrome Laser Printer with Cheap Operating Cost
- Print more, wait less. Engineered for...
- Dynamic features accommodate your evolving...
- Flexible printing. The manual feed slot...
- Printing as mobile as you are. Print...
This is one of the most famous monochrome laser printers in the market, hands down. You will find this listed somewhere at the top in many lists around the web.
The reason is quite simple. It is rich in features and has some of the lowest operating costs at 3.6 cents per monochrome page.
On top of that, this is one of the rare printers of this price tag that offers duplex printing. If you want to print on both sides and thus save up on sheets, this will allow you to do so.
Additionally, it offers all the essential connectivity options including USB 2.0 connectivity with PC, WiFi networking as well a WiFi Direct for printing via mobile devices.
While this printer is larger in size as compared to the HP M15W above, its cheaper operating cost, better print speed and duplex printing most certainly allows it to stand out.
In the end, if your needs are limited to monochrome printing, then this is one of the best printers for infrequent use no doubt.
3. Canon Color imageCLASS MF644Cdw – Entry Level COLOR AIO Laser Printer
- Standard Dimensions (Desktop): 16.9" W x...
- USABILITY: A unique, customized device...
- QUALITY AND RELIABILITY: Canon's signature...
- WORKFLOW EFFICIENCY: Supports mobile...
We have already made it clear that if you seek longevity, then toners tend to last much longer as compared to ink cartridges. Therefore, they are the obvious choice for infrequent use.
The above two printers are monochrome laser printers so they are quite cheap to acquire. The question is what if you want to occasionally print color as well?
Well if that is the case, then a laser color printer would be the most obvious choice due to their color toners. Unfortunately, a color laser printer is not just expensive to purchase, it also has a fairly high operating cost.
But again, for longevity toners are the best course of action.
In that case, Canon Color imageCLASS MF644Cdw makes the most sense. Sure it is the most expensive printer in this list, but it offers the printing quality that no inkjet of the same category can match.
Besides the print quality, this entry level color laser printer is packed with features.
This is an All in One machine so it can scan, copy and print. On top of that, it comes with an Automatic Document Feeder Duplex Scanner which can automatically scan a batch of loose sheets without any manual interference.
Unfortunately, while the monochrome printing cost is quite competitive at 3.2 cents per BW page, a color page can cost as much as 16.4 cents per page. This is price you have to pay for the quality of a laser printer.
All in all, for long lasting color printing use, laser printers make the most sense. In that case, this is one of the best printers for infrequent use. However, its acquisition and operating cost may put many people off.
4. Epson EcoTank ET-2720 – InkJet Printer with Cheapest Operating Cost
- Epson strongly recommends the use of Genuine...
- Epson EcoTank is the #1 Best Selling...
- Save up to 90 percent with low-cost...
- Cartridge-Free Printing — up to 2 years of...
I know we have recommended that you stick with laser printers since they are longer lasting, but at some point an inkjet printer also makes sense especially if you consider something like the Epson EcoTank ET-2720.
This is a printer with an Eco Tank so basically on full ink tanks, it can print out 4,500 black pages and 7,500 color pages. This basically translates to 0.3 cents for black and 0.9 cents per color page.
To put this into perspective, it costs 10 times less to print a black page and about 20 times less to print a color page as compared to the Canon Color imageCLASS MF644Cdw!
What about the issues of the ink dry out if you don’t use it frequently?
Yes, like all inkjet printers, the ink in the printer can dry out and thus clog the nozzles. However, you can get a bit creative.
Ink dries out if you do not use the printer frequently (among other things). Therefore, if you can print a black and a color page from time to time, you can essentially keep the printer ink from ever drying out.
The good news is that printing just for the sake of maintenance will be highly inexpensive thanks to its low printing costs.
Plus the fact that you can print thousands of pages per tank will ensure that you can use it for years on without a refill.
While it is expensive for an inkjet printer, it is much cheaper than a color laser printer.
Besides that, this is fairly robust device that offers All in One features including copier and scanner. It also offers WiFi as well as WiFi Direct for interfacing with your devices.
Again, if you can perform maintenance printing say every other day, then this is one of the best printers for infrequent use in 2019. It is reasonably inexpensive in terms of upfront cost but has some the cheapest printing costs in the market.
5. Canon TS5120 – Inkjet Printer with Lowest Upfront Cost
- Enjoy the simplicity of connecting your...
- Compact size: the PIXMA TS5120 is the...
- With features like AirPrint 2, auto power...
- OS compatibility: Windows: Windows 10,...
The reason behind choosing this printer is quite simple: if you are going to use your printer for occasional use, then why acquire an expensive machine.
The idea behind this printer is the opposite of the Epson Expression ET-2720 above. Unlike the Epson Expression ET-2650 it is much cheaper to acquire, but has the highest operating cost in this list – even higher than the laser printers we saw above.
This printer prints monochrome at 6.7 cents per page and color at 14.7 cents per page. As such the monochrome printing is the the most expensive in this list and the color printing is second only to the Canon Color imageCLASS MF644Cdw.
This printer makes sense if your printing is so infrequent that you only print out single sheets only a few times a month.
You must note that if you barely print, then absolutely any printer ink/toner can dry out if you do not take good care.
Make sure that after printing you remove the ink, clean it, seal it and store it at the right temperatures for increasing its life.
Besides that, this printer is an All in One machine so it can scan and copy as well. Besides that, it offers USB as well as WiFi connectivity.
So if you came here looking for the cheapest option, then this is one of the best printers of infrequent use in 2019.
Also check out printers under $50.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Suitable Types of Printers for Infrequent Use
Two types of printers are suitable for infrequent use.
As mentioned earlier Laser printers are an excellent option for home users with less frequent use.
One of the main concern for home or office users with occasional use of printer is the printer’s ink/toner to last long.
Unlike inkjet printers, these printers do not use liquid ink cartridges that dry with time.
The laser printers use dry tone powders for printing. They can last much longer especially if stored at the right temperature/humidity levels.
Reservoir printers like the Epson Expression ET-2720 use ink-bottles for the printing process. This relatively new technology uses inks in airtight tubes.
Instead of relying on ink Cartridges, these printers preserve ink in sealed tanks that are safe and ready to be used until next time.
These printers are also very affordable and can print thousands of pages with these ink tanks.
How to keep your ink from drying if you are using a printer occasionally?
In this article we looked at some of the best printers for infrequence use in 2019.
We selected printers from both laser printer as well as inkjet printer category.
The basic idea here is as follows: Laser printers have toners that do not dry out so easily and as such they are great for occasional use.
However, laser printers have a higher operating and purchasing cost, especially the color laser printers like the Canon Color imageCLASS MF644Cdw.
The inkjet printers are cheaper to purchase and if you go for a printer with reservoir tanks like the Epson ET-2720, you can get some of the cheapest printing cost as well.
However, inkjet printers use ink and therefore they can dry out if proper care is not taken.
In the end, the decision depends on how infrequent your printing is.
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