Is it worth having a printer at home?

A printer was once a must-have for any home office. But with the push for a paperless and fully digital world, is it still worth owning a printer at home?

For some people, information is hard to digest if it isn’t printed on paper. Reading from a computer or phone screen seems foreign to them, and instructions can easily be misread.

Constantly reading from a screen also puts tremendous strain on your eyes, and can lead to headaches and even nausea in some people.

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This is virtually impossible to escape in today’s modern world, so if you find reading from a screen difficult or painful, then investing in a home printer might be worth it.

Of course, many people will require a printer to work from home, so with that in mind, here’s what to look out for when buying a home printer.

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Peter Zaluzny, from consumer group CHOICE, says while there is a huge range of home printers available, you can get a decent printer for less than $250.

But be careful if shopping purely on price, as a cheaper printer is not always worth it.

“In our test results, we found some of the really cheap models are the ones that tend to be less ink efficient,” he says.

“You might think, ‘cool, [I’ll buy the more affordable model], I just want to print things occasionally’. But usage doesn’t just involve printing. Printers also use ink to run their cleaning cycles.”

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The cost of ink is another factor to consider. CHOICE reports printer ink can run as high as $8000 per litre, and many printer manufacturers have even introduced their own proprietary inks.

It’s worth working out just how much you’re going to use the printer. If, realistically, you’re only printing a handful of pages each year, it may be more cost-effective to get them printed at Officeworks or your local library.

But Mr Zaluzny says you also need to consider how much your time is worth.

“Do you have an hour to go to a print service and get it done there? And frankly, do you want to put in that effort? I know I wouldn’t if I was printing a lot.”

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