There are more than 100 types of different printers available in the market. Most of the customers are looking for a printer that is available for occasional use. We are writing today for those infrequent printer users who find themselves in a big confusion while buying a printer suitable for occasional use.
This is going to be a long article and you are always free to jump over the most value-for-money printer for the occasional user by clicking here>>>
Best printer for infrequent use
- Best printer for infrequent use
- Printer Selection Summary
- HP OfficeJet Pro 9025e Wireless Printer
- Canon Pixma G7020
- Epson Ecotank 3850
- Brother HL L3230CDW
- Lexmark Monochromic Laser Printer
- Printer Maintenance Tips
- Printer Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- How would you save print costs?
- Are printer ink and toner the same?
- What Printer have the cheapest ink?
- What are the common problems of a printer?
- What are the differences between PPI & DPI?
- Will the printer work with one cartridge?
- What are the differences between ink tanks & ink cartridges?
- Does the printer dry out if unused?
- Can you recycle the printer cartridge?
- Which print ink does not fade away?
- What’s the difference between Inkjet Printer & Laser Printer?
These are the best printers for occasional home use.
- HP Officejet Pro (Best Overall) – Here’s why!
- Canon Pixma
- Epson Ecotank 3850 (a photo printing beast – for these reasons)
- Brother HL L3230CDW
- Lexmark B2650DW (Fastest among all, explore why?)
We have considered more than 20 deciding factors & a total survey of 86 users to get the right suggestion for you. Here are the top decision-making factors which helped us to identify the best printer for infrequent use.
- A printer for infrequent use should not cost you higher maintenance amount
- That should print well instead of printing fast
- The cost per page needs to be affordable in case of small amounts of print
- When used occasionally, the printer must become functional in need
and many other qualitative factors.
Printer Selection Summary
In our opinion, the HP Officejet Pro is an an-all-in-one printer suitable for infrequent usage. this printer has everything that a person requires. The printing speed is amazing (24 pages per minute) with more than a thousand copies of print yield. In a nutshell, if you have this printer at home, there would be no need to search for a scanner and a copier. We have still faith in Canon’s G7020 which has more than 6 thousand positive reviews on Amazon. Even though the Pixma offers a less print speed than HP at a lower cost per page. It offers OCR which makes the PDF copyable along with duplex printing. We have tested Pixma’s borderless printing which was truly amazing.
Epson can also be a very good choice for infrequent users which comes at a very lower price than Canon. Besides, the Epson can print 7,500 copies at a single cartridge which is truly excellent. The other one from Brother can also be a good choice, especially for the reason of print maximization. We have seen that the printer can print up to 1,400 pages at an ink which costs even less than $60. Apart from that, the Epson really works well on different paper types such as cards, envelopes, and vinyl stickers.
However, Lexmark’s Monochromic Printer beats all in terms of black printing at a price of less than $300. If you need a printer at a very low budget with close to 50 pages per minute printing speed then the Lexmark should be your priority.
HP OfficeJet Pro 9025e Wireless Printer
HP Officejet Pro is a wireless color printer with the ability to print black and white as well. You don’t need a cable connection to operate this and even, mobile connectivity can do the printing job. This printer comes near to $400 with a lot of amazing flexibility.
Why HP Officejet Pro is the most suitable for infrequent use?
These are the points that help HP Officejet Pro to be special among other printer brands.
- It’s an all-in-one printer under $400 and able to print in both color and black & white. For a multi-purpose printer, you may need to pay 15% more for other brands.
- Serves the purpose of students, home office employees, and other creative works with multi-printing flexibility.
- Maintainance cost is very minimal and it does not incur regular costs while used infrequently.
- This particular printer model has more than 100,000 happy customers with no negative comments.
- Customers get 6 months of ink while purchasing this printer.
- For this printer, you can use all the premium applications from HP regardless of the value of the printer.
- The noise level is 5 decibels lesser than Ricoh which helps in printing silently at home while others are sleeping or taking a rest.
- Suitable for casual home use and does not need any additional module to print brochures or any color photograph.
- At this budget, a print speed of 24 pages per minute is a very good deal. For the similar print speed of Cannon, you may need to pay more than that
- Automatically detects devices on the same wi-fi network. HP’s network intelligence is smarter than other reputed printer brands
- You can set your own password so that no one else can access the printer. Besides, the high level of encryption protects your information from any hackers
Cartridge Overview – technical points
- Its an inkjet technology
- There will be no photo cartridge
- No SuperTank (which means you cannot refill the color once ran out)
- The estimated black page yield is roughly 1,140 prints which means that you can print 1,140 pages in one cartridge. As per the ratio, the cost would be 0.029 US$/print in black & white.
- The estimated black page yield is roughly 744 prints which means that you can print 744 pages in one cartridge and the cost is estimated to be 0.086 US$/print
- The ink is pigment type which means that the color will be more vibrant and there will be savings in cost per page
How does this printer differ from other HP printers?
There are other premium models of HP Officejet pro. We have seen that the premier models come with 2 years of ink coverage, or indirectly inks equal to $4.99 a month. Normally, $5 ink is suitable for small usage but not for small offices or notary public.
Also, this model can scan both sides of a paper in a single pass but the other models need multiple passes to scan a double-sided paper. Printing speed is also a differentiation factor. This model runs at a speed of 24 PPI for black and white and 20 PPI for color prints. In contrast, other models of HP Officejet Pro have different print speeds.
The print feeding tray is doubled (500 pages) than the other HP Officejet models. For instance, the immediate earlier model (9015e) can feed 250 pages which is 50% lesser than this one.
Other positives sides
- Supports duplex printing. This feature contributes to saving costs when used occasionally at home
- Comes with a scan bed well (measuring 8.5″ x 11″)
- Printing ink does not dry up as fast as Cannon
- The digital display helps in monitoring job progress and other functionality
- Can automatically detect printing error and sends reports to HP
- Also supports mobile fax service
- Compatible with HP+ which offers advanced cloud connectivity solutions with an extra year of HP coverage at no additional costs.
- Able to scan directly to the email & receive directly from the email
- You have the freedom to print directly from a network folder. Usually, this feature is needed if there are multiple printer users in a single place.
A few negative sides
- The scan bed cannot scan any legal document since the dimension is limited to 8.5″ x 11″. However, you can scan any legal document with the document feeder instead.
- Unable to hold more than 30 envelopes. This one can be an ignorable issue if you are looking to get one for infrequent use.
- You cannot copy any legal size paper with this printer. However, there is an alternative solution to that which we found useful. You need to snap the legal paper first with the paper feeding side and then print it to an A4 paper which ultimately results in compressed image quality.
- In case you run out of color ink cartridges, you are free to print black & white but, you must ensure that no ink cartridges are empty to protect the print head from any damage.
- There is no Bluetooth connectivity, in fact, it’s not a value-adding point at all.
What do the users say?
We have gathered users’ information from extensive web research and direct survey. One of them from Brownsville has reported that – he has been using this printer for 1.7 years and found no complicated issues at all. He is an infrequent user and does not print color copies regularly. However, one thing that he noticed was the feeding roller sometimes gets stuck due to the dust and often feeds multiple pages. Then he cleared the dust & took special care when the printer is unused. After that, the problem went through fully.
What do experts say?
This printer is an amazing deal, especially when compared to Epson printers. Epson ink sublimation print is severely higher than that of HP. Also, HP’s print head maintenance is 50% easier than that of Epson & other brands.
Comparison – HP Officejet Pro 9025e Vs Canon Pixma G7020
These are key differences between HP Officejet Pro 9025e & Canon Pixma G7020.
|HP Officejet Pro 9025e||Cannon Pixma G7020|
|Touch screen display||Yes||No|
|Black Page Yield||1,140 pages||5,415 pages|
|Color page Yield||744 pages||4,790 pages|
|Ink Type||Pigment||Dye & Pigment|
|ADF & Flatbed||Yes||Yes|
|Black Print Cost||0.029 USD per print||0.003 USD per print|
|Color Print Cost||0.086 USD per print||0.008 USD per print|
|Print Speed||24 PPM||15 PPM|
|Input Tray Capacity||500 Pages||350 Pages|
|Maximum print resolution||4800 X 1200||4800 X 1200|
|TXT & HTML Print||IOS Only||No|
Canon Pixma G7020
Pixma G7020 is another good printer suitable for occasional home use. The printer is affordable with wireless connectivity & SuperTank compatibility. The print speed is 13 pages per minute (PPM) with both inkjet & dye color types.
Overall review & qualitative factors
These are the factors that put Canon Pixma g7020 in a competitive place.
- Comparably lower cost per page (35% lower than the others)
- No major history of breakdown
- Color accuracy is top-notch quality
- Able to print photos at higher resolution
- Also, work as a scanner and fas machine
- Workable in both ADF & flatbed method
- Both dye and pigment ink flexibility offers extended printing experience
- Has a supertank which means that you can top up the ink when needed and that is why there is no ink cartridge
- Comes with Optical Caracter Recognition (OCR) feature which makes a PDF readable & copyable
- Accepts third-party inks but such activity puts the warranty coverage on risk
- Scans at 1200 DPI which is great but the document size may go up rapidly. In that case, you may consider trying a document scanner if the scanning is only used.
- Supports A4. Letter & Legal paper
- Allows borderless printing
- Automatically turns itself off if there’s no job in the queue
- Can print on sticky papers but the paper weight should be equal to or less than 300 g/m²
- Works wirelessly & also compatible with IOS & MAC
- There is no drum unit
- No digital display (the monochromic dot matrix display looks like a calculator)
- No photo cartridge
- Black & white printing speed is slower than the HP Officejet. However, g6020 has a better printing speed
- Does not have a duplex scanning facility like the earlier one from HP
- Does not work with A6 & Tabloid paper size
The difference with other similar printers
This g7020 slightly differentiates from Pixma g6020 model with only the availability of an Automatic Document Feeder (ADF). For example, Pixma g6020 is the same thing without ADF. Also, the 6020 model does not have any option to make fax.
Furthermore, if you are okay with a lower-sized paper tray and an automatic document feeder, the g4210 can also be a good choice since the black & color yields are almost similar in both printers.
Though the Canon Pixma g7020 is a photo printer but is also used as a document printer by home users. Another alternative choice can be Pixma TR4520 which offers better print quality with greater detail. However, there is no super tank in the Pixma TR4520, so the borderless printing experience needs to be sacrificed.
Canon Pixma g7020 is a very good printer suitable for occasional home use. Its printing speed is slow but doesn’t make a point while the main purpose is to utilize at home. Notably, the mega ink tank makes the printing costs lower than the cartidge-based printers.
Epson Ecotank 3850
Epson Ecotank 3850 is an all-in-one printer having a refillable super tank with the flexibility to work with both black & color printing wirelessly. The printer appears with greater page yields & automatic document feeding capacity. However, the color quality may not be as lucrative as the HP Officejet Pro.
Why this is suitable for occasional use?
A printer for occasional use should not be so expensive and complex to maintain. Here are the reasons why this printer can be an ideal choice for infrequent users:
- This is an all-in-one printer which means it does not limit your printing types at all
- Page yields are higher which represents the cheaper cost per page
- It’s silent and ideal for keeping anywhere at home
- Easier to deal with paper jamming (this is common in a home printer)
- Other models such as ET 4850 come at a higher price but the only difference is faxing & printing 13″ x 19″) which is not required for infrequent users.
Key Takeaways – Epson Ecotank 3850
- This is a cartridge-free printer which means that you can top up the inks when needed
- A set of ink bottles can produce up to 7500 pages which is three times higher than the budget-friendly ink cartridge printer offers
- Epson’s heat-free printing technology makes the black color sharp
- produce less wastage than the ink cartridge printers
- Document feeding tray can hold up to 250 pages which is enough for the infrequent users
- Also workable as a scanner & a copier
- The maintenance procedure is easier than the Brother
- Allows print to email
- Workable on vinyl sticker sheets
- Ink doesn’t dry-up quickly
- It is budget-friendly (comes at a price of below $400)
- Also has an envelop feeder
- It’s eco-friendly and cheaper than other similar printers
A few negative notes
- The printing head may get clogged
- Papers jamming may be an issue that is not used regularly (but the easy access eases out the jamming issue)
- Due to being an inkjet printer, regular maintenance is preferred. Especially, to keep it away from dust.
- Cannot scan both sides automatically at a single pass
- You cannot directly print from a flash drive since a computer is always required
- The paper tray cannot hold legal paper
- No fax capability
- Doesn’t offer print to cloud
The difference with other Epson Printers
Let us consider how Ecotank 3850 differs from other Epson printers. Including this, all other Epson Ecotank series (such as 3830 & 4850) allow dual-sided printing except the Ecotank 2800. Besides, only the Ecotank 4850 can print 13″ x 19″ paper and the rest cannot. The main difference between 3850 & 4850 is that the ET 4850 has a touch screen display, fax, and the ability to print on larger papers.
For the occasional users, EcoTank 3850 from Epson can be an ideal choice mainly from the price point and easy maintenance. It’s true that paper jamming and print head clogging can be an issue but print speed & color accuracy will outweigh the issue surely. This is a very good deal for infrequent users under USD 400.
Brother HL L3230CDW
Brother HL L3230CDW is another amazing color laser printer and suits the requirement of infrequent users. It supports wireless printing, and duplex printing at an amazing speed with a lot more other positive sides.
Why this is suitable for Occasional users?
First of all, this printer is budget friendly and comes under USD 300 even with a duplex printing facility. It’s quiet and represented by a reputed brand. Moreover, the page speed & print Yield of approximately 1400 pages makes the cost per print quite reasonable. For instance, you can print 1400 pages with a $60 black toner which means that the cost per page would be 4 cents per page.
Furthermore, it’s quite compact & doesn’t make many noises. Overall, it’s a budget & maintenance-friendly printer that suits the purpose of any infrequent users.
- It’s a color laser printer which means that you can print both black& color paper. Also, being a laser printer would help better the durability of printed letters.
- The printing speed is up to 25 pages per minute (PPM) which means that the printer even suits a small home office with a decent productivity rate.
- With a single print cartridge, you can print up to 1400 papers in black. This yield parameter may change upon the color of the cartridge. For example, the Cyan cartridge would take roughly 1300 pages.
- There is an automatic duplex printing technology that sharpens your productivity by eliminating manual work.
- The printer can print on cards, envelopes & vinyl sticker papers.
- The noise level would be below 35 DB
- Build quality is very good compared to Epson
- It’s budget-friendly (available under USD 300)
- Works in Google cloud print & Apple AI print which enables a better printing experience & job management
- There is no flash drive port
- No Super Tank (refillable tank)
- It’s a small display (But it user friendly)
- Cannot scan or, fax
- No scan to email facility
Differences with other Brother printers
There are a few Brother printers under the HL series. Here’s how the Brother HL L3230CDW differs from others
- The paper input capacity is 25 sheets in HL L3230CDW whereas the capacity gets 300 / 1,050 sheets in HL-L8260CDW.
- The print speed is 150% higher in HL-L8260CDW which also costs double.
- The HL-L3210CW model appears to be a cheaper version of this with comparably lower PPM
- If you need a printer with a copying & scanning facility then HL-L3290CDW appears to be more compatible but obviously with a higher price.
Lexmark Monochromic Laser Printer
Lexmark B2650DW is an amazing monochromic laser printer with amazing print speed. It’s budget-friendly and able to print at even 50 pages per minute. This printer cannot make color prints, so the print yield is above 1400 pages and the cost per print is below 4 cents per page.
Why Lexmark B2650 DW is suitable for infrequent users?
These are the reason why Lexmark B2650DW is recommended as a good choice for the occasional users:
- No chance of color dry-up since it is a monochromatic printer
- Works faster at a rate of 50 pages per minute
- Ideal for students & other family members who needs to print a lot of black prints
- Works silently at a noise level of 35 DB
- Comes with an auto duplex print feature
Other Positive Sides
- Works faster than an all-in-one printer (print speed is 50% higher than Epson & Canon)
- Easy to install & maintain
- Doesn’t disrupt print head clogging & paper jamming if used carefully
- The average lifespan is above 4 years depending on the usage
- Takes only 60 seconds to start working
- You can keep up to 550 sheets in the paper tray (this is useful for faster printing)
- Can print legal paper as well
- Not suitable for good quality color prints
- Cannot print borderless
- Not compatible with Apple AI print & Google cloud print
Differences with other printer models
- Only this printer works in Linux. The other models such as Lexmark MS 621 & MS 520 cannot run on Linux
- Lexmark MS 621 & MS 520 does not have any wireless printing feature
- Overall this B2650 model comes with multiple paper compatibility whereas the other Lexmark models cannot print envelopes.
Printer Maintenance Tips
For occasional or infrequent use, the printer would be the same which is often used in small offices. These are the maintenance checklist you should always follow to get the best possible printing experience even used infrequently.
Go through the manual
We always recommend going through the manual which comes along with the printer from the manufacturer. A manual is a total guideline that describes the best practices and some tips. You can also make a personalized checklist of the key points from the manual which ultimately helps in easy troubleshooting.
Where to place?
For the ultimate printing experience even if used occasionally, you need to place the printer somewhere which is a way of direct sunlight & dust. We highly recommend placing the printer away for humidity which evenly makes the papers thicker, and soft and results printing roller failing to feed the papers.
You have to regularly clean the print heads & their inside to avoid any paper jamming & clogged printhead issue. Always use soft cotton clothes to clean the printer’s inside and keep it covered when not in use. Never put on any clothes or covers while the printer is working. Warm water or wet tissue often helps in cleaning the print heads.
For occasional uses, it is always better to make a routine of printer maintenance.
Carefully replace the cartridges
You need to open the cartridges & place them after cleaning the inside carefully. Try to follow the removal & placement procedure as mentioned by the manual since the shapes & procedure often varies.
If you are an infrequent user, we do not recommend keeping an extra set of cartridges since the yield is as high as 1500 pages for each of the printers we have selected. However, you may go for keeping an extra set if there is too frequent printing by multiple family members.
Even if you are an occasional user, we do not recommend you wait till all the cartridges are dried out. Often print head gets damaged due to using a dried cartridge set.
Driver & Updates
Usually, a printer lasts for 4 to 5 years. Always look for the driver updates and run the updates from the manufacturer’s website to make the printer more efficient. Otherwise, the printer may stop working in case of an outdated driver.
Ink & Cartidge
We highly recommend using the prescribed ink by the manufacturer otherwise the print experience may vary. Although, operating with a third-party ink might destroy the warranty coverage and you should not encounter such situations.
Some Extra tips
These are some extra tips to make sure your printer works fine even if used occasionally.
- Never overfill the paper tray. Always keep 20-30 papers less than it says.
- Always use the right consumables.
- Almost every printer has issues with paper jamming & print head clogging. So, don’t panic and just follow the manual.
- Never open a printer it is working. Clean it when it’s off.
Printer Buying Guide
This is a comprehensive buying guide that ultimately helps in choosing the right printer for infrequent use. For more follow our detailed buying guide which we have published separately.
These are the factors you should always consider before buying a printer for occasional use:
- The purpose should be clear. If you are purchasing for irregular work then go for a monochrome version under budget.
- If you don’t know about black & color, go for an all-in-one printer with a fillable ink tank.
- Compare the print speed in pages per minute and compare as per your requirement. For occasional use, any printer with more than 10 PPM would be great.
- Check whether the printer can print duplex.
- Make sure if that can scan or fax (depending on your requirement).
- Always make a prior calculation of your print yield which ultimately helps in understanding the cost per page.
- Check the document feeding system whether can feed documents automatically from different sources.
- In case of scanning, make sure the printer can scan the duplex or any manual action is required.
- Choose the ink type carefully. For regular use, an inkjet printer with an ink cartridge is good. However, for photo printing fillable inks are great.
- In the case of scanning, check the scanning resolution whether it meets your requirement.
- If you need to use third-party ink, research whether the printer supports third-party ink.
- Look whether the printer offers Optical Character Recognition (OCR) while scanning. This is an added advantage that makes a pdf copyable.
You can also read the differences between digital printers & laser printers for further help.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
This section contains some frequently asked questions in case you need answers to one!
How would you save print costs?
Follow these techniques to save print costs especially when you are using the printer infrequently:
- Try to use the recommended toner even if it costs high. Manufacturer-recommended toners keep the printer healthy and free from so many troubles.
- Try to print in black unless you need color for special purposes.
- Always print a draft and manually review the document
- Maximize both sides of printing which helps in saving paper costs
- Clean printer regularly which helps in achieving economic ink consumption
- Try not to print if there’s an option for paperless work
Are printer ink and toner the same?
Inkjet printers require ink cartridges that are liquid colors. On the other hand, toner cartridges are powder colors that are consumed by laser printers. So, the ink and the toner are both printing consumables but not the same. Both are different color forms for two different printer types.
Learn more about the difference between 4 color & 6 color printing.
What Printer have the cheapest ink?
Usually, inkjet printers are the cheapest if you can take care of the print resolution. We have examined a $300 inkjet printer usually prints around 1,500 prints with black ink cartridges. However, laser printers are also economical if you can afford the initial investment & print a lot of documents regularly.
learn about the ways of reducing print ink consumption.
What are the common problems of a printer?
From the experience, these are the most common problems of a printer that you may encounter. Here’s a list:
- Paper Jamming
- Too much ink consumption
- Slow printing
- The printer is out of connection
- Trouble getting connected with mobile
- Poor Print Quality
We have a different article on that which also explains the best practices for troubleshooting those common problems of a printer.
What are the differences between PPI & DPI?
Pixel Per Inch or PPI refers to the resolution of a digital image. It is useful if you need to estimate the picture quality of scanned paper done by the printer & scanner. Dots Per Inch or DPI refers to the print quality by measuring how many dots a printer makes in an inch. The higher the DPI the better the will be print quality. And, with a better PPI, an image gets larger with more details inside.
learn more about the differences of 600 dpi and 1200 dpi printing.
Will the printer work with one cartridge?
Certainly yes, if the print cartridge is black. You need others in case of color prints. But we never recommend empty cartridges for too long since it puts the print head at risk which is very expensive to replace.
The impact printers have different cartridge system that do not act like the modern inkjet & laser printers.
What are the differences between ink tanks & ink cartridges?
Ink tanks and ink cartridges are two different forms of print material that are used by inkjet printers to make prints. The main difference is that the ink tank uses liquid ink and you can refill it when needed. The ink cartridges are not refillable and re-usable. Usually, the cost of ink tank printers is lower than the ink cartridge printers but the ink tanks produce prints at a slower speed which is a negative issue. For more: read the detailed comparison here.
Does the printer dry out if unused?
Inkjet printers never dry out nowadays, but the best way to avoid printer dry-up is to print at least one or two pages per week. For laser printers, print inks/powder tonner never dries out since the laser printers do not use liquid inks.
Can you recycle the printer cartridge?
Yes, you can recycle the printing cartridges but you cannot reuse them as a cartridge by yourself. Some organizations collect used cartridges to reduce their environmental footprint. Usually, inkjet cartridges can be reused and recycled unlimited times. But the laser printer cartridges need specialized people to rescue them. You should always remember that a recycled toner might put your warranty under threat. you can find more here.
Which print ink does not fade away?
Dye inks are not waterproof and will surely fade away. For a long-lasting print, we always recommend using pigment ink which is completely waterproof and can also resist UV light.
What’s the difference between Inkjet Printer & Laser Printer?
Inkjet printers work with droplet-based inks and are mainly suitable for printing images. Laser printers use powder ink cartridges and are mainly suitable for printing paper documents. For more: check out this!
Choosing a suitable printer for occasional home use is simple. Ask yourself if you need a color printer or if monochrome can serve the purpose. Besides, look at the printing speed and versatility of paper.
Have a wonderful day!