There is no doubt that we are generally not printing as much these days with e-books, e-tickets, lightweight laptops, and tablets becoming trendy. Perhaps to some extent being environmentally-conscious has also meant that we are moving towards a paperless and green world.
Every once in a while we find that some document needs to be printed, be it your child’s school homework or your home office project, however.
When a printer is only intermittently used, you may find to your great disappointment and, not to mention, distress that your printer cartridge has dried out.
Or worse still, that your printer has kicked the bucket without so much as informing you because you cannot remember the last time you used it to print something.
It is for times like this that investing in the best printers for infrequent use can save your day. While inkjet printers tend to dry out sooner than laser ones, the latter tend to be more expensive but also long-lasting than the former. This is because the latter variety of printers come with a toner powder that does not dry out as a result of not being used for extended periods of time.
top Printers for Infrequent Use Comparison Chart
Auto Document Feeder
Auto 2-sided printing
Canon PIXMA TR4520
Print, fax, copy, scan
8.8 ipm (black), 4.4 ipm (color)
HP OfficeJet 3830
Print, copy, scan
CANON PIXMA IX6820
14.5 ppm (black),
HP LaserJet Pro M29w
Print, Scan, Copy, Fax
HP OfficeJet Pro 8025
Print, copy, scan
Canon PIXMA TS6220
Print, copy, scan
15.0 ipm (black), 10.0 ipm (color)
Print, copy, scan
Epson Eco Tank ET-2720
Print, copy, scan
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Printers for Infrequent Use Reviews
1. Canon PIXMA TR4520 | best printer for occasional use
Canon’s TR4520 is a one-of-a-kind product designed to suit low duty requirements. The output quality of this machine is exceptional compared to other products in its price range.
It is an all-in-one printer that doesn’t take up much space which is beneficial given it’s mostly idle. We consider it to be unsuitable for heavy usage due to its high running costs.
When the 100-sheet paper tray is empty it automatically stores incoming fax. The machine has a USB port and is compatible with Windows and Mac. AirPrint and Google Could print are supported too.
It is very easy to set up using Canon PRINT. There's another app called the Easy-PhotoPrint that has a range of graphical editing tools and lets you print directly from your mobile device. However, the only way to use this device wirelessly is through a WIFI network because it lacks WIFI-direct.
Looking at other disadvantages, it has a very slow speed with both documents and pictures. Another drawback is that it uses a multicolor ink cartridge and consequently, running out of just one color requires replacement of the whole cartridge.
The photos produced by the device are stunning and vibrant. Aside from great graphical outputs, it can provide documents with very crisp texts, even when tiny font sizes are used. In addition to that, it can perform borderless printing.
The spotlight of this product is going hands-free mode facilitated by Amazon Alexa Voice. Other features include an automatic document feeder with manual duplexing, automatic double-sided printing and a small display screen. It is an extraordinary device that is convenient for infrequent usage.
1. Produces high-quality images and text.
2. Suitable for light-duty usage.
3. Hands-free mode with amazon Alexa Voice.
4. Compact All-in-one printer which saves desk space.
5. Automatic document feeder with manual duplexing.
2. Canon PIXMA TS6220 | printer ink that doesn't dry out
Consisting of 5 individual ink cartridges, this all-in-one printer can produce very detailed outputs up to 4800x1200 dpi and scan with 1200x2400 resolution. The selling point of this product is its speed.
The TS6220 prints documents or photos faster than any other device on this list. Not only that it scans and copies at an impressive rate, but it can also reproduce images with sharpness comparable to laser printer’s output. Documents with font size as small as 6 points are produced with crisp texts.
Additional important features are duplex printing, multiple options for copying and borderless printing up to 8.5 by 11 inches. A color LCD touchscreen on the control panel that can be folded out to 45 degrees is available for easy navigation.
It is a device that is quite simple when setting up and easy to use. With Canon’s range of software for phones and computers, you have access to tons of features. Canon’s Message in Print is one interesting software that lets you print hidden messages that can only be read using the app.
There are some minor disadvantages of the product. Firstly, it has a high running cost per print. Secondly, it lacks an automatic document feeder. The touch screen lags sometimes and becomes periodically unresponsive but is quickly fixed with a reboot.
Although it has a USB port to connect to computers and PictBridge supported cameras, it is unable to print directly from a USB drive and lacks SD card slots.
Overall, this machine offers a package of high-end features which is unexpected for a device that doesn’t cost that much. The expense of replacing cartridges makes it convenient to use infrequently. Therefore, it is suited for low volume printing of high quality.
1. Great printing, scanning and copying speed.
2. Supports AirPrint, Google Cloud Print and Mopria.
3. Ability to print hidden messages using Canon’s app.
4. Great market value compared to its performance.
3. Brother Compact Monochrome Laser Printer, HL-L2350DW | Best Printer for Occasional Home Use
The Brother Compact Laser Printer is perfect for those on a budget and have a small workspace and appropriate for use at home or even a small office.
It prints 32 pages per minute, has a 250-sheet paper capacity and duplex printing feature, with a maximum monthly duty cycle of 15,000 pages and a recommended monthly print volume of up to 2,000 pages. Both letter and legal-sized printouts can be taken.
This means that you will be able to enjoy high speed quality printing and spend less of your time refilling the paper tray.
Also, with the high yield replacement cartridges (TN-760) can produce double the volume of printouts at lower costs.
The Brother Compact Laser Printer can print only in black. You can, additionally, send printing commands wirelessly from your laptop, smartphone, and tablet.
1. Wireless printing options available.
2. Automatic duplex two-sided printing with high yield replacement cartridges.
3. Recommended monthly print volume of 2,000 pages.
4. Maximum monthly duty cycle of 15,000 pages.
5. Handles letter and legal-sized paper.
4. HP OfficeJet 5255 | best printer for low usage
The OfficeJet 5255 is an all-in-one printer with an ingenious and professional construct. It is convenient for casual use; numerous paper formats are supported and vivid, detailed photos are produced. This is a device that is worth more than its cost considering its remarkable features.
Connectivity options of the device allow you to effortlessly access it from your computer, tablet or mobile phone. It is equipped with dual-band WIFI and a Bluetooth adapter. Google Drive, iCloud and Dropbox are supported by this model and this gives users the comfort of printing online documents in a breeze.
There is a small grayscale touchscreen on the control panel to facilitate easy navigation and task management. Using the HP smart app further simplifies controlling the device. It lets you use your phone to remotely handle this product and it offers tons of other useful tools within it.
An automatic document feeder with 35 sheet capacity saves precious time for its users. Furthermore, it’s capable of producing borderless prints with considerable details. Additionally, the printer can scan many documents in one go without any compromise in scanning speed.
The device lets you save paper with automatic duplexing. However, like all other light-duty models, the replacement cartridges are expensive.
There’s another issue with this product and that’s the high noise levels when printing. Given that the machine is meant for infrequent use, it should not be considered a major drawback. Overall, it is a well-designed product that is simple to use and produces professional-grade output.
1. Ease to use control panel with a 2.2-inch monochrome display.
2. Automatic document feeder with a 35 sheet capacity.
3. Compact and takes up minimal desk space.
4. Multiple ways to use wirelessly supports popular online storage media.
5. HP ENVY 5055 | best printer for home use
This model is considered to be one of the best all-in-one budget printers. It can provide resolutions of 1200x1200 in greyscale, 4800x1200 in color. It is inclusive of automatic duplexing feature lacking in ink-jets with a similar price tag.
It is a quiet device that is very efficient in terms of power consumption. The paper tray is meant for the standard A4 size but can support smaller formats with the minimum size being 3x5 inches. Impressively, it can produce borderless outputs for all supported sizes.
A small monochrome touchscreen is attached for easy navigation. The greyscale display matches well with the ENVY’s pleasant look. However, it is not that great in terms of responsiveness.
Every product has at least a few disadvantages. The discomfort in using this machine is the slow print speed and loss of sharpness using a small font. It comes with a USB port that is not meant for printing. In addition to that, it lacks an Ethernet port restricting the device to wireless networking only.
On the bright side, it supports Google Cloud Print and AirPrint. It’s also equipped with a Bluetooth adapter. Only a few minutes are needed to set it up initially and then it can be easily managed by the HP Smart App. The app allows you to print from social media and shows you ink levels.
The included HP 65 cartridges run out before you can churn out 100 pages. We don’t recommend heavy usage of this product due to the high running costs. If you plan to do so then the HP 65 XL cartridges may be more suited.
In conclusion, this product makes a great companion for infrequent usage at home or office. Light usage also lets you make use of the HP Instant Ink scheme.
1. Quick and easy to set up initially.
2. Hassle-free usage with HP Smart App.
3. Borderless printing for all supported paper format.
4. Loss of text sharpness at small font sizes.
6. HP OfficeJet Pro 9025 | dry ink printer
This is an all-in-one printer with outstanding wireless connectivity features. It has a feature called Self-healing Wi-Fi that monitors for network issues to maintain an uninterrupted connection. Remote printing is possible using the HP Smart App. The app also keeps you informed of current ink levels.
Security essentials built in the device are extra features that many printers don’t generally offer. It lets you protect your documents using a password and uses encryption to ensure that your files are secure during transmission.
By using the automatic document feeder it is possible to perform double-sided scans quickly. It can hold a significantly large amount of sheets in its input tray. The rate at which the device can scan, print or copy is incredible.
It supports Ethernet connections and has a USB slot that allows printing from USB thumb drives. In addition to that, it offers several wireless connectivity features. You can use HP smart tasks to print, or scan and store your documents in online platforms which saves a lot of time.
A disadvantage of the product is that it is bigger than other inkjet printers and has a touchscreen so small that it feels out of place with the ratio of its body. Furthermore, it costs more than other comparable models by different manufacturers.
The high initial cost can be ignored considering that it can produce very detailed images and highly legible documents and still has low running costs.
Summarizing, lower running costs and high maximum duty cycle make this device suited for both infrequent and high volume printing. Its ability to provide high-quality prints and scan while having a low cost per page makes it stand out among its competitors.
1. Eco-friendly, made of 10% recycled plastic.
2. HP smart tasks allow easy management of documents.
3. Built-in security features such as encryption and password protection.
4. Reasonably fast print speed for an inkjet.
7. HP LaserJet Pro M254dw Wireless Color Laser Printer Review | easy to use printer for seniors
If you are looking to maximize output from a small printer, then the HP LaserJet Pro is the one for you. It is suited for personal or light duty use in the home office.
While it does not have a built-in scanner, it comes with the ability to provide wireless printing, such as from your mobile or through the Cloud.
The touchscreen control panel is very easy to navigate and makes troubleshooting simpler. This printer has near perfect text quality, the fastest in-class double-sided printing, and first page out.
For instance, it can print up to 22 pages per minute in black and white; it takes 11.8 seconds per page to print in color. But while it is not as good in printing photos in color as other printers, it can satisfactorily produce documents containing graphs and charts.
The HP LaserJet Pro is less expensive than other printers when it comes to monochrome printing, but fairly expensive in cases color printing. It is also fairly slow compared to other laser printers.
1. Fastest in-class First Page out Time.
2. Prints from USB drive, mobile device, from the cloud, or wired network.
3. Color touchscreen control panel for easy navigation.
4. Provides Ethernet networking and a Wi-Fi connection.
5. Equipped with HP Web apps.
6. Only works with original HP cartridges.
8. Canon Pixma TS9120 Wireless Inkjet Review | Best All in One Printer for Occasional Use
With the lightweight and compact Canon Pixma TS9120, you can print from media cards as well as from CDs, DVDs, or Blu-ray Discs. This six-ink printer is primarily designed to print highly detailed, vibrant images in color. However, it does not have an automatic document feeder and is relatively slow in printing compared to other printers.
You can connect wirelessly via your smartphone, tablet, PC, and other devices to air-print with ease. Printing is hassle free as you can print from social media, the Cloud, via Bluetooth, and even on the go.
Equipped with the document removal reminder, the Canon Pixma TS9120 has two input trays. Also, with the auto-expandable output tray, the printer is always on standby to print.
The two-tone design means that the Canon Pixma TS9120 will blend in with any decor. With this printer, you can print out anything from photographs and business cards to more simple black and white documents.
1. Comes with an LCD Touchscreen and an enhanced user interface.
2. Provides the option of connecting from various devices via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB.
3. Has a document removal reminder.
4. Tray output is auto-expandable.
5. Color individual ink system.
6. Supported by Ethernet.
7. Available in 3 colors.
9. Brother MFC-L2700DW All-In One Laser Printer Review | Best Printer for Occasional Printing
The Brother MFCL2700DW All-In One Laser Printer is ideal for black and white printing. Apart from printing, this printer can also be used for scanning at a 600 x 2400 dpi resolution as well as for sending faxes quickly.
Moreover, it has valuable features like ID copy, sort/stack, and reduce/enlarge documents from 25% to 400%, and N-in-1 copying, including a blank page skip option and auto duplex printing. Also, being able to connect to the printer with your mobile device makes for super-fast and low-cost output.
This printer has a fast printing speed of 27ppm and a standard 250-sheet input capacity, making it best suited for both home as well as a small office use.
Apart from this, the printer is equipped with a 35-page capacity mobile device automatic document feeder, which makes the printer useful for both scanning and faxing lengthy documents.
1. Black and white printing with color scanning and faxing ability.
2. Comes with a blank page skip function.
3. Laser technology high speed printing at 27ppm.
4. Capable of receiving print commands via mobile devices.
5. Compatible with both Windows and Mac OS.
10. Dell E310DW Wireless Monochrome Printer | Best Home Printer for Infrequent Use
Meant for personal use or a small office, the Dell E310DW Wireless Monochrome Printer may be small but is priced lower than other printers and is relatively fast. The single fuser unit in the Dell E310DW Wireless Monochrome Printer will last the entire lifetime of the printer.
This laser printer is able to print up to 27 pages per minute while the optional high-yield toner cartridge has the capacity to print up to 2600 pages.
However, the graphics and photo quality of the printer is subpar, making this printer something that you would not use if you need to send documents out to a client.
The Dell E310DW Wireless Monochrome Printer can issue print commands through the cloud if it is connected to a network that is, in turn, connected to the internet.
However, it will not be able to print from the cloud if it is connected to a single personal computer through a USB cable. But you can still print from a smartphone if you use the printer’s Wi-Fi Direct.
1. Provides cloud connectivity option.
2. Single fuser unit will last the lifetime of the printer.
3. Duplex printing can be done.
4. Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi Direct connectivity available.
Best Printers For Infrequent Use Buying Guide
1. Types of Printer
Inkjet printers tend to be more common in homes than laser ones as they are also the more versatile of the two. They are cheaper, also able to produce high quality images, and suited to printing small volumes of documents.
Laser printers, on the other hand, are more expensive and use toner cartridges. However, as stated above, the inkjet printer’s ink tends to dry up if it is not used regularly.
In addition to this, the price of laser printers have of late come down making it possible to purchase them for your home and are the best printers for infrequent printing.
2. Type of Document
The type of printer you should consider investing in depends on the sort of document you expect to print. In most cases, your intended audience to a large extent will determine the quality of your print-outs. Obviously, there is a world of difference between your child printing their school homework and you printing documents for your clients.
3. Paper Handling
Another matter that will determine the kind of printer you will ultimately purchase depends on the kind of paper you will print on. Some printers are mainly for printing on photo paper; others are perfect for printing cards.
Additionally, the size of the paper you regularly print on will determine the kind of printer you should purchase. What this means is that if you print on anything larger than an A4, you should obviously invest in a larger printer.
Also, if you are considering a printer for your office then one major concern is that there should always be enough paper in the printer at all times. Indeed, having to fill up the paper tray is probably one of the most important and simultaneously irritating tasks that there can ever be.
For this instance, it is best to get a printer that can be loaded with a capacity that is in line with the number of users who on average print on a regular basis. A printer that comes with a second or third tray can be ideal in this context.
A major factor to consider when deciding to buy a printer is whether you will be printing in color or monochrome. If you regularly print documents containing images, graphs, or charts, then your printer will need to print in color for this information to be understandable to yourself and your intended audience.
Some printers print at a high resolution and are ideal for printing images, while others do so at a lower resolution. Alternatively, many printers now allow you to print at a range of resolutions. While laser printers produce the best quality of output, they happen to be the most expensive of the lot too.
The size of the printer is another factor to consider as well. Infrequently used printers tend to be compact, making them ideal for both home and small office use. Moving such printers around from room to room or fitting them into a small space is less of a challenge.
The speed at which your device is able to print can sometimes be quite important. This is particularly the case in a small office environment where you are expecting to regularly print documents.
The volume of paper you need to print will determine how fast you want your printer to be. Alternatively, even if you want to purchase a printer for your home, a printer that is quick can still be one reason to opt for a certain model.
8. Multi-Functional Printers
Whether the printer can also be used to scan documents or not can be another deal breaker or maker. More and more printers will have the ability to scan, fax, print, and even photocopy.
But if you already have a scanner or perhaps you do not really need a fax machine at all, then you can consider getting a printer sans any of these additional functions.
Another important feature is duplexing. What this refers to is the ability of the printer to print on both sides of the paper without you manually turning over each page. This feature is helpful as it allows you to scan two sides of the page and feed this information to the printer.
Ultimately, only you can determine the functions that you require from your printer once you have done a ‘needs’ analysis and matched this with the sort of equipment that you already possess.
The kind of connectivity you need will depend on the location from where you are going to print and the kind of devices you are going to print from.
Being able to access a printer from smartphones, tablets, a desktop or a laptop, through Bluetooth and the Cloud is fast gaining importance as wires are increasingly regarded as a hassle and an eye sore.
While some printers offer all of these options, others will provide only a few of the above. All printers will have a USB port for wired connectivity to your computer.
10. Control Panel
Also, the ease of setting up and navigating the control panel will essentially determine how you feel every time you have to use the printer.
Some printers have LCD or color control panels that display texts and images selected for printing. Less fancy printers will have only a few buttons that you have to navigate.
11. Running Costs
In most cases, you will find that manufacturers that sell their printers at a relatively affordable price will put a price tag on their cartridge. This is one way in which they recover their costs.
Sometimes users try to mitigate this by buying their cartridges from a cheaper seller. However, some printers will not let you use cartridges from other brands. It is necessary to consider this roadblock before investing in a printer.
Even as we are moving towards a paperless world, printers are and still remain an integral part of our lives which we cannot do without.
We have reviewed the best printers for occasional use at home and small offices, and provided the most important things to consider when buying such printers. We trust that you will be able to choose the printer that best meets your requirements with the help of the buying guide that we have provided.
While it is no doubt necessary to print out documents when you need to, especially when it involves work at an office, we hope you will be mindful of your environment when you choose to print and make sure to recycle scrap papers that you are no longer in need of.