Why Are Printers So Unreliable? (9 Reasons Why)

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Brandon Porter

Brandon Porter is an architectural draftsman of 25 years and a self-proclaimed handyman. He loves renovating homes and making them his own, whether it's fixing up the plumbing or painting the walls.

You would think printers would be more reliable because the world is in the era of technology. You can buy a mobile phone that can do everything a laptop can, but it is much smaller.

Printer unreliability is so common in the world that you can see them thrown out by garbage cans or on local marketplace sites to give away for free. This is done rather than trying to fix them.

Why Are Printers So Unreliable?

1. Many Moving Parts That Break

You may not think there would be many moving parts inside of a printer. That is far from the truth because the printer needs multiple moving gears and components to work correctly.

Essential parts of the printer are contained within the motherboard that can be found on one of the outer walls of the inside of the shell.

If one of the gears or rollers stops working, the printer will need work. If one of the computer components gives out, you might as well toss it out and buy another inexpensive printer.

This is the point that the printer manufacturers are trying to reach. It is simply too expensive to fix your printer when you can buy a new one much cheaper and without the hassles.

2. Outdated Drivers Cause Printer Problems

Printers are like cell phones and computers. They need to be updated regularly; otherwise, the printer will not work correctly, if it works at all.

An outdated driver will work so poorly that it can make you think the printer is broken. This is the first thing you can check whenever your printer is not working well.

Having to constantly update the printer can sometimes cause severe stress. If you need something printed out right now, you do not want to mess around with updating the unit.

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3. Cheap Parts

If you are like most of the population in America, you like to buy things that are as cheap as possible. Society today prefers to buy things they can throw away and replace rather than have them fixed.

Manufacturing companies have gone along with the trends of their consumers and are offering cheaper printers with a much lower life span. In this way, they sell more printers more often.

If you check the cost of production and compare it with the price it is sold for, you can see that most of the more affordable printers sell for less than what they are made for.

4. Wireless Network Not Working

Wireless connections are something that many of you take for granted. You hook something up, and it should work without fighting it.

Electronics of all kinds can give you some issues when you have a wireless connection hooked to them. Printers are one of the worst because they are not designed to be top-line products.

If you have an expensive model or brand, you can bet that the parts will be better than one of the throw-away models, but you will still have issues when they need updates and repairs.

5. Troubleshooting Is Complicated

Troubleshooting Is Complicated

Ideas from the engineers designing the printers are to make a screen that will walk you through the processes you need to complete to keep it up and running correctly.

Theories behind the design are sound, but the plan was not so great. Screens are so small that you have to get close to even see the words.

While kneeling down and pushing buttons to navigate through the steps is even more of a complicated task than it should be. This is one of the number one reasons that people replace instead of repair.

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6. Using Third Party Ink

Common ways to cut costs on any printing job is to get cheap replacement ink that is not the same brand as the printer. It can clog the heads and print shades of colors that you do not want.

Or you can even get the ink cartridges filled back up with ink for a much lower price. Problems with this are that it leaves big black dots and smudges on the paper you are printing.

Printers are designed to work with their specific ink cartridges, which is how the companies cover the losses they sustain by selling the printers so inexpensively.

7. Paper Jams

Paper jams are the cause of many grey hairs. You should be able to send the information to the printer that it needs to print, and it should print.

You should not have to stand by the printer to make sure that the paper does not jam when the roller tries to pull a sheet in. You can bet it will jam up and ruin the print job if you don’t.

It does not necessarily need to be a whole piece of paper that is jamming it up. A small piece ripped off the main sheet can cause as many problems as possible since it is harder to find.

8. Poor Customer Service

Customer service is one of the most important aspects of any company. If they want to be successful, they must be transparent and available.

Unfortunately, that is not the case for most companies now. They hire outside help to answer the phones, which should be more accessible, but it isn’t.

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Customer service for printer help can be one of the most stressful tasks you can ever do unless you are an employee at a computer repair shop.

9. Hard To Find Ink

Unless you upgrade your printer every year or so, you will find it hard to find the ink cartridges you need without going online and searching around.

You used to be able to walk into any retail outlet store and grab the color or colors that you needed. Now, so many printers are on the market that the stores cannot carry them all.

If you have a new printer, you will still be able to find the replacement cartridges in all the local stores, but once it is replaced on the market with a newer model, the ink will be much harder to find.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why Sherwin Williams paint is so expensive, why Festool is so expensive, and why posters are so expensive.


Printers are a huge part of personal and business life. They are used to print out everything from school assignments to flyers and brochures for marketing.

Unfortunately, the needs of people far outweigh their usability. High-end printers can last longer than others, but when you check the costs against each other, the cheaper versions are the better deal.


  • Brandon Porter

    Brandon Porter is an architectural draftsman of 25 years and a self-proclaimed handyman. He loves renovating homes and making them his own, whether it's fixing up the plumbing or painting the walls.

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