The 5 Best Printers For Infrequent Use

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While many things have gone paperless these days, there are still times when you need to print something, and when that happens, you want a printer that works right away — even if you haven’t used it in months. The best printers for infrequent use will be reliable and easy to maintain, with ink that doesn't dry out between printing jobs.

What To Consider When Shopping For Printers For Infrequent Use

When choosing the best printer for infrequent printing, you have three style options. Here are the pros and cons of each:

  • Laser printers: If you're looking for low-maintenance, efficiency, and reliability, these fit the bill. They use long-lasting toner that doesn't dry up, so you can go for months between print jobs without worrying that the ink has dried up or clogged. However, laser printers do tend to be bulky and usually cost more upfront, and most of them only print in black and white — although you can pay more for color printing.
  • Inkjet printers: Ideal for printing high-quality color images and photos, these are more compact and affordable. However, inkjet cartridges can dry up if not used regularly. To prevent that (along with last-minute printing frustrations), you'll want to run a test page now and then.
  • Ink tank printers: Another good option for photo and image printing, these use high-capacity ink tanks that continuously supply ink a little at a time to prevent drying out, making them a low-maintenance color printing alternative that may be more practical than inkjet printers for occasional use. Keep in mind — these do tend to be more expensive.

Beyond that, you’ll want to consider extra features like a built-in scanner or copier, and whether you want wireless capabilities to print from your phone, tablet, or even cloud services.

Whether you're signing hard copies of documents, printing out theater tickets, or looking to frame your favorite photos, these are the best printers for infrequent use on Amazon that’ll be ready and waiting whenever you need them.


The Overall Best

Why it’s great: This compact laser printer is efficient, low-maintenance, and cost-effective. It doesn’t print in color, but the black toner will last you longer than an inkjet cartridge, and since it won't dry out, you can rely on it to be ready when it's time to print. You get some great bonus features too, like a built-in copier and scanner and the Wi-Fi capacity to print from almost any device or cloud service. However, to do so, you'll have to download the HP Smart app, which is an extra step.

According to a reviewer: “I got this model in particular because it is exceptionally small for a laser-jet. It's significantly smaller than the inkjet I had been using. Setup was actually really easy, and I was able to get it working on my phone and laptops in a matter of minutes.”

Compatible paper: Letter paper, card stock, envelopes, labels | Printing: Black & white | Paper capacity: 150 sheets | Printing speed: 19 pages per minute


Editor’s Choice: A Laser Printer For High-Speed Document Printing

Why it’s great: This wireless laser printer is the one I’ve relied on for years, and it’s always ready to print when I need it. With a high-speed printing capacity, it’s a great choice if you need to print a lot all at once and don't mind printing in only black and white. And it doesn't require much maintenance, either: The printer uses black toner that will last a long time — so while this option is pricey upfront, you won’t spend as much money in the long run. (I can’t even remember the last time I changed the toner.) Plus, there’s an easy-to-use control panel and Wi-Fi capability to print and scan from cloud services like Google Drive and Dropbox.

According to a reviewer: “This printer purchase was an upgrade of a previous Brother printer that I’ve had for years. This wireless printer has made my home office functional again, at this time when I need it the most. It’s fast, convenient, and produces high-quality prints. A worthy investment.”

Compatible paper: Letter paper, card stock, and envelopes | Printing: Black & white | Paper capacity: 250 sheets | Printing speed: 32 pages per minute


A Laser Option That Prints In Color

Why it’s great: If you don’t mind spending more, you can get the low-maintenance benefits of a laser printer, along with the capability to print in color with this laser color printer. The toner replacements are relatively affordable, and since they're not prone to drying out and clogging, this printer is a great option for occasional use. There’s also an adjustable color touchscreen, Wi-Fi connectivity, and the ability to print from mobile devices.

According to a reviewer: “It is a solid workhorse that has given me zero issues in the 8 months I have been using it. the printer can sit idle for 2 weeks and then fire into action to reliably print a whole lot of color pages. No mess, no fuss, no printing test pages, no cleaning print heads and generally wasting precious time.”

Compatible paper: Letter and legal paper, envelopes | Printing: Color and black & white | Paper capacity: 250 sheets | Printing speed: 33 pages per minute


The Best Inkjet Printer For Photo Printing

Why it’s great: Inkjet printers tend do a better job of blending color for photos, and this one takes things up a notch with its ability to print, scan, copy, and connect to mobile devices. This inkjet printer has over 8,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, and the ink refill cartridges are wallet-friendly. But remember: Cartridges can dry up and cause clogs if you don’t use the printer often, so you may want to print a test page or run a cleaning cycle now and then to prevent this.

According to a reviewer: “The printing is slow for photos, but the quality is so good (clear, great color saturation and no graininess) that I do not mind the wait. The print time for documents was really fast.”

Compatible paper: Letter paper, photo paper, envelopes | Printing: Color and black & white | Paper capacity: 20 sheets | Printing speed: 8.8 images per minute (IPM) in black, 4.4 IPM in color


An Ink Tank Color Printer That Can Pay Off In The Long Run

Why it’s great: Like inkjet printers, this wireless ink tank printer is also a champ when it comes to producing high-quality photos and images. But here's the kicker: Instead of using cartridges, it relies on bottles to provide a slow but steady supply of ink — an ingenious tweak that prevents drying out over time. Even better, one replacement set of ink bottles is equivalent to about 80 replacement inkjet cartridges. Of course, you're going to pay a bit more up front for this long-term payoff.

The Wi-Fi enabled printer can print from your computer, smartphone, or tablet, and you can also use voice activated-printing with Alexa or Google Assistant. The compact printer also copies and scans, making it a great all-in-one option.

According to a reviewer: “Print quality is excellent to say the least, with highly legible text that's appropriate for most businesses and personal use. Also, its color photo quality printing is superior to laser jet printers at anything like the same cost.”

Compatible paper: Letter paper, photo paper | Printing: Color and black & white | Paper capacity: 100 sheets | Printing speed: 10.5 pages per minute in black, 5 pages per minute in color

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