Research Hub > What to Do with Your Old Printer

September 18, 2020

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9 min

What to Do with Your Old Printer

Are you considering purchasing a new printer? Do you have plans for getting rid of your old printer? You may have more options that you think. In this guide, we’ll cover what to do with old printers as well as what to look for in a new printer.

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Are you considering purchasing a new printer? Do you have plans for getting rid of your old printer? You may have more options that you think. In this guide, we’ll cover what to do with old printers as well as what to look for in a new printer.

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What to Do with Old Printers

You generally have three main options when considering what to do with old printers:

  1. Recycle. The easiest way to get rid of an old printer is to recycle it. There are many businesses and institutions whose sole purpose is to take your old machines.
  2. Donate. There are organizations and schools out there where you could donate your printer to someone who still needs it.
  3. Sell. You can always try to sell your old printer to help cover the cost of a new printer.

Here’s a closer look at each option:

How to Recycle a Printer

Recycling your printer can be as easy as dropping it off at a local big box store. Some businesses may even offer a pickup service for your old technology. However, if there are no stores taking printers near you, you will have to look for other options. E-waste recycling centers can be found in most cities and are a great way to ensure that you can safely disposed of your electronics.

When there is absolutely nowhere near you to recycle your printer, the final option you could try is to call your printer's manufacturer directly. Many device manufacturers offer recycling services. Larger companies might even have a buy-back or upgrade program available.

How to Donate a Printer

Donating your printer is a great way to give back to your community. When you donate your machine, you are keeping it out of a landfill and can feel good that it is going to find use elsewhere. Certain institutions, such as schools or community centers, can still get plenty of use out of older machines.

Do not limit yourself to donating only to schools or organizations. You can also reach out on social media or within your friend group to see if anyone could use your old device. Anywhere is better than the trash for your old technology.

Should You Sell Your Printer?

Selling your printer can help you recoup some of your investment from an old machine. Unfortunately, the need for printers is not what it used to be, so you first should determine if your printer is worth anything before trying to sell it. Features like wireless printing or multifunction machines with scanners or fax capabilities tend to be more valuable. If your device has one of these features, selling it should not be an issue. Research what your specific printer is selling for on the aftermarket to help determine if it is worth it to you to try and sell it.

Once you have determined that your printer is worth some money, it is time to figure out where to sell it. The simplest solution for selling your printer is to find a refurbishment website or company in your area. These businesses repair and sell old technology and are the fastest way to get some cash for your printer. Other places to sell your printer include auction-style websites or social media marketplaces. Auction-style selling of your device may take more time and effort but could result in more money once the printer is sold.

Suppose the reason you are getting rid of your printer is to get a new one. In that case, you should check with the company you intend to purchase your next device from to see if they offer any kind of trade-in program.

What to Look for in a New Printer

If you’re considering what to do with your old printer, you’re likely on the hunt for a replacement. New printers can have all kinds of features these days. Make sure you know exactly what you want to do with the machine before purchasing a new one. Here are some tips to help you find the right printer for your needs.

Key Features

Check out this list below for some common printer features to consider in your new machine:

  • Scanning. Devices with scanners can upload material images onto your computer in no time.
  • Faxing. Machines with faxing capabilities can send full documents to other devices around the world.
  • LCD Display. Onboard displays can assist with printer setup and make using the device as accessible as possible.
  • Ink Replacement Costs. Nothing is worse than spending more money on ink than the actual printer. When purchasing a new device, consider the long-term replacement costs of ink and how often you will need to replace cartridges based on your workload.
  • Social Media Integration. Some new printers can connect directly to social media and print pictures or posts without downloading anything.
  • Rapid Speed Printing. New printers can push some serious speeds. If you need a machine that will print numerous documents, a high printing speed can save you lots of time.
  • Duty Cycle. A printer's duty cycle is a number that represents the maximum number of pages that should be printed a month. Going over a printer's duty cycle can cause severe damage to your machine. Typically, office printers need higher duty cycles than home-based devices.

Printer Quality

A printer's image quality is measured in dots per inch (DPI). While not the same as screen resolution, this specification can look similar. Written as two numbers like 2400 x 1200, a printer's DPI indicates the expected quality of printed images. The minimum standard for black and white is 600 x 600. Higher resolutions like 2400 x 1200 can produce high-quality black and white images. When discussing color printers, there is a need for greater DPI in order to utilize the full spectrum of color. High-end color printers feature DPI as high as 4800 x 2400 for premium quality prints. 

Laser vs. Inkjet

When considering a new printer, there are two main types of printers to consider: Laser or Inkjet.

  • Laser printers produce professional-quality documents, colorful spreadsheets and high-end graphics. However, they don't produce the same quality for photo printing as an inkjet or dedicated photo printer. That said, laser printers remain a great choice for high-volume printing because they produce pages faster than Inkjet printers, and it takes so little time for printed laser pages to dry. 

             Shop Laser Printers

  • Inkjet printers are versatile and commonly used to print photos in vivid color, office documents with crisp clarity, and for other everyday printing needs. While inkjets bring a lot to the table with versatility, their print speeds are generally slow to average. Ink costs can also add up over time. 

            Shop Inkjet Printers 

Ink vs. Toner

Another key consideration when deciding on a new printer is whether the printer uses ink or toner:

  • Ink cartridges contain actual liquid that is used by inkjet devices. While individual ink cartridges can be less expensive than toner cartridges, inkjet printers tend to use more ink than laser printers use toner. This means that your ink costs can actually be greater over time than if you used a printer that operates with toner.
  • Toner can be found in laser cartridges that are filled with powder instead of liquid. When working with toner, a bonus is that if the cartridge is damaged, there is no liquid that can leak out and potentially stain clothes or office equipment.

Explore our in-depth guide on Different Types of Printer Ink for more information.



Throwing a printer in the trash is wasteful and could even be illegal depending on where you live. Properly disposing of a printer is easy. There are many ways that you could even help someone else when disposing of your old machine. If your device is nice enough, you could even resell it and make some money to put towards a new printer or other technology. Your machine doesn’t have to sit around gathering dust or take up space in a landfill. Make the most out of your old printers by recycling, donating, or selling them.