Should You Buy Used Printers?

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Should You Buy Used Printers?

There is an adage that a new car loses most of its value the minute it is driven off the parking lot. This wisdom also applies to printers, as a brand new printer loses part of its value the moment it is taken out of the box. For this reason, many homeowners and business owners looking for ways to save money prefer to buy a used printer instead. Sometimes this may seem like a good idea until the consumer purchases a used printer that works for a month, and then its printer head eventually breaks down.

The cost of replacing a printer head is more expensive than the overall cost of the used printer, and so in most cases is not worth it. Used printers are often found for sale on eBay, and buyers can get a good deal on these items. A smart shopper needs to keep an eye out for the condition of the printer, and its overall value, when making a purchase.

Used Printer Features

A used item can be a bit of a mystery at times. A smart shopper can get a great deal on a printer, or they can potentially end up with a real lemon. Understanding the different printer features to watch out for when shopping for used models helps mitigate these concerns.

Parts

The good news about buying used printers, even the very large business models, is that there is a minimal amount of parts inside the machine. The bad news is that when some of the parts do finally break, the repair can get costly.

Separation Pad

This is the part just above or below the paper tray, depending on the type of printer, that pulls the top sheet of the paper apart for printing. When it starts to go bad, multiple sheets of paper enter the printer at the same time. As far as used printers go, this part is not a major concern as it can be replaced for very little money and minimal repair costs.

Rollers

Rollers feed the paper through the machine. Large printers usually contain several rollers. Each one comes with a layer of rubber that helps push the paper through the internal components. When this rubber becomes worn, the rollers need replacing. Thankfully, like the separation pad, they are easily able to be repaired.

Fusers

Fusers are only found in laser printers, which means a business consumer who is purchasing an office printer is more likely to encounter them as opposed to a homeowner buying an inkjet printer. The fuser is responsible for heating the toner powder onto the paper. Over time, the fuser does not heat like it should and must be replaced. This part is more expensive than rollers or a separation pad, but should not cost more than a couple hundred dollars.

Printer Head

This is the most expensive replacement part on a printer. Unfortunately, without a functional printer head in place, the printer does not work properly. As many printers age, their print heads tend to get clogged. Cleaning them can help, but this part does come with an 'end of life' notice, which is the expected lifetime for the part. Consumers can find this information on the print head itself. Once it goes, the print head is typically very costly to repair.

Warranty

The second main concern about printer features is how much time is left on the warranty. In the case of most used printers, they are sold without any time left on the warranty at all. This is partly due to the fact that many printing companies only offer a one year warranty with their products, and so by the time most consumers are ready to sell their used printer, the warranty expired long ago. In some cases, however, a buyer might get lucky and run across a model that is still under warranty. It is the seller's responsibility to accurately state how much time is left on the warranty, but the buyer must be responsible for registering the product with the company if it is needed.

Obsolete Technology

Printers are constantly changing along with computers, and this presents a problem when buying used models. Even a printer that was made three years ago can be hopelessly outdated when it comes to connecting cables to new computers. A good rule of thumb when buying used printers is to try and not purchase one that is older than two years. There is no point spending money on a machine that cannot work with the rest of the office equipment.

Home vs. Office Printers

The main benefit of buying a used printer is typically the price. For home printers, buyers may not see much of a difference, as these inkjet printers are usually less expensive to buy and somewhat costly to keep up.

Type

Initial Cost

Maintenance Cost

Longevity

Home

Low

High

Short

Office

High

Low

Long

 Office printers, on the other hand, are expensive upon purchasing but have low maintenance costs.

Inkjet Printers

Inkjet printers are often less expensive to produce than large office printers, and they do not have a tremendously long lifespan. Consumers who are in the market to buy an inkjet printer for the home should approach their search carefully. First, buyers should study how old the printer is, as most modern inkjet printers for the home do not last much longer than a couple of years. Their technology is also obsolete as many do not allow for wireless printing, cloud printing, and other functions that homeowners can receive with a new inkjet printer. Their printer heads are delicate and prone to breaking sooner than office models.

Laser Printers

Laser printers are commonly used in the office, earning them the nickname office printers. These types tend to be expensive, but they are well-built machines that can last for years. When it comes to buying a used printer, consumers can get their money's worth out of a used laser printer. However, do not blindly accept the seller's word on the state on the printer. Do a bit of background research before purchasing.

Original Price

The first thing any buyer must do is find out the original price of the used printer. Newer models, those that were made in the past year or so, are typically more expensive than their older counterparts. However, be wary of any printer being offered at an unbelievable discount. There is a reason why the printer is being sold so low, and sometimes there is something wrong with it internally.

Page Count

Printers are able to print out a sheet with their specifications. The page count lists how many pages the printer has printed. This is important for determining the state of the internal parts. For example, an average fuser should last for 200,000 pages. If the page count lists anything close to this number, then it is likely that the fuser is about to go out. Keep in mind, however, that some printers do have a page count reset button, which renders judging the state of the printer by the page count obsolete.

How to Buy a Used Printer on eBay

eBay is the place to buy and sell used merchandise, and printers are no exception. You can find plenty of printers here in all different models from various manufacturers. Pricing also differs, even between the same model, largely depending on the condition of the item. You must always remember that condition is paramount. Never take a risk by purchasing a used printer that seems to be in poor condition, as this is a bad sign of worse things to come. It is also the seller's responsibility to accurately state the condition of the machine and answer any questions that you might have.

Start off by searching for 'used printers' to get a full list of results. You can then narrow down the results even further by searching for printer type, such as 'inkjet printer', or a 'laser printer'. Keep in mind that refurbished printers are different from used ones. Refurbished models have had some work done to them to bring them back into an almost-new state. Therefore, they are more expensive that used printers that are sold in 'as-is' condition. Some refurbished models may even come with a warranty, but keep in mind this warranty is provided by the third-party who fixed the machine, not necessarily the original company.

Conclusion

Buying a used printer can be a wise decision, as long as the consumer pays close attention to the small details, and does a little bit of background research first. Most office printers are well suited for secondhand purchases, as they last far longer than the average home printer. Furthermore, the low cost of home printers typically beckon consumers to purchase them brand new.

Office laser printers are far more expensive, but the consumer can save money by getting a used model instead. Pay close attention to the age of the printer, and the state of the parts inside, by reading a page count sheet. This helps the consumer determine how much longer the printer can last before it starts breaking down. The warranty is another important consideration, though most used printers come without one to view. eBay sells all types of used printers that anyone can buy, and with a little bit of patience anyone can find the perfect kind of used printer.

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