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So, your printer has recently given up the ghost, bitten the dust, cashed in its chips, kicked the bucket, bought the farm. While you could pay to have it fixed, it’s currently one rope short of being a boat anchor taking up space in your office.
“Is my printer even worth fixing, or should I buy a new one?”
Well, the decision to fix versus replace your printer depends on many questions you need to ask yourself and as well as a printer professional.
1. How old and potentially obsolete is my printer?
If your printer or copier’s recent demise was downright timely (as in, it’s older), a replacement might be in order. Most printer devices over five years old are likely to be technologically obsolete. While fixing it for another few years of use is always an option, this may make less sense if an upgrade seems appealing from a features standpoint.
2. Is my printer even fixable?
A quick way to remedy the “to fix or replace” dilemma regarding printers is to determine the device’s intended use. Most smaller, personal-use printers available from big-box stores are not designed to be repaired—especially inkjet printers. Commercial-grade copiers and printers, on the other hand, are usually designed with extensive repairs in mind. A quick way to determine which one you have is to compare the device’s price with its replacement cartridges’ cost. If they seem almost comparable or within 30%-or-so of each other, your machine was likely intended to be replaced rather than repaired in the event of failure.
3. Are parts even available for my broken machine, and for how much longer?
It almost goes without saying that the parts necessary for fixing your broken printer or copier should be available right now. What is less obvious to some is that parts need to continue to be available well into the future to make a fix now worth the investment. Your copier or printer isn’t getting any younger and will likely need new parts in the future, so make sure they will be available. If they won’t, you may merely be delaying a second inevitable breakdown to which there will be no fixing.
4. How much does each option cost?
One of the first steps to weighing your options would be to determine the cost of replacing versus repairing. Get quotes from reputable copier repair companies as well as new printer device rates. Compare them to each other as well on a timeline of lifespan. Also, consider whether a fix will carry your printer into the realm of the obsolete, where a newer printer would have better suited your future needs. If you’re wary of buying an expensive new machine, leasing your printers can be an appealing option for many companies.
5. How much have I already invested in the surplus consumables for this printer?
If you’re the type that likes to have ample replacement ink and toner on hand, this may also guide your decision-making process. If you’ve sunk hundreds of dollars or more into toner and ink that will pretty much go to waste if you replace the machine, make sure to factor this into your cost calculations.
6. Does this printer or copier even adequately suit my needs anymore? Is it time for a change?
As Bob Dylan put it, “The times, they are a-changin’.”
Your printer or copier needs have likely changed since you first purchased this device. Perhaps you have new security concerns that your old printer couldn’t accommodate. Maybe you only have a black-and-white printer, and you’d like to be able to print in color. Perhaps most of your staff is working remotely, and a printer of this capability or output is no longer necessary. A cost-saving downgrade may be in order. Or maybe your company is reassessing its printer use philosophy. While this breakdown may feel like a significant inconvenience right now, it may be a good time for reflecting on how your print needs have changed and what will best serve you now.
Give it to me straight—should I fix or replace my printer?
In the end, it depends. If your printer or copier is relatively new, repairable, and will continue to fill your needs throughout its lifespan, you should strongly consider having it fixed by a printer repair professional. If your printer is a bit older and the capacity for continued maintenance over the next few years is questionable, you should consider looking for a replacement printer that best suits your current needs.