When to Buy a Printer

by Rich on November 18, 2009

Interested in getting a good deal on your next printer?  Printer manufacturers make most of their money on consumables, so they tend to sell printers rather cheaply to begin with—but at certain times of year, prices may go down even more. You may be able to find the best price on your new printer if you go shopping at the right time.  Here are a few times of year when it’s likely you’ll be able to find an even better deal than usual on your new printer.

Back to school. Kids of all ages find printers useful to print assignments and papers at home—and parents will often buy printers at the start of the school year so their kids will have one at home. University students often take personal printers to school as well. Starting in late August and continuing though mid-September, some printer manufacturers bring the prices down on their products to attract college students and their parents. Check out your local electronics or office supply store to find out whether any back to school deals can be had in your area.

During the holidays. Sometime around Christmas, the prices on printers are brought down significantly to attract holiday shoppers. At this time, you can get a few gifts for yourself at cheap prices as well—including a new printer. Check toward the start of December for discounts that are holiday-related. Other times when a discount may be possible include Father’s Day and Easter in the States.

Inventory clearance time. Many stores try to unload old equipment to make room for the new printers and other items around mid-January to late February. They’ll drop prices on whatever’s been lingering on the sales floor to get rid of it. Your local electronics, office supply or computer supply shop would be a good place to check during this time.

When new items come out. If you’re in the market for a new printer, watch the news to see when printer manufacturers are planning to release new models—much of the time they’ll try to build up demand by advertising before the release date. Sometimes a new printer or another piece of electronics will make a big splash in the market—as Apple does with each new iPhone release. When this happens, expect the old models to go obsolete—and for prices to go down in stores. In addition, many people will try to sell their old models individually so they can buy the latest model. Check online listings and sites like Ebay if you’re willing to buy used; you may be able to get a fantastic deal.

You might want to get a good deal on a new printer, but it’s important to remember not to buy based on price alone. Here are a few tips for buying the cheapest printer for you overall—not just the one with the cheapest retail price.

Look at the price tag on the ink, not just the printer. Manufacturers make their profits on ink and toner sales. If you’re buying a cheap printer, chances are good the manufacturer sells only pricey ink for it. Check the price of the ink and take that into account as well—or you could be in for some serious sticker shock when you need to refill your printer cartridge.

Don’t buy more printer than you need. Don’t buy that all-in-one when all you need is a simple desktop printer—it’ll be a waste of money, even if the all-in-one printer is a great deal. Many stores lower the prices on the more expensive merchandise to draw consumers into spending more than they usually would—even when they’re thinking they’re getting a good deal.

Not every good deal on printers is as it seems. Know the best seasonal times to shop, but don’t get carried away by low printer prices—check the printer ink and make sure you’re buying the printer you need, not a more complex and expensive model just because it’s on discount. Do your research and go shopping at the right time of year, and chances are you should be able to find the printer that’s right for you—at a price that works with your budget.

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