If you are heading off to university, or your child is making the trip, you may want to consider purchasing a printer for the dorm room or university apartment. Even if your campus boasts a large computer lab with a certain amount of printing free of charge, you may still have to deal with long lines and inclement weather when visiting a shared technology bank. Printers are inexpensive and can save students time and money in the long run.
Most recommend buying the cheapest printer you can find for your dorm room. However, the cheaper the printer, the more expensive you will find the ink. You may want to consider a middle of the road printer initially in order to save on ink in the long run. When shopping, be sure to price both components so you know what the future holds. Also determine if you are able to use generic ink or ink refills in your printer. Those are a great way to save money and using the refills can help cut back on the need to recycle your cartridges.
Next, consider the size of the printer. You may not have a great deal of space in a dorm room or university apartment, so be sure the printer will fit and leave you enough room for an efficient workspace. It is also important you store the printer in a safe, dry place out of the direct sun. The surface on which you place the printer will need to be sturdy enough to support it, especially when it is in action. Remember some printers may shake or vibrate while printing, and the last thing you would want is to have your printer topple to the ground mid-job.
Specific features you may want to consider are the ability to print in color and the ability to connect to the internet without a computer. Color will allow you to use your printer for even your most elaborate projects and internet capabilities mean if your computer is not accessible, you can still print materials from online. This is convenient for class notes that may be kept on a network, or assignments that are featured on a professor’s website.
Multifunctional printers may also be a wise choice. This means you will be able to fax, scan, and copy in addition to printing. For free, and from your dorm room, you can make copies of a classmate’s notes, fax forms to the financial aid office, and scan text book pages into the computer. Be sure to keep copyright laws in mind when doing so.
If you are still concerned about justifying the cost of a printer for your university career, consider sharing your printer, and the cost of your printer, with your roomate. You may also want to shop around for a high quality used printer. This can save you money while still getting you a printer that offers all of the features you are seeking. Be sure you can use your new printer with a laptop and with a desktop.
Those still debating their purchase of a printer should consider the following. If you think it will be inconvenient to use the computer labs because of the long lines or expense of printing, purchasing your printer will be a great investment. However, if you have unlimited printing through a campus job or through your computer lab, you may want to save your money. Keep in mind, even with “free” printing, you have paid for the printing with your tuition. If it bothers you to not use something that has already been paid for, then your decision to purchase your own printer comes down to convenience. Those who prefer printing from the warm comfort of their own dorm room without waiting for any of their classmates to finish printing their 400 page papers will be happy they chose to purchase a printer.