A Paperless House

I’ve thought long & hard about going paperless and by this I mean no home printer.
We have a basic print need these days as we are both retired. The family, friends & other associates are all wired to the internet. so the question is do we really need a home printer?

The background goes along the lines of cost of & problems with printers, cost of ink, drying up tanks, clogged up cleaning cycles.
Do I really need colour and if (as I do) use mostly grey scale, why do the colour tanks still dry up.
With all that, what is the real cost of a printed page, it seems a few pence per page is far from reality.

Anyhow, rant over, the printer packed up with an error that indicated it might have a real fault, or maybe, at least needed a service. Cost £60 plus 2 way shipping/transport, plus materials.

Nah, so the same question, do I really need colour or even more, do I really need a printer.
I can compose/edit photos and suchlike myself & have them printed by a www company, a few days turnaround and I have admit better quality than from my printer.
Correspondence to family & friends is always by one or other of the www systems.
It falls by the wayside it some respects; it means hand writing letters and notes to people, addressing the zillion christmas & other cards…… hmm …… thinks ……

I chickened out & bought a little HP laser mono (B&W) & it does all I really need, it connects to all the laptops, tablets & phones. And joy of joys, it starts & prints in a few seconds, faster than I can get to it.

So what about you folk, any of the same, or is there another way.

Well, I decided over a year ago that I didn’t need a colour printer, and I’d become very fed up with the machine refusing to print even monochrome when one of the colour cartridges was empty. So I bought a B&W Brother Laser. Totally reliable and quick.

I still need a printer because SWMBO can’t seem to get it through her head that she doesn’t need to print out email confirmations to take to a shop etc (tried to get her to understand that she can just show them the message on her phone).

Also, I need to print things like theatre tickets sent to me as PDFs, although that seems to be becoming less essential.

To be honest, I mostly use my printer to print out Sibelius scores transcribed for guitar from piano music or by listening by yours truly. Now that we’re allowed to mix a little more, when I go for my guitar lessons, I usually print out 2 copies of any pieces we’re using, so that I and my tutor can still socially distance.

The only reason I keep our printer is because it’s also a scanner, so allows me to get rid of paper copies of stuff and digitise them so that they take up no space and are infinitely quicker, cheaper and easier to use.
If I really want a quality print I’ll pay to have it done on a professional printer that will give better results. Churning out paper copies of stuff you can easily view on a screen is totally unacceptable.

I still use my >10 year old Canon stand-alone scanner. Canon seem to have stopped providing updates for it now, so I use it with VueScan. Useful for scanning from a printed score for one of my guitar lessons.

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After having Epson and canon printers in the past, we now have a really good hp printer. Cost £99 and we have a subscription for ink £1.99 a month, we receive new cartridges when they are running low. With 2 children and lockdown schooling it was an absolute necessity. It has wired Ethernet and works faultlessly.


Hi Chris, I’ve been using my iPad camera as a scanner for quite a while, its not perfect but its as good as it needs to be for all my needs (so far) .
My new HP printer takes a tablet/phone picture over wireless as a scan to print, haven’t tried it yet, but looks a useful thing in the toolbox.

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I have never had a printer at home. I have always relied the equipment at the office. However, now when I have worked remotely almost a year and half there has not been a single case where I would have needed a printer. The odd document scanning cases I have taken care of with the camera on the phone (pictures converted into pdf by using the laptop).

Yes, the CamScanner app on iOS is quite handy. The only drawback is that you really need a flatbed or something to keep the paper flat.


Can’t survive without a printer. If the screen on my PC was the size of the kitchen table then okay, but it’s not. For example we’ve spent the last few weeks pontificating over a new fridge/freezer; comparing specs/reviews/prices/&c. To have all that on a single screen forget it… how the youngsters manage to do all this on a tinky phone screen beats me!

Also things like house particulars. Walking round with something the size of an A4 page is much easier than a phone screen or even a half decent size tablet.

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Yes I also need to have a printer. For example chairing zoom or Teams meetings, it is very helpful to have a hard copy of the agenda that you can annotate as you go. And I still find it easier to scan read something on paper than on a screen (by scan read I mean read very quickly, skipping bits, to identify what I need to read more carefully and where all the important parts are.

So I use a Brother colour laser printer. It sits on the network, in standby, ready to go when I want. But it also works with AirPrint so we can print stuff direct from our iPhones and iPads too.

The downside is that a set of four toner cartridges costs about £250-£300. But I only change those about once a year, or longer during lockdown.


I bought myself a refurbished Dell Laser colour printer as I was finishing a course 12 years ago. It took 4 to 5 years to use the original toner cartridges. Bought aftermarket replacements and they are still going strong. Basically, I only print out Boarding passes and the occasional document now. The printer cost about £40 and I spent about £15 on toner since, so has worked out cheaper than an inkjet which I think would have needed replacing by now. I expect at this current rate of toner use, I will expire before the toner does.

I do have an A3 photo printer as well, which costs a fortune in ink and whilst I could use it to print the boarding passes I think having the laser makes sense for me as it is small enough to sit out the way under a desk.


Our last home printer was also a Dell Colour. Had it for about ten years and it was very good. Probably spent a couple of hundred quid on toner over the 10 years. It was on the Dell flog-off and only a hundred quid. Unfortunately it died last year; came up with a f/w error and the feedback from Dell and forums was no fix. Now replaced by a Lexmark for about £120. As a printer I have to admit it’s better than the Dell; quieter, faster, lower power (it sits on the network left in standby all the time), BUT I miss the scanner function. I purchased a cheap wand scanner from ‘the river’ for the odd times I need that function.

I went “paperless” at home a few years ago, scanning everything & anything (other than “original” certificates etc) with a Fujitsu ScanSnap and then filing the result in DropBox / iCloud. A most empowering thing to have done, and has saved countless hours filing & finding documents. But I couldn’t be without a printer, so have a colour duplex laser printer as I also don’t like inkjet.

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I agree with all your concerns about printing. To get the best out of an inkjet printer, you do need to use it regularly, otherwise they get clogged up.

However I stillI find I still need one. Like the idea of B+W laser (which my daughter has done), but I like to put together Lyrics and Guitar Chords, and prefer the Chords in colour so they stand out. My wife also uses it to print out Lecture notes.

Scanning/printing always useful, e.g. several occasions in last year where we have been sent a document that needed printing, signing then scanning in to send back electronically. Scanning music also useful for sending to others.

I also started scanning in CD Booklets so that I can follow lyrics when streaming.

I have recent brought an Epson with Ecotank, which is expensive upfront, but cost per print is much less, so I probably use it more than before, or at the very least worry less about printing.

Hasn’t the law changed recently (or soon) requiring manufacturers to create repairable products at better cost?

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I embarked on a similar thing after being burgled some years ago - I always kept receipts/bills/statements but was drowning in paper and couldn’t find things I knew I had.

I’ve had 2 Scansnaps and they work very well, and prior to that a few flatbed scannersbut I still found organissing and digitally filing documents a complete chore. Cloud services were uncommon back then and I’ve never really trusted them security wise.

In the past I tended to store sensitive digital copies in encrypted disk images, though I dare say I’ve forgotten the passwords to many of these, or they are stored on old computers/drives.

Naturally these days many things come digitally anyway - must have scanned hundreds of Amazon invoices over the years, now they don’t send paper ones at all. I still get paper cc/bank statements though increasingly wonder why, however they’ve made it so hard to log on online these days - all more easily done in a smartphone app but it’s a chore to download things like statements as none of the ones I use allow a batch download.

Perhaps ties up with my hoarder thread - but when I’ve not looked at scanned documents for over a decade is there any point keeping any but essential documents.

Maybe in the past I scrutinised transactions and utility bills, now I’m realising life is too short.

I’ve had far too many inkjet printers over the years, and still have several in storage which are probably clogged (expensive so I didn’t want to throw), but the best value one was purchased at least 2 years ago if not longer - an Epson EcoTank ET-2750.

It uses ink reservoirs rather than cartridges, a bit like continuous ink system modifications you could add to certain cartridge based printers of yesteryear.

It’s not photo quality in the way some older ones were, but has been heavily used printing thousands of pages of schoolwork/uni coursework, especially during lockdown (early on I wondered how ridiculous some schoolwork was in terms of printing requirements for home learning).

I still have maybe 1/3 of the original ink left, and recently bought a new set of CMYK inks for just under £30.

The ability to print without worrying about ink costs, albeit with slightly less quality than older photo printers, is really handy and I think I’d buy another if it failed, in fact I’ve been considering an A3 photo model.

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My experience with ink jets is you spend more on clogged jets/cartridges than ink actually used for the printing! At work we went through multiple colour ink jets before going laser. We had a colour laser for 7 or 8 years but then we went wax printing. This is like laser but the quality is nearly like a proper photograph - that’s for you older readers that actually remember or still have ‘proper’ photographs. We’ve had a Xerox wax printer for 6 years now and it’s excellent. I think it works out at about 3 or 4 pence for an A4 image. Not really for home use though… it’s too big. At home I’ve gone laser/colour. Honestly this has worked out, by far, cheaper and less stressful than an inkjet. I’d guess 1 or 2p a full colour page. But I well remember spending most of a whole day trying to get an inkjet unclogged!

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I hadn’t printed a boarding pass for a year or two before lockdown. I just store them in my iPhone wallet app or in the airline’s app. This also works for Eurostar, for example.

A fair few airports/airelines still want a paper copy still, well at least the ones I use. Plus if you lose your phone you have a paper backup.

Don’t forget printing out Address labels, e.g.for eBay/Hermes etc