It’s 2021 and Printers Still Suck

The year is 2021. We don't have flying cars. We barely have cars that drive themselves. No hoverboards either. And one thing we definitely don't have are printers that don't suck. It is beyond absurd how much of a racket printer companies are these days. It's so bad that Joanna Stern's review of printers is more of the best of the worst.

Because all printers are the worst. Now we get even more news of the absurdity of printers, courtesy of

While using his Pixma MG6320 printer from Canon, the plaintiff was surprised to discover that the "all-in-one" machine would refuse to scan or fax documents if the printer ran out of ink. As ink is not necessary to perform scans or faxes, the argument is that the printer features should continue to work even if there is no ink in the device.


This is bananas. Adding more fury onto the pile is this reply support has given people asking Canon about this: "The PIXMA MX710 must have all ink tanks installed and they all must contain ink. If you attempt to print with no ink or an empty ink, you would risk damaging the printer."

It's fairly common knowledge that printers follow the "razor blade" sales model. They sell the printer for cheap ($60-$200) and then gouge customers on the ink. I was browsing a CVS recently and saw an HP printer on the shelf for $70. An odd place to see a printer for sale, however in a pinch I could see why someone would grab it while there. Then when looking at the ink hanging next to it I saw they were selling for $45 apiece. The general advice holds true that when your printer runs out of ink, it's less expensive to throw it out & get a new one (that includes ink) than buy replacement ink on its own.

None of this even takes into account the lockdown manufacturers have put in place to stop people using 3rd party replacement ink, disabling features like in the article above, or the issue of a printer refusing to print black text because it's low on cyan.

Printers are the worst. Full stop. Laser printers remain the best value on the market if one must have one. Utilizing your local library to print is a fantastic alternative too. As for scanning, iPhones and Android phones can do that just as good for text and nearly as good for photos these days. Our pocket computers easily replace that. As for faxing, well I don't even have an answer for that.