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If you only need printing functions, a simple printer that only prints can save money and perhaps save some space on your desk. It may also be easier to use.

Drawbacks of Multifunction Printers

Many printers include copy and scanning capabilities. Some have the ability to send and receive FAX transmissions. These features typically increase the size and cost of a printer. They may make the printer more complicated to operate and more likely to have some failure. Some of these printers only work with WiFi and do not offer USB operation, which can result in connectivity reliability issues.

Simple Printers to Consider

  • Brother HL-L2305W ($120) — Brother offers a simple low cost laser printer that is durable, fast, and easy to setup. This is a popular design that has been used in business because of the low cost of purchase and operation. This basic model works with USB and also has wireless capability. It does not have duplexing to print on both sides of a page. It does not print in color. [View]
  • Brother HL-L2370DW ($160) — For an additional $40, this model offers the features mentioned above, and includes duplex (two-sided) printing. [View]
  • Canon PIXMA TS202 ($55) — This is a small inexpensive color inkjet printer from Canon. At 8.5-inches wide, it is smaller than most printers. [View]

Printer Cables

Your new printer might not come with an adequate USB cable. Some printers come with a “setup cable” that works for printer setup, but not for operation.

  • Best Buy has a nice 10-foot USB printer cable for about $15. [View] That cable is Best Buy’s own Insignia brand.
  • A 6-foot USB cable is available in the Best Buy essentials brand for about $10. [View]


Simple printers are adequate for many people’s needs. Some people will have a simple printer for reliable, fast, inexpensive printing. Then they will use a color printer only when needed.

For situations where different paper sizes are frequently used, it can be helpful to have one printer configured for the paper size needed. Printing to envelopes, photo paper, postcards, or other odd sizes, requires more steps than just putting in the desired paper. The printer and software needs to be configured for the paper size being used. So, once it’s setup, one may want to leave it ready for use.