When to Buy a Printer

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Printer bargains are less likely to be seasonal, though the back-to-school, holiday, and inventory-clearance (usually late January to early February) seasons are usually good times to buy.

IPrinter manufacturers are especially eager to dispose of inventory when a new generation of machines is on the horizon. "Customers should always keep their eyes open for new printer or new technology announcements," says Canon printer spokesperson Justin Joseph. "Often, these announcements coincide with the beginning of the calendar year and the end of the summer."

Remember the savvy shopper mantra: "What will I use this product for?" A multifunction (print-fax-scan-copy) device may be ideal for a home office, but it's probably overkill for basic home use.

Also, don't forget to determine and factor in the total cost of printer ownership before you buy, so you aren't slammed by ink charges. For instance, if a set of printer cartridges costs $30 and is good for 600 pages, your per-page cost (excluding the price of paper) is 5 cents.

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