Whether you use your printer every day or just periodically, when it stops doing what it should, it can bring things to a halt.
On many occasions, these issues can actually be fixed on the spot, even if you haven’t got the first clue about technology. From issues with the printer cartridge to connection problems, there are some things to check before you go running to the manufacturer for a replacement.
Paper Jams Or Other Paper Issues
Two things could have happened here. The paper may have become blocked in the printer’s rollers, and as it keeps going, the paper inevitably jams and becomes difficult to remove. Or, the paper may not be drawn through at all.
The latter is easier to fix. Ensure it is all in straight and aligned, you have a reasonable amount of paper in there (not too many sheets but not too few as it won’t detect them) and try again. It may be worth restarting both your printer and the connecting device.
The former will require a bit more work. Stop the printing as soon as you realise there is a problem, so it doesn’t worsen, turn it all off, and then gently prise the paper out of the rollers. You may have to remove any paper still in the tray, and the cartridge panel depending on the model.
Ink Is Low Warning
This doesn’t necessarily mean the ink is low, or that it needs replacing immediately. Printer manufacturers are often quite advanced and give you early warnings these days. It is basically a way of letting you know you need to get a replacement sorted.
If you allow it to run out completely, it could damage the printer. But warnings could mean you are still at around 50% capacity. There may be a way to check exact levels if your printer is modern, such as through the official app on your laptop or phone.
Always try to use official ink cartridges as opposed to third party, as they could damage the printer, and the ink may not be suitable.
The Printer Won’t Pick Up Commands
Connection issues can stem from either the printers end or the connecting device. If your devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network, this may be an issue. It may be worth putting a wired connection in somewhere, either via an ethernet cable or connecting the device to the printer. Or, you could invest in some boosters or moving everything closer to your hub.
Ensure everything is installed correctly, too. This is particularly applicable if you use an app to print from. It could be a good idea to uninstall and reinstall everything, or reset your devices. Also, ensure they are both compatible before you buy – a printer could work with an Android phone but not an iPhone, for instance.
Print Quality Is Poor
This could apply to text and photos. Firstly, make sure that the printer is designed for your exact needs. Laser options are often better for high-quality and demanding text prints and inkjet for photos. However, the latter has various forms, and there are some dedicated photo printers out there.
Check the settings to ensure they are at their optimum, and this may involve everything being at the highest quality (even if this means slower printing and more ink is used).
Also, use the best paper for the job. Third-party brands may be thinner, or less absorbent for the ink. Photos also require a speciality glossier paper. You may have to try a few different types if you think this is the issue.
Another issue could be that the printer heads are blocked. This could also explain any low ink warnings. Ink can get dried onto the heads, especially if there has been a little gap in between uses. Your printer may have a self-cleaning programme, but if not, have a look online at how to clean the heads depending on your exact model.
Printing Is Taking Ages
This could be a connection issue as discussed previously, so check wireless settings, and possibly try wired connectivity.
Printing through an app may cause a delay compared to directly from the computer, as more processes have to be taken into consideration.
The settings could also be too high for the printer to deal with, so try and lower them a bit and see if the problem resolves slightly. This could mean quality decreases as well, however.
Ink Is Puddling
Another paper issue usually. A cheaper paper may not capture your ink as well, causing it all to gather in one place rather than harden. Likewise, very glossy paper could also not absorb it well. Ensure you use the best for the job, and for your printer.
Dropping down print quality may also solve this issue, as it will use less ink so it should be able to dry easier. It may also be worth cleaning the printheads, as some parts may be blocked, causing the ink to gather in the open spots.
Things Are A Bit Dated
In the end, technology moves fast. If your printer is a few years old but has served you well, chances are there is a much better one out there now waiting for you to find it. And they have got considerably cheaper, too, so it could cost less to both buy and run.
There was a big problem when Windows 10 rolled out, for example. People realised that some of their old accessories no longer worked with this new operating system.
If you feel this is the case, it seems beyond repair without taking to it to a professional, or your needs have changed slightly over the years, it could be worth looking into getting a new printer.
Our reviews will tell you which ones are worth the effort, and also which will best suit your needs. Check out the buying guide too, in case it all gets a bit confusing, and you need some explanations.