why do home printers fail to work as intended so often?


Books, newspapers, and magazines are printed perfectly all the time, why is it such a hassle to get home printers set up? Software is buggy and hard to work with even for professionals, and the hardware is always having issues. Home printers have been around for a long time and in general modern software is quite sophisticated. This seems like something we would have figured out by now. Even in offices, it’s hard for IT to set up printers. Why haven’t we gotten printers that just always work? Is there some fundamental problem we can’t solve?

In: 6143

Printers for home use are made cheaply rather than being built to last and be used frequently like in an office.

It doesn’t help that ink dries and can cause issues so when you print 1 paper every month it doesn’t help the printer but an office is probably having someone print something every day

In addition to what has been mentioned already, the printer subsystem in Windows has been a tangled mess since forever. I used to work in printer tech support and when Windows 10 came out I really hoped they had made some improvements, but no. Even the simple act of canceling a print job depends on the goodwill of the driver, but the reason for wanting to cancel it is often that the driver pooped its pants and the job got stuck. Windows should be able to detect this and enforce action, but you still have to fix it by hand.

Printer “ports” is also a concept dating back to Windows 95 or maybe even earlier, and they frequently get messed up for no good reason, or because the driver tries to be helpful and work around the archaic system, with another system which is completely opaque to users and thus a mess to troubleshoot.

As another comment pounted out, printers are made cheaply. To the point where they’re often sold at a loss.

This is in general because the manufacturers make most of their money in ink. A cartridge of ink costs cents to produce, including the fancy kind. They’re marked up ridiculously because they’re the subscription fee. Printer ink is literally a scam.

So, in their minds, they basically give you a printer and then milk you for the ink. This leads to huge amounts of terrible printers, because they try to cut costs as much as possible, because the printers are less financially important.

Edit: to those replying with pedantry, I’m aware of the error in the first line. This is what happens when you comment on stuff at 3 AM. While both statements are true, one does not lead to the other as implied.