How to take care of your compact printer

Woman using laptop reaching out towards a printer.
(Image credit: Getty)

Perhaps more quietly than other electronics, printers have had a wild few years. From the early noughties obsession with beige or white, up to modern-day compact printers that do a lot more than the old copiers that would take up a corner of an office, things are much simpler to do now than they’ve ever been.

From leaving a myriad of cables and moving to wireless setups, to no longer needing to spend hours looking for the right drivers for your device, compact printers represent an ideal investment for home offices. They print documents and photos, and can copy, scan, and connect to your phone or tablet just as easily as they connect to your PC.

They’re not impervious to faults, though, and since they’re much smaller than your old office behemoth, they need to be treated carefully lest you run into errors or need to buy a new one.

Here’s how best you can look after your compact printer.

What is a compact printer?

Compact printers, as we alluded to above, are much smaller printers that offer plenty of features.

Some are focused on documents, others are great at printing images, but all take up minimal space on your desk or in your office.

They also tend to be easier to set up than their larger, older counterparts, connecting via built-in network setups or a simple USB cable. This makes them much more portable, on top of their smaller size.

1. Keep your printer dry and away from magnets 

This might be obvious, but given condensation on windowsills, a place where it may make sense to put a compact printer, it’s worth restating.

It’s not just environmental dampness, though, as handling a compact printer with even damp hands can cause issues going forward based on the number of small components within a short space of each other underneath the hood.

In particular, do not open the ink enclosure with wet hands. One drop in the wrong place there can see your printer ruined in an instant.

We’d also advise keeping them away from magnets. This is due to the wiring within that can be affected by magnetic pull.

While ink cartridges have arguably never been what you could describe as cheap, it’s now easier than ever to get a hold of replacements when you’re running low or out of ink entirely.

That’s thanks to manufacturers offering ink subscriptions that dispatch new cartridges to your door when it’s running low.

It’s just as well, too, because while you can use some third-party options for some compact printers, you’ll always be better off using manufacturer-approved options. Failing to do so may not only cause issues for your printer but void any warranty you may have, too!

3. Keep it cool 

It’s worth remembering that printers get very warm, even within the small chassis of a compact option. That makes airflow incredibly important, so try not to bury it under mountains of paper – it’s one thing to have printer issues, but another to cause a fire risk.

We spoke to George Lyu, PR director of Liene, a compact printer manufacturer with a specialism in compact photo printers. 

“One of the most important factors with any printer is its temperature,” Lyu explained.

“It's best to keep a printer between 10℃ and 35℃, which helps maintain printing quality, while also ensuring that any portable, battery-powered versions maintain peak efficiency without damaging the lithium battery.”

“Printers heat up during use, with photo printers using thermal sublimation technology which heats the print head, meaning you'll want to let it cool down after use.”

So it’s not only important to ensure that your printer’s temperature is managed during use, but after usage, too.

4. Clean regularly 

This is as much a part of managing your printer as it is managing your office, be that at home or anywhere else, but cleaning your electronics properly is incredibly important – especially if you move your printer around regularly.

Compact printers are exactly that – compact, and easy to take with you on your travels. However, exposing them to the elements can cause additional internal and external deterioration.

Your manufacturer will often suggest best cleaning practices as part of a quick start guide. It’s worth brushing up on it, especially if you’re seeing printing inconsistencies from leftover ink or anything else that have you worried.

For more on compact printers, be sure to check out our list of common myths about them and our list of the best compact printers

Discover more guides for the home office…

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Lloyd Coombes
Customer Advisor, Computing

Lloyd Coombes is Top Ten Reviews' Computing Customer Advisor, and a freelance writer with a specialism in tech, gaming, and fitness. Since starting out as a blogger, he’s written for sites like IGN, TechRadar, and more.

An expert on all things Apple ever since he got a second-hand iMac, Lloyd can regularly be found testing software on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac — when he’s not testing the platforms themselves, that is. He’s also’s Games Editor, and a podcaster.

When he’s not writing, you can probably find him running after his son, playing Destiny 2, or at the gym.

With contributions from