Printers are dead? Long live printers! The top 24 reasons you still need a printer in 2024

print icon on orange background
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The consumer printer market has been shrinking for years to the point where it’s fashionable in some circles to claim printers are pointless! But don’t write off the printer just yet. Like email and wired internet connections, reports on the printer's death have been greatly exaggerated, to paraphrase Mark Twain. 

If you already have one or are wondering if it’s worth buying, consider these top 24 reasons — in ranked order — why you should still have a printer in 2024. 

24. Recipes (so your phone can stay safe while you’re cooking)

There’s no shortage of videos on social media of people accidentally dropping their phone into a pot of pasta water or a sizzling pan. If you don’t want to get stuck scraping your iPhone 15 out of your lasagna, printing recipes might be a good idea instead of looking at them on your phone while you’re cooking. No one will be upset if they splash a little sauce on a couple sheets of paper, but if it’s your shiny new Samsung, that’s a different story. 

23. Community event posters

I volunteer with a local nature conservancy that holds dozens of events every year. Printed posters are one of our top ways to advertise since we can leave them in coffee shops and small businesses around town and hand them out at earlier events. If you help with local community events, clubs, or organizations, having your own printer available to make posters and hand-outs can be handy. 

22. Coloring pages and crafts

Did you know coloring may be better for curing depression than conventional therapy? Research shows coloring can help relieve depression and support positive mood changes in adults. Of course, kids also love coloring. So, whether you live alone or in a full house, you can use a home printer to print out free coloring sheets any time, which might be useful the next time you have a rough day. 

Go deeper

  1. Best all-in-one printers in 2024
  2. Best laser printers in 2024
  3. HP OfficeJet Pro 8135e review: A speedy, user-friendly all-in-one printer that’s perfect for the home office

21. DIY calendars and planners

Planners aren’t just for students. They’re handy for everything from keeping up with a workout routine to planning your projects at work. Why pay for a mass-produced calendar or planner when you can use a home printer to create and print your own? 

20. Stickers and mailing labels

What do water bottles, notebooks, and phone cases have in common? All of them are cooler with stickers. Most people think of basic paper documents when they think of a home printer, but you can also print things on sticker paper to make your own stickers, whether they’re fun touches for your phone case or a sheet of basic mailing labels. 

19. Sheet music and song lyrics

If you’re a musician, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of trying to play and use digital sheet music or lyrics simultaneously. Some apps, like Ultimate Guitar, have an auto-scroll feature, but it’s locked behind a paywall. If you have a printer around, you can just use all your chords, lyrics, and sheet music to skip the paywall and buggy auto-scroll. 

18. Last-minute cards for birthdays and holidays

We’ve all been there – you’re about to head over to a friend’s birthday cookout and realize you forgot to get them a card. If you’re in a pinch, you can print one at home. Loading some cardstock paper into your printer will be as nice as the average store-bought card. Even if it isn’t, it’s the thought that counts. 

17. Doctor’s notes and prescriptions

Most doctor’s offices offer virtual copies of appointment confirmations or doctor’s notes today, but you never know when you might need a paper copy. Some managers and schools may even prefer hard copies of doctor’s notes for easy filing. If you have a printer at home, you can quickly make a paper copy of that emailed doctor’s note before heading back to the office or your child’s school. 

16. Homemade posters

Have you ever finished decorating after moving to a new place only to find there’s still one blank wall you can’t ignore? Printing off a few homemade posters is a cheap and easy way to fill those little gaps and add a bit of extra style to your space. Plenty of artists sell printable PDFs of their work on sites like Etsy. A home printer makes it convenient to get your own copies of any posters you want, whether you make them or buy PDFs. Even wide-format home printers can fit larger paper sizes like 11 x 17. 

15. Creating collages

Along with posters, home printers are also great for making collages. I like making a new collage every year to cover my bulletin board or the wall beside my desk. With a printer in the house, I can quickly print off new photos to add to the collage or swap out old ones. It’s much more economical (and flexible) than paying someone on Etsy to do the same thing and ship the pictures to you. 

14. Pet documents for traveling and vet visits

Bringing pets on vacation is fun but can be complicated, especially if you’re flying. Airlines and security personnel often require a lot of paperwork before allowing you to bring a pet with you on a flight. 

For example, pets that are certified emotional support animals or service animals can ride under your seat on the plane. However, you would need to bring a certification letter proving their status as a service pet and some airlines may require additional forms pet owners need to fill out. Having everything printed makes the process far easier. 

13. Homework and school forms

Printers are crucial for students today, even if you mainly go to class online. I always used one in college when we switched to remote learning in 2020. A printer is handy for scanning your homework, printing homework your teacher shares virtually, or creating a physical copy of your essay at the last minute. For parents, printers also save the day for things like field trip permission slips or sick day notes. 

12. Scanning physical artwork to continue digitally

I’m not a professional artist, but I like to doodle occasionally on both paper and my iPad. When I want to finish a paper sketch on my iPad, scanning it with a printer gives me much cleaner results than taking a picture of it with my phone. This is why many professional artists keep a printer or scanner handy. Plus, when you finish your digital artwork, you can reverse the process and hang up a printed version of it. 

11. Character sheets for your favorite tabletop game

I’m a huge fan of tabletop roleplaying games and board games. Anyone who’s played one knows how helpful having a physical copy of your character sheet is. Sure, there are plenty of websites where you can make one and reference it digitally whenever you want. But there are also plenty of game masters who want a tech-free game. 

It can even be helpful to have a paper character sheet in online games so you don’t have to swap between your digital character sheet and your video call with your adventuring party.

The top 10 reasons that yes, a printer is a good idea in 2024

10. DIY custom t-shirt decals

Did you know you can make your own custom t-shirts with just an iron and a home printer? All you need is heat transfer paper. You can get a pack of it for less than $10 on Amazon, load it into your printer, and start making your own t-shirts. It’s perfect for last-minute custom shirts for events or groups (or making a funny meme t-shirt for your friends). 

9. Travel documents and itineraries 

Accessing your plane ticket from your phone while traveling makes sense, but printing out some documents can be a lifesaver. For instance, when you’re traveling to a different country, you often don’t have phone service at first. Even if you have international roaming on, you never know when service might get spotty. 

That’s why it’s a good idea to have physical copies of things like your hotel or Airbnb reservation, train and bus tickets, or anything else you might need on the road, especially for your trip's first day or two. After all, when you’re traveling, it’s always better to over-prepare so your trip doesn’t get derailed by something like a missing address or phone number. 

8. DIY business cards

Whether you’re a small business owner or just want to have a handful of contact cards to hand out at professional events, a home printer is great for making your own. Sure, you could pay for a company to make them for you, but it would probably be more expensive and less convenient than getting some cardstock paper and printing them yourself.

7. Lost pet flyers

Losing a pet is stressful enough without having to worry about rushing over to an office supply store (fun as they are to visit) to print out posters. Having a printer at home lets you print posters of your missing furry friend and post them around the neighborhood as quickly as possible, which could help you find your dog (or cat) sooner. 

6. Printing your resume to impress interviewers

Want to stand out at your next job interview? Print out a physical copy of your resume to give to the interviewer. They’ll be impressed you took the time to print it, and will stand out from all the digital resumes they’ll compare it to. This strategy works even better if you load your printer with thick, high-quality paper. 

5. Printing last-minute tax returns

You never think you need a printer until there’s an emergency. That’s exactly what happened to thousands of people using H&R Block’s digital tax services in 2023. The company’s servers crashed on tax day, leaving last-minute filers (myself included) with no way to file their tax returns. The alternative is to attempt to use the IRS’s FreeFile platform, or you can just print your tax return and mail it, saving you from hefty late fees. 

4. Scanning paper forms

Have you ever needed to get a medical form or a bill turned in at the last second? It might be too late to mail it back, but if you have a printer at home, you can scan it to your computer and email it. Even if you’re not in a hurry, having a scanner handy makes it much more convenient to return filled-out paper forms. 

3. Printing photos from your phone

What good is it to pay for a phone with a top-notch camera if your pictures stay stuck on your phone’s small screen? You can print out all those stunning photos from your phone using a home printer and some basic photo paper. It’s cheaper and easier than using a professional photo service. 

2. Digitizing old photos

Most of us have a family member with tomes full of old photos from vacations, countless holidays, and birthdays. Physical photos are great mementos, but they’re also vulnerable to damage that could ruin them if you don’t have a digital backup. An all-in-one printer with a scanner is perfect for creating digital versions of all those old photos to ensure you never lose them. 

1.  Return shipping labels

Nine times out of ten, when I wish I had a printer at home, it’s because I need to return something I ordered online. Nearly 15 percent of online purchases were returned in 2023, which means at least one in six products you order online will be returned. 

This one factor alone is common enough to justify having a printer in 2024. Your friends and family will thank you for it, too, when they can swing by and use your printer when they inevitably need to return something. 

Stevie Bonifield
Freelance Writer

Stevie Bonifield is a freelance tech journalist specializing in keyboards, peripherals, gaming gear, and mobile tech. Outside of writing, Stevie loves indie games, photography, and building way too many custom keyboards