Having a printer has countless benefits, though, like any other device or appliance, printers breakdown. One of the most common problems with a printer, most of us have experienced, is the paper jamming issue or slow printing.
If you use your printer frequently, we know how annoying it can be to have persisting problems with the printer.
Whether your feeder is jammed with paper or you’ve run out of ink, we’ve covered these common issues below with their solutions.
The printer is very slow
This depends on what type of printer model you’re using. Some printers print at a slow speed to produce high-quality prints, while some print much faster, but the quality is low.
If you regularly use the printer and you’ve noticed that you printer works very slow, you may need to change the print quality in the printer settings.
To change the setting:
1) In the search box on the task bar, type Control Panel. Open Control Panel and select Devices and Printers.
2) Right click the printer you are using and select ‘Printing Preferences’.
3) Click the ‘Paper/Quality’ option and select the printing mode from the options listed under ‘Quality Settings’.
In case you can’t find how to change the setting for your printer, run through instructions for your printer model from the manual.
The printout is faded
The quality of the print job depends not only on the printer but also on the ink or toner cartridge.
Ink cartridges contain liquid and are used by inkjet printers, while toner cartridges contain powder and are used by laser printers. The ink in an ink cartridge can either be dye-based or pigment-based, depending on which cartridge you have. If your printer uses ink instead of toner, it is possible that the ink has dried and needs to be replaced.
Did you know that the type of paper you use also influences the print quality?
Ensure that you’re using the right type of paper for printing, whether coated or uncoated. Uncoated papers are printing papers which are non-reflective. Whereas coated papers have a dull/matte or gloss finish.
If the paper is not an issue, the toner could be the problem. Try taking the toner out, shake it slightly a couple of times and place it back in the printer. Avoid touching the toner roll or it can leave fingerprints. This should help resolve the issue.
If you don’t print frequently, sometimes the toner settles and needs to be “activated.”
A blank sheet of paper prints after every document is printed
The reason an extra sheet of paper is being printed is because of the print settings or because the printer driver is outdated or corrupted. To fix this issue, you could try reinstalling or updating your printer drivers (Refer to the information below to know how?).
This setting is typically used in offices where the print volume is high and is useful if there are several people using the same printer. An extra sheet of paper is generated before each printout to identify the document and its owner. These extra sheets are referred to as ‘Separator Pages’.
When you insert separator pages between a certain number of copies, you can specify whether to insert a separator page before or after each stack.
If you don’t want a blank sheet of paper after every print job, you can choose the ‘Print Directly To The Printer’ option by following these steps:
1) In the search box on the task bar, type ‘Control Panel’. Click ‘Control Panel’ and select ‘Devices and Printers’
2) Right click the printer you are using and select ‘Printer Properties’
3) Now, click the ‘Advanced’ tab, select the option Print Directly To The Printer. Click Apply, and then click OK.
How to reinstall the printer driver?
1) Press the Windows key + X and choose the ‘Device Manager’ option
2) Locate your printer driver, right click it and choose ‘Uninstall Device’.
3) If available, check mark ‘Remove Driver Software’ for your device and click ‘Uninstall’.
4) Once you uninstall the printer driver, restart your PC, connect your printer and turn it on. Windows will install the default driver for your printer.
How to update the printer driver?
To update the printer driver, visit the printer’s brand website and download the latest drivers for your printer model. If you’re not sure about the printer model, you can check the printer manual.
Prints only half a page
This is a common problem with most USB printers. If only half the page is printing out, there is definitely something wrong. Unplug the printer, turn off the computer and restart both the devices. Once the devices have restarted, run a self-test page.
If it still doesn’t print properly, the problem could be with the printer, toner or the drum unit. The error message should explain what the problem is. If it doesn’t, call a professional to get the issue fixed.
Printouts are very light in colour
This probably means that the print head is clogged. If you haven’t used your printer in a long time, this issue can possibly occur. It’s important to clean the print head by running the printer’s utility program.
If you are having a hard time finding the program, you can try to access it from the printer device on your computer. Run it a few times and then print out a test sheet to see if its printing properly. Ink and toner problems can include streaking and fading (which usually indicates a dirty print head) or toner in a laser printer that is running low.
For inkjet printers, the print head may need a good cleaning. The printer utilities app that came with your printer will include a cleaning option.
There are usually two types of cleaning options: a light clean and a heavy clean. You could first try a light clean, since this will use enough of ink. If that doesn’t fix the issue, try the heavy clean option.
For laser printers, the issue could most likely be due to a low toner, which means it’s time to change the toner.
If you don’t have a toner cartridge handy, you can extend the life of the current cartridge that you’re using by removing the toner from the printer and slowly tipping the cartridge from side to side. This will redistribute the toner within the cartridge and give you enough prints for the time being.
The Colours are missing
This is again a common problem in printers and most of us think it’s because the ink is over. There could be various reasons for this. Check the cartridge first before you replace it.
If the cartridges are full, it could be a clogged nozzle. Another reason could be the ink has dried up due to lack of usage. Inks quickly dry out if you don’t regularly use them. So you could try changing the ink.
Wi-Fi printing is very slow
If the printer is placed very far from the router, make sure you place your printer closer to the router. This should help increase the printing speed. Ensure your router is adequate and that its firmware is up to date. It should support 802.11n and offer the 5GHz band as well as 2.4 GHz.
You could also try adding a wireless extender to improve its performance, if needed.
Paper keeps jamming
The most common cause of this issue is paper misalignment. Make sure you properly insert the papers in the tray and avoid overfilling the tray. If this doesn’t solve the problem, check the troubleshooting section of the printer’s user manual.
If that doesn’t work, call a professional to check the issue.
Windows sends print jobs to another printer
If you notice that Windows is choosing a new default printer (the one it automatically sends print jobs to), it could probably occur after upgrading from Vista to Windows.
To fix this issue in Windows, click Start (the Windows icon in the lower-left corner of the screen) and select Devices and Printers. Under Printers and Faxes, right click the printer you want to set as default and select Set as default printer.
Printer FAQs Answered
What type of printer should I choose?
This depends on what type of printer you are looking for – one that’s fast or the best quality one? How often will you be printing and what kind of documents will you be printing? And how much does the printing cost matter to you?
Printers can generally be split into two main categories, based on the ink technology they use – inkjet or laser. They are also referred to in terms of their features such as wireless printers, or the tasks their best suited to perform – such as home office printers. You could read about some popular HP, Epson and Canon printers, compare the features and accordingly buy one
What are inkjet printers?
Inkjet printers can handle text-heavy documents such as minutes from a meeting but they can also print photos and do a better job of it than a laser printer. They’re quiet and occupy less desk space than a laser printer.
However, inkjets are usually more expensive to run as compared to laser printers, as they cost more in ink per printed page than you would pay for a laser toner.
Pros: They are smaller and cheaper as compared to laser printers and can produce good-quality colour print outs.
Cons: More expensive running costs
Inkjet printing costs per page are higher than colour laser printers, but colour laser printers and cartridges cost more at the outset. If you print a lot, a colour laser printer should work out cheaper over time.
What are laser printers?
Laser printers shine when it comes to printing a lot of black text, and while colour models are more expensive than colour inkjets, they also produce professional-looking business graphics. They’re normally faster than inkjets when it comes to this kind of job, and can handle a heavier workload if you have to print a lot of pages every month.
What’s more, while the toner cartridges are expensive, each one prints a lot more pages than an inkjet cartridge, so the actual cost per black-and-white or colour page is usually much less.
However, laser printers are usually bulkier and louder than inkjet printers and they occupy more space on your desk. While they can produce good graphs and charts, colour laser printers aren’t the best at printing photos. Stick to an inkjet if you’re likely to print off your holiday snaps.
Pros: Fast prints and good-value printing for black-and-white pages
Cons: More expensive, bulkier and often noisier than inkjets
Black and white or colour: Which one should I go for?
Black and white inkjets are quite extinct now, but you can still save a little money by opting for a ‘mono’ (black and white) laser printer. These are cheaper to buy than colour models and if you’re mostly printing black text on white pages, you’ll also find them cheaper to run.
Colour makes your printer much more versatile. But if you need to print a photo or colour document, a colour printer is worth having.
Should I consider a wireless printer?
Wireless internet or wi-fi is an excellent feature to look for in your new printer. It enables you to connect it to the internet without needing a cable, meaning you can place your printer where you like at home.
Once you have connected your wireless printer to the internet, you can access a range of online services, such as the free mobile printing apps offered by the big printer brands – HP, Epson and Canon.
Should I buy the extended warranty plan for my printer?
Yes, it is! An extended warranty plan covers all the defects and malfunctions covered in a standard manufacturer’s warranty.
It helps you extend the life of your printer by a few more years.
Click here for more information on the extended warranty plan for printers.