Printer Myths Debunked

Apr 14, 2020

Printer Myths Debunked

Leaving Your Printer On

There are always topics that are sure to keep people arguing to the end of time. What came first, the chicken or the egg? If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? Should you leave your printer on at all times?

These are the three questions that will keep you up at night. No matter how hard you try to rationalize these, there is somehow never a correct answer. Almost everyone is a firm believer in what they think is right, so much so that they never listen to the facts. While we can't tell you anything about chickens or the sound a falling tree makes, we can give you some facts about your printer. 

So what about leaving your printer on at all times? There's not much more of a divisive topic than this in the printing community. Some will swear by it and claim that leaving it on will save you money on printer ink consumption. Others only sparingly use their printers and turn them on only when needed. But what's the right answer? What do you need to know about maintaining your printer's health?

Why You Should Leave Your Printer On

Despite the rational logic behind why leaving a piece of machinery on 24/7 is a bad idea, there is a surprising amount of evidence to support the idea of leaving your printer on all day. Although some of these points do have their drawbacks, it may be a compelling enough argument for leaving your printer running at all times of the day.

Less Ink Consumption

You might not believe it because it sounds like an urban myth, but every time you turn your printer on, it consumes ink before you even print anything. When your printer goes offline and turns back on, it goes through a "Routine Maintenance Cycle". This maintenance cycle is what you experience every time you boot up your printer and hear those loud "whirring" noises. Essentially, your printer is shooting ink from the cartridge at high speed to clean out the excess gunk or dried ink residue that may be clogging the internals. 

This maintenance routine affects all of the cartridges inside of the printer and consumes small amounts of ink from every one of them. By leaving your printer running at all times, you will bypass this routine maintenance cycle and not waste any printer ink. There are, however, some downsides to this method, as bypassing routine maintenance means your printheads may become clogged over time. 

Always Ready For Use

As stated before, every time you turn your printer on from a resting mode, there is a mandatory maintenance cycle that is initiated. The duration of this cleaning process varies from printer to printer. Some HP printers like the HP OfficeJet Pro series can finish its cycle in a matter of seconds, leaving minimal downtime for you to wait. But other HP printers such as the Color or the XXX, have multiple color ink cartridges to test before being ready to print. 

Turning your printer on and off while not in use could be a huge time sink for your business. 

Time is of the essence for busy government and state-owned offices like the DMV; they just don't have time for constant inconveniences. When time is money, you could afford to leave your printer on all day.

Turning off your printer

Why You Should Leave Your Printer Off

As there are valid arguments for leaving your printer on, there are also plenty more simple and easy to rationalize reasons for leaving your printer off while you are not using it. It's almost common sense at this point to shut your printer off when not in use - but are there drawbacks?

Capping Mechanism

We've talked about routine maintenance, consuming ink every time that you start your printer. But what if we told you that leaving your printer on actually prevents you from losing ink in the long run. Printer ink is a liquid that is meant to evaporate when exposed to air immediately; this allows the text on your page to come out crisp and dry. This is also the reason when you're printing a photo or a large image that it may feel a little wet to the touch at first. You never want to expose your ink cartridge to the air of any kind.

A lot is going on inside of the printer that you can't see. When you turn your inkjet printer on, there is an uncapping mechanism that triggers automatically, your printer leaves the home position and is ready to print. While it is ready to print, it exposes small holes on the ink cartridge that leave the ink vulnerable to air. 

If the ink is exposed to air over an extended period, this could lead to either evaporation or dried ink. When you leave your printer on and never shut it off, this keeps cartridges in their air-exposed position. When you turn the printer off properly, the ink cartridge returns to the sealed home position, where it is no longer exposed to oxygen. 

Energy Consumption

You wouldn't leave your sink running without you using it; the same principle applies to your printer. It seems nonsensical to leave your printer on when it's not in use, even while it is not printing, power is being consumed to keep the control panel running. Although energy consumption practices have become more effective among new models, if you have an older printer, it could be wasting an absurd amount of energy. 

Sleep Mode: The Best of Both Worlds

While both leaving on and shutting off your printer have their drawbacks, there is a happy medium between the two that you should know about. Sleep mode is a low power mode that can be enacted after a certain time passes when the printer is not in use. Also known as standby mode, sleep mode will lower the consumption of power that the printer is using and dock the ink cartridge back into the home position. 

The average wattage used for a standard HP printer uses around 40 to 50 watts of power when printing. While in sleep mode, the printer will reduce its usage to about 3 to 5 watts of electricity per hour. That significant jump between energy consumption might just be able to shave a considerable amount of money off of your next electric bill. 

However, keep in mind that older printers may not have sleep mode functionality. This is a fairly modern feature that has become a mainstay in newer HP printers, but may be absent in older ones altogether. 


We've given you both sides of the argument, but it's truly up to you to decide. Ultimately, the winner here seems to be sleep mode, which boasts some impressive features to please both sides of the spectrum. 

If you prefer convenience over pricing, then leaving your printer on may be the right choice for you. Those who don't need everything done in a matter of seconds may just enjoy saving money when it comes to their energy bill. 

If you're looking to cut the cost of your printing even more, here at, we can help you drastically reduce that printing bill. We offer tons of different remanufactured and compatible printer cartridges for all the top brands like HP ink, Brother, Lexmark, Canon, Epson, and so many more. You don't have to choose between name-brand quality and low prices when has both.