Printer Durability

The durability of inkjet printers has been relatively constant until around the year 2000.

Many HP printers manufactured before the turn of the century (year 2000) or older are still are used today. These rugged and well-engineered printers were built for long term use, using brass gears and steel parts. This is also partially why printers used to cost so much and last so long.

From 2000 to 2004 printers gradually started to decline in life expectancy. By late 2005, newly released inkjet printers suffered from a noticeable lack of quality parts and engineering.

Printer makers during the late part of 2005 and 2006 began an arms race of sorts, in trying to out produce each other.

Vying for retail shelf space, printer manufacturers (especially HP) scrambled to produce a multitude of printer models, each using a similar chassis and ink to paper technology but incorporating different esthetic features, LCD screens, paper trays, CD printing etc.

By doing so, each model of printer could be justified as being “different” and merit more shelf space from the retailer. A larger selection of a specific brand creates a higher chance of it being purchased, and so the HP Empire grew.

This rush to production and designed obsolescence due to less durable parts, led to a shorter life span of the printers from this era.

By 2006, printers started to take on an estimated 4-year life cycle and the expected term of use for the newest machines appears to be even less.