A note about laser printer power

Posted on January 18, 2013

When finding a location to set up a laser printer, one commonly overlooked consideration is power.

Most often I see laser printers placed in a location where the printer is connected to the same power circuit that has other devices plugged in, such as a computer.

Laser printers should, whenever possible, be plugged into their own dedicated circuit.

When printing, laser printers consume a lot of power. If another device, such as a computer, is plugged in to the same circuit, there is a risk that the printer can cause power issues, such as a “brownout”. A brownout is a momentary drop, but not a complete loss of power. This drop can cause serious damage to the computer, and the parts inside.

Laser printers should also never be plugged in to a battery backup device, or UPS. The power used by a laser printer while printing can damage the battery inside, and may void the warranty.

These considerations only apply to laser printers. Other printers such as inkjet or dot-matrix printers consume a lot less power, and do not pose a risk to other equipment plugged in to the same circuit.