How to Ship a Printer

By B. Steele

When shipping expensive printers, consider purchasing insurance. The cost is usually cheap given the protection it offers.
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When shipping a printer from one office to another, your chief concern should be packing and wrapping the printer as securely as possible, as you have little control over how the printer is handled once you hand it over to the courier of your choice. Whether you’re shipping the printer a few towns over or across the country, never skimp on packing materials.

Remove the toner or ink cartridges from the printer. You can pack the cartridges in the same box, space permitting, but it’s not a good idea to leave them in the unit because any shaking or jostling while in transit can leave a mess for the person opening the box at the other end. Wrap the toner cartridge in plastic or place ink cartridges in sealed plastic bags.

Unplug all cables and wrap them separately. Tying them up individually with cable ties or elastic bands can expedite the setup process for the person receiving the printer.

Remove any paper from the printer and close its paper trays. Secure the trays in place with a few pieces of tape.

Pack the printer in its retail packaging if you still have it. The retail box is ideal because all cardboard and Styrofoam inserts are customized to fit the printer perfectly. If you don’t have this packaging anymore, wrap the printer in bubble wrap or paper and secure it with tape.

Place the printer into its shipping container. Ideally, choose the smallest-sized box that will comfortably accommodate it.

Cushion the printer with extra bubble wrap, paper or Styrofoam peanuts. Ideally, the printer should be snug in the carton.

Seal the top and bottom of the box with packing tape. Place extra tape over any holes or weak areas of the box, if the carton has been previously used.

Black-out any old shipping labels or bar codes with a black magic marker. This eliminates potential confusion for your courier and possible shipping delays for you.

Apply the shipping label to the top of the box. If you printed the label on a regular piece of paper, cover the entire label with clear packing tape. Doing so will protect the label and its bar code in the event it gets wet and prevent it from getting torn off while in transit.

Bring the box to your courier for shipment, or schedule a pickup. You can usually schedule a pickup on the courier’s website.


UPS and FedEx allow you to purchase and print shipping labels online, in addition to scheduling pickups.

If you’re using the U.S. Postal Service Priority or Express services, you can also purchase and print shipping labels online. You can schedule free pickups at the same time.