Tech stocks are known mostly for their growth potential, but many of them pay a modest dividend as well. That income can come in handy, especially during times like these when markets are down and inflation is high. Automatically reinvesting dividend payments can supercharge your long-term returns in this scenario as the process allows you to accumulate more shares when prices are low.

But which tech stocks should you buy? Read on for a few good reasons to like Microsoft (MSFT 0.87%), Nvidia (NVDA 0.64%), and Garmin (GRMN 0.32%) right now.

1. Microsoft

In the list of reasons why you'd buy Microsoft stock, the dividend might not be at the top. But that's mostly a testament to this highly diverse business.

Microsoft delivers exposure to several attractive industries, including video game software and cloud enterprise services. Microsoft's Azure platform is winning market share and has the potential to drive profits higher for many more years as business moves onto the cloud.

Sure, Microsoft is enduring a growth hangover today after years of soaring sales during earlier phases of the pandemic. Parts of the business are shrinking as consumers step away from areas like PC productivity software.

But Microsoft is among the most cash-rich companies on the market today. That fact bodes well for future cash returns, including a growing dividend payment.

2. Nvidia

Nvidia shares became much cheaper through 2022 thanks to a demand slump in some key markets like video gaming and cryptocurrency mining. But the chip giant has been through many cyclical downturns like this and has always emerged as a stronger business.

Nvidia pays a modest dividend that's likely not going to make an immediate difference in your returns. But even a nominal dividend demonstrates a commitment to cash returns by the management team. The company has paid out $9.3 billion in dividends and stock buybacks over the last three quarters, after all, even though sales trends have decelerated sharply over that time.

The company has a bright long-term future ahead as it capitalizes on its intellectual property lead in areas like computer graphics, autonomous driving, and data visualization. Those are the factors that should deliver excellent returns for investors willing to buy the stock right now.

3. Garmin

Garmin isn't as susceptible to a recession as its 2022 stock price slump might suggest. Sure, the company gets a lot of revenue from consumer tech products like smartwatches and fitness trackers. These niches are already seeing weakness as shoppers change their preferences in the wake of the pandemic.

Yet Garmin also has a large and growing presence in industries like boating and aviation navigation. Its GPS devices include high-end, specialized products, too. All of that diversity has helped the company deliver six years of annual sales growth, although that impressive expansion streak is likely to end in fiscal 2022.

Investors can take advantage of that short-term stumble to pick up shares of a diverse tech company with an excellent track record for innovation across both consumer and professional niches. If Garmin can simply protect that momentum, then you'll be glad you purchased shares of this dividend-paying stock following its recent slump.