More and more of us nowadays are setting up home offices.
With freelance work so much easier to come by than it was in the past, many are using that spare room to help make some much needed cash.
Of course, if you are setting up a home office, getting the right equipment in place is vital.
Not only do you need a decent desktop or laptop and a good connection, you’ll want a printer that does the business.
Before you start looking on the internet, there are a few things you will want to think about.
What are you printing?
Much depends on what sort of things you are likely to print. More than likely, if you have a family, they are going to want to use the printer (though it could be sensible to have two separate ones for your family and business use).
You may only print out once in a while and won’t be concerned about speed or volume. Perhaps you produce reports for people, so need to be able to print out in high quality colour on different types of paper or card.
Most of your printing could be invoices for customers or maybe a mix of things.
What volume of printing?
If you’re printing a lot, the last thing you want is to be stood around waiting for that inkjet printer to finish.
You’ll need a laser printer and one that manages at least 15 to 20 pages per minute.
Is it just printing?
Another question you will need to answer is whether you require a multi-function printer. This is one that does scanning and photocopying as well. If you’re not going to use it, however, there’s no point in getting an all singing all dancing printer.
Do you need Wi-Fi?
Most new printers nowadays come with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity but some still don’t. This is useful if you want to be able to print from your mobile phone or another computer, even from a different location. It also means you have one less wire to worry about.
What’s your budget?
The other issue, of course, is going to be what your budget is. Many home office printers are fairly low cost, between £50 and £100.
This can be a bit misleading, however. The major cost is often the printer cartridges that you use. Inkjet cartridges will end up being expensive in the long run when printing a lot. They generally don’t last as long as you think they are going to.
Laser cartridges are cheaper and allow you to print more but they don’t have that pin-point quality inkjets do.
Our advice: It’s important to weigh up the cost of different cartridges before you actually buy your printer. Some companies are starting to offer higher value printers where the cost of the ink is actually factored into the price (see the Epson EcoTank below).
Home Office Printer Reviews
Now that you’ve got your office space ready and decided what you need, it’s time to buy your printer. There are literally hundreds of different makes and models out there and all have their merits.
Here are just a few at different ends of the price spectrum that you might like to consider:
1. HP Deskjet 3630
At just under £40, this is a decent sized budget printer that is great for occasional use. You can print, scan and copy but you may find the eventual cost of the ink a little too prohibitive if you suddenly do need a lot of printing.
There are no slick screens with this ultra-cheap model. The features are kept to the minimum. It does have Wi-Fi connectivity and you can control the printer via an HP app you download onto your phone. It takes card and normal paper but the tray doesn’t hold much more than 60 sheets at a time.
Can print, scan and copy
Takes card and normal paper
Not for heavy use
No slick screens
Tray only holds around 60 sheets
Ink can be expensive
Find out more about the HP Deskjet 3630.
2. Epson EcoTank ET3600
The EcoTank is a professional looking printer with scanning and copying facilities included. The ink is included as part of the purchase price.
Of course, there’s a catch. This costs more than your average cheap printer at just under £400. However, you don’t have to worry about how much you print out each day. While the quality of prints is pretty good, as you would expect from an inkjet, the speed is something of a problem.
Other features include a 150 sheet cassette, ability to connect with Wi-Fi and it works with Google Cloud Print.
This is a good choice if you’re not in any particular rush but you need to be willing to pay the premium price.
Scanning and copying
Ink included in price
Holds 150 sheets
Find out more about the Epson EcoTank ET3600.
3. Kyocera FS-2100DN
Kyocera is better known for its full blown multi-function printers for busy offices but it does have more compact models for sale. The FS-2100DN is a great choice if you want a mono printer that dishes out the pages at a pretty quick speed.
This is a laser printer that delivers 40 pages per minute and takes next to no time to warm up.
At just under £290, it’s again an expensive option for a starter printer. It does have a few features such as duplex print which can be useful for saving paper. Also, the ink running costs are pretty low compared to other printers in this category.
This is a good printer to go for if you are simply looking to print out plain documents. It is a printer that can handle relatively high volumes.
Ink prices lower than other printers
Find out more about the Kyocera FS-2100DN.
Farewell Thoughts: Choosing a printer for your home office can be a bit of a chore. What is important is to do your homework and make a list of the features that you really need. With a list you should be able to quickly hone down your options and find the device that is perfect.
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