How to choose the right printer for your home office

Updated: Mar 8

Printers haven't changed very much in their appearance over the past few years, they’ve just become more efficient and less expensive.... a lot less expensive! They come in all shapes and sizes, black ink only versions or full colour laser printers. There's also the choice of inkjet or laserjet. So which do you choose?

How to choose the right printer for your home office

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With so many home office printer choices available, it's a good idea to have a think about how you're going to use your printer before rushing out to buy a new one.

Here's a few things to think about before buying a new home office printer suitable for your home based business:

  • How much printing will you need to do?

  • What type of printing do you need to do, e.g. a simple invoice or a colourful brochure?

  • Do you need to print in colour or can you get away with B&W?

  • How much space do you have for your printer?

  • What size printer would be appropriate?

  • Where will your printer be positioned? Is there a power point, Wifi signal...?

  • Will you need to photocopy anything?

  • Will you want to scan any documents, photos, images...?

  • What else might you want from your printer for personal use e.g. recipes, photos, kids artwork...?

  • Who else in the house may be using your printer, e.g. children printing school work?

Think about your requirements before buying a new home office printer

Printers come in all shapes and sizes. These days they can also come with built-in Wifi, scanners and photocopiers, these are known as multi-functional printers (more details below).

You can choose Monochrome (black ink only) small printer versions or full colour printers. There's also the choice of inkjet or laserjet. But if you haven't bought a new small office printer recently and you're not sure of the difference, here's what you need to know about choosing the right printer for your work from home business...

Single Vs Multi-Functional Printers

A single function printer offers just that - the single purpose of printing. It can print, and do nothing more. Multi-functional printers offer the ability to photocopy and scan as well as print your documents.

If you see yourself working from home for the foreseeable future, you may want to consider a multi-function (also known as an all-in-one) printer. These printers don’t just print from your computer, but also allow you to scan existing documents and either copy them or save them as files such as PDFs, jpegs, etc...

Multi functional home office printer

Multi-functional printers are also very handy for keeping your personal and household paperwork to a minimum as you can scan your household documents, great for keeping a record of all your old household bills and documents as you go paperless and then dispose of the actual hard copy.

Both single function and multi-functional printers are available in both inkjet and laserjet versions...

Inkjet Vs Laserjet Printers

If you haven’t bought a printer recently or you haven’t needed a printer until now, you may not necessarily know what the difference is between inkjet and laser printers. Here's a round-up of the different options available to give you a general idea of how each of them work...

Inkjet Printers

For many a home office and small business, a basic inkjet printer is sufficient for most needs. You can pick up a basic inkjet printer for around £60 these days, so there's really no need to spend much at all.

Inkjet printers spray tiny droplets of liquid ink onto a page. Most home office printers use two separate ink cartridges, one with black ink and one that contains the 'colours' cyan, magenta, and yellow inks.

I personally have a great little multi-functional inkjet printer that I can also use as a photocopier and scanner. I purchased a HP Envy Photo 6230 All-in-One inkjet printer about 5 years ago now and it's been brilliant. It was a bargain at around £120 (cheaper now!) and the ink cartridges are inexpensive to replace. It's great for printing invoices and one off documents and also as a backup printer whilst my laserjet was temporarily out of action.

My top recommended inkjet printer: HP Envy Photo 6230 All-in-One

The HP Envy Photo 6230 All-in-One is fabulous value for money. And with a price tag under £100, I'm not sure why you would bother with a single function inkjet printer? 🤷‍♀️

This little printer is great... you can scan, photocopy and send emails straight from your printer. You can also send documents from mobile devices (with the app). In my opinion, it's a no brainer small inkjet printer for the work from home community and any new small business owners on a limited budget with minimal requirements.

Laserjet Printers

If you know you will need to be doing lots of printing, you're probably going to be much better off with a laserjet printer rather than an inkjet. They are more expensive, although the prices have come right down since I first bought one, you can now buy from as little as around £80!! The toner cartridges also costs a lot more than an inkjet ink cartridge, but a toner cartridge will last you much longer than an inkjet and the quality is far superior 👍

A laserjet printer uses toner (ink in the form of powder), which seals to the paper it's printed on, whereas an inkjet uses wet ink which, once dried, can smudge easily - especially if it gets wet! I learnt this the hard way when I was cooking and freezing meals to sell to my customers. I printed the ingredient labels on an inkjet printer and stuck them to my food pots before putting in the freezer. Of course when the food defrosted the label became wet and the ink smudged! 🤦‍♀️

Multi functional home office laserjet printers have really come down in price

Laserjet printers use lasers to create static electricity on a rolling drum inside the printer. The static electricity attracts the toner, which is melted onto the paper. While toner cartridges initially cost more than ink cartridges, they also last far longer than liquid ink, and as a result your cost per page will be less. Laser printers also tend to initially cost more than inkjet printers, but they can save money over the long term.

Laserjet printers are available in all sorts of variations but the main one's include...

Single Function Mono Laserjets

These are not multi-functional. You can print your documents but cannot scan or photocopy. Mono(chrome) means you cannot print in colour, they offer black toner options only. These are the cheapest laserjet printers available.

Recommended Single Function Mono Laserjet Printer: Someone must have a good reason to buy a single function monochrome laserjet as a home office printer, but given the low cost difference between single/multi, mono/colour these days, I'm yet to find that reason?! 🤷‍♀️

I personally did have a good reason to buy a single function laserjet... I already owned a multi-function inkjet, so I didn't need any additional functionality when buying a new printer. I did however need to seal colour onto printed labels... hence my additional purchase.

💡TIP! Remember to focus on WHY you need or want to buy a new printer - what's the purpose?

Single Function Colour Laserjets

These are not multi-functional. You can print your documents but cannot scan or photocopy. These print in full colour with 4 toners, Black, Magenta, Cyan, Yellow.

When I bought my laserjet printer I already had a multi-function inkjet HP Envy Photo 6230 All-in-One (see above ☝) so I already had the capability to scan and photocopy. I therefore didn't need a multi-functional laserjet printer and I knew I could get away with purchasing a single function laserjet printer instead.

Recommended Single Function Colour Laserjet Printer: HP Colour Laser 150nw Wireless Printer. This is the laserjet printer I've used for 3 years now and it's been Fab-U-Lous! Remember it's a PRINT ONLY printer but as I've said, I already had capabilities to scan and copy. Make sure you know what YOU want and need from a new printer before buying! I love this printer because it prints effortlessly every time, I can't recall ever having a 'print jam'. It prints double sided to save on paper when possible, easy option to print black and white instead of colour to save on toner, I can print from my laptop wirelessly from anywhere in the house but best of all the toner cartridges aren't too expensive to replace.

You can buy a new HP Colour Laser 150nw Wireless Printer for around £250.

Multi Functional Monochrome Laserjets

These are multi-functional. You can print, scan and photocopy. They also usually have built-in wifi capabilities so you can scan a document and email it straight from the printer. Mono(chrome) means you cannot print in colour, black toner only.

Recommended Multi Functional Mono Laserjet Printer: HP LaserJet Pro M28w Multi-Function.

This printer is one of the smallest MFP laser in its class, ideal for entrepreneurs and home business owners. Easily handles tasks from one device – print, scan, and copy. Print from the cloud, scan from your smartphone, and easily order toner with the HP Smart App. You can pick up a HP LaserJet Pro M28w Multi-Function for around £120 - total bargain!

Multi Functional Colour Laserjets

These are multi-functional. You can print, scan and photocopy. They also usually have built-in wifi capabilities so you can scan a document and email it straight from the printer. These printers print in full colour with 4 toners, Black, Magenta, Cyan, Yellow. You guessed it... these are the most expensive home office laserjet printers, although the prices have tumbled over the last few years so they're actually no longer that expensive. Bear in mind that these are the most expensive to run as you need 4 toners, not just the one black.

Recommended Multi Function Colour Laserjet Printer: HP Colour LaserJet Pro M283fdw Multi-Function Printer (with 3 Years HP Commercial Warranty). A great multi purpose laserjet printer to meet all of your small business, personal and household printing requirements.

You can pick up a HP Colour LaserJet Pro M283fdw Multi-Function Printer for around £420.

Kat Recommends...

Use what you already have. If it's not working for you, list out the reasons of what and why you need to change or add to. What do you need to make your life easier, simpler, quicker... take the pain away? Do you REALLY need it? Can you live with what you have and add something or do you need to scrap and start again? Before making any new printer purchases, PLEASE do your research first, particularly when it comes to ink and toner costs...

Ink & Toners

The biggest expense of a printer isn’t the printer itself or the paper, it’s the ink. Before purchasing a new printer, calculate the 'cost per page' to give you a good idea how much a printer will cost you over the long term. You can calculate the cost per page by dividing the price of an ink cartridge by the cartridge’s page yield, or the number of pages you’re expected to get out of each cartridge. You can usually find the page yield amongst the stats published by the manufacturer.

Many places online now sell 'recycled' toners. Manufacturers will tell you not to use these and in fact, if you do some manufacturers will revoke the warranty for not using official toner. I used the manufacturers official toners in laserjet printer for the first few years, then when my warranty was almost up I started buying the recycled toners through a recycling business on Amazon. I haven't had any problems using recycled toners in my laserjet printer and I've saved myself quite a lot of money in doing so.

On the other hand, I also tried using recycled ink cartridges in my inkjet printer and my printer refused to align the new cartridges and displayed a message 'non official HP cartridges inserted'. So that was a waste of money buying recycled inks that I couldn't even use.

Amazon Business

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I hope you enjoyed the round up of my recommendations of home office printers. It's only after I collated this information I realised all my recommendations were HP! I am not affiliated to HP in anyway, I buy my own products based on thorough research and I only recommend products that I know and love!

All the best. Love,

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