Do you even need a printers!? Isn’t the world going more and more paperless every day!? Best home printers schmest home printers!
Most days I work remotely and carry my office in a backpack, which has forced my hand into running a paperless business. While I’m happy with that, sometimes I just need to print something and there’s no way around it!
Beyond my circumstances, I know for a fact that there are hundreds of home based businesses and home based jobs that make the need for a printer for home use a necessity. Again, no way around it!
For one, you don’t have to make a trip to a local printing store every time you need a print. That saves time, inflated printing fees and gas. Win win win!
Two, you can print out client invoices, bills (YAY… *insert blank face*), your kid’s school projects, recipes worth filing, school reports, photos for your personal scrapbook, etc. One machine, many jobs!
Three, the contemporary all-in-one printer models pack in a lot of functions including printing, scanning, photocopying, faxing, emailing, etc at the cost of a single machine. So your room will not be littered with several different units and will save you space and money.
But picking up the best home printer apt for your needs is by no means a simple and small task.
By the end of this blog post you’ll have a much better understanding about:
For home office technology such as your home network setup, phones and headsets, computers and monitors, computer accessories such as a keyboard and mouse, network attached storage (NAS) and uninterrupted power supply (UPS) check out our ‘Best Home Office Setup’ blog here (blog and hyperlink coming soon).
So, let’s jump into it!
Before you are swamped by the plethora of printer choices available in the market claiming they are the best home printer, let us throw you a lifesaver!
No, actually let us make it three. Keep these 3 important factors in mind before you shortlist your best home printer for home use or for small business.
It’s easy to see a bunch of features and think “ooo wow this printer has an in-built tv and cotton candy maker”, when the reality is you’re never going to use it! Ok, maybe you’ll use it once or twice, but that’s it. So have a think about what you actually use a printer for.
Do you want to print text documents only? Or photos as well? Do you want fax, scanner, emailing option and photocopying capability along with your printer? What about portability, space and speed?
Will your output be color or monochrome only? Do you want it to take print directly from your handheld devices? What is your projected volume of printouts?
If your home business activities or home based job tasks are likely to be the same as what you’ve been doing in the last year, to help you work out the purpose ask yourself, what have I needed my printer for in the last 6-12 months?
If you’re starting a new business or job ask yourself, what tasks will I be doing that will need a printer/copier/scanner etc?
Once you know the purpose of your printer, you’ll know whether you need it more for photos and graphics or more for text. Trust me, text, photos and graphics all will vary from printer to printer.
One printer might be great with text (generally a laser model will give you a high class output) and another may be amazing with photos (inkjet give out high quality picture printouts)!
If you need to print large volumes, find out the monthly duty cycle. This is basically the maximum number of prints you could do each month before the output quality is reduced because the machine is being over-stressed.
What sort of connectivity are you looking for? We cover the wireless printing function shortly, but for now ask yourself, how is my home office setup?
Do you use a laptop that then gets taken out to the living room and later gets taken over by the kids? Or do you have a desktop that’s as portable as the house it resides in?
You’d be hard pressed to find a home office printer that doesn’t allow wireless printing. Regardless, if printing from a different room is a benefit, wireless printing via your WiFi network is the go.
If printing from your Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled device is a benefit then the NFC function on a printer can be handy.
Now that you’ve built some awareness around the purpose of your future best home printer, what sort of quality you need, as well as touching on the technology side of things, here are 7 printer features that you can say “yes I definitely need that” to, or perhaps “na, I can do without that”.
If you are an environmentalist or minimalist at heart and want to save on paper, you will dig this feature! Duplex printing is a very inside-printing industry term meaning a printer which can print on both sides of the same paper, a.k.a. 2 sided printing.
It accomplishes this either automatically by using a dual scanner, or manually by turning the paper over after one side of it is printed. Not all printers are capable of duplex printing, so you have to check with the printer functionalities to confirm whether the printer is capable or not.
An easy method of identifying a duplex printer is to check its model number – it will typically have a ‘D’ in it towards the end, for example Samsung SL-M332ONBUD.
3 in 1 printers donned that name in the era when printing, copying and scanning were the 3 main functions. However with the added functionality of emailing and faxing, they are also popularly known as a multi-function printers (MFP’s) or all-in-one printers (AIO’s). Hang on a minute, did you say faxing… what’s that!? Haha.
Like single function printers, MFP’s come in both laser and inkjet technology.
If you worked out from the previous section that you use or need your printer for multiple functions, and you want to save space and money (who doesn’t!), then it is advisable to purchase an MFP or AIO printer instead of individual machines for each task.
When looking for an MFP, make sure the function that you’ll be using it for most (is it printing or maybe copying) is high quality, otherwise you’ll be looking to replace the whole unit sooner than you think. Remember a $200 photo printer will probably work far better for photo printing than a $200 MFP that is marketed as a photo printer.
To improve workflow, home businesses are keen on MFP’s. And why not? With numerous choices at every possible price point, a 3 in 1 printer (or MFP) can be a great choice.
When we put laser vs inkjet head to head, the primary difference between a laser and an inkjet is that the former user toner to print and the latter uses ink. I suppose it’s not rocket science after all.
Inkjets are excellent for photo printing. They are relatively cheaper and so are their ink cartridges.
However, if you are an occasional printer then the ink of your inkjet printer might run the risk of drying up unlike the toners of a laser printer. Also, the inkjet print heads need more maintenance.
Laser printers are excellent for volume printing. That’s why they are the printer of choice in an office setup. If your work comprises of more document printing than colorful photographs then laser should be the way to go!
Also, a toner cartridge will print way more papers than an inkjet. For economic reasons, laser printers are growing popular in the segment of best home printer.
But if you are scared of only the ink-drying aspect of the inkjets cartridges, then worry not. There are maintenance cleaning cycles that you can run on your printers to de-clog the ink cartridges and ensure quality and smooth printing.
The printing quality of both laser and inkjet machines is quite similar for the normal print sizes of 12pt and larger. But if you need smaller prints than that, laser printer will give you much crisper and clearer result owing to its technology.
And remember, your printer purpose rules your decision of printer choice!
If time is money to you and cabling and wiring is not your strong suit (certainly isn’t mine!), you will want a wireless printer in your life. Like everything nowadays, our work is distributed amongst many machines that we use in our daily life. So won’t it be convenient if you could just give the print command from any device like a smartphone or a tablet, a laptop or a desktop without cables?
Wireless printer is the answer to all your connectivity trouble! All it needs is a power socket and a network WiFi to connect. So untangle your life from the tangled web of wires.
And guess what, you can keep your printer anywhere in the house, print from anywhere, and it can decrease the chances of being a fire hazard that comes with wires and cables, not to mention potential trip hazards too. Is there no end to the benefits!
Latest wireless printers come with features like cloud printing where you don’t even need to be near or within the range of your wireless printer. You can send any document to the cloud and your printer will print it from there.
A wireless printer comes in two different types – WiFi and Bluetooth. Bluetooth gives a limited range of about 10 meters and offers connectivity to only a handful of machines. For a larger range and more number of users, the WiFi variety is the most suitable.
The color vs mono camps in the printer world are quite divided!
Weighing the cartridge cost and the upfront investment of purchasing a laser color printer, a monochrome machine might appear to have a comparatively lesser pocket pinch.
But is that the whole truth? Let’s find out.
Monochrome printers only have one color cartridge – black. They are equipped to print black and different shades of gray (clarity and level of detailing depending on the file resolution).
Color printers need to have at least four cartridges (including a black one) or a color cartridge that contains the Cyan (or CMYK), Magenta and Yellow needed to create a diverse spectrum of printable colors.
Needless to say, when it comes to the best home printers, it is a clear 4-1 battle by cartridge cost alone. Monochrome printer definitely wins the pocket war!
But unless you have a home business or home based job or a printer purpose that NEVER needs colour, then it’s really not advisable to sacrifice the versatility of a color printer.
Both color and monochrome printers come in laser and inkjet variety. Since inkjet is synonymous with producing brilliant photo quality, if your business relies on that kind of output, go for a color inkjet printer.
When you create the budget for your printing purposes, don’t forget to calculate the total cost of ownership of your printer! You can easily work that out with the help of printing cost per page.
Printing cost per page, or CPP, is the most important financial factor to base your printer buying decision on. CPP is calculated simply by cartridge cost divided by total page yield.
When you research printer models, you will find manufacturers citing cost per page or a cost per photo for their models. Printing cost per page can vary according to monochrome printing, color printing or photo printing.
Also, a laser printer cost per page will vary from an inkjet printer cost per page. Obviously, color printing cost per page will be higher than a monochrome.
Though the models might vary, approximate printing cost per page figures are:
The figures might seem negligible, but when you discover the price of cartridges you’ll thank yourself for at least understanding that you made an informed decision when it came time to choosing the best home printer for your home office. Mind you, we’re not done yet; you still need to work out your annual printer running cost!
After you have noted down the cost per page, multiply it by your projected number of print volume you expect on a yearly basis. Voila! You will get your total cost per year!
Now multiply this total cost per year with an approx number of years you are going to keep the printer or you think it will function (you can get an understanding from the reviews as to how long it lasts in general).
After you arrive at the number, add to that the printer procurement cost and an estimated cost for your ongoing consumables like paper. And there you go. You have an approximate total cost of ownership for each of the printer models you have shortlisted and now you know how your investment is going to fare in the long run.
Keep in mind that the cheaper ‘compatible’ or ‘remanufactured’ (a.k.a. recycled) cartridges are readily available which will indefinitely have in impact on printing price! Check out the best printer for home use with cheap ink section further down.
The printer world is inundated with innovative technologies – ways to make it faster, compact, cost effective, refillable ink tanks, and subscription based ink purchasing programs, wide format printing and aesthetically pleasing designs. And all these affect the price.
Overall, laser vs inkjet printers practically cost the same at the entry level.
A cheap printer might look like a steal to begin with but always consider the cartridge prices, and the hard learned fact that you get what you pay for!
Cheap printers generally use more expensive cartridges. Save money by finding a printer which suits your needs. For example, if you don’t require high print speed, don’t feel you need to get a laser printer. If you only ever print then don’t get a 3 in 1 printer.
Also keep an eye out for ink-saving models to cut down cartridge cost.
We hope that after learning how to align your printer purpose with technology and requisite output quality to enhance your work, and after looking at the 7 printer features you needed to know before buying up, you are now armed with the necessary insights to make an informed decision.
But how do we choose what’s best?? We let the users decide.
At a manufacturers website like Canon or Epson you’ll get the most biased opinion possible. Of course their printers are the best! So we put our faith in the public by searching for websites that have tonnes of reviews and offer a scored rating. To be honest it’s hard to go past Amazon given their products have so many reviews!
You’ll notice below that the printers chosen are justified by a combination of the star rating, number of reviews and sometimes quotes from specific reviews.
To help you further to find your best home printer, let’s discuss some categories for the best printers for small business and home use:
Ok we couldn’t choose one single best photo printer, so instead we’ve found the best rated, best larger print size and the best mini photo printers. Don’t blame me, photo printers are just so cool!
The Canon Selphy (good play on words in the name there Canon) wins the race in terms of ratings, scoring 4.3 based on over 400 reviews at the time of writing this blog. It’s packed with features including WiFi printing (wireless) and Apple’s Airprint, 3.2” LCD screen, optional battery pack should you wish to take your printer somewhere, various print sizes including 2”x6” photo booth layout, print on sticker paper and much more. It also comes in white.
Keep in mind though that the paper cassette (where it stores the paper) only holds Postcard (4”x6”) sized paper. Which is why we felt compelled to include the best larger print size photo printer. So without further ado…
The best photo printer for larger format photo printing is the Canon Pixma, which is also an all-in-one printer. You’ll love the brilliant borderless prints even though it’s compact. It can handle paper in the following sizes – 4×6, 5×5 Square, 5×7, 8×10, Letter, Legal and U.S.#10 Envelopes.
It has garnered sparkling user reviews, scoring 4.2 stars based on over 90 reviews. Other features include 6-color individual ink system, auto-2 sided printing, 5.0” LCD touchscreen from which you can add creative filters to your photos before printing, WiFi, Bluetooth, Ethernet and Cloud printing capabilities amongst many others.
This printer is just plain fun, and sexy with its rose gold trim! But it doesn’t let its looks get in the way of performance, with an outstanding score of 4.6 based on over 100 reviews.
This little number prints 2”x3” photos with peel and stick backing from Bluetooth and social media.
The printer itself is only 4.7”x3.2” so it’s super portable. However check your device as it’s compatible with mobile devices running iOS 9.0 or later, and Android devices running Android 4.4 or later. Also don’t expect mind blowing print quality. The print resolution is 314×400 dpi which doesn’t really compare to the Canon Pixma resolution of 4800×1200 dpi.
Regardless, it has great reviews and would make a great gift idea.
Now that printer prices have dropped significantly, people are making the mistake of buying a cheap machine and paying a heavy price in refilling cartridges!
The trick is to find a quality printer that’s well priced, has the features you need, but is compatible with the cheaper ‘compatible’ or ‘remanufactured’ (a.k.a. recycled) cartridges available on the market. You can pay a bomb for the ink cartridges made by the printer manufacturer, so here are some smart options in the best printer for home use with cheap ink category.
This printer is highly rated at 4.7 stars, however this is based on a limited number of reviews. Regardless, the printer boasts wireless printing, battery printing for portability, compatible with Legal, A4, European and Envelope paper sizes, and compatible with photo ink for crisp photo printing amongst other features.
This sleek 3 in 1 laser printer (prints, copies and scans) boasts that is the worlds smallest laser printer in its class. Don’t ask me what class that is haha. Other features include 2 sided printing, wireless printing, and auto-on/auto-off technology for the green thumb amongst others.
It’s very fairly priced for the home printer for small businesses and home use, and it comes recommended with a 4.1 star rating based on around 120 reviews at the time of writing this blog.
To win this category we wanted a diverse printer packed with features that could be a bit of a work horse if needed, but is also desk suitable size wise. This Brother printer stole the show with a 4 star rating based on over 200 reviews.
This all-in-one (print, scan, copy and fax) printer also features wireless printing, mobile printing, cloud connectivity, 100 sheet paper tray, auto-duplex, and a 1.8” color display to easily navigate onscreen menus amongst other features.
Laser monochrome (black & white) printers are easily the fastest printers in this day and age. However you might be shooting yourself in the foot if you don’t have the option to print in color from time to time, so we have a few options for you.
This highly rated printer (a rare 4 star rating based on over 350 reviews) by HP is the monochrome option. You can probably find one with a higher ppm (pages per minute) and monthly volume, but as we’re recommending the best home printers for small business and home use, you’ll appreciate that this option is an all-in-one with wireless printing, WiFi direct, NFC (near field communication), duplex printing, 3” color touch screen and a 50 sheet auto document feeder.
Not forgetting the real reasons this printer is a winner in the best high volume printer category, those being the 40 pages per minute print speed, first page out in 5.4 seconds and a monthly volume of 4000 pages. Winner winner chicken dinner!
This Ricoh printer glides into a winning position in the best high volume printer category as it’s one of the highest rated color laser printers suitable for the home office as a multi-function printer that can output 21 pages per minute at maximum resolution, load 50 pages per minute and scan 40 images per minute through the single pass document feeder.
As a great home office printer it also has wireless printing, NFC, and auto duplexing amongst others. While the 3.5 star rating based on over 50 reviews doesn’t sound amazing, it’s actually quite high amongst its competitors. Certainly worth a look if you need a colorful workhorse.
By now you should have a great understanding about 3 important factors to keep in mind before you shortlist your best home printer, and the 7 printer features you need before buying your best home printer for home use or small business.
To jog your memory, those all important features again are:
We’ve also taken the hard work out of finding a printer by recommending the best photo printer, the best home printer with cheap ink, the best home color printer and the best high volume printers for small business and home use.
If this blog helped in any way, shape or form, we would be endlessly thankful if you would share it freely. Best of luck finding your best printer for small business and home use, have a fantastic day.