Printer Options: A Guide to Help You Purchase the Correct Machine for Your Home or Home Office Use

When I was faced with the plethora of options that exist when purchasing a new printer for my home office, I became slightly overwhelmed with the product statistics, the specifications for each model, and the cost of replacement cartridges and toner. This guide will help you make decisions about the best printing option for your unique situation and will further explain(in plain language) the basic options that are present in today’s market. It is important to understand that one printer will not fit all situations and you should make a selection that will fit your current and future needs. Be sure to include in your decision any plans you have for the future and how you assume your printing needs will change over time. You will be best served with a machine that is flexible, and inexpensive to maintain.

Inkjet Printers / Inkjet All-In-One Machines:

For the home or home office user that prints only once a day or a few times a week, an inkjet printer will serve your needs best. These machines are often the most inexpensive and can be had for as little as $30 at the local big box store. However, be sure to account for the price of replacing the consumables (such as ink cartridges, paper, etc). Some brands offer lower priced replacement cartridges in place of an initial higher cost. It might be worth your investment to pay the slightly higher initial fee to avoid recurring costs that often surpass the cost of the machine itself. If you operate a home office, you should seriously consider an all-in-one unit that will allow you to scan, copy, fax and print all with the same unit. Be sure to check the printing speeds and scanning capabilities of each model as they will dictate the overall quality of your output.

Laser Printers / Laser All-In-One Machines:

For home users that print often, it is likely cost effective to look more towards a laser printer or a combination of a laser and inkjet printer. You need to determine what kind of printing you will be doing before you make a decision in this regard. If you often print in color and black and white, you could get by with a simple inkjet printer. However, if you print in black and white articles (such as Word documents, presentations, proposals, etc) you could consider purchasing a low priced personal monochrome (black and white) laser printer and a mid range inkjet printer to accommodate your color printing needs. This combination will cost more initially, but you will save significantly on consumable purchases as toner lasts much longer than traditional inkjet cartridges.

However, if you often print in both black and white and color, I highly recommend the investment of a color laser printer. While this is by far the most expensive option, you will enjoy the quality and connectivity offered by these machines. You can find refurbished or open box models online for under $150 if you take the time to look around.

I hope this guide helps you make a printer choice and contributes to a well functioning office environment.