Printers: How to buy the best printer Buying the best home office printer
If you're running your business from home you need a printer that can deliver professional-looking prints and cope with anything else your business has to throw at it.
Which type of printer do I need for my home office?
An all-in-one printer includes a copier and scanner which may come in handy if you need handouts for meetings or to scan information to colleagues and clients.
All-in-one printers including a scan function let you scan documents and automatically turn them into PDF files. This can be useful if you want to email clients invoices or other documents you don’t want edited.
Laser printers are quick - great if you print lots - and generally produce sharp, high-quality text prints.
If you don't need colour prints you can save money by opting for a black-and-white (mono) laser printer or mono all-in-one laser printer which can scan and copy.
If you don't print high volumes you might want to consider an office-style inkjet printer. An inkjet printer will be cheaper to buy than a laser printer, but is likely to cost more in ink in the long run.
You can find our which are the best office printers in our home office printer reviews.
What makes a good home office printer
- Good text print quality and speed The average laser printer can produce 10 text pages per minute, the average inkjet printers is a little slower at 6-7 pages per minute. Look for quicker models if you need fast text prints.
- Good graphics print quality and speed Pages containing images or charts are generally slow to print, but a quick printer will turn out a high quality A4 page in around in less than a minute and a half for an inkjet or less than 40 seconds for a laser printer.
- 'Saving' features To save on paper, look for a printer with auto-duplexing, meaning it can be set up to automatically print on both sides of a page. You may also be able to set the printer up to print multiple sheets on one page, saving more paper. Most cheaper, entry-level laser printers won't have this feature. Some laser printers have 'eco' modes that may reduce print speed to save on energy while printing. However, for the majority, 'eco' or 'draft' mode will reduce print quality and save on ink/toner.
Features to look for
- Dual paper trays If you switch between printing on blank and headed paper, look for a printer with more than one paper input tray. This way you won't have to manually swap stacks of paper in the printer.
- Automatic document feeder and fax Faxing is less popular these days, but most office-style inkjet printers have fax functions, and many have an automatic document feeder (ADF). This is useful even if you don't fax. With an ADF you can scan and copy multiple page documents without having to manually feed in one page at a time. It's worth noting that not all ADFs can handle double-sided pages. You can find duplex copy and scan printers with compare features tool.
- Wi-fi/Ethernet Wi-fi connectivity is handy if you want to be able to print wirelessly from a computer, laptop, tablet and smartphone. If you don't need wi-fi, you can still connect your printer to networked devices with an Ethernet cable.
To see all of our top recommendations, take a look at our Best Buy printer reviews.