A quick search of printers will overwhelm you with options and angry reviews about toner and paper jams. It’s hard to parse what advice is actually helpful ― and impossible to tell which printer is the right one for you.
So to assist you on your journey to finding an affordable printer for your home office, we asked some of the most qualified people in the home office game: small business owners. These are folks with no IT teams or office managers in sight, who stock their own workspaces and troubleshoot their own error messages, often from their own homes.
“I run my entire business out of my apartment, minus T-shirt printing, and having a printer in my apartment is great for shipping,” said Jim Anderson, a Philadelphia-based artist and founder of art and apparel brand GRIMGRIMGRIM. “I buy all of my reused ink and … my printer doesn’t like it at all, but it totally works!”
My friend Thomas Phillips, co-founder and COO of Island Roots Camp Group, a summer and after-school education program based in Massachusetts, said a printer is a business essential. “In education, a lot of what we do needs to be recorded, [like] our attendance records and legal documents. We need to have health records that can’t be digital,” he said.
Alexandra Dorda, the founder of the small-batch rum imprint Kasama, said her printer was vital when starting and growing her business. “I use the printer regularly to print out contracts and forms that I am asked to fill out,” Dorda said. “I personally find it easier to read on physical paper, so sometimes when I am editing text (for example, for our new website), I … print out each section and mark it up on paper.”
When shopping for a printer, Phillips recommended thinking about your personal and business needs. If you’re starting a company, you may opt for a color printer that can create eye-catching marketing materials. If you just need to copy a random form here and there, a budget machine may be everything you need. Dorda encouraged being honest with yourself about how tech-savvy you are and prioritizing a printer that’s easy to set up and use.
And if you start to get burnt out by looking at toner reviews, Anderson encouraged remembering that once you find your dream home printer, you’ll never have to go to the copy shop again.
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Canon PIXMA MG3620
Canon imageCLASS MF455dw
“This printer gets used by several program directors, printing anywhere from 10 to a hundred sheets a day. We do all of our faxes, incoming and outgoing on that for any medical records we have to deal with. We really rely on that in order to keep the medical and legal records we need in the education industry. It’s a good, reliable printer that we can always go to and that our whole team can use a lot. Whether it’s for our attendance sheets every day, a hundred-page camp registration report things as simple as coloring sheets on word searches.” — Phillips
HP DeskJet 3755
“I’ve had the HP DeskJet for about six years. I was looking for a reliable printer that was easy to set up and wireless. I can also print remotely, which comes in handy sometimes. It’s reliable, but my only issue with it is that sometimes it prints crooked and I’m not sure how to fix it. The important thing is that I found this one easy to set up and connect to Wi-Fi, and it’s easy to change the ink. I’m not very good with technology, so if I can use it, anyone can.” —Dorda
HP OfficeJet Pro 8025e
Brother monochrome laser printer
JADENS Bluetooth wireless thermal shipping label printer
COLORWING portable wireless printer
KODAK wireless mobile photo mini printer
Fujifilm Instax photo printer