5 Things to Look for When Buying a Printer for Your Home Office

Whether you’re a telecommuter, freelancer or just starting a brand-new home-based business, having a reliable printer is essential to your productivity. Whether you’re choosing your first printer for a new home office or replacing an old workhorse, the right model can help to save valuable time and money. The following are a few features to consider.

A Small Footprint

You only have so much space in your home office, and you want to make the most of it. Whether you are choosing an inkjet printer or a laser, it is important to choose one with a reasonably small footprint.

A high-capacity laser printer may take up more room than a basic inkjet model, but size is a factor no matter which type of printer you prefer. If you are ordering online, check the specifications carefully and make sure the unit will fit where you need it. If you are shopping in the real world, bring your tape measure and shop accordingly. Size should not be the only consideration, but it can be more important than you might think.

Still, depending on how much you’ll be printing, models with greater paper capacity will save time and effort during the workday. For instance, selecting a printer that has more than one tray will allow you to load one tray with your company’s letterhead and another with plain paper. Having multiple paper trays available will also make it easier to print mail merge letters and other large jobs without constantly adding paper.

Wireless Connectivity

Even if you think you don’t need it, choosing a printer with wireless capabilities can make your life easier. When you choose a wireless printer, you can set up your home office print station anywhere you want, even on the other side of the room.

Choosing a wireless printer also means you can get this bulky device off your desk, freeing up space for other essentials of home office life. The cost of wireless printers has fallen sharply in recent years, so there is no reason not to choose one for your home office.

Reasonable Ink Costs

Whether you’re shopping for an inkjet printer or a laser printer, the upfront cost of the hardware will be only the beginning. The cost of ink will be your biggest ongoing expense, so it is important to assess that cost before you buy.

A low-priced printer is no bargain if the replacement ink or laser cartridges are prohibitively expensive. If you truly want the best value, you need to calculate your annual printing costs based on the price of replacement ink and the number of pages you print each month.

Multifunction Capabilities

There are plenty of reasons to consider a multifunction machine. Combining printing, scanning, copying and faxing into one device makes a lot of sense, especially when purchasing a business printer.

Choosing a multifunction printer can free up your office space for other devices and give you more room to work. The built-in scanner can also make it easier to save your receipts and other essential paperwork, making the extra capabilities well worth the higher initial price tag.

Reliability

No matter what kind of printer you end up buying, you will be relying on it every day. As a business owner or telecommuter, you probably don’t have the luxury of running out for a replacement printer when your less than reliable one breaks down.

Always check the reliability ratings of any printer you are considering, and read the reviews carefully. While there are many excellent printers on the market, some models are notoriously fussy and unreliable. Avoiding these substandard printers can save you a lot of time, money and hassle down the road.

Your printer is perhaps the most important piece of hardware in your home office, and you need to choose it with care. Knowing what to look for in a printer and which features are most essential can help you get the best bargain and make the most of the money you have to spend.