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Buying a printer for home use can get extremely confusing. While business and photo printers have quite specific criteria such as speed or resolution, home printers are entirely dependant on the needs of your household. Most households needs are also incredibly diverse, making choosing a home printer that has it all even more challenging. Fortunately, we’ve seen a lot of home printers come and go so we’ve learnt a few things about what makes the best home printer and what you should think about to help you make the right choice.
Figure out what you need from a home printer
To start with, you’ll need to figure out what you want from a home printer. This might seem obvious, but often we find people overestimate some of their needs while forgetting about others entirely. A printer that can handle thousands of pages a month might sound impressive, but how much will you really be printing at home? On the other hand, have you considered whether it would be useful and even cost-effective to choose a printer with good photo capabilities so you can print photos at home? Take a look at what we think you should consider before choosing your home printer.
How much will you be printing?
Many people only need home printers to print off the odd ticket or minor household admin while others are looking to print off kids homework projects as well as work reports and more. Consider whether you’ll be printing a few times a month, every week or every day. This is one the most important parts about choosing a home printer as the printers monthly duty cycle can have a significant impact on overall cost and getting it wrong could mean overusing and subsequently damaging your printer.
What will you be printing?
Think about what you’ll be printing and what this involves. Looking to print family pictures at home? Then you’ll want a photo-ready printer with a good resolution. If you’re sticking to homework projects then you’ll still want a printer with good colour and resolution as you may need to print images and graphics, while admin and office work may just be text and black and white focused. Many households find they need a printer that can do it all, but if you’re predominantly printing one or two of these then you could save yourself money by cutting back on the functionality you don’t need.
Who is going to be printing?
Who is printing could influence a few things in your home. If you have young children or you just want a home printer to help you print when you’re not at the office then a simple USB or ethernet connectivity might be fine. If the whole family is printing, then you might want to look at wireless and mobile connectivity. Cloud connectivity can also enable easy file sharing and printing, perfect for bridging the gap between home and the office.
What to look for in a home printer
Now you have an idea of what your own must-have printer features are, take a look at what we find a lot of home printer buyers looking for.
If you only need your home printer for certain tasks then you can save money by cutting back on some features, but generally, we find that home printers need to be much more versatile than simple office printers or photo printers. If you’re looking for a printer that can do it all, then look out for all-in-one functionality plus good resolution with a decent duty cycle and paper tray capacity. Inkjet printers tend to be the best if you’re looking to print both mono and colour and are a must-have if you want to print photos at home, but keep in mind they tend to have a higher cost per page than laser printers.
For additional versatility, you should also look out for wireless mobile and cloud technology. Mobile printing means the whole family can quickly and easily print on the go, including sharing documents between the office and home or exchanging photos between family members ready to print whenever you are.
With space at home more limited than ever, it’s no surprise that most people want their home printers to be compact. Fortunately, technology has come a long way and you can now fit a lot of functionality into a small footprint. You can get all in one technology, versatile mobile printing and much more all in a compact size that can fit conveniently on the shelf at home or even on a side table.
A lot of families today are on a tight budget and we’d all rather spend our money on that next holiday rather than more ink for the printer. Affordability is often a number one concern when buying a home printer, but remember to look beyond the upfront cost. Inkjet printers, for example, are often more affordable than laser printers short term but long term they can cost more with a higher cost per page and often not as durable. If you mostly need to print text documents such as admin or the odd ticket than a laser printer could offer a more affordable option long term, but if you need an inkjet printer then just make sure to take a look at the cost of cartridges and how many pages a cartridge can print to find a more affordable cost per page.
You should also lookout for a printer that is robust. Some printers win awards for example for their robust build. Looking out for this could also save you money in the long run with less downtime and maintenance or, worse, having to buy a new printer altogether. Additionally, look out for free warranty deals that could give you free repairs in case the worst does happen.