The right home office printer should be versatile, cost-effective and chosen for your business's specific needs. Here's a look at the top home printing options for 2017.
Home office workers looking for the right printer have no shortage of options: between inkjets, laser printers, all-in-ones and eco-friendly printers, there are hundreds of machines on the market. For many, a “less is more” approach to finding a printer is easiest, so we’ve compiled some of the best home office printers to save you time and money.
Even the most environmentally-friendly businesses and entrepreneurs need to print from time to time, so if you’re in need of a solid printer that meets your space, budget and business’s needs, you’ll find five different options for all types of home offices, from a simple budget printer to a high-yield machine made to print thousands of pages monthly.
What to Consider in Your Home Office Printer
- Inkjet vs. laser printer: for most home offices, a laser printer will be the way to go. It excels in black-and-white text documents, where an injket, which sprays ink onto the page, performs better with graphic images, photos and visuals. If your printing needs are exclusively text, a laser printer (especially a monochrome one) will offer better costs. If you’re printing a lot of images, however, you’ll likely get better results from a quality inkjet printer.
- All-in-one vs. printer-only: today’s remote worker may need a copier, scanner and fax machine to get everything done, in which case an all-in-one printer can tackle all your needs in one machine. If you’re just focused on printing and saving space, however, a printer-only machine can keep your costs and printer space down.
- Upfront costs vs. maintenance costs: while some machines may be more inexpensive to purchase, they may offer poor maintenance affordability if the ink is expensive. Before purchasing, consider weighing the costs of each’s models inks (cost per page is best) and use an estimated work load to get an idea of what you’d expect to pay for ink throughout the year.
- Connectivity: having multiple connection options is more important than ever, and today’s home office printers can offer wireless, mobile and cloud printing that wasn’t common even just a few years ago. Consider how you’ll likely use your printer and make sure the models you’re comparing offer what your home office is set up to handle. If you don’t have a solid wireless network or cloud service, for example, then consider getting a machine that has Ethernet or USB connections.
- Convenience factors: if you need double-sided (duplex) printing or an automatic document feeder to scan or copy large documents, have a list of those needs handy prior to buying your printer. These little conveniences can add up to major headaches if you skimp in the beginning. Over the course of a year, these small features can end up saving you hours of otherwise productive time.
- Speed and urgency: if your work requires you to print and send documents quickly, consider getting a laser printer, which typically prints much faster than an injket. Laser printers are also more reliable with their manufacturer-claimed print speeds, where injket speeds tend to be more skewed.
- Space availability: a small, entry-level printer like the HP OfficeJet 4650 takes up much less space than a bulkier all-in-one printer. Depending on your available home office space, you’ll want to note the sizes and weights of printers and plan accordingly.
Buyer’s Guide Overview
- Best Monochrome Laser Printer: Brother HL-L2340DW
- Best All-in-One Inkjet Printer: HP OfficeJet Pro 8720
- Best Budget Printer: HP OfficeJet 4650
- Best High-Yield All-in-One Printer: Brother MFCL6700DW
Best Monochrome Laser Printer
low-cost black-and-white printing
wireless, cloud and mobile printing
quick and easy set-up
only prints (no scan, copy or fax)
industry-standard print quality
can be difficult to configure cloud printing
Affordable, simple black-and-white laser printing.
For some home offices, no color printing is needed. If most of your business printing is largely text documents, spreadsheets and the like, a monochrome printer can keep your operating costs down while still maintaining a high level of printing quality.
The Brother HL-L2340DW tops our list of monochrome laser printers because it’s simple, affordable and offers connectivity and business functions that make it convenient for many home office owners. Where many printers can be frustratingly complex, the HL-L2340DW is easy to set-up and, with a few updates based on your preferences, operating systems and devices, you can start printing within minutes.
One of the biggest draws of the HL-L2340DW is its connectivity options: it can print from mobile devices (Apple, Android, Kindle Fire, Windows Phone, Blackberry) and wireless services like AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Brother iPrint & Scan and Wi-Fi Direct.
Wireless printing is a breeze with this model, and it does have a USB port for those looking to connect to a single computer. It lacks an Ethernet port, however, so if that’s your only mode of connectivity, you’d be better off with a different printer.
This model, when purchased through Amazon, also has Amazon Dash Replenishment ready to go, which can automatically reorder and deliver the toner to your door as soon as your cartridge is too low.
Home office owners will find automatic duplex printing and a 250-page tray that holds standard or legal size paper particularly useful, especially for long documents like contracts and reports. The printer has about average quality for a monochrome laser printer, and outputs images up to 2400 x 600 dpi resolution, which is excellent for black and white text pages.
A one-line LCD display makes it easy to maneuver through printer settings, and you’ll want to pay particular attention to your setup in order to get these settings down right out of the gate. If you’re using cloud printing, for example, you’ll want to review the user manual to make sure you have the right steps for setting this up in order.
The HL-L2340DW is ENERGY STAR Qualified and has a convenient Toner Saver mode that makes it easier to conserve ink. It comes with a starter toner that isn’t quite the same capacity as a full toner replacement, but it will produce a few hundred pages before running low.
Where many office printers are large and bulky, the HL-L2340DW gets a lot done in a relatively small space, especially if black and white printing is all you require, and not the functions of multiple machines or an all-in-one. It clocks in at about 15 pounds and measures 14″ x 14.2″ x 7.2″.
With Brother’s quality and reputation – they were PCMag’s 2014 pick for Reliability and Overall Satisfaction for consumer printers – and a 1-year limited warranty and free phone support for life, it’s no wonder the HL-L2340DW has become the number one bestselling laser printer on Amazon and other e-tailers.
The HL-L2340DW prints at a max speed of 27 pages per minute, and because it deals with only black ink, the costs are relatively low when compared to similar laser printers of comparable quality. The print time to first page is about 8.5 seconds, so it doesn’t take long for things to get going.
The standard yield toner replacement for the HL-L2340DW – TN630 – runs under $35 and can yield approximately 1,200 pages depending on your style of printing. The high-yield TN-660 offers about 2,600 pages and costs about $15 more, so you have several options depending on your workload.
What Users are Saying: the Good and the Bad
According to Brother, a survey of their monochrome laser printer customers claimed that more than 92% of owners find their printer to be reliable, and 91% would recommend the printer to someone else – perhaps a fellow home office warrior.
At the time of this article, the HL-L2340DW has more than 3,000 reviews on Amazon, 59% of which are 5 stars, and 74% of which are 4 stars or better. Most users find that the printer is easy to set up, which is a helpful convenience for those used to the hassle and time of configuring a more complicated printer.
Many users like the connectivity options, though there are reviewers who had a difficult time initially setting up the printer on their wireless network. Many users have noted instructions in their reviews, so it is easier for future customers that run into similar challenges.
User tip: after initially setting up your machine, turn on “Continue Mode,” which will force the printer to continue printing even though the control panel will say that it’s time to replace the toner cartridge. This will allow you to get more out of the existing cartridge before having to replace it.
You can also turn off Deep Sleep mode to avoid problems with the printer not picking up wireless print jobs after having been idle for some time. These are small issues that are easily solved by following the user manual’s settings and options.
Overall, users are satisfied with the print quality of the HL-L2340DW, though this will depend largely on the type of printing your home office is used for. Graphics, images and more visually dynamic printing would be better suited for an inkjet printer.
Other Reviews of the HL-L2340DW
M. David Stone, lead analyst for printers, scanners and projectors at PCMag, said this Brother printer’s “text quality is good enough for any business use, as long as you don’t have an unusual need for small fonts…” For many businesses, this will do just fine, and as long as you’re not printing documents with lots of small footnotes or endnotes, you’ll find that it’s black and white text output is more than satisfactory.
Former CNET Associate Editor Justin Yu said the HL-L2340DW is a great option for those “shopping for a text-only printer that can print from the cloud and won’t empty your wallet on toner refills.” The budget-conscious home office warrior may find this to be just what they need, and little else.
Max Mutter and Steven Tata at TechGearLab found this model “designed to be a simple and inexpensive home printing option” and gave this Brother their Best Buy on a Tight Budget award.
Who’s it Best for?
The home office warrior who needs a light-to-medium print load of mostly black-and-white text pages will find this printer particularly useful. It’s a great way to keep costs down and avoid a large upfront expense in the form of a more complicated printer.
If your home office requires simple or occasional printing, the Brother HL-L2340DW can handle your printing needs with ease. For those with more complicated print jobs, or color printing, consider an inkjet or all-in-one printer that offers more multi-functionality.Check Amazon Price
Best All-in-One Inkjet Printer
HP OfficeJet Pro 8720
convenient mobile, WiFi and Ethernet connections
above-average inkjet printing speed and quality
does many things well, including copy, scan and print
may take extra time to set up wifi connection
overall set-up may be longer than other printers
HP ink enrollment may not be for everyone
All-in-one functionality without breaking the bank.
This all-in-one inkjet from HP delivers high performance for home offices that require a little more function than that of a monochrome or print-only machine. It offers excellent print quality and ink replacements that aren’t too expensive.
Overall, users love that it packs a lot of features into a relatively small package, eliminating the need for other devices and services. It may not be perfect at all of the things it does, but for the average home worker, it’ll tackle standard printing jobs without issue.
HP OfficeJet Pro 8720 Highlights
For today’s home office worker, convenience is key. The 8720 delivers on this front, with easy wireless and mobile printing that allows you to print from a handful of devices. Duplex printing and HP’s Print Forward Design helps make double-sided printing, scanning and paper-handling smoother than ever.
A 4.3″ touchscreen makes print-job management easy as well, and the configurations and settings of the machine aren’t difficult to get a feel for. Printing is secure with HP JetAdvantage Private Print, which protects documents while using a shared printer.
HP ups the convenience ante with HP Instant Ink, a service, like Amazon’s Replenishment, that allows you to automatically reorder ink, and save up to 50% on traditional ink costs, according to HP. Users can sign up for a plan based on the number of pages they typically print, and the plan can be cancelled or adjusted as needed (no contracts).
Other highlights include:
- NFC touch-to-print capabilties for tablets and mobile devices
- Legal-size scan bed for documents
- 1200 dpi scan resolution
- ability to scan files to email or network folders
- easy borderless printing for quality photos
The 8720 has a recommended monthly output of 250 to 1,500 pages, giving home office workers enough room and flexibility to print a lot without wearing down your machine or depleting ink too quickly.
Printing Speed and Specs
The 8720’s printing speed is relatively fast for being an all-in-one inket. Though it may lag behind laser printers, the 8720 prints at 24 pages per minute for black ink and 20 pages per minute for color ink.
The time to first page for black ink is 9 seconds, and 10 seconds for color. When printing in draft mode, you can get up to 37 pages per minute, and this is also a good way to conserve ink.
The printer handles standard letter size and legal size pages, as well as a number of smaller format pages, like 3″ x 5″, 4″ x 6″ and 8″ x 10″ pages. See the manufacturer’s site for more formatting options.
One of the selling points of HP’s 8720 is its low ink costs, and as mentioned, the amount of ink used to maintain the printer is less than other HP models and injkets in general. The machine uses HP 952 (standard yield) or HP 952XL ink (high yield).
Users who sign up for HP Instant Ink can also save money by having ink automatically reordered when their machine is running low. Ink is automatically ordered and shipped to your home office, making it easy to automate your supplies and expenses during the year.
What Users are Saying: the Good and the Bad
The HP 8720 is one of the top 20 selling inkjet printers on Amazon, and one of the most ubiquitous printers on the consumer home office market. More than 50% of users give the machine 5 stars, and more than 65% of users gave it 4 stars or higher.
Typical reviews touch on the convenience of the printer, and many users find that the time from unpacking the printer to sending and finishing its first job can be done relatively quickly, depending on your technical knowledge.
Other users have found the 8720 somewhat difficult to set up on a wireless network, though there are plenty of support options for those who need assistance. Most of the other critical feedback of the printer deals with specific networking or connectivity issues that were not set up to begin with. Fortunately, HP does a great job of offering help and communication with those who are having set-up challenges.
Users enjoy how quickly it prints and the overall quality of prints and copies, so is speed and quality are at the top of your priority list, the 8720 may suit you well. One reviewer, who used the printer for “both personal use and home ecommerce business,” found printing to be “very sharp” and set-up to be “pretty quick and easy.”
Other Reviews of the HP OfficeJet Pro 8720
Simon Handby at Expert Reviews found the 8720 to be “perfectly specified for a busy small office, with support for wired and wireless networking, and a USB host port for walk-up print and scan jobs.” He noted that it was one of the biggest all-in-one inkjets that he had reviewed, but that the printer resulted in “impressively fast” color prints and “very high” photocopy quality.
Ben Keough at The Wirecutter named this “jack-of-all-trades” their all-in-one printer of choice, and Consumer Reports found that the 8720 was a top choice over lower-end HP OfficeJet models because it was more efficient in using ink for printer maintenance.
Who’s it Best for?
Home office workers who need a little more substance, function and features than a simple laser printer can handle will find the 8720 helpful. Though it’s not a dream printer, it can quickly and easily handle graphic printing, scanning and copying while keeping ink costs down.Check Amazon Price
Best Budget Printer
HP OfficeJet 4650
extremely affordable while still offering quality prints
space-saving, quiet design won’t clutter home office
low ink costs, especially with HP Instant Ink
no Ethernet or USB connection (wifi or mobile only)
doesn’t have high-yield power of larger home office printers
HP includes a lot of reminders/pop ups in software
The perfect budget-conscious printer for those in “startup” mode.
This entry-level all-in-one inkjet from HP does a lot of things well, though it may not lead the pack in anything other than affordable quality and convenience.
It tackles the main functions of an all-in-one (print, scan, fax, copy) while saving money and space, which for many home office workers is just enough reason to consider the printer.
The HP 4650 is ideal for those home office workers whose budget or available space is restricted, and for the cost of the machine and ink maintenance, this printer delivers higher quality prints and performance than you might expect.
HP OfficeJet 4650 Highlights
One of the main features of the 4650 is its ease of use. One reviewer noted that it took longer to “unpack it and place it in my home office than it did to go through the setup.”
Its wireless and mobile printing functions are easy to set up and use routinely, especially with HP’s free ePrint app. For Mac users, the 4650 works seamlessly with AirPrint, and setting up the printer on any kind of wireless network is typically pain-free.
For those without a network, you can still print using Wireless Direct, a helpful option that can often make up for the 4650 lacking an Ethernet or USB connection, which is one of its main drawbacks. For many workers who are used to mobile and remote working, however, this doesn’t seem to be an issue.
The printer is recognized easily by wireless networks and mobile devices, a small but subtle benefit that can otherwise cause massive headaches. Its duplex printing and 35-page automatic document feeder make it extremely useful for small business needs, so even though it’s compact and quiet, it can still do many of the tasks that a larger business requires.
A small touchscreen makes it easy to maneuver through settings and configurations, and finding the right option or function doesn’t seem to be an issue for most users. HP claims “laser quality text” documents from the 4650, and in general users seem to be satisfied with the performance of the machine, even with its entry-level cost and simplicity.
The 4650 streamlines scanning by allowing you to email a scan directly from the printer’s touchscreen, a helpful tool when working remotely or with files that don’t need to clutter up your computer’s storage.
Despite being a multi-functional printer, the 4650 keeps a low profile: its sleek, clean design helps you avoid the clutter and bulk of a larger printer, and it can feel even less intrusive when the optional Quiet Mode is used.
The ENERGY STAR qualified 4650 includes 24-7 web support and a 1-year limited hardware warranty. For those familiar with HP’s software, apps and hardware, this machine is a welcome entry-level printer that gets the job done for many home businesses and entrepreneurs.
Printing Speed and Specs
At this price point, an entry-level printer like the HP 4650 isn’t breaking and speed records. The maximum pages per minute for black prints is 9.5, and the max page speed for color prints is 6.8, according to the manufacturer.
You can speed things up by using draft mode for less important documents, which brings black print speed up 20 pages per minute and color prints up to 16 pages per minute. Using draft mode for prints is also a great way to conserve ink if you’re running low or just want to make the most of your supply.
The recommended page volume for this machine is 100 to 400 pages, so if your home office operation requires only a low-yield print job from month-to-month, you’ll find the 4650 is a great way to keep costs down while still having all the necessary and reliable functions of an all-in-one printer.
The HP 4650 offers a variety of paper options and sizes, from the standard letter-size page to legal and photo sizes (4″ x 6″, 5″ x 7″, 8″ x 10″ and envelopes). Borderless printing is a nice feature that may be useful depending on your graphic and visual printing needs.
The HP OfficeJet 4650 uses HP 63 ink and HP 63XL ink cartridges, which are affordable when compared to inks used by competing models. You can get a color-black ink combination HP 63 ink cartridge pack for less than $35, and the HP 63XL combo pack is just over $50.
The HP 63 standard yield cartridge delivers approximately 190 pages for black ink and 165 pages from color ink. The HP 63XL cartridges deliver approximately 480 pages for black ink and 330 pages for color ink, so if you plan on maxing out this printer’s monthly volume, the XL cartridges can help save you money in the long run.
You can save even more money by signing up for HP’s Instant Ink program, though some users prefer to manage ink costs on their own.
What Users are Saying: the Good and the Bad
In general, many home office users find the 4650 a particularly good buy, especially for those on a budget. On Amazon, more than 60% of the printer’s reviews are 5 stars, and more than three-quarters of all reviewers gave the 4650 4 stars or higher.
Often, users are most impressed by the printer’s quiet, low-key profile and performance. Because it doesn’t require much space, it’s easy to fit into many home offices, even if you’re tight on available room.
Though the printer is slow, many people that enjoy using the 4650 claim that it’s a more-than-manageable exchange in exchange for such a solid entry-level small business printer.
Many users were satisfied with ease of use during the initial set-up process, with one reviewer noting that it took longer to unpack from the box than it did to set up in the home office.
The critical reviews of the printer often focus on the lack of Ethernet or USB connections, so as long as you’re prepared to connect to the printer via wireless network or mobile device, you shouldn’t have any issues.
Users also note that the touchscreen is somewhat smaller than other, larger HP models, which can make the screen’s settings and ease of use slightly diminished, though this isn’t a significant problem for most users.
Last, one drawback of the 4650 is its smaller page capacity. If you’re printing many documents each day, week or month, you’ll find that refilling the paper tray can become more time-consuming than with other models. Overall, however, many users are willing to make this sacrifice in order to own a low-cost, high-performance machine.
Other Reviews of the HP OfficeJet 4650
Eric Butterfield at Tom’s Guide gave the 4650 a 7/10 rating, noting that it “delivered very high image quality across the board,” especially considering its entry-level status in the market. His take is that the machine is best suited for “low-volume office settings where time isn’t of the essence,” due to print speed.
At PCMag, M. David Stone found the 4650 is best for those with a “home office and you need the fax capability as well as the ability to scan multipage documents just often enough to benefit from the ADF.” The publication gave the HP 4650 a “good” rating.
William Harrel at Computer Shopper likes the 4650 “as a low-volume printer–particularly for the print quality and the low cost per page,” though the review does note that print speed can be a challenge for some users.
Who’s it Best for?
The HP 4650 is ideal for the home office warrior who is still in the startup phase of things, when saving money and keeping operational costs low is the ultimate priority. This machine will do a lot of things well, and the knacks on the 4650 – slow print speed and lack of connection – are often non-issues for those who simply want to keep printing costs at a minimum.
It’s also great for home offices that have minimal working space. Its sleek, quiet profile can fit into spaces that many home office printers cannot.
For those who need quicker printing or more capacity, a larger, higher-yield printer like the Brother HL-L2340DW or HP 8720 may better fit their printing needs.Check Amazon Price
Best High-Yield All-in-One Printer
perfect for home offices that require contracts, reports and other long docs
incredible printing speed without sacrificing quality
performs just as good as many high-end, large-office printers
more expensive than many other laser printers
takes up more room, may not fit in small home office
only prints with black ink (monochrome)
Lightning fast convenience that packs a punch for high-volume home offices.
There are home offices in startup mode, and home offices in full-fledge “pay whatever we need to for convenience” mode. For the latter, there is the Brother MFCL6700DW, a high-yield performance printer that can save you time and headaches.
The laser printer offers all the capabilities of a standard all-in-one printer, but does everything on a lightning-fast scale and with all sorts of conveniences. It offers wireless, mobile, USB and Ethernet printing, which makes it one of the most versatile printers we recommend, and though it cost a bit more than basic machines, it’s actually extremely affordable when compared to the large-office printers it mimics.
Brother MFCL6700DW Highlights
The Brother MFCL6700DW offers about everything you could ask for in a business printer – aside from color being, being a monochrome machine. It offers the standard business printing skills – duplex printing, two-sided scanning and copying, a 70-page automatic document feeder – but it does all this with speed and technical agility.
For home offices dealing with private or sensitive material, this printer offers advanced security measures that allow you to protect documents and print jobs with passwords and pin numbers. It offers walk-up printing capabilities with a front-facing USB port, so it’s easy to access and even easier to get quality text printed.
A 570-sheet paper tray can be complemented by additional, optional trays depending on your needs. In total, you can hold more than 1,600 pages altogether depending on your particular tray configuration.
A legal-size document scanning glass is ideal for lawyers, real estate professionals or others who require copies and archives of documents, reports, spreadsheets and contracts. You can scan directly to email, cloud services (Evernote, Google Drive and Dropbox are popular options) and network folders, making it easy to share and keep your documents where they’re needed most.
Mobile and cloud printing is easy, and most users note that the printer has very few initial hurdles when setting up wireless, cloud or mobile printing. A feature called “Auto Deskew” straightens papers as they come into the automatic document feeder, and another feature helps skip blank pages during scans and copies, eliminating the need to further shuffle through your documents after they’ve finished.
For its size and potential, the Brother MFCL6700DW runs unnaturally quiet, and a Deep Sleep mode allows it to stay on a minimal 1.8 watts of power when not being used. The 4.85″ touchscreen can make nearly 50 shortcuts, so if you’re using the same printing services and tasks repeatedly, you can set your own preferences and save hours of time over the course of a year.
For those who don’t enjoy reordering supplies, you can use Amazon Replenishment to automatically reorder ink as soon as the machine reads a low amount of toner.
Printing Speed and Specs
The Brother MFCL6700DW has the fastest print speed of any of our recommended printers at 48 pages per minute, nearly five times faster than our budget printer pick. For those home offices that need print jobs done as quick as possible, this machine is up to the task.
For those offices that require a lot of scanning, the scanner on the Brother MFCL6700DW goes up to 56 impressions per minute for two-sided scans, making archiving and recording documents quicker than most home printers.
This machine’s fast print speed and ability to handle multiple jobs simultaneously – you can print while someone else scans, for example – makes it one of the most productive and efficient printers you could have in your home office.
Out of the box, the Brother MFCL6700DW comes with a standard-yield TN-820 ink cartridge that provides approximately 3,000 pages of printing. The higher-yield cartridge, TN-880, provides what Brother claims is 50% lower costs per page and 12,000 pages per cartridge, making it one of the larger capacities on the basic home office market.
What Users are Saying: the Good and the Bad
This is one of the highest-rated and best-reviewed all-in-one high-yield printers on Amazon, with nearly 75% of users giving it 5 stars and more than 90% giving it 4 stars or greater. Many note how easy set up and installation is, despite its size and the number of complex tasks it can handle.
Other reviewers are most impressed by the speed of the machine, which is equally fast with scanning and copying as it is with basic printing. One reviewer noted that the laser printer’s quality was extremely crisp, though it did use ink faster than he assumed it would.
Another reviewer remarked that this machine had the capabilities, speed and performance of a large-office printer, one that would cost thousands of dollars, so the Brother seemed small and affordable in comparison.
Reviewers also found the touchscreen particularly useful, and made finding settings, configurations and printing options easy because of the simple and intuitive navigation system. It operates quietly, which is a plus for those home office warriors who constantly have print jobs going on in the background.
The only critical feedback of the printer is that for one reviewer, it occasionally had to be reset in order to scan a document, though this did not appear to be a recurring issue with other users.
Who’s it Best for?
Where the previous printer was ideal for those on a shoestring budget and time to wait, the Brother MFCL6700DW is for the opposite market: those willing to pay for convenience and speed. This may be ideal for those in legal, real estate or professional fields that require many documents, reports or contracts that eat up hundreds of pages at a time.
It’s also better suited to those home offices with plenty of space, and although it’s not as big as its power and performance suggest, it does require a dedicated space to do its thing. So for those who have the budget and available room, this machine can handle just about any print job – and make it look easy.Check Amazon Price