All feature high-quality printing for a variety of applications at a retail price that’s considerably less than their commercial counterparts. Continue reading to learn more about what these products offer as well as how to shop for a laser printer for home use.
What’s a home office laser printer?
Just like the larger, industrial laser printers you see in today’s corporate offices and print shops, a home laser printer creates copies and prints using a very specific technology. While it may seem complicated, it’s a process that’s been in use since the 1970s.
To create a print, the laser printer uses a static electricity charge, a special drum, and the toner powder in your cartridge to create an image of the data you received from your computer, mobile device, or email.
Each toner cartridge releases powder that attaches to the printer drum then goes onto your paper to create a finished print. If you print a black and white page, only one cartridge will be at work (black).
If you have a color page you want to print, that will require a combination of all four toner cartridges: black, magenta, cyan, and yellow. Some printers have special cartridges that may house the powder for more than one color.
The first page to print usually takes the longest, since the printer needs to heat up to create that electrical charge used to make the image. Once a printer is up and running, however, it’s incredibly efficient. Commercial printers used in a busy office setting operate at high volume throughout the day, so first-page print time may not be much of a consideration.
Home use printers, however, aren’t used as continuously, so knowing how long that first page will take to print may be more important. Also, both commercial and home printers may feature an energy-saving on and off switch as well as a standby mode, which allows for quick startup without using too much power.
Benefits of a home office laser printer
While the tech is the same for home and business laser printers, there are differences between the two. The home version of these machines is generally smaller and isn’t designed to put out quite as many copies over time.
Their toner cartridges usually print between 500 and 5,000 copies per month, and they’re made with the most basic duplexing and sorting options because that’s all most home office users need for their jobs.
Consumer versions also differ in that they may act as a multi-purpose printer, doing faxes, scans, and copies.
The best all-in-one laser printer for home use is one that can do all of the tasks needed in a home office, whether it’s making copies of the family holiday letter, printing off homework assignments, or faxing a scan of your insurance card to your medical professional.
Ease of use
Because home laser printers are built to do so many different tasks each day, they are designed so that you can easily perform the various jobs. They usually have far fewer buttons than commercial printers, and maintenance and refills are also quite simple compared to their industrial counterparts.
You won’t need to be a tech expert to use the consumer model of a laser printer. They use the same commands and functions as a typical inkjet printer. If you can push the print icon to print from your smartphone app, you can make this printer a useful and convenient part of your production process.
Laser printers, whether black and white or color, are made to print crisp, clear copies of all of your favorite documents. From photos to reports to holiday cards, you can usually get the job done quickly with a home-sized laser printer priced at a fraction of an enterprise printer. It makes sense to consider these consumer models if you do less than 5,000 pages of printing or copying a month.
Home office laser printers are also cheaper and easier to maintain. Owning one won’t cost you thousands, and you won’t need to rely on regular visits from a printer repair professional. While businesses usually pay for their printers over time or even rent them, you can buy your home office printer in one smaller payment so you can afford to replace it at the end of its very generous life cycle.
3 best laser printers for home use options
There are too many reliable and impressive laser printers on the market to mention them all. In fact, HP® alone has dozens of products that could be the best design for your printing needs. If you’re new to this kind of product and need a place to start the following models are top choices in their categories.
1. HP LaserJet Pro M118dw: best single-function laser printer
If you’re searching for a no-nonsense printer that only prints, and does it well, consider the HP LaserJet Pro M118dw. It is a wireless, print-only machine so you won’t get faxes or copies out of this model.
For those business owners who need efficiency in a black and white printer there’s nothing better for the price than this model. It can churn out up to 30 pages per minute and start out of the box with up to 1,000 pages worth of toner included.
Whether you are a solo entrepreneur or have a team working beside you, this printer is a networker’s dream. It offers collaborative printing through the HP Smart app that you can use to print, order toner, and manage the settings on your device without ever stepping foot behind your desk.
Its auto-duplexing is a nice feature not often seen on value-priced printers, too. Use the 250-sheet input tray to store paper for your most complicated, two-sided jobs and let the printer do all the work.
This printer may be designed for small businesses and home use, but it’s built to go the extra mile. The high-quality print drum inside this model is built to last through 23,000 pages of sharp, crisp, and professional prints.
2. HP LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdw: best multifunction color laser printer
Consumers seeking the functionality of a multifunction device with the vibrant production of a high-quality laser printer just love what this color laser printer for the home can accomplish.
The HP LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdw is making waves as an affordable, consumer-friendly device that pairs the scanning, faxing, copying, and printing of the top commercial printers with a smaller size.
Get up to 28 ppm in black or color, and get more pages for your money when you buy HP Original high-yield toner cartridges with this contender for the best color laser printer for home offices. And you can tell your printer how you want the job done with the user-friendly 4.3-inch intuitive touch screen color graphics display.
This printer is ideal for the home business that needs to print 750 to 4,000 pages a month. It boasts a super-fast first-page-out-time of just 9 seconds in addition to innovative two-sided printing tech that gets those pages flipped and printed faster than competing devices in the same class.
Whether you choose to send jobs via email or over WiFi, you’ll receive your scans and copies done better, quicker, and with more clarity than ever before. The efficiency of this machine is one of the reasons it’s a favorite among growing companies of all sizes.
3. HP LaserJet Pro MFP M130fw: best multifunction black-and-white laser printer
While this printer only makes black and white prints, it’s one of the most affordable you can buy, and it is also a multifunction device. With the capability to fax, scan, print, and copy, the HP LaserJet Pro MFP M130fw is surprisingly compact and takes up very little space in an already space-conscious home office.
Like most of today’s home printers, it connects wirelessly so you’ll no longer have to deal with USB cables to get your print jobs done. It prints up to 23 ppm and can easily be programmed and managed with the 2.7-inch touch screen. As with most of the HP LaserJet Pro units, it makes good use of the toner - and your money - by using HP JetIntelligence technology to print in the most efficient manner possible.
Whether you’re using it to collaborate with others or work solo, the ability to scan to email, USB, and network folders ensures you don’t have to keep stepping away from the device in the middle of large jobs. This incredibly efficient printer saves energy and money, too, with HP Auto-On/Auto-Off Technology, but still shows up when you need it. The first-page-out-time from startup is as quick as 7.3 seconds.
Don’t let the budget-friendly price fool you, either, because this printer is serious about quality. You’ll generate sharp text and stunning graphics with the HP toner designed just for this machine.
You’ll also have the pro look you want in any business document and can ensure you stay fully stocked with the toner level-tracking tech, which lets you know when you’re close to running low on Original HP toner cartridges.
Customers love that the toner is easy to order and replace, which means you can skip the messy fingerprints. These toner packs have an auto-seal removal and packaging that’s easy to open, too. A great price and even better printing quality make this one of the best home laser printer products on the market.
When choosing either the best black and white or the best color laser printer for home office use, consider that there are some significant differences between models. Before buying, ask these important questions:
Is this an enterprise printer?
Laser printers made specifically for commercial or industrial purposes are generally not a good fit for your house, but they may not be specifically named in a way that’s easily recognized.
Instead, look for any description that says “FCC Class A emissions device for use in commercial environments, not residential environments” or something similar, and avoid printers that show this designation. They may have an increased risk of interference with radio communication devices and are not approved for home use by the FCC.
Can I afford the toner?
While HP Original toner cartridges are made specifically for HP printers and are the only products that guarantee the quality and precision of your chosen model, you should still compare toner costs.
What special features do I want? What features will I use?
If you’re attracted to the idea of a duplexing printer that can hold and sort hundreds of sheets, make sure that you’ll have jobs of this nature before you commit. Likewise, it’s smart to explore how WiFi and other networking features will be used in your home office before you lock yourself into a USB-connected device. If you don't use the fax, it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.
These are all examples of the considerations you should make before buying. You don’t want to miss out on a feature you’ll often use because you chose a much-less-suitable perk instead.
If you’ve never used a laser printer before, you may be surprised at how much they’ve evolved over the last few years. Much smaller, efficient, and quiet than before, they have found a place in the modern home office, and they aren’t any more complicated than using a traditional inkjet printer.
With a focus on precision, durability, and competence, today’s laser printer can help you showcase a more professional look with your small business. Owning the best laser printer for a home office should be a rewarding experience; one that opens the door for new opportunities.
Linsey Knerl is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Linsey is a Midwest-based author, public speaker, and member of the ASJA. She has a passion for helping consumers and small business owners do more with their resources via the latest tech solutions.
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