Buying a new home office desktop printer can be a bit daunting (and let’s face it – uninteresting) for most people.

There are so many different printer types, specifications, and options available and to be honest this probably wasn’t even on your radar until you started working from home. The fact is that unless you know exactly what you’re looking for and why, you could end up going around in circles. Here we give you a simple guide to choosing a home office printer so you can avoid closing your eyes and sticking a pin in it.

THE CHECKLIST

Speed & Volume: Are you going to be printing a few one- and two-page documents from your home office or will you need to print lots of large proposals, brochures or presentations? If it’s the latter, then speed will be an issue – look at the pages per minute (ppm) number to determine how fast the output is. As a general rule of thumb, anything up to 20ppm is fairly slow but fine for single page or double page documents. And this will be reflected in the price. 20 – 39 ppm is about average and anything over 40ppm is considered fast. Colour printing will always take a bit longer – generally the ppm number is for comparison between models and is based on printing one A4 page in black and white.

Mono VS Colour: Going monochrome will definitely knock a bit off the price but you have to ask yourself what you’re going to be printing. If you want to be able to print decent quality presentations, leaflets, flyers, or newsletters then colour is a must.

Printer Type: For any marketing materials that include graphics or images, opt for inkjet (or page wide) over laser. Inkjet will always print higher quality graphics. Laser printers produce better quality text-based documents. Functionality does overlap though so base this on key features and whatever type of documents you are likely to print more of.

Functionality: Will you need to copy, scan or fax as well as print? If so, then you’ll need a multi-functional printer or MFP. And remember, increased functionality means increased price.

Media: Do you need to print on different paper sizes and types or envelopes? Or will standard A4 do the job? Look for a printer that can accommodate whatever media you will be using.

Connections: Most printers nowadays have wireless connections as standard. Wireless printers connect to your device using your home WiFi network and can be accessed from anywhere in the building, meaning you don’t even have to be in the same room to print. Other options include WiFi Direct which allows the printer to use your devices connection, Apple AirPrint for iOS devices, Google Cloud Print for Android devices, NFC (near field communication) which is similar to Apple Air Drop  but with devices and printers and email printing which allows you to email your document directly to your printer queue (but does rely on being on the same Wi-Fi network as your device).

Security: Before you buy, check what security features the printer comes with and NEVER assume the printer is secure coming out of the box. Check for firmware updates as soon as you turn it on. Where possible change the admin password when you set the printer up. You can usually do this in the utilities panel for the printer. You should also be able to change the settings on document storage so that the memory is regularly purged or you might be able to turn off the storage function completely. The difference between consumer and business printers is software for monitoring. If you are buying a small, cheap home office desktop printer then your security options are going to be limited which is something to bear in mind.

Ink: It is also important to find out at the cost of the ink for the printer you want to buy. Believe it or not, often a cheaper printer requires more expensive ink and vice-versa.

There’s a surprising number of things to consider for such a small unobtrusive home office device but there’s no point in parting with your cash unless you’re getting exactly what you need.

Four Affordable Options from HP

1. If you need to print text based documents, colour is not needed and speed is unimportant…

HP LaserJet Pro M15a

A LaserJet is so small it can fit almost anywhere. Ideal for a home office. Smartly and elegantly designed,it’s simple and intuitive to use. This surprisingly small laser delivers exceptional quality, page after page. Help save energy with HP Auto-On/Auto-Off technology. Easily print from a variety of smartphones and tablets. Easily share resources – access and print with wireless networking. Connect your smartphone directly to your printer – and easily print without accessing a network.

  • Print only
  • Monochrome
  • Laser
  • A4 / Legal
  • Up to 18 ppm
  • Capacity: 150 sheets  | Media Type: Envelopes, labels, plain paper, postcard
  • Monthly Duty Cycle: (max) 8000 pages | Recommended Monthly Volume: 100 – 1000 pages
  • Max Resolution: (B&W) 600 x 600 dpi
  • Interface: USB 2.0 | Connectivity Technology: Wired
home office printer desktop hp

2. If you need to print text based documents and colour is not needed but speed is important….

HP LaserJet Enterprise M507dn

Choose a HP LaserJet Enterprise printer designed to handle business solutions securely and efficiently, and helps conserve energy with HP EcoSmart black toner. Keep up with the demands of growing business with a printer you can rely on.

  • Print & Copy
  • Monochrome
  • Laser
  • A4/Legal
  • Up to 43 ppm
  • Capacity: 650 sheets
  • Monthly Duty Cycle (max) 150000 pages | Recommended Monthly Volume 2000 – 7500 pages
  • Max Resolution: (B&W) 1200 x 1200 dpi
  • Interface: USB 2.0,Gigabit LAN,USB 2.0 host| Connectivity Technology: Wired
home office printer desktop hp

3. If you need to print graphics or image-based documents, colour is required and speed and quality are important…

HP PageWide Pro 452dw

Ultimate value and speed – HP PageWide Pro delivers the ultra-low total cost of ownership and incredibly fast speeds. Get professional-quality colour plus ultimate security features and energy efficiency.

  • Print & Copy
  • Colour
  • Inkjet / Page wide array
  • A4 / Legal
  • Max Resolution: (B&W) 1200 x 1200 dpi | (Colour) 2400 x 1200 dpi
  • Up to 55 ppm (mono) / up to 55 ppm (colour)
  • Total Media Capacity: 500 sheets
  • Monthly Duty Cycle (max) 50000 pages | Recommended Monthly Volume 750 – 4500 pages
  • Connections: 1 x USB 2.0 – 4 pin USB Type B | 1 x USB 2.0 host – 4 pin USB Type A | 1 x LAN – RJ-45
home office printer desktop hp

4. If you need to print graphics or image-based documents, colour is required, speed and quality are important and security is a consideration.

HP Officejet Pro 9022 All-in-One

A revolutionary smart printer – even for high-volume jobs. Help save time with Smart Tasks shortcuts. Get one-pass, two-sided scanning, easy mobile printing, seamless connections and best-in-class security.

  • Multifunction printer: Print, copy, scan & fax
  • Colour
  • Printing Technology Ink-jet (colour) | Inkjet Technology HP Thermal Inkjet – 4-ink
  • A4/Legal (media)
  • Up to 23 ppm (copying) | Up to 39 ppm (printing)
  • Media Capac