On the list of reasons you miss your office, the vending-machine-sized laser printer in the supply closet probably doesn't crack the top 20 (despite being the best printer). But depending on the type of work (from home) you do, how many wet-ink signatures or pre-paid shipping labels your daily wheelings and dealings demand, and, y'know, how essential doing the crossword puzzle with a pen and paper is to your overall sense of well-being, you might be feeling strong pangs of office printer loss right now. The only solution is buying yourself a printer of your very own.
Even if your work doesn't require much or any printing, the ability to print out whatever you're supposed to be reading can provide the opportunity for much-needed screen breaks. The chance to unplug might also actually make your work better. A large chunk of the GQ staff say that printing out drafts of things they're working on makes them easier to edit.
Of course, that's not an argument for saving up money for an enterprise printer that you'll keep next to your bed. For most people, you'll want something easy to use, fast, and dirt cheap. Yes, a cheap no-frills printer will mean dealing with the occasional paper jams, the occasional connectivity issue, and the occasional weird ink splotches. But the point is you want to get printing cheaply and easily. You probably don't need it to print in color, and you probably don't need it to have the ability to scan and send faxes. If that describes you, we've found a printer that is not only better than average, but actually good.
The Best Printer for Simple At-Home Printing
The Brother HL-L2350DW printer isn’t perfect, but it’s reliable and doesn't cost too much. Need more info? It can print single or double-sided documents quickly, without jamming that frequently. It has wireless connectivity, because cords and dongles are a pain. As a laser printer it's cheap to operate: toner cartridges last longer than ink cartridges. (GQ senior research manager Mick Rouse, who prints out every story he fact-checks, as well as all correspondence between sources he speaks with in the process, says he only has to replace the toner cartridge on his Brother printer a couple of times a year.) If you’re only printing something every few days, you probably won’t have to replace it more than once a year.
We also appreciate the design of the Brother, which puts the feed tray underneath the printer, instead of precariously above—it's easier to load a big stack of paper and forget about it, instead of having to constantly put smaller stacks of paper that might fall over into the top.
Three Other Home Printers to Consider:
The Cheaper One
The Brother HL-L2300D is even more streamlined than the 2350DW: same overall design, slightly slower, can only print single-sided pages, and doesn’t have wireless printing capabilities. We think those features are worth the extra dollars, but if you don’t, congrats—you just saved $40.
The One that Prints in Color
If you want to be able to print in color, your best options at a reasonable price are inkjet printers. Inkjet printers are a bit more finicky, but the HP Envy Photo 7855 does it all, including printing, scanning, copying, and—if you live in 1997—faxing.
The Small One
None of the three printers we’ve mentioned are particularly large, but maybe every inch counts in your place. If you’re looking for meekness, consider the Canon Pixma—just 12.7" wide and 7.3" deep. It’s not as easy to use or as fast as either Brother printer we mentioned, but it’s small enough to fit in a backpack and can print photos and documents in full color.
Don't Forget the Paper
Good for printing on. Also: still in stock and shipping quickly.
It's time to start wearing a mask—so here's a running list of designers producing them.
If weeks of social distancing have finally led you to pull the trigger on a video-game console, here's a good place to start.
Originally Appeared on GQ