Work From Home Update
Monochrome Laser All-In-One Machines For Working From Home
With the recent surge in working from home due to COVID-19 restrictions, plenty of people can use a new all-in-one to replace their old printer or inkjet all-in-one machine.
As always, the key is Total Cost of Ownership or TCO. In addition, there are certain key features that may be more important when working from home than just casual personal use, including:
- Automatic Document Feeder for scanning and copying
- Double-sided (duplex) printing and copying
- Large Paper Trays
Even when you are only printing for yourself, if you have a 50-page report from the office to review, printing it is sometimes the only practical thing to do, and you don’t want to burn through expensive inkjet cartridges or wait a long time for it to print.
We reviewed all currently available HP and Brother monochrome (black & white) laser printer all-in-one machines available for under $500. Then we compared them for TCO with usage of 100 or 500 pages per month for 2 years. In addition, we considered certain key features that can make quite a difference in productivity.
HP – LaserJet Pro MFP M148dw and M148fdw
These two machines are nearly identical. The primary difference is that the M148fdw includes fax capability. Both machines print at 30 pages per minute (single-sided, slower double-sided), include USB, WiFi and wired Ethernet connectivity, duplex printing and most other features you need for a home office.
HP has started to produce more machines with separate toner cartridges and drums, which Brother has done for many years. This tends to result in lower cost toner cartridges and a lot less concern about quality of 3rd-party toner cartridges as they are little more than plastic containers of toner. In fact, HP now has a machine, the Neverstop Laser MFP 1202w, which has a major selling point of using an easily refillable toner tank. However, we can’t recommend that particular machine as it includes only a flatbed scanner and, even more important for a machine designed to print a lot of pages, does not print double-sided!
Brother – DCP-L2550DW and MFC-L2710DW
As with the two HP machines, these are very similar, with the MFC-2710DW including fax capability. The DCP-L2550DW actually prints a little faster (36 pages per minute single-sided) than the MFC-L2710DW (32 pages per minute) but otherwise they are quite similar, and they use the same toner cartridges. As with the HP machines, they include USB, WiFi and wired Ethernet, duplex printing and automatic document feeders.
All four of these machines come in at under $300 for 2 years of 100 page/month usage. At moderate usage of 500 pages/month, the Brother machines do a bit better, staying under $500 with the HP machines a little over $500. Of course, with all of these you can save quite a bit by using 3rd-party toner cartridges.