Personal Printers Add Workspace Convenience

Personal printers, by definition, are office printers dedicated to one person’s use. They can be inkjets or lasers, sit in your home office or on your corporate desktop, and you may call on them to print only on weekends or every business day.

If you have the budget and room (and presumably the need) for your own printer at work, you can co-opt virtually any printer for the task. For purposes of this discussion, however, we’ll stay with the narrow definition of personal printer as one that’s designed with personal use in mind.

The printers we’re talking about here are small enough to fit on your desk without dominating it. They don’t take up a lot of desktop real estate and they aren’t tall enough to tower over you. The emphasis on small size translates to low paper capacities for the smallest printers—sometimes as low as 150 or even 100 sheets. If you need a higher capacity, so you won’t have to load paper as often, you’ll have to stay with the larger printers in the category.

The presumption with personal printers is that you’ll usually want to connect by USB cable, since you won’t need to share the printer on a network and will most likely have it sitting on your desk next to your computer. However, many printers are suitable for either personal use or sharing among two or three people, so some offer Ethernet connectors. Some also include WiFi support, so you can, for example, bring your laptop home from the office and print without having to connect any cables.

The personal printers in this roundup include a variety of technologies (monochrome and color laser, color LED, and inkjet) as well as a range of sizes and paper handling capability. One of them should be the right choice for your personal use.

A good choice for relatively heavy-duty color printing needs, the Brother HL-3070CW color laser-class printer (actually an LED printer), is on the large side for a personal printer. However, it’s small enough to share a desk with, at 9.8 by 16.1 by 18.3 inches (HWD). It also offers both Ethernet and WiFi connections along with reasonably fast speed and a 250-sheet paper capacity.

Clearly intended as a personal printer, with no network connector, the Brother HL-5340D monochrome laser delivers fast speed and reasonably high-quality output. It offers an ample 250-sheet paper capacity and an automatic duplexer (for printing on both sides of a page) all in a compact 9.7 by 14.6 by 15.1 inches (HWD).

The Dell 1230c Color Printer is one of the smallest color laser printers yet, at 9.6 by 15.3 by 12.3 inches (HWD) and 24.3 pounds. Another purely personal printer, it connects by USB cable only. Its 150-sheet input capacity is a little on the low side, but it should be sufficient for most personal use.

Although it’s expensive for a personal monochrome laser, the HP LaserJet P2055dn offers extraordinarily fast speed along with an Ethernet connector and high-quality text. It also scores better than most personal printers for paper handling, with a 250-sheet tray, a 50-page multipurpose tray, and a built-in duplexer.

The HP Officejet 6000 Wireless Printer is the least expensive printer in this group, the only inkjet, and the only one to earn the PCMag Greentech Approved seal. It offers far better paper handling than most inkjets, with a 250-sheet capacity and automatic duplexer. It also offers both an Ethernet connector and the WiFi support implied in its name.

Surprisingly small and light for a color laser, the Konica Minolta 1600W measures just 10.9- by 15.6- by 15.0-inches (HWD). Although it’s slow for a laser, it’s faster than almost any inkjet, and its text quality is a step up from ink jets as well. It connects only by USB cable, making it a decidedly personal printer, but it offers a reasonably ample 200 page capacity.

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