The best printers you can buy for your home

Working from home is becoming increasingly popular in this connected world we live in, but if you start working from home, you may not have access to all the tools that an office-space has to offer. Not only that, but if you have kids in school, or simply need to print every now and then, having a good printer at your disposal can be extremely helpful. Of course, there are a ton of printers out there to choose from, and not all of them are created equal.

Before you decide on a specific model of printer to go for, you should make a few decisions on the type of printer you need. Here are a few key points to consider before you make the decision to pull the trigger on a new printer.

Insider Picks_ 3 4x3 printer

  • Laser or inkjet: There are two main types of printers – laser and inkjet, and they’re actually pretty different. Laser printers are generally more expensive, but the trade-off is that you don’t have to worry about buying ink, and pages are printed a lot quicker. Laser printers need toner, which lasts longer than the ink used by inkjet printers. This type of printer is also best for printing documents and sometimes only prints in black and white, though many laser printers can do color, too. Inkjet printers are cheaper to buy, but ink is expensive. However, if you print photos, this is the printer you want. Inkjet printers are also easier to maintain, so most people will likely prefer them.
  • Do you want a scanner? Many printers these days also come with a scanner, meaning you can combine your printing and scanning needs into one device. Speaking from personal experience, it’s common to use the scanner after signing a document that may have been emailed to you, so it may be a good thing to have in your home office.
  • Double-sided printing: Many printers out there offer the ability to print double-sided documents, so you won’t have to worry about flipping the page over and printing again if you want dual-sided printing. This also helps cut down on the number of pages you print, which is obviously good for the environment.

Some companies also offer some extra features. For example, HP offers an ink subscription service, in which you can pay $2.99 per month and have HP automatically send new ink when it detects that your ink supply is running low.

But what’s the best printer out there? Here are the five best printers you can buy. You should also check out our guides to the best computer mice and the best Bluetooth keyboards.

Although the Brother MFC-J985DW is our top pick, for various reasons laid out in the slides below, you should also consider the HP Envy 5560, the HP LaserJet Pro M252dw, the Canon ImagePrograf PRO-1000, and the Canon Pixma iP8720.

WWDC 2017: Apple Unveils HomePod, Its Siri-Powered Smart Home Speaker

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Apple unveiled its Siri-powered home speaker called HomePod
  • HomePod is designed to work with Apple Music
  • It will also be able to send messages, get news updates and more

WWDC 2017: Apple Unveils HomePod, Its Siri-Powered Smart Home Speaker

One of the most anticipated announcements expected from Apple was its Siri-powered home speaker, which the Cupertino-based giant finally unveiled towards the final moments of its WWDC 2017 keynote address. Apple’s newest product is called HomePod, which the company says will “reinvent music in the home”.

The Apple HomePod is a wireless speaker that promises to deliver amazing audio quality. The speaker uses spatial awareness to sense its location in a room and automatically adjusts the audio output. The HomePod is designed to work along with Apple Music, so it essentially requires one to have a subscription to music streaming service, which will give access to over 40 million songs. Apple says “the HomePod provides deep knowledge of personal music preferences and tastes and helps users discover new music.”

The cylindrical-shaped HomePod is roughly 7-inches in height and features a large, Apple-designed woofer for deep, clean bass, an array of seven beam-forming tweeters for pure high frequency acoustics with directional control. The HomePod is powered by Apple’s A8 chip and will be available from December in Australia, the UK, and the US, which will be getting the initial batch of speakers in White and Space Grey at $349 (roughly Rs. 22,500).

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“Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “HomePod packs powerful speaker technology, Siri intelligence and wireless access to the entire Apple Music library into a beautiful speaker that is less than 7 inches tall, can rock most any room with distortion free music and be a helpful assistant around your home.”

The HomePod features six microphones for users to interact with across the room. Siri will be able to handle advanced searches within the music library. For example, you can say “Hey Siri, who’s the drummer in this?” And Siri will be able to give you an answer. Siri will also be able to create a shared Up Next queue with everyone in the home.

The HomePod is Apple’s answer to Google Home and Amazon Echo. So apart from its well-rounded music ecosystem, the speaker will also be able to send messages, get updates on news, sports and weather, or control smart home (read HomeKit-enabled) devices by simply asking Siri to turn on the lights, close the shades or activate a scene. It can also provide remote access and home automation through the Home app on the iPhone or iPad. Setting up the HomePod is as easy as setting up the AirPods. Simply hold your iPhone next to the speaker and it will pair with the device.

 

If You Care About Small Business, Keep the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction

President Obama’s budget reform commission proposed eliminating the home mortgage interest deduction. This idea has analysts scurrying to estimate the proposal’s economic impact.

Unfortunately, our lawmakers often forget the law of unintended consequences when offering up changes to policies. In this case, our elected officials need to consider how making mortgage interest non-tax deductable will impact small business credit markets.

While policy makers might not see the connection, the mortgage interest deduction is linked to small business credit. That’s because the deduction helps to prop up housing prices. With 25 percent of those running small companies using home equity to fund their businesses, a drop in housing prices would mean that small business loans and lines of credit would be harder to come by.

Mortgage Interest Deduction

Getting rid of the mortgage interest tax deduction will have a sizeable effect on small business credit markets. Analysis by the National Association of Realtors indicates that home prices would drop 15 percent in the absence of this deduction. A study I conducted with Mark Schweitzer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland shows that each one percent decline in housing prices lowers the value of home equity loans (HELOCS) by 1.33 percent. Combined with the estimate of the home price decline from no longer being able to deduct mortgage interest from your taxes, this shift would mean a 20 percent drop in the value of HELOCS.

That’s a lot less small business credit. A report by the New York Fed put the dollar value of outstanding HELOCs at $700 billion in the beginning of 2010. Thus, we should expect to see a $140 billion decline in outstanding HELOCs if the home mortgage interest deduction were eliminated.

A sizeable chunk of this decline would be borne by small business owners. Analysis of the Federal Reserve’s consumer finance survey shows that business owners accounted for one quarter of home equity loans in 2007, the latest year for which data are available. Thus, dropping the deductability of mortgage interest would shave $35 billion from small business owners’ home equity loans.

While we don’t know for sure how much of small business owners’ home equity borrowing is financing business operations, the amount is sizeable. Analysis of Fed consumer finance survey data indicates that households with businesses had median home equity debt that was 50 percent more than that of households without businesses in 2007. If the difference in debt levels between the two types of households represents the portion of home equity borrowing the business owners are using to finance their companies, then one third of the small business owning households’ home equity borrowing is being used to support business operations.

The reduction in housing prices estimated to come from dropping the deductability of mortgage interest would lead to a projected $11.7 billion decline in home equity borrowing by small business owners for business purposes. That’s about 16 percent of the $71.8 billion in loan originations made to small companies (businesses with less than $1 million in annual sales) in 2009, the latest year for which data are available.

And that’s just the effect of eliminating the mortgage interest deduction on small business owners use of home equity loans to finance their companies. Any effect of the eliminated deduction on other types of loans used to tap home equity for business purposes would be on top of this.

Our elected officials need to consider the law of unintended consequences when they debate eliminating the mortgage interest deduction. Doing so will cause a contraction in the small business credit market that could lead small businesses to cut back on capital investment and hiring.