Home office boom and scarce printers | heise online

Notebooks, monitors, webcams – a lot of IT equipment has been in great demand since the Covid-19-induced trend towards home offices. But production and transport are also badly affected by the effects of the pandemic. Even printers are often poor or not available at all, especially popular home devices have long delivery times.

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Especially inexpensive compact ink multifunction printers are missing from the manufacturers’ web shops. So reports Brother’s website For ink models (the model numbers begin with a J) “currently not available from us”. It looks different with laser printers. But laser printers are considered expensive, they need more floor space and not every home worker can ventilate his home office niche sufficiently when printing.

At Canon, the shortage particularly affects the popular Pixma models, which also do a good job with office prints, but are otherwise optimized for photo printing. Canon offers its own series for the office under the name Maxify. The smaller models are well suited for the home workplace. Although prices have risen for this too, they are still better available. Maxify printer cost a little more – you get them from around 150 euros – but the ink costs per printed page are cheaper. They use durable pigment inks, which benefits text and graphic printing. Like laser models, however, they only print photos with a border.

Availability looks a bit better at Epson and HP out. Here you only get certain popular models badly. Instead of spending a lot of money on otherwise cheaper printers, it is often worth taking a look at the next larger and more expensive category, which is always worthwhile for medium and high print volumes. If you don’t print a lot, you will find cheap and above all available models from the two manufacturers (Epson Expression Home, HP Envy).

If the printer of your choice is marked as “sold out” or “not available” at the major online retailers or in the manufacturers’ web shops, it is worth making an inquiry to specialist dealers. Manufacturers usually give their dealers preference for newly arrived goods, so there is a greater chance of finding what they are looking for in specialist shops.

It is also advisable to check the price comparators regularly to see whether one of the dealers is reporting the printer of your choice as being available again. Individual dealers often still have stocks when Amazon no longer lists the model.

Another option is used printers, especially if you haven’t had a need for a device at home and don’t want to spend a lot of money. You can try it on Ebay, but private sellers do not guarantee that you will get a working printer. Here it is better to stick to commercial used goods dealers who at least offer a takeover guarantee.


Office laser printers such as the Kyocera ECOSYS P5026cdn can be obtained cheaply from used goods dealers, but also as new devices.

(Image: Kyocera)

Many of these dealers also offer their goods in their own web shops. The printers and other IT equipment do not come from private users but from large companies that have ceded their written-off hardware to the second-hand goods dealers. Some of the stores like Quant Electronic then offer these with detailed descriptions and function-tested at reasonable prices. Others prepare notebooks, PCs and printers in their own workshops, replace photo drums or dried-on rubber rollers, but then also charge higher prices. A look at the changing offer, for example from or PCB cheaper could lead to success with a little luck.

However, ink models are seldom found at used dealers. If you get involved with a laser printer, the chances are already higher. Since the printers come from company stocks, there are many models for workgroups and departments that are far too large for the home office. The range also includes a number of smaller printers for the workplace.

There is no need to worry about missing drivers, as these are almost always high-quality and common branded devices that Windows and Linux usually automatically recognize and set up. They also have at least one Ethernet interface and can therefore be easily integrated into the home network.

Another argument for a used vehicle: They usually contain cartridges and toner cartridges with a long range, which are often still well filled (Quant Electronic even shows the toner level on the website). New devices, on the other hand, usually only come with starter cartridges or only half-filled toner cartridges for a few hundred pages. A set of replacement cartridges should then be included in the purchase price.


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