It’s been said that only a poor craftsman blames his failings on his tools, but let’s be honest: It’s so much easier to get a job done if you have some decent equipment backing you up. The modern workplace calls for a lot of gadgets, and while you don’t have to spend a whack of money to equip yourself with the best office tech you need to do a satisfactory job on every assignment that’s handed to you.
Everything comes down to practicality. Even a relatively inexpensive purchase that you make today can save you a lot of headaches and heartaches down the line. Think in the long-term, and think about gadgets that will help you out of a jam if your favored hardware decides to take a day off. Here are five of the best office and home office technology tools and gadgets you’ll want to pick up.
Printer/Copier/Scanner – Every office needs a printer, a copier, and a scanner. If you preside over a big office then an industrial-size copier is your only option (plus an established guard 24/7 to make sure nobody Xeroxes their behind). If you have a small and/or home office, though, you’re definitely going to want to look into a three-in-one rig. They’re comparatively inexpensive, and save a lot of space. Unfortunately, three-in-one jobs don’t have a reputation for long-term health. If you’re looking for a printer/copier/scanner combo that won’t let you down, Engadget recently asked its readers to list suggestions.
Smartphone – Of course. Who goes around without their phone these days, right? But smartphones provide a valuable service beyond calling mom: The permanent connection to the 3G network will certainly come in handy if your Wi-Fi connection ever decides to flop and die. Also, tablets and smartphones like the iPhone and Kindle Fire have great applications that can come in handy for any business big or small.
External Hard Drive and/or Thumb Drive – Let’s be honest. One day, your hard drive is going to go kaput, and it’s going to happen at the most inopportune time. External hard drives (and/or a decently-sized thumb drive or memory card) are vital for backing up your most important files and transferring them to a secondary machine. Back up early, and back up often!
PC or Laptop – Needless to say, you need a dependable machine to help you connect to the Internet, finish your work, and let you communicate with your peers and the world in general. If you’re looking for suggestions, check out our PC buying guide.
Ergonomic Mouse Pads and Keyboards – Far too few employers give much thought to the long-term health of their employees’ bones and tendons. Ergonomic keyboards and mouse pads are inexpensive, but can save typists a lot of pain and inflammation down the line.
For more suggestions on vital office gadgets, read:
11 Gadgets You Should Have on Your Office Wishlist at Workawesome
7 Best Office Gadgets at Focus
With nearly any computer-using household needing a printer, as well as myriad home-based and small businesses, the market for printers and all-in-one devices remains crowded. And whether it’s a simple dedicated machine you are looking for and one that can perform a number of tasks, the revenue model for many manufacturers seems to be evolving into the well-known razor/razor blade model – give them the printers for cheap and charge them lots for the cartridges. There are obviously a number of choices available for anyone in the market for a printer, so here are some of the best printers and faxes available, including standalone or all-in-one units.
HP DeskJet 1000 – This single-purpose, budget friendly print does one thing, and does it well – print documents. For those who just need a simple device that’s easy to use, this basic HP DeskJet 1000 model from HP costs only $30 as is the perfect choice for those on a budget that just need to print.
Samsung Laser Single-Function Printer – If you’re looking for a simple approach to printing but have a bit more to spend, consider Samsung’s Laser Single-Function Printer. It has wireless capability, meaning you can stow it just about anywhere. It also allows for double-sided printing and can print single-sided docs the quick rate of 29 pages per minute.
Canon Selphy CP800 Compact Photo Printer – If you’re looking to print photos, the Canon Selphy CP800 is a great choice that can provide prints in standard size or as small a credit card. With its 2.5 inch tilt-up LCD screen, you don’t even need to connect it to a printer – you can create prints directly from your memory cards or other Bluetooth-enabled devices.
Epson Expression Home XP-400 – While many do want just the ability to print, increasingly families need a device that can perform many functions at once. The Expression Home XP-400 is also a scanner and copier in addition to a printer. With space at a priority for many, Epson has cleverly dubbed their Expression Home XP-400 as the “small-in-one” printer, based on its small size. And it’s also portable, and able to print documents from Apple devices and PCs straight from the cloud.
Brother IntelliFax-2820 – Although e-mail scanning and communication has overtaken faxing, the need for a fax machine still exists for many, and for a few business and professions it’s still the way much communication gets done. The Brother IntelliFax-2820 focuses on just the fax, and provides high-quality and quick printouts, as well as a built-in phone receiver to allow for both voice and fax calls. If faxing is still a priority for your home or business, the Brother Intellifax-2820 is a great choice.
Lexmark Pro5500 – This all-in-one printer, scanner, copier and fax machine from Lexmark features a large 4.3 inch tough screen that helps make job selection and set up simple and easy. Although the Lexmark Pro5500 is a bit bigger than some smaller all-in-ones, it’s great for small businesses with its handle to handle big jobs from a number of different sources simultaneously.
Xerox WorkCentre 3325 – While they’re best known for the large-scale office copy machines, Xerox also has products designed for the home office, such as the WorkCentre 3325, an all-in one printer, fax machine, copier and scanner that can produce and replicate two-sided documents with ease. Since Xerox has so much printing and copying and experience, it’s no surprise they can create a dependable and fast home printing option as well. The Xerox WorkCentre 3325 is wireless and small, so can it go nearly anywhere, and reports a printing rate of 37 pages per minute.