For the last four years, I’ve only been able to print when I’m on hookups since I was using a laser printer. Laser printers are incompatible with a boondocking lifestyle unless you have a crazy solar setup or are willing to run the genset to print; they just require too much power. I haven’t really missed being able to print and was only once in a situation where I had to run to a print shop to print something.
But my new line of work is going to require me to print. So I found myself tasked with finding the impossible: a professional-grade inkjet printer with low energy consumption and low ink costs. Would you believe that such a thing exists?
Look no further than the HP Officejet 8600 series multifunction printers. There are three models, the Pro, the Pro Plus, and the Premium. Being multifunction, they also fax and scan, making them suitable for a small office setup.
What these printers all have in common is how cheap they are to run as well as their energy efficiency.
According to PCMag (and a number of other sources), the cost per page of the HP Officejet 8600 series is 1.6 cents for black and white and 8.2 cents for colour! This might actually be less than the cost per page of a laser printer!
As for energy consumption for the HP Officejet 8600 series, the peak capacity is 34 watts and standby is 6.63 watts. On 12V power, that’s just a maximum of 2.8 amps and 0.6 amps for standby. Compare that to an average laser printer with a maximum consumption of 634 watts/53 amps and a standby of 35.1 watts/3amps!
The only negative for me of the HP OfficeJet 8600 series is that the printers weigh 26lbs. That said, the weight is comparable to that of my old Brother laser printer, so I know I can secure the new printer with a couple of new thumb grips. And it won’t affect my carrying capacity!
Now, the difference in the three models. There are actually not that many. The Premium and the Pro Plus have identical specs but the Premium has two trays. If you have to go often between different kinds or sizes of papers, the extra tray is very useful. The Pro is a little slower (32 ppm per minute vs. 35) and it allows for fewer pages in auto feed (35 vs. 50).
All three models allow for wireless networking and support Airprint, for direct printing from an iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone.
This printer has one quirk I have never seen on a printer. It’s not glossy black or putty grey, but rather a dark bronze. Several reviews I’ve read have put that as a negative. For me, that’s another bonus! 🙂
The entire line of HP OfficeJet 8600 printers is on major sale at Staples in Canada until August 16th. The Pro is selling for $180 (save $50), the Pro Plus is $259 (save $70), and the Premium is $330 (save $100). So if you’re a professional looking for a printer that is compatible with an off-grid lifestyle, there’s no need to shop around.
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