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How to trim costs for building a home office

March 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Thinking of starting your own business? One in four workers who are out of work in this recession are thinking of doing just that. Whether you're starting an at-home business or you're just managing a household, Consumer Specialist Ric Romero says setting up a home office is cheaper and easier than ever. Consumer Reports has a couple of tips to help cut printing and paper costs.

If you print in "draft" mode, that uses less ink and can cut the cost-per-page in half, or more. While this setting does reduce print quality, it's worth it for less important jobs. And printing on both sides saves paper. Many new printers now do that automatically.

With limited room for a home office, Taryn Glassman uses an all-in-one printer to help make the space work.

"It's basically just a few buttons. You have to decide if you want to print, copy, scan, and fax," explained Taryn.

Team an all-in-one printer with an all-in-one computer and Consumer Reports says you've got an instant home office setup.

"An all-in-one integrates the parts of a computer right into the display, so there's no need for a tower. And that makes it simple for most people to set up in a matter of minutes," said Dean Gallea, Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports top rates Apple's new 27-inch iMac for performance, display, and even 3-D games, for when your office work is done.

If the $1,700 cost is too steep, testers recommend the 21.5-inch Apple iMac. It's also fast, and costs $1,200, which is competitively priced. There's another plus with Macs, too.

"Consumer Reports' survey shows that the iMac is the most reliable all-in-one computer. And Apple has the best tech support," said Gallea.

Consumer Reports says be aware: Many all-in-one computers will cost you less, but you'll pay in areas like sound quality and speed.

Now for the all-in-one printer: "They're bigger than a regular printer, but they're a lot smaller than a separate printer, copier, and scanner and a lot less money, too," said Gallea.

Consumer Reports named the HP Officejet 6500 wireless a best buy at $140. It's fast, with a lower print cost-per-page than most.

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier and sometimes it actually does. When we teamed up with Consumer Reports we found some home office products, such as the new all-in-one computers and printers, do make life easier.