Small Business Printer Review: HP OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus

The OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus printer from HP is a great choice if you’re looking for a versatile printer that will help you run your small business. This specific printer model isn’t in production anymore—it has since been replaced by four newer models, the closest of which is the Pro Premier. However, buying a used 8600 Plus printer is an excellent solution to get a great printer for an affordable price. 

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OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus specifications

small business inkjet multifunction printer

The OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus e-All-in-One comes with a built-in 4.3-inch color touchscreen that offers an easy way to navigate its various functions. The resistive touchscreen offers adequate sensitivity compared to some other printers that we’ve tried, so while we would welcome a capacitive touchscreen, we have no real complaints about the printer’s touchscreen.

The paper input tray holds up to 250-sheets of paper, and accepts a range of paper sizes up to Letter and A4 sizes. The printer uses three separate color cartridges (cyan, magenta, and yellow) as well as a larger black cartridge. HP claims that the Officejet Pro 8600 produces professional color at a 50 percent lower cost than the majority of color laser AIO printers.

Along the bottom of the printer’s front panel, you’ll find two memory card slots for common card formats such as Memory Stick, SD, and MMC. It also sports a USB port for connecting flash drives and other USB-connected devices. You can access, view, and print photos or scanned documents stored on these storage devices from the printer’s Photo menu.

Connectivity-wise, the Officejet 8600 Plus offers a range of options including wired USB and Ethernet, as well as built-in wireless. On the Wi-Fi front, you can configure the multifunction printer to join an existing wireless network, and simultaneously support printing directly from wireless client devices.

OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus features

The OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus has many features that extend far beyond the standard black and white print job.

By nature, all multifunction printers can print, copy and scan. What separates the 8600 Plus from the pack is that it can do all of the above with double-sided flair. The included duplexer unit lets you save paper by printing on both sides of the page. As each sheet comes out, it then gets pulled back in by the duplexer, which runs the paper through the drum a second time on the reverse side. 

Duplex printing is somewhat slower than standard printing because the unit waits a few moments for the ink to dry between each page flip. One-sided printing, though, is relatively speedy. The rated speed of 20 pages per minute for black text is close to the mark, with dark, sharp, easy-to-read text in “normal” output mode.

The 50-sheet automatic document feeder on the scanner unit performs a similar feat for incoming documents. It can automatically scan both sides of a page, which you can then either split into separate files or printouts, or combine into double-sided output. Scanning can be a bit slow, but the results are good quality, clear and evenly lit. 

Related: Small Business Guide to Multifunction Printers

Paper handling

One major downside to the Officejet Pro 8600: it doesn’t have a sheet feed capability. This means there’s no easy way to insert non-standard paper sizes and envelopes for printing, including paper of varying thickness such as stock paper or labels. The Plus model comes with one 250-sheet paper tray, but there’s no manual feed tray.

To be clear, you can still load smaller-sized paper from the paper tray, though these kinds of specialty print jobs can be inconvenient. You need to unload stock paper from the tray, realign the paper guides, insert the specialty paper, re-insert the tray, print the file, and then reconfigure the tray again to replace your stock paper. If you mostly print from stock paper this limitation may not be a problem, but it’s certainly something to keep in mind if you frequently have a variety of different print jobs.

Network savvy

Network connectivity is a huge consideration for printing in today’s wireless world, and the OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus printer doesn’t skimp on its wireless settings. It has an internal web server, so you can manage a wide variety of printer settings from your computer instead of the printer’s display. Some of these controls, such as an awake and sleep schedule for power conservation, are quite sophisticated for a mid-priced printer.

Once you’ve connected the printer to your network, you can define sharing rules and email recipients right from the printer display. For example, you can scan a batch of documents and, using only the printer display, send the scan directly to another device on the network or an email recipient.

The HP ePrint platform assigns the printer its own unique email address, which you can customize through the ePrint website. Then, you can send a supported document attachment to the printer’s email address (such as a Word or PDF file), and the print job will begin automatically. You will receive an email back from the printer reporting on the success or failure of the print job. From a security perspective, you can restrict email senders to a whitelist to prevent unsolicited printer spam.

You can also access a wide variety of apps that coordinate printer functions. The apps run directly on the printer’s touchscreen and provide a wide variety of functionality. Some apps, such as DocStoc, let you access boilerplate legal forms and print them directly from the app. Another app prints a crossword puzzle of the day. There are also apps that print templates for ruled paper and grids.

You can add or remove as many apps as you’d like through the HP website. It’s worth noting, however, that some apps should be used strategically to minimize paper and ink waste.

Setting up the OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus

The OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus supports both Windows and macOS operating systems. A bundled CD comes with the requisite software drivers for both platforms, though it wasn’t necessary for the Mac. We set up the printer on both platforms uneventfully, and we were able to check on the ink levels of the various color and black cartridges from the computer.

We configured the OfficeJet 8600 Plus to connect to our wireless network by selecting Setup then Network on the printer’s touchscreen. A wizard made adding the printer to an existing Wi-Fi network simple, and the printer supports Wi-Fi Protected Setup, too. You can set up Wireless Direct printing in the same sub-menu, then secure it with a password if desired.

You change or install the print cartridges by pulling down the front panel, which causes the printer to automatically move the cartridge tray toward the opening for easy access. The cartridges slide easily into place. Pressing on the spring-loaded cartridge causes it to ease out of the holder like an old-style VCR tape cartridge. An internal LED light lights up to eliminate any fumbling.

Choosing the right small business printer

Some printers on the market today like the HP OfficeJet Pro Premier model have more features like support for Amazon Alexa or are optimized for bigger print jobs. But for day-to-day needs, the HP OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus is truly an all-in-one solution. Especially if you can find a used listing, this printer will give you a good balance between powerful printing capabilities and cost.

Related: Tips for Buying a Small Business Printer

This article was originally published on February 8, 2013. It was updated by Kaiti Norton.

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