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Through the advancements of technology, the differences between the capabilities of inkjet and laser printers have decreased over the recent years. However, laser type printers still have their benefits. Aspects such as workload capabilities, better quality text printing, larger paper capacity, lower ongoing maintenance and running costs and the ability to run at faster speeds favor laser printers over inkjets. Comparatively, high prices and sub-prime photo quality means laser printers are only really found in commercial settings. However, this area is seeing improvements. While the prices have fallen, a laser printer is still more expensive upfront than an inkjet.
The color laser printers currently on the market are suitable for a variety of business uses, such as price lists, whereas the monochrome laser printer has the advantage in terms of efficiency, build quality and paper handling to deal with the higher volume office jobs. The lower priced monochrome printers are more suited to personal printers in an office, rather than heavy duty communal printers. In the higher quality models, the biggest differences are seen in text quality, photos, and graphics, and are generally well suited to most marketing materials like brochures.
Whereas, when it comes to the latest inkjets, excluding photo printers, the top-rated models are generally multifunction printers (MFPs). However, with lasers there is a mix of single and MFPs on the market. MFPs are able to offer both copying, scanning as well as printing, occasionally even fax capabilities. The latest models of MFPs include internet connectivity, Wi-Fi Direct, allowing you to establish a direct connection between the printer and the computer for much easier usage. Many models are also able to offer printing from a mobile device as well.
The latest laser models include a touch screen interface, password protected printing, as well as a built-in hard drive. Furthermore, you can benefit from an automatic duplexer (to print on both sides) as well as scanning and an automatic document feeding (ADF) to allow for faxing, copying, and scanning. The higher tiered models of MFPs also offer ADFs that can automatically scan double sided pages. This is done through either a reverse ADFs, which reverses the page after scanning one side, or through a duplex scanner, which scans the page with one pass over. This last process is faster. LED printers, which make use of light emitting diodes rather than lasers, share many features with laser printers, and are classed as a laser device. Generally, they are smaller with direct comparison models, making them suitable for small offices that are tight on space.
Businesses of all sizes can benefit from laser printers, from as small as a sole trader all the way up to multinational enterprises. Similarly to 3D printers, laser printers are now becoming more common for home use too. Consider having a look at our review of the best laser printers tested by us, suitable for all budgets in terms of price and features.
Our Top Picks
The Cost Test
If you are running a small business, you understand the need to save money where you can. The criteria we use for the cost-test is calculated by evaluating the yield of the printers, black printer toner divided by the cost of the replaceable toner. This results in the average cost per print, represented in dollars. All calculations should be treated as estimated amounts. The power consumption is also an aspect that costs a small business money, and we are going to highlight the potential power consumption of each model. This is calculated through an over emphasized scenario assuming it runs at max power for 24 hours. To do this we take the amount of power the model uses, multiply it by 24 and divide it by 1000 (to convert energy to kilowatt-hours). Then, we use the national average for the cost of a kilowatt-hour to arrive at the estimated cost for a full day printing. Despite the test only calculating a day’s worth of running time, it should highlight the potential money to be saved between the models.
Other Important Details
Now, another thing to determine is whether your needs require a monochrome laser printer or a color laser printer. If you will be using it for only text documents, then the monochrome version would be more suitable. With printers, the higher the print resolution the better, represented by dpi (dots per inch). The higher the dpi is, the higher quality your prints will look. This is particularly useful for printing images, and you should consider a laser printer with a high dpi printing resolution. The features of mobile and wireless printing is becoming increasingly useful in the digital age. Printing straight from your tablet or mobile phone is incredibly easy, and saves plenty of time from no longer needing to load up the computer before printing. Laser printers that offer cross compatibility with established platforms like Apple’s Airprint or alternatively Google’s Cloud Print or WiFi printing is definitely recommended.
Furthermore, another thing to consider is the performance of the printer. The time between hitting print and the printer actually performing is exceptionally important. The print speed of a printer is measured by ppm (pages per minute), and if a printer prints over 32 pages per each minute, then it is an efficient model. All printers also come with a paper tray, with many being able to be upgraded to larger capacity trays. If you do upgrade the capacity, you will save time in reloading empty trays. Since laser printers are generally heavy, and space is often limited in small businesses or a home office, you will want to find the right spot to place it. Once the place is found, it’s best to leave it there. Many companies now also offer online chat functions on their website, so if you encounter a problem with your printer, you can receive immediate support. Traditional methods such as telephone and email support is also useful if you require assistance. With the standard one year warranty, you should be covered, but you are also able to benefit from other comprehensive warranties.
1. Xerox Phaser 6022 Review
This laser printer doesn’t take long at all to warm up and get printing. After the initial 5 seconds for the first page, this model can pump out around 40 pages per minute (ppm) in either color or black and white. An impressive feat for color, with many competitors not coming close to the mark.
The Xerox Phaser does not sacrifice quality for speed. Despite the intense pace, the Phaser is able to print documents, it manages a 2,400 dpi standard of quality for printing. Only the very best printers we reviewed have managed a 2,400 dpi resolution, but the fastest of the bunch is the Phaser. This laser color printer provides wireless capabilities and is network ready. This means not only will the Phaser be a central unit in your office, you can also print from all over the office if you are in the network range.
The Xerox Phaser 8580dn has an impressive toner yield for both black and white printing and color printing. While traditional toner cartridges are bulky, Xerox has created small color sticks that easily pop into the printer, similar to how you load a stapler. When the toner is expired, simply pop in a new stick. Compared to the traditional toner cartridges, these refills only cost a marginal amount, saving you plenty of money. To determine how many pages a month your printer can print, look at the duty cycle. The higher the number, the more it can pump out and heavier duty the machine is. For the Phaser, the duty cycle is at 85,000 pages a month. You might not even print this amount in an entire year, but it helps put your mind at ease knowing this machine can handle heavy duty jobs and last a long time.
The power efficiency is also great on this printer, especially when compared to others we have reviewed. This is highlighted with the ENERGY STAR certification, knowing you won’t be wasting electricity. With a 525-sheet paper tray, as well as a 100-sheet multipurpose tray as standard, the Phaser has plenty of capacity. Even more so, when considering it has expansion abilities. You can add up to a total of 5 paper trays, taking it to a combined capacity of 2,200 sheets at once. Perfect for those high volume office prints.
The Phaser also comes with a preinstalled 512MB memory. However, this can be upgraded to 2GB if desired. This means it will be easier to send multiple documents and printing tasks at once without any potential issues. On top of this, you can even program the printer to recognize a larger range of fonts, specialty projects and even text art. The printer can also handle the majority of different paper sizes and weights. Be it printing addresses onto small envelopes, or even creating financial ledgers. All documents like marketing brochures will print with fine detail. Furthermore, you can adjust the multipurpose tray to allow for custom sized media to be kept straight during printing. While the printer is quite heavy, coming in at 75 pounds, it is still compact and should not take up too much space in the office environment. With both, a standard and multipurpose tray, it’s extremely easy to print on specialty paper. Certain models within the Xerox Phaser series allow the user to install three additional paper trays, creating greater flexibility if your office requires more than the two trays it comes with.
It must be said, the Xerox Phaser is the best color laser printer on the market today for a small business or office environment. With high speeds and efficiency, and such fine detail, while also being extremely cost efficient, it can be highly recommended. On top of this, the extreme monthly duty cycle and high toner yield level means it is a low cost machine to run with the performance provided. If that is what you want from a printer, look no further than the Xerox Phaser.
2. HP Enterprise M553dn Review
In terms of size, the M553dn comes in at 15.7 by 18 by 18.9 inches (HWD), so it probably needs its own separate table. It also weighs 60.6 pounds, so you should have two people to move it into position. The 650 sheet capacity of the M553dn is split between a 100 sheet multipurpose feeder and the standard 550-sheet tray. On top of this, the printer is equipped with an automatic duplexer, allowing you to print on both sides of paper. Three additional 550 sheet paper trays can be added for an additional cost, for a total maximum capacity of 2,300 sheets.
A four-line LED is situated in the top right front corner of the M553dn, which can be tilted for easier viewing, and is combined with an alphanumerical keypad. Also, on the right side of the printer, just below the top, you can find a port for a USB thumb drive. The M553dn can also boast USB and Ethernet features. While it does not have a NFC/Wireless Direct module, which the HP M553x does have, you can still print from mobile devices if connected through a wireless access point. In this regard it does support HP ePrint and Apple AirPrint, as well as being Mopria-certified. The drivers for the printer include HP’s PostScript emulation, as well as PCL5 and PLC6. The former is especially useful for some offices. It can’t be done without. Through my own testing, I used an Ethernet connection using a computer with installed drivers running Windows Vista.
There are two other models that are part of the HP M553 series. The previously mentioned HP M553x comes with a second paper tray, plus the missing NFC/Wireless Direct module. Also the color touch screen is replaced with a four line LED display and keypad. The HP M553m has the same features as the M553dn, but without an auto-duplexer.
The M553dn’s level of quality is well above average. It produces decent graphics, above average text, and slightly lower than average photo quality. For text, it should be fit for business use, even if you use extremely small fonts. In terms of graphics, the colors produced are bright and well saturated. No significant issues arose during our testing, and for tasks like PowerPoint handouts the printer does a decent job. For photos, our test resulted in slight posterization (sudden changes in color, instead of a gradual fade), and the monochrome test performed showed signs of tinting. However, the other test prints performed, produced true photo quality. All in all, the M553dn’s graphics, photos and text should be good enough for most marketing handouts or trifold brochures.
The running costs of the machine is more than reasonable, costing only 1.7 cents a monochrome page and 10.9 cents for color, matching that of the HP M553x. The M553dn sells for a lower price than the HP M553x, while still containing most of the features. It only lacks the touch screen, additional paper tray, and the mentioned NFC and HP Wireless Direct connectivity. If these are required for your needs, you could purchase the higher priced HP M533x, or buy the M553dn and buy the separate paper tray. Alternatively, the HP JetDirect 3000W wireless module will be released later this year, and while the price hasn’t been announced yet, it should still save you money.
Even without the extras offered on alternative models, the HP Color LaserJet Enterprise M553dn is undoubtedly a great value machine. It is a deserved successor to the previous HP M551dn, previously our editor’s choice. Not only is it priced competitively, with low ongoing running costs, but also the print quality is high enough and will save from hiring an external print shop for marketing materials.
3. Brother HLL8350CDW Review
The printer known as the Brother HL-L8350CDW is one of the leading units for laser printers. Providing not only high quality resolution prints for both color and black and white tasks, it also offers an impressive speed. This printer can also offer various mobile printing options, letting you take documents from your mobile onto paper without any hassle.
The Brother HL-L8350CDW is certainly impressive when compared to other color laser printers, as it prints fast with high levels of detail. Furthermore, the wireless networking capabilities allow your whole office to be connected. It might take a little longer than the very best printers to get the first page printed, but after that, it is full steam ahead. For color prints, as well as black and white, it can churn out prints at a speed of 32 pages per minute. Even when it is printing at a high speed, it can maintain a 2,400 dpi resolution, four times better of the industry average coming in at 600 dpi.
The wireless printing capabilities and mobile printing options offer functionality and compatibility with AirPrint and Google Cloud Print. It is rare for printers to offer multiple options for mobile printing, which this printer does. If Apple’s AirPrint is unavailable to you, you can alternatively download Brother’s own software to handle mobile printing. This convenience of using your phone to print without the need to use emails is really great. Another department the Brother HL-L8350CDW excels is in the cost-effective department. A toner yield for this machine is 3,500 pages, giving you plenty of life out of each cartridge. With the higher yield giving more use out of the cost of a cartridge. Furthermore, this Brother printer can boast a high monthly duty cycle, coming in at 60,000 prints. The durability of this machine is unquestioned, showing how it can handle such a high number of prints.
At any one time, this laser printer can hold within its tray about 300 pages, which can be expanded with the optional 500 sheet paper tray, taking the total up to 800 sheets. The memory of the machine is 128MB, which can be expanded up to 384 if required, which would reduce printing delays with the larger tasks. Furthermore, if you need, you can print straight from a USB stick, as the machine has a USB port on the front. It also provides a secure print system, making sensitive printing materials protected with password and other security measures. All Windows and Mac systems will be compatible with this printer. However, if you use the HP-UX operating system, there is no compatibility. You should be aware of the one year warranty that comes with the machine, covered by Brother.
With a vast amount of mobile and wireless printing options, combined with fast prints and a high resolution, the Brother HL-L8350CDW is an all-round great machine. If needed, the paper capacity can be expanded. With all the features it offers, it is a sensible choice for any small business.
4. Xerox Phaser 3610 Review
We all know how essential printing is for an office or small business. The Xerox Phaser 3320 can easily handle a vast amount of prints, creating them quickly, while lowering the monthly printing fees. This laser printer is compact, and won’t stick out like a sore thumb in the office, but it will still be effective in its role as the printing nucleus in your office.
Unfortunately, this printer does not have color capabilities. However, for black and white prints, the laser printer can print 37 pages per minute, producing the initial page in under 6.5 seconds. This monochrome laser printer not only does the job fast, but manages to retain the detail required. Boasting a resolution of 1,200 dots per inch, which isn’t as good as the other printers we’ve reviewed, it still produces clear images. Unlike many of the other printers we have reviewed, the Xerox Phaser 3320 is wireless capable. You can easily set up the entire business network wirelessly to this printer. Furthermore, sensitive printing materials are kept secure with key security features like password protection, IP filtering and network authentication.
The Xerox Phaser 3320 also reduces the costs of printing. It comes with duplex printing to save on paper, letting you print on both sides of the page, cutting costs in half. All printer toners are expensive. That is just part of the printing world. But the greatest thing about this printer is the fact that it can boast the highest toner yield out of all the machines we have reviewed! Before needing to be replaced, you can get up to 6,000 prints! Over the long term, you could be saving large amounts of money. To determine how often a printer breaks down, a monthly duty cycle is calculated. For The Xerox Phaser 3320, this comes in at 80,000, making it one of the most reliable printers and shows it can withstand the heaviest of workloads.
Also, this printer is ENERGY STAR certified, meaning it won’t waste any power, using only 420 watts of power for printing, and on standby, only 48 watts. This reduces your power bill. With a 300 sheet paper holding capacity coming as standard, if required, an additional tray can be bought providing an extra 520 sheet storage space. This reduces the countless trips back and forth refilling paper. The paper tray is flexible in the paper sizes it can handle. You can print note cards as little as 3 x 5, or go as large as 8.5 x 14 prints. Not only is the printer cost effective, but also offers versatility.
Furthermore, the Xerox Phaser 3320 has plenty of memory. 128MB comes as standard, but it can be upgraded to 384MB. This feature is important because if laser printers receive too much data, it can prevent the pages from printing. However, with the Xerox Phaser 3320 this shouldn’t be an issue, especially if you do decide to upgrade. Since many of the computers and other tech equipment found inside small businesses run on different operation systems, it is important for your printer to be cross compatible. Fortunately, if you use Windows 8, Mac OS or Linux, you can be confident of it working.
The Xerox Phaser 3320 can be an integral part of your businesses operations, as it is able to churn out fast and sharp prints. It will reduce your printing costs and ongoing energy bills, and makes the perfect candidate to serve your businesses printing needs.
5. Dell H625cdw Review
The Dell Color Cloud Multifunction Printer H625cdw is a brilliant choice if you are looking for a medium to heavy duty color multifunction printer (MFP). It makes the perfect pick for any small office. Offering a range of MFP features, including a decent speed, good output quality, and a wide range of connectivity features. This includes cloud-based services, even if the printer isn’t connected to a PC. For what the H625cdw can offer, it has a great price.
In terms of physical aspects, the H625cdw is identical to other color laser MFPs by Dell. This includes the Dell Color Cloud Multifunction Printer H825cdw and the Smart Color Multifunction Printer S2825cdn. The printer measures 19.7 by 16.9 by 19.8 inches for its height, width and depth respectively, coming in a cool matte black finish. These measurements however mean it is too big to share desk space with, and weighing 70 pounds makes moving it a job for two people. Other features include an automatic document feeder (ADF) holding 50 sheets, and a letter sized flatbed for the output tray. The ADF also supports single-pass and two sided scanning, and it also has a handy USB drive.
To the front of the ADF you will find the front panel, containing a large 4.3 inch touch screen, as well as an alphanumerical keypad, and useful buttons for logging in and out, job status and other processes. The home screen is easily customizable, and features a Dell Document Hub, providing access to cloud based storage for documents, letting you print on the go. Cloud services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Onedrive, Evernote, Salesforce and Sharepoint Online are among those supported. The Dell Document Hub comes with two different types of services; a basic free one and a premium service. The basic version supports scanning and printing from the cloud, whereas the premium goes further to support scanning to a PDF and Microsoft Office format.
The H625cdw comes with a 250 sheet tray as standard, as well as a 50 sheet multipurpose feeder. Furthermore, you will find an auto-duplexer to print on both sides of paper. If you require, you can purchase an additional 550 sheet tray, taking the capacity up to 850 sheets. Where the H625cdw really excels is connectivity. Providing Ethernet, USB as well as a 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct and NFC connections. These allow for an integrated peer to peer connection with a smartphone, and the printer comes with PostScript and PCL drivers. In terms of speed, the H625cdw results are very similar to that of the Dell H825dw and Dell S2825cdn machines. Our tests showed average text quality, decent graphics quality, but below the average photo quality. For a laser printer, the text quality was average, but it should be good enough for most businesses, unless you use extremely tiny fonts.
For a color laser, the graphics produced are just below what you would expect from a top tier printer. The colors proved to be sufficiently saturated and rich, however, there were some minor issues. There were some extremely thin colored lines which could be seen, but were not as noticeable as on the other printers we have tested. The majority of the photo prints we tested approached a reasonable photo quality, however, a few were a bit short of par. One showed significant graininess, with certain bright areas seeing a loss of detail. When judged overall, the results should be fine for marketing materials, but the photo quality can be a hit or miss.
The Dell Color Cloud Multifunction Printer H625cdw impressed us for its set of MFP features, decent speed and reasonable output quality, suitable for basic marketing materials. The vast range of connectivity choices is what impressed us the most, especially the several wireless printing modes. Considering its reasonable price, and excelling in all areas when compared to the OKI MC362w, it’s a clear match for any small office looking for a color MFP medium to heavy duty printer.
6. Lexmark CS410dtn Review
If you are running a small to medium sized office based business, then the Lexmark CS 410dtn is more than suitable. It is a fast color laser printer, which also offers black and white prints. The printer does the job quickly with high resolution. It is rare to find a printer like this that can offer the combination of color printing capabilities with high resolution and quick speeds.
The Lexmark CS 410dtn best feature is its high resolution prints, especially at the speeds it pumps out pages. It runs best at 1,200 dpi. However, if quality is especially important, you can increase it to 2,400 dpi. This printer is rare because it is one of the few color laser printers capable of printing above 30 pages per minute. Most other competitive models compromise in the area of speed and focus on quality, but this doesn’t apply to the Lexmark CS 410dtn. It achieves a speed of 32 pages per minute.
It wouldn’t be wrong to consider this printer a workhouse. With a monthly duty cycle of 75,000, it won’t let you down. This means it takes 75,000 prints a month before showing any signs of wear and tear. When it comes to the toner yield, results are mediocre at best. However, Lexmark offers alternative toner cartridges with higher yields, working out at being more cost effective over the long term. If cost is important, then it would be good to know it can be halved, as the printer prints on both sides of the paper. This feature is called duplex printing, but reduces the speed to 15 pages per minute when activated. However, because the printer is ENERGY STAR certified, you won’t see any rising energy bills.
The Lexmark CS 410dtn comes with a large standard tray holding 550 sheets of paper, as well as a bonus 100 sheet multipurpose feeder. This provides versatility, letting you print a range of different sizes as low as 3 x 5 inches, up to 8.5 x 14 inches. If you desire even more capacity, you can purchase an additional 550 sheet tray, meaning the total capacity can be taken to 1200 sheets. Overall, the printer is relatively compact. If you include the extra tray, then it measures 17 inches wide and 16 inches high. However, in terms of weight, it weighs a hefty 55 pounds.
In terms of memory, the Lexmark CS comes with 256MB, however, unlike other printers, this is not upgradeable, but most users find it capable for the work they have. This Lexmark laser printer is a suitable option for any business or office on the smaller side, and it can be easily integrated with existing computers as it’s compatible with Windows, Linux, Mac and UNIX operating systems. This means all departments within the business can connect to the printer through the network. Lexmark has a comprehensive range of support channels available to use, from live chat, telephone support as well as email, allowing you to contact them if something goes wrong.
The Lexmark CS 410dtn is certainly reliable. It can print fast without any compromise in quality and resolution. If you need to increase the capacity, it can hold over a thousand pages. Overall, you should seriously consider this model for your small business.
7. Brother HL-3170CDW Review
The Brother HL-3170CDW Color Laser Printer offers many different options. This includes an automatic duplexer, and providing the ability to connect multiple users across the network. It can print a range of media on a range of sizes, from as little as 3 x 5 inch index cards, up to 8.5 x 14 inch ledgers. The paper weight can be changed too, but the heavier you go, the more likely you will see bends when it comes out the printer. This printer can provide a fantastic resolution of 2,400 dpi, for both color and black and white printing.
Perhaps, what the best feature the Brother HL-3170CDW has, is the wireless connection. You can connect it to not only with a PC but also with an iPad. This means, if you have a photo on your tablet, you can send it directly to the printer without any transfer issues. Through a push of a button, you can print business cards, accounting graphs or anything else directly from almost any mobile device. Also, the printer is easily compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems.
Unfortunately, the Brother HL laser printer’s memory cannot be upgraded, and is only 128MB in size. However, it is large enough to handle a few printing jobs in the queue, and still supports a relatively quick print time. The Brother HL-3170CDW print speed clocks in at 23 pages per a minute, no matter if it is black and white or color. There are other areas the printer could be improved. For example, the duty cycle; while still a respectable amount of 30,000 pages a month, it isn’t as high as its competitors. Furthermore, it takes a lot of power to run, peaking at 660 watts when printing. The toner cartridges also run out quicker than some of the higher-rated laser printers we reviewed above. This printer has a quite a few on-going costs, especially if you use it frequently.
The maximum amount of paper it holds is 250 sheets, and the two paper trays that are included cannot be expanded upon. The laser printer also weighs 40 pounds, which is quite big and heavy. However, Brother does include a standard one year warranty for the model 3170CDW. Through our own experience, we have found the support staff to be extremely helpful and friendly, and even if you have a quick query or a long list of problems, they are there to help in every way possible. They can be reached via email, telephone or online chat.
Despite the Brother HL-3170CDW not being the most cost-effective laser printer currently on the market, it does have its strong points. It can and it does produce consistent quality images, as well as offers wireless connection, including mobile integration. Overall, it is a decent color laser printer to consider, and having such strong customer support certainly is a bonus.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]