The first decision you have to make when shopping for a printer is either a laser or inkjet. The advantages of laser printers are sharp text, fast print speeds, and high volume printing. Plus although they can cost more initially than inkjets, each page they print costs less, making them ideal for high volume office settings. The main negative is that they do not produce photos as good as inkjets. You primarily will see monochrome – or black and white – laser printers, but color versions are becoming cheaper. Multifunction, or all-in-one, printers that scan, copy, and fax in addition to printing are also available.
For this top 10 list we are going to review personal or small office laser printers that cost less than $600 as opposed to large business work-groups. If you need more help making your buying decision see our Laser Printer Buying Guide.
The biggest weakness is its photo quality, much like most laser printers. However, the Brother HL-L2380DW is a great choice for the home or small office to handle all your text document needs.
The HP LaserJet Pro 400 M401dw is a great option for offices of 3-10 people who need to print quality presentations and reports. Just be aware if you want your printer to act as a copier or scanner then you need to look elsewhere.
The main drawback of the MFP M476dw is the initial price and price of toner. However, we recommend this HP model if you need a color laser multifunction in an office environment.
We recommend the Samsung Xpress M2835DW for anyone who needs a quality, affordable monochrome laser printer, but does not need multifunction capabilities.
Overall the Canon imageCLASS LBP6230DW is good choice for a personal laser printer for anyone who does not need copying or scanning capabilities.
We would not hesitate to recommend the Canon imageCLASS MF229DW for personal or small office use.
The Brother HL-3170CDW is a great choice for a small business who needs to produce impactful color documents.
There is no duplex or multifunction capabilities, but at this price the Samsung SL-C1810W is still a great choice for a cheap color laser unit for at home or small office.
Buyers should be aware that this model does not have any network connection and must be plugged into your computer with an USB cable. Therefore we only recommend the Brother HL-L2300 for personal use for primarily text documents.
While the Samsung Xpress M2020W is cheap initially, the print cost per page is slightly higher than some other laser models. So if you print over a thousand pages per month, look for one with a higher toner yield. However, if you don’t print too often and want the crisp text output of a laser than this is good choice for a personal printer.
Laser Printer Buying Guide
Here are some important things to consider when you are purchasing a laser printer:
Class / Users
Each machine is designed with a specific use in mind. There are versions made specifically for high volume office or business settings which are normally quite large. There are also smaller versions made for home use. There are also plain models that just print and multifunction models which can also scan, copy, and fax. Pick one that is designed for the way you will be using it.
Resolution / Print Quality
Laser printers use a photographic drum to attract electrically charged toner and transfer it to paper, where the image is fused using a heated roller. The print quality you get is dependent on a printer’s resolution, expressed as DPI (dots per inch), but other factors also effect print quality.
One of the most important aspects of laser printers is the cost of toner cartridges because in the long run this will cost much more than the printer itself. Most laser models are monochrome, or black and white, which only have one cartridge. For color versions, there may be multiple toners. Each one is rated for how many pages it will last. You should compare how much replacement cartridges will cost along with how long they last to compare the printing cost between different brands.
The print speed, or how fast they can print a black or color page, is listed in pages per minute (PPM). Just be wary of manufacturers claims of print speed. A good speed is around 25 ppm with the best ones being able to do around 40 ppm.
If printing without wires is important look for wireless models that support WiFi. Most models also have USB and other memory card ports to print without the computer.
One feature that can come in handy is duplex printing, or two-sided printing. With this you can get output on both sides of your paper without any tricks or hassles.
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