If you are a home user, and are absolutely certain that you are not going to be printing at all in color, go with a cheap monochrome Brother printer, such as the Brother HL-L2300D. While color laser printers have become a lot better at handling photos, if you are looking to produce detailed, colour-accurate photo prints for hanging on the wall, showing at galleries, or selling to clients, then a high-end inkjet photo printer is still your best option (or just outsourcing the job to a photography lab).
Inkjets may be better at printing photos, and they are often cheaper up front, but great laser printers are far better at printing high volumes of documents fast and silently, making them the preferred choice for home office use. Inkjets are cheaper and far better for producing images, ideal for home and creative uses, while laser printers produce text fast and reliably, which is essential for day-to-day office use. Inkjet all-in-ones became home and office staples because of their lower upfront price tag and because they printed color. Laser printers, and the toners that go with them, have higher initial costs; unless you print a lot, you may buy an inexpensive inkjet printer–some are only $30 or so–and it might be a long time before its higher operating costs match up with the higher initial costs of a laser printer.
Just be aware, however, that colored laser toner can become an investment when you are filling up, often exceeding the printers price. If you are going to buy the printer for your big, routine jobs, the laser is going to save you the time spent waiting for pages to be printed, while you could have been doing anything else – including your next big printing job. Business professionals and home office users alike know that the best laser printers offer the ideal balance between speed, capability, and printing costs.
We have broken down this list even further by use and budget; starting with budget-friendly laser printer models you can use for low-volume home printing, to smaller office-friendly lasers, to the high-power lasers suitable for mid-sized businesses. If you want a versatile machine that can handle scanning, copying, and printing documents, or if you just want a more affordable model, make sure you check out the other printers Digital Trends has included in this list. These are solidly business-focused features; see also our best business printers guide, which includes models powered by both lasers and inkjets. If you are looking for more information about laser vs. LED printers, our guide may be able to fill you in before investing in one of our best laser vs. LED printers picks.
Our favorite laser printer overall is the Brother MFC-L2750DW, a monochrome laser printer with all-in-one capabilities built to meet all the printing needs of a small office, quickly and efficiently. Our favorite overall laser printer might be a little expensive upfront, but the Brother MFC-L2750DW has the best mix of print quality, speed, and cost that we have seen from a laser printer, so it is our Editors Choice. With up to 19 pages per minute, the HP LaserJet Pro M15w Compact Laser Printer is among the fastest in its class, making it a perfect choice for home or school use.
With print speeds of up to 55 pages per minute, and the ability to hold an entire stack of paper on-board, this compact unit can hold a large working group printing consistently — more than warranting its spot among the best laser printers. Made for smaller office uses, our favorite overall laser printer has a 15,000-page monthly duty cycle, handles pages fast and cheaply, has some of the best print speeds we have seen, and printing costs are just 2.7 cents a page. Plus, the HP LaserJet M148fdw is built to last in a home or office setting, thanks to its 20,000 print pages per month. Compared with larger, business-ready printers, the LaserJet Pro M255dw only weighs 33 pounds, so it is easy to fit in the corner of your home office.
For a slightly more expensive alternative, the HP LaserJet Pro M148FDW is another excellent laser printer that has plenty of features, including a duplexer for printing two-sided documents, an auto document feeder for scanning and printing multiple-page documents, and faxing capabilities — a necessity for some offices, which you do not find in our other laser printer favorites. All-in-one color lasers such as the M479FDW are pricier to purchase and operate than inkjets with comparable features, but deliver higher-quality color prints, copies, and scans faster than cheaper models. Lower-end monochrome lasers with modest paper management could work as individual desktop printers for any-size office. Monochrome laser AIOs of course print only black-and-white, but can do color scanning, and they also produce monochrome copies from whatever source material you have, just like standard copiers.
Lexmark CX924DXE Best Color Enterprise Printer for Heavy Workloads Lexmark What you are looking at here is a multi-function printing, scanning, copying, faxing printer workhorse. HP Color LaserJet Pro M454DW Best SMB walk-up color printer Print-only HP This HP LaserJet printer takes the walk-up concept and makes it into a printer-only.
HP Color LaserJet Enterprise Flow MFP M880z Best business-optimized departments printer HP At between 5,000 and 25,000 pages a month, this HP printer has a somewhat lower recommended volume than the Lexmark we just showed you, though you can go as high as 200,000 printed pages. HP Color LaserJet Enterprise M856x Best business-only print-only laser printer HP The 856 supports absolutely tons of connectivity, with gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi.
Kyocera Ecosys P6230CDN Laser Printer Best color workgroup high-distance printer Kyocera We are going from business (and business-priced) printers to workgroup-friendly ones that are suitable for smaller, but still very productive teams. The HP LaserJet Pro M404dn printer line is HPs new breed – with solid, speedy printing, the machine boasts a 40,000-page per month print capacity, which is more than enough for busy offices. The rate of innovation in laser printing (barring changes in toner formulas) has been slowing down. Key printer players offering LED-based models (as well as laser) include Brother, OKI, and Xerox.