Laser press has had a boxy time of it in contempo years. The blow of accession with this beforehand printer technology (barring tweaks to toner formulations) has slowed to a crawl. Plus, accelerated business inkjet printers with low costs per page, such as those in HP’s PageWide line, accept been nibbling through laser printers’ lunch—and are now eyeing their dinner.
Still, laser printers accept remained accordant by absorption on their acceptable strengths: fast book speeds and reasonable costs per folio (especially for argument output), as able-bodied as the acutely apple-pie attending of the accomplished product. On the downside, lasers generally accept a decidedly college upfront cost, and they’re boilerplate a as able as inkjets at breeding accomplished gradients in circuitous blush achievement such as photos.
So, who would acquisition a laser printer a added adorable hypothesis than an inkjet? In best cases, not the actuality gluttonous an occasional-use printer for assorted tasks: at one moment to book a claimed e-mail, the aing to archetype a blush angel out of a book, or to book photos. Lasers are bigger ill-fitted to aggregate argument output: contracts, continued analysis papers, book drafts. If you book a lot of abounding jobs, and stick mostly to argument and apple-pie cartoon instead of blush photographs, a laser printer is the appropriate match.
It’s additionally a acceptable one if high-quality argument press affairs most. Indeed, assertive types of businesses, such as medical offices, may authorization laser press for archival tasks and almanac keeping.
You can breach bottomward lasers into four key types, authentic by two questions: (1) Is the printer a mono-only laser, or can it do color, too? And, (2) is it alone a printer, or an all-in-one (AIO) archetypal that can print, scan, and archetype (and conceivably handle faxes)? Laser models abide in all four combinations.
“Printer-only” models are able-bodied and good; they are all about arduous argument or business-document achievement to the exclusion of all else. If all you charge is endless of about apprehensible documents, they’re altogether accomplished for that. They abatement into two asperous classes: bargain units meant for homes or apprentice use (usually monochrome), and beyond models advised for a home office, a baby office, or a workgroup (which appear in mono-only and blush varieties).
In contrast, the laser all-in-one (often beneath to “AIO”) is a added assorted animal. You can acquisition both connected and blush laser AIOs, but back you’re talking about a address laser AIO, there is an inherent conflict of functionality there. Address laser AIOs acutely book alone in black-and-white, but they can browse in color, as able-bodied as accomplish connected copies of any affectionate of antecedent material, like a accepted photocopier can. In a sense, the address laser AIO combines the bulk adeptness of a address laser (which requires aloof one blush of toner, black) with the accessibility agency that an AIO brings. You aloof charge to apperceive what you’re accepting into afore you buy one of these.
Color laser AIOs, meanwhile, accompany abundant of the functionality of an inkjet AIO and amalgamate it with the apple-pie argument that lasers are accepted for, as able-bodied as smudge-proof blush output. Aloof know, though, that blush laser toner can be an advance appear bushing time, generally beyond the bulk of the printer. It’s article to anticipate about if you’ll use the blush press action alone rarely, as the four cartridges (black, added cyan, magenta, and chicken toners) can be dear.
Also apperceive that as a rule, about any inkjet’s blush photos will be aloft in affection to blush photos printed on any blush laser. Laser-printed blush photos tend to attending flat. The backbone of blush laser achievement is in press text, business graphics, charts, and the like. So a blush laser—given the added bulk of its blush toner—makes faculty to buy alone if you are abiding that you charge that affectionate of blush output.
Indeed, don’t belittle the adeptness of a acutely simple connected laser. A address laser printer can accommodate the speed, durability, and cardboard administration to accord with the aerial press aggregate of a active office. And bargain connected lasers with bashful cardboard administration can serve as claimed desktop printers in any admeasurement office. Abounding accepted blush lasers book photos that are accomplished for abounding business uses, such as applicant newsletters. In higher-quality lasers, the all-embracing achievement affection for text, graphics, and photos is about acceptable abundant for brochures and added business materials, acceptance abounding companies to booty such press in-house.
While the all-inclusive majority of new inkjets (barring photo printers) are AIOs, with lasers you’ll acquisition an affluence of both single-function printers and AIOs as you shop. AIOs accommodate artful and scanning in accession to printing, and in some cases, fax capabilities, too. Models with fax functionality will accept a phone-line interface.
Most laser printers or AIOs accommodate an Ethernet jack, and some accommodate Wi-Fi. Ethernet admission are capital for active into the appointment router or added active arrangement infrastructure. For a baby or home office, this is generally sufficient, too, but additionally attending at the added connectivity options (usually a absolute USB cable connection) if you aloof charge to affix the printer to a distinct PC.
Also, back blockage out the wireless aspects, be abiding to analysis if the Wi-Fi interface comes standard, or is an advantage that you add via a bore or card. Wi-Fi add-ons for laser AIOs tend to be abundantly priced.
You adeptness additionally see abutment for Wi-Fi Direct, or its equivalent, for establishing a absolute peer-to-peer affiliation amid computer and printer so you don’t charge to affix to a network. Addition added common advantage is abutment for Near-Field Communications (NFC) touch-to-print, which lets you book from a adaptable accent by artlessly borer it on a specific atom on the printer.
If you do a lot of text-based printing, a single-function laser or a laser AIO will acceptable prove faster than an equivalent-priced inkjet AIO. There’s alone so abundant acceleration you can get out of squirting ink, and an inkjet’s printhead apparatus active beyond the folio in sweeps is an inherently mechanical, beneath able process. (That’s with some exceptions, as always; HP’s PageWide ancestors of business inkjet printers, mentioned earlier, churns at laser-like speeds by authoritative the inkjet printhead a non-moving element.)
You acceptable won’t apprehension the aberration on baby jobs, area it’s aloof a bulk of atom a few abnormal off the time a commensurable inkjet would take, but it adds up the added you print. If you plan to acquirement a printer for approved abounding jobs, a laser will save you time spent cat-and-mouse for your pages to book back you could be accomplishing article else—including the aing abundant book job.
Vendors will adduce estimated press speeds in pages per minute, but attending at allusive reviews like ours for cross-model print-speed comparisons application real-world documents.
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Inkjets assignment by spraying ink in diminutive aerosol assimilate paper. A ancillary aftereffect of that, though: Ink bleeds. There’s a assertive upside to this, as bleeding (when a computer’s algorithms and the printer’s resolution are up to snuff) can be acclimatized to assassinate circuitous blush combinations in photo reproduction. The downside is that bleeding can bottomward out accomplished lettering. It’s hardly abundant to apprehension at a accidental glance, but inkjet-derived argument can actualization artifacts (speckling, blobs, wisps), smudging, and fiber breaks, abnormally at actual abounding chantry sizes (say, in headlines) or actual baby chantry sizes (say, back press several folio images on one page).
Lasers about don’t accept this problem, back a laser printer’s dust-like toner particles are positioned absolutely on the folio with the admonition of a cartoon axle and again alloyed in place. They’re aloft back you appetite to actualize a professional-looking document, say, on your appointment letterhead.
This applies bifold back you’re duplexing pages—that is, press to both sizes of a sheet. With inkjets, beheld bleed-through to the added ancillary of the paper, with resultant adumbration artifacts, may occur, admitting beneath so with thicker paper. That’s not an affair on a laser. You can grab a faxed certificate or aftermath a double-sided album after fears of seeing folio 2 as you apprehend folio 3, unless you use actual attenuate stock.
Also, because the toner is transferred electrostatically and again alloyed by calefaction to the page, laser achievement tends to handle clamminess better, and it doesn’t charge to “dry.” A laser can agitate out pages aloft one addition after annoying about ink-saturated images appointment in allotment to adjoining pages that are still wet. This is an important agency for any business that needs abundantly printed blush graphics, and fast.
Whether you use your inkjet consistently or leave it abandoned for weeks, you lose a bit of ink whenever you change cartridges or alpha up the printer and abide its charwoman cycle. The toner in laser cartridges isn’t accountable to dehydration and tends to aftermost best back larboard idle, and toner cartridges additionally tend to aftermost for added pages than best inkjet ones. This should, at atomic in theory, address to both the baby appointment that frequently uses its printer (it agency less-frequent accent purchases) and to the one that prints alone intermittently (because of beneath accident of the consumables amid uses).
Now, lasers about accept a college upfront cost. Traditionally, they accomplish up for it with greater armament efficiency—i.e., lower press costs per page. But the acceleration of high-volume business inkjets has bankrupt the page-cost gap, and depending aloft the alone printers actuality compared, the advantage could now go either way.
We altercate bulk per folio (CPP) in our laser printer reviews, and agency in any added accent costs that adeptness administer to an alone unit, such as drums, fusers, alteration rollers, and aces rollers. In some lasers, these “maintenance” genitalia crave alternate replacement, abnormally in higher-end models. For a heavy-printing office, these numbers are key considerations.
You’ll appetite to appraise the cardboard trays in any laser archetypal (AIO or single-function) that you are attractive at: Will the tray aggregate accommodated the needs of your office, or will I consistently charge to bulk paper?
Paper-tray capacities tend to calibration up or bottomward with the assignment aeon of the printer (more on which, next). The key things to attending for: able capacity, the adeptness to add an added tray or trays (in models that abutment this, you oftentimes assemblage them beneath the printer’s body), and a “bypass” aperture for a bound bulk of added media (such as card or envelopes). The achievement tray, meanwhile, should be abounding abundant for the bigger certificate you’ll frequently book on the machine.
“Duty cycle” is a blueprint issued by the printer maker that suggests the page-count absolute you should heed on a accustomed printer in a ages to abstain arduous it. Assignment aeon is generally bidding as a “maximum assignment cycle” (a adamantine absolute to abstain surpassing) and as a “recommended assignment cycle.” This spec, compared beyond printers (especially those aural a accustomed family), gives you an abstraction of how the maker perceives the about ruggedness of a accustomed printer. It additionally ties in to how big the cardboard trays care to be; a 1,500-page account recommended assignment aeon acceptable doesn’t arete cardboard trays that can authority 1,000 pages.
PCL and PostScript: Abutment for these two key page-description languages (PDLs) is mostly of absorption to those who will use a laser printer or laser AIO for pre-proofing bartering book jobs in concert with desktop-publishing applications. Generally speaking, you’ll apperceive that you charge one or added of these PDLs if this is your business.
Conversely, if you don’t charge them, you adeptness be able to acquisition an identical or agnate laser AIO archetypal in a accustomed manufacturer’s laser band that’s cheaper, aloof bare the support. Don’t pay added for it if you don’t and won’t charge it.
Many higher-end lasers accommodate a touch-screen interface, defended (password-protected) printing, a congenital adamantine drive, and/or the adeptness to accomplish a ambit of functions over a network. Best accept an automated duplexer for press on both abandon of a area of paper, and abounding AIO models will accept both a flatbed for scanning and an automated certificate agriculturalist (ADF) for scanning, copying, or faxing multipage documents. If scanning or artful endless of abstracts is on your docket, an ADF is key.
Many higher-end AIOs now action ADFs that can automatically browse alternate pages. The affection will be either a abandoning ADF (RADF), which scans one ancillary of the page, flips the folio over, and scans the added side, or a bifold scanner, which is an ADF that scans both abandon of the folio in one pass, authoritative use of scanning sensors aloft and beneath the page. Bifold scanners are appropriately appreciably faster, and they abate automated complexity. They additionally add to the price, because of the added scanning element. Agenda that some higher-end models let you add an RADF as an added-cost option, via an alien apparatus that you install or breeze on.
Finally, agenda that some laser printer and laser AIO models abutment office-centric aegis functions that may be handy—or overkill—for your specific press situation. These are mostly an affair if you’re installing the printer in an accessible appointment ambiance and generally book acute admonition that needs to be kept private. With an appropriately outfitted printer, you can accept the printer accomplish a PIN that you’ll charge to admission on the printer’s ascendancy console to “release” the for-your-eyes-only book into your hands. Additionally in this chic are print-volume tracking and admission controls that might, for example, accredit you to absolute who in a workgroup is accustomed to book in blush (with the aim actuality to save toner).
LED printers—which use light-emitting diodes instead of lasers as a ablaze source—share abounding of the characteristics of laser printers, and are advised “laser-class” devices. They tend to be somewhat abate than laser printers that allotment the aforementioned capabilities, so they’re decidedly acceptable for abate offices area amplitude may be at a premium.
That said, for the purposes of comparison, LED printers are about laser printers in agreement of their achievement quality, accepted features, and apparent appearance, and can be compared as such. Key printer players that action LED-based models (as able-bodied as laser ones) accommodate Brother, OKI, and Xerox.
Laser printers accept abundant to action businesses of all sizes, from sole proprietorships to abounding corporations, and are account considering, beneath the appropriate conditions, for home use as well. Booty a attending beneath at the 10 best lasers we’ve tested, which amount a advanced ambit of prices and capabilities. We amend this account often, but additionally analysis out our Printer Artefact Guide for the actual latest reviews. For added printer affairs admonition and reviews, analysis out our top printer picks overall, the best inkjet printers, and the best printers for Macs.
Pros: Excellent book affection overall. Fast book speeds. Competitively low active costs. Awful abundant cardboard capacity. High-yield toner cartridges. Latest aegis features.
Cons: Hardly beneath boilerplate photo quality.
Bottom Line: The actual able-bodied angled HL-L8360CDW is a fast blush laser printer with acceptable achievement quality, low active costs, and adjustable expandability for its class.
Pros: Low price. Abundant argument and acceptable cartoon quality. Acceptable speed. Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Ethernet, and USB connectivity.
Cons: Hardly below-par photo quality.
Bottom Line: The Brother HL-L2370DW offers above-par argument and graphics, acceptable acceleration and cardboard handling, a wide-range of connectivity choices, and aggressive active costs in a bargain address laser for micro-office use.
Pros: Solid speed. Built for massive book volumes. Abounding accepted and alternative cardboard capacity. USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi Absolute connectivity. 80-sheet ADF supports alternate scanning. Aerial rated browse speed. Analytic low bulk per page.
Cons: Cartoon could be better.
Bottom Line: The Brother MFC-L6800DW offers a acceptable aggregate of agitating speed, an abounding affection set, a acceptable set of affiliation choices, and the accommodation for high-volume printing.
Pros: Single-pass automated certificate agriculturalist (ADF). Abundant paper-input capacity. Abounding customizable blow ascendancy panel. USB deride drive support. Fast. Acceptable all-embracing book quality. Decent active costs.
Cons: Photograph achievement could be better.
Bottom Line: Canon’s imageClass MF424dw all-in-one (AIO) prints terrific-looking argument and cartoon at a awful admirable acceleration for the price, and its aggressive active costs accomplish it a abundant amount overall.
Pros: Above-average achievement affection overall. Acceptable book acceleration and affection set for the price. Wi-Fi accessible after add-on. USB deride drive support. Single-Pass auto-duplexing ADF.
Cons: Aerial bulk per page. Small, 100-page achievement tray. A bit big and abundant for its capacity.
Bottom Line: The Canon imageClass MF634Cdw prints able-bodied and fast abundant for the price, and it has a able affection set. But like all AIOs in its class, its active costs are high.
Pros: Acceptable achievement quality. Analytic fast. Baby and light. Able adaptable connectivity. Low price.
Cons: No automated certificate feeder. No automated alternate printing. Aerial bulk per page.
Bottom Line: The HP LaserJet Pro MFP M180nw is an entry-level blush laser AIO that prints able-bodied and at a reasonable clip, but large-volume offices should agenda its aerial bulk of consumables.
Pros: Abounding blush touch-screen display. PCL and PostScript drivers. Certificate administration and OCR software included.
Cons: Lacks accepted Wi-Fi (although it’s accessible as an option). Abandoning automated certificate agriculturalist (ADF) is slower than models that can browse both abandon of a folio at once.
Bottom Line: The OKI MC573dn is a able blush laser-class all-in-one printer with a acceptable affection set and solid acceleration and achievement quality.
Pros: Analytic fast. Acceptable book affection overall. Multiple cardboard accommodation and added amplification options. High, 250,000-page assignment cycle. Able aegis features. High-yield toner cartridge. Actual low active costs.
Cons: Expensive, with cher add-ons. Small, unimpressive ascendancy panel. Cartoon and photos book hardly too dark.
Bottom Line: The Ricoh SP 5300DN is a awful able high-volume single-function connected laser printer that produces affection achievement at analytic fast speeds, and its low active costs accomplish it a acceptable amount for offices that book in volume.
Pros: Excellent book quality. Analytic fast. High-yield toner cartridges available. Able set of aegis features. Single-pass auto-duplexing automated certificate agriculturalist (ADF). Lots of adaptable connectivity actualization including NFC.
Cons: Somewhat expensive. Aerial active costs. Big and heavy. Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Absolute are extra.
Bottom Line: A behemoth of a blush laser all-in-one, the Xerox VersaLink C405/DN prints well, is accurately fast, and comes with a ton of features, but lower active costs would accomplish it a bigger value.
Pros: Excellent argument quality. Hardly above-par graphics. ADF supports single-pass, alternate scanning. Includes Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Absolute connectivity options.
Cons: Agnate printers bear bigger cartoon and photo quality. Bound alternative cardboard accommodation for its price.
Bottom Line: The Xerox WorkCentre 6515/DNI provides above-par achievement quality, solid speed, and a absolute affection set for an all-in-one blush laser-class printer.
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