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Best Color Laser Printers for the Home and Office

Best Color Laser Printers for the Home and Office

More and more users are switching to color laser printers because of its long-term economical advantages as well as its reliability. Laser printers are popular for their efficiency and are the ideal choice if you need a printer that’s fast, can take on high volume, and is more economical to maintain in the long run compared to inkjet printers.

Can a Laser Printer Print Color?

Absolutely. Color laser printers have been around for quite some time now and fits perfectly in office environments.

Because laser printers were initially built to print in just monochrome, it’s not till fairly recently that laser printer models were engineered to also print in color.

Are Color Laser Printers Better than Inkjet?

Year ago, the first color laser printers lacked the color consistency and correctness consumers had come to expect from inkjet printers, relegating those models to printing sales graphs and tables instead. Color laser printers today, however, have caught up to inkjets quite a bit when it comes to image quality, and many printer models now produce the crisp and clean images you need for printing professional grade marketing decks and other materials. But is it better? That still depends on what you intend to print. Which brings us to the next question…

Can Color Laser Printers Print Photos?

The short answer is YES, you can print photos with color laser printers. Not high quality ones that would satisfy professional photographers but photos decent enough for family use. Why?

Let’s Nerd Out a Bit

Inkjet printer technology uses nozzles to spray tiny drops of ink. Laser printers, on the other hand, melt dots of toner onto paper. The more drops you can squeeze into a square inch of paper, the sharper the resulting image will be. For this reason, inkjet technology undeniably trumps laser technology when it comes to high resolution image production.

There are some other considerations to be made when printing color on laser, such as making sure to use laser photo paper. Using inkjet photo paper on your laser printer can do a great deal of very costly damage. But as long as your mindful of these considerations, color laser printers can print decent photos.

Finding the color laser printer that’s right for your needs isn’t easy especially seeing as how printer models are described opaquely using jargon and a range of metrics that are meaningless to layman shoppers. And that’s why we’re here to help! Here are our favorite color laser printer models for 2019, selected from a range of brands.


List of Best Color Laser Printers for 2019

Best Budget Color Laser Printer

Color Laser Printers for Home Office / Dorm

Color Laser Printers for Small Business

We used a number of factors to pull this list of color laser printers together. For those wanting to educate themselves better when shopping for the right printer, we elaborate on each factor below.


Basic Laser Printer Features

Duty Cycle

One of the most important factors to take into consideration when shopping for any printer—laser, inkjet, and otherwise—is the monthly duty cycle. Every printer on the market is designed to print up to a maximum quantity of pages per month. Consistently going over this number results in the kind of wear and tear that drastically shortens the lifespan for everything from feeder system to the toner apparatus, resulting in costly repairs and early replacement. Before you start shopping for a new unit, get an idea of how much you anticipate printing monthly, and use that metric for guidance. While a unit that meets the duty cycle needs of your small business may cost more than one designed for a dorm room initially, it’ll save you money and frustration later on.

Print Speed

A big selling point for laser printer models is their speed and efficiency. Compared with inkjets, laser printers can pump out pages, both in color and simple black and white. How fast can your printer go? Chances are, the rate is going to be pretty good, and comparing with comparable models will give you an idea of the averages in each price range. The page speed of your printer will factor into how much it costs, so keep in mind that you may not need the fastest unit on the market. Remember, speed kills!

Toner Cost

Consumables like ink and toner constitute one of the biggest ongoing expenses of printing for home, school, and business use. This truth is especially salient when it comes to budget models, which may not cost a whole lot out of the box, but rack up the bills with expensive, low-capacity toner refills. Before you take the plunge, be sure to compare refill costs and match up the pages-per-cartridge rate as tested by the manufacturer to see how efficient your new unit will be. Also, see if you can find XL size (also known as high yield) cartridges and third party generic alternatives like compatible and remanufactured cartridges, all of which can save you a lot of money.

Multifunction

For small business owners, selecting a printer that can do more than just print can save a whole lot of time, money, and trips to the local Kinkos over the course of its life. Many laser printers come with scanner/copier features designed to make document managing quick and easy. Many can also fax when connected to your network. However, if you don’t need these features, you can save money by selecting a print-only model (which is money that can go into getting a higher grade printer, at the end of the day).


Other Important Features

Networking

A well-designed network limits the need for personal printers and can save a lot of time and money for your business. The way workgroups connect with a laser printer can effect how smoothly printing will run, and getting an idea of how compatible your systems are with different print software will make your setup process easier. Before you start shopping, make a note of how many employees you anticipate networking through each unit.

Duplexing

Print Duplexing is another way of saying two-sided printing. Printers that can print double-sided will help your business save paper, as well as produce more professional looking results. Most office grade laser printers will come with print duplexing as a feature.

Warranty

Whether you’re looking for a printer for working from home or one for the whole office, knowing the manufacturer has your back is reassuring. Nearly every printer model you find today will have some brand warranty, and many companies (and retailers) offer extended warranties for a fee. Take note of the warranty duration, as well as terms and conditions, that come with your printer. In some cases, replacing essential structural components for professional class printers will cost as much as a replacement unit. When your warranty expires, that cost is on you. Now that you know what features to look out for when shopping for a color laser printer, let’s jump right into our recommended list of Best Color Laser Printers.

Print Resolution

Since you’re looking for color laser printers, it can be assumed that you have some sort of standard in terms of what color image quality you expect to get. Some color laser printers have higher color print resolutions so be on the lookout for this attribute when printer shopping. The Brother HL-3170cdw for instance has a maximum colored print resolution of 600 x 2400 dpi which means it produces pretty clear images.  On the other hand, the HP Color LaserJet M252dw printer has a print resolution of 600 x 600 dpi. Definitely be on the lookout for the color print resolution if you need a printer that can produce crisp images.


Best Budget Color Laser Printer

 

Brother HL-L3210CW Wireless Color Laser Printer

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Ideal for students and parents who need to print an article or two on occasion. The HL-L3210CW prints upward of 19 black and white pages per minute, making it much faster than comparable inkjets and on par with more expensive small business options.

If you’re looking to save even more, this model is compatible with high yield toner cartridges designed to print up to 2400 color pages before they need a refill. It also features a Deep Sleep Mode designed to use less than 1W of power when not in use.

Cartridge Price Cost Per Page Comparison
Original Brother TN-227 High Yield Black Cartridge $80.39 2.6 cents per page
Original Brother TN-227 High Yield Color Cartridges $102.99 each 15.8 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible TN-227 High Yield Black Cartridge $35.99 1.2 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible TN-227 High Yield Color Cartridges $35.99 each 5.7 cents per page

Color Laser Printers for Home Office / Dorm

Canon imageCLASS LBP612CDW Color Laser Printer

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The Canon Color imageCLASS LBP612CDW laser printer boasts better colored results compared to your average color laser printer.  Though it comes at a relatively lower printer price compared to other AIO color laser printers in its class, the trade off is a slightly higher cost per page.

The Canon Color imageCLASS LBP612CDW printer uses Canon 045H toner cartridges which come in 4 colors: black, cyan, magenta, and yellow. A black Canon 045H toner prints 2,800 pages, and each individual color cartridge has a page yield of 2,200 each. To keep running costs low for this printer, we suggest using compatible toner cartridges which cost 67% cheaper than an original Canon toner cartridge. Though not exactly super economical, this is a good model to go with if you want above average color print results.

Cartridge Price Cost Per Page Comparison
Original Canon 045H High Yield Black Cartridge $90.00 3.2 cents per page
Original Canon 045H High Yield Color Cartridges $96.00 each 16.1 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Canon 045H High Yield Black Cartridge $28.99 1.0 cent per page
LD Brand Compatible Canon 045H  High Yield Color Cartridges $28.99 each 4.9 cents per page

HP Color LaserJet Pro M454dw Color Printer

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HP’s Color LaserJet Pro M454dw offers up many of the workflow features you’d expect from high-end enterprise laser printers, but in compact form and affordable enough for small businesses, instructors, non-profits and more. This model features a range of wireless networking connectivity options designed for up to ten users, along with increased MFP and data security (and wired connections) to better protect sensitive information.

High yield ink cartridges for this model are designed to print as many as 7,500 b/w pages and 6,000 color pages before running dry, which pairs well with its top-end 4,000 page per month duty.

Cartridge Price Cost Per Page Comparison
Original HP 414X High Yield Black Cartridge $171.99 2.3 cents per page
Original HP 414X High Yield Color Cartridges $234.99 each 14 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible HP 414X  High Yield Black Cartridge Coming Soon
LD Brand Compatible HP 414X  High Yield Black Cartridge Coming Soon

Color Laser Printers for Small Business

Brother MFC‑L3750CDW Color LED Printer (Multifunction)

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When you’re looking for more functionality for your office without breaking the bank, go no further than the MFC‑L3750CDW from Brother. Get speeds of 25 pages per minute for both monochrome and color, paired with top of the line scanner/copier and fax technologies. This model features Cloud connectivity designed to make scanning documents direct to cloud storage easy—a feature that is ideal for organizing important documents.  

It uses the same cartridges as the previously mentioned HL-L3210CW.

Cartridge Price Cost Per Page Comparison
Original Brother TN-227 High Yield Black Cartridge $80.39 2.6 cents per page
Original Brother TN-227 High Yield Color Cartridges $102.99 each 15.8 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible TN-227 High Yield Black Cartridge $35.99 1.2 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible TN-227 High Yield Color Cartridges $35.99 each 5.7 cents per page

Brother HL-L8360CDW Color Laser Printer – Duplex (Print Only)

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The newer Brother HL-L8360CDW color laser offers  speeds of up to 33 ppm (mono and color) and a higher maximum duty cycle of 60,000 pages. PCMag calls it a well-rounded printer that you can rely for fast and above average quality results with highly expandable paper capacity (maximum capacity of 1,300 sheets).


A big plus with the HL-L8360CDW printer model is it supports higher yield toner cartridges that print 6,500 pages each cartridge. Being able to print more pages per cartridge translates to lots of savings if you print thousands of pages every month. The Brother HL-L8360CDW printer uses the Brother TN436 toner series which come in black, cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges.

Cartridge Price Cost Per Page Comparison
Original Brother TN-436 High Yield Black Cartridge $82.49 1.2 cents per page
Original Brother TN-436 High Yield Color Cartridges $173.49 each 9 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible TN-436 High Yield Black Cartridge $19.99 .30 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible TN-436 High Yield Color Cartridges $23.99 each 1.3 cents per page

HP LaserJet Enterprise M553dn Printer (Print Only)

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A top performer for small business class printers. The Enterprise M553dn produces color prints, not just monochrome, at an astonishing 40 pages per minute, a rate of nearly a page per second. Each printed page is auto duplexed to help save both time and money spent on paper. It also comes with one of the faster first-page-out rates—i.e. time it takes your device to connect to the printer and print—on the market today at 6 seconds.


Standard printer cartridges for this model print upwards of six thousand pages monochrome and five thousand color before needing replacement. It’s true that there’s a line that separates affordable printers from true business class printers in terms of features and functionality. This Enterprise model is perhaps the most affordable option for businesses looking to get true professional quality print results on a large scale.

Cartridge Price Cost Per Page Comparison
Original HP 508X High Yield Black Cartridge $232.89 1.8 cents per page
Original HP 508X High Yield Color Cartridges $321.89 each 11.7 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible HP 508X High Yield Black Cartridge $88.99 .71 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible HP 508X High Yield Color Cartridges
$93.99 each 3.7 cents per page

HP LaserJet Pro 500 Color M570dn Laser Printer (Multifunction)

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HP’s M570dn does everything you need to keep your small business running smoothly (and a whole lot more!) This model produces monochrome pages at a rate of 31 per minute and touts a high monthly duty cycle perfect for networking whole departments. It features single pass, dual head scanning and instant digital file conversion to save and store documents in the Cloud or produce flawless copies instantly. The M570dn comes standard with HP Print technology, which connects mobile devices and tablets to your printer with ease. The M570dn is designed to produce top of the line marketing materials in house fast.

Cartridge Price Cost Per Page Comparison
Original HP 507X High Yield Black Cartridge $219.89 2.6 cents per page
Original HP 507A High Yield Color Cartridges $245.89 each 14.6 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible HP 507X High Yield Black Cartridge $49.99 1.2 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible HP 507A High Yield Color Cartridges $49.99 each 3.6 cents per page

Closing

Finding the right color printer for your needs isn’t so daunting, once you know where to start. Before you go to the store, we recommend always taking stock of your print habits, asking yourself “how much printer do I need, and what features are indispensable for my print needs?” From there, it’s all about finding the model that meets your expectations. Happy hunting!

*Savings based on price comparison between remanufactured/compatible cartridge prices and printer brand (OEM) cartridge prices effective as of August 14, 2019 on www.LDProducts.com.  OEM names are registered trademarks of their respective owners and are not affiliated with, and do not endorse LD Products.   All products are reviewed independently. As an Amazon associate, LD Products earns from qualifying purchases through links on this page.  
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31 Comments

  • Wonderfully informative and helpful in my making a decision on a new printer.

  • Are these laser printers MAC compatible? Are some better than others for use with a MAC computer?

    • These printers should work just as well with a MAC as they do with any OS.

  • My questions:
    I read that a laser printer’s cartridge doesn’t dry up as fast from little usage as does an ink jet cartridge. What is the life of the toner for each type of printer if you are printing 25 copies per month?
    Also, how much more expensive is the paper per ream, for the laser printer verses regular printer paper?

    • Hi Chuck,

      The toner inside a toner cartridge is a dry powder, so it won’t dry up in the same way an ink cartridge would. There is no way to determine exactly how long a toner cartridge will last. It all depends on the page yield of the toner you are using and the content length, font size and print quality. You can find more on that here: https://www.ldproducts.com/blog/what-is-page-yield/

      As long as your using your printer regularly, you will likely be in good shape. Toner cartridges have a shelf life of around 24 months. There is a minor price difference between regular copy paper and laser printer paper, it is generally just a couple of dollars more per ream.

  • Thisb hasbeen a most informative and helpful article. Thank you so much.

  • Why doesn’t this comparison article, or any comparison article for that matter, never figure in tabloid printing size or options for that? The entire world doesn’t just use 8.5″ a 11-14″. Searching the internet for a laser that does this is futile, as it’s never discussed and usually buried somewhere in a spec. All I can find is A4 printers starting at like $300, or tabloid printers staring at like $3000. Is there no in-between in the market? Does 3″ make that big a difference?

    • I hear you Brad. It’s 2019 and I’m still looking for this answer. Hoping there can be an option for this available for Home Office users soon.

    • Do not buy an Inkjet Printer.. clogs make printing a nightmare, and replacement cartridges cost hundreds of dollars. Laserjet is the way to go from now on…

  • Very good article helping in decision for my printer needs. Well covered and informative
    Thanks

  • We are looking to replace our Lexmark Inkjet (ink is almost impossible to find) and are considering a color LJ. Are there any non-Canon LJs that have the ability to print photos from a memory card (whether via a USB adaptation or actual inserting the SD card into the printer)? We do not use wireless connectivity or have any type of networking or smartphones, so that type of printing is not an option. We are considering some HPs (less than $450 cost) but I would like to be able to print our photos (not concerned with high quality and we do not print a lot of them (less than 50) per year) without having to first load the images to the computer and then print.

    • Hi, the Brother HL-L8260CDW has a USB slot on the side of the printer for easy walk-up printing, hope this helps!

  • I need a color laser with duplexing, scanning, and copying, but print very, very little – on the order of maybe 10 pages per month on average, tops, at this point. I’m a designer, though, so I need high res., and expect the print volume to increase some over the next couple of years.

    I’m fed up with the hassle and crazy expense of feeding my HP OfficeJet new cartridges every other time I use it, especially since it has been a piece of garbage from the day i got it.

    What would you recommend?

    • I have been using the Brother MFC9340CDW printer for about 4 years. The b/w print quality is very good for office use. The color print quality is also very good but not as good as inkjet printerS produce. It suits my need for decent quality color printing of player aids and color rulebooks for board games. I laminate my player aids to make them durable. I also use non-OEM toner cartridges available on Amazon. It meets my needs very well. I print a hundred or more color pages per month.

  • I found this review better than the PC Mag, Tom’s, Z9 … THANKS… spoke to my needs for a color laser all-in-one.
    thanks!

    • Yes. It covers better printers. I found Tom’s guide extremely disappointing in its assessment. Tom’s guide has become an ad medium for those willing to pay a price. It has ceased to be a honest review site. Complete waste of time to go there.

  • Hi, I am looking for Multi-Function Machine which can Print ( B/W & Color ), Scanner for a4 and legal size page, and photocopier for small business ( Retail Shop). Expecting to print around 500 to 1000 copies a day (B/W), photocopies will be more than 1000 pages a day and scanning will be nominal usage. Can you please recommend a good machine for above purpose?

    • It sounds like what you need is a pretty heavy duty color laser printer. A downside to high volume multifunction color laser printers is that the color print quality is not very good. This is usually the case with printers that come with quite a bit of features. Check out the Brother MFC-L8900CDW color laser printer. Color laser multifunction printers that can handle high volume printing are usually pretty expensive, the MFC-L8900CDW costs $599.99 if you get it from Brother-USA.com. Hope I was able to help!

  • I’m looking for a color laser printer mostly for photos; 8×10’s; I have used inkjets before, would prefer to stay away from them if possible; can you recommend a laser printer for photos? I’d like to stay under $300.

  • I dont suppose you have this info in chart format? Replacement toner cost is a high priority for a new all-in-one, but I don’t necessarily want to sacrifice the quality of the printer itself…a chart for comparison would be extremely helpful!

  • Excellent article, thank you! I’m hoping this isn’t a silly question but I’m wondering how you can tell whether the color laser printer uses only black toner exclusively for its monochrome printing? When I originally began my research into laser printers for home crafting use, that was something mentioned to look for but as you stated in the article specific questions/concerns like that aren’t often addressed. I get that just getting a monochrome printer could solve that issue but why buy two machines if I can find one that will perform all the functions needed and replace my inkjet. Thank you!

    • When you are ready to print your page, the software that comes with most color printers takes you to a “setup” page first. There you can usually choose such features as number of copies, paper size, paper type (plain, cardstock, glossy, etc) and also some variation of color, grayscale, or B/W. If you choose grayscale or B/W, only the black toner will be used.

  • Are they all AirPrint? If not, do you have any recommeded model for colour laser printer with AirPrint?

  • I bought a Canon, almost the same as the one reviewed here, and am returning it. Although it showed having 30% or more toner in each cartridge, it refused to print. Days later, it suddenly started printing the job I had already accomplished on my trusty Brother. I also had trouble with it slowing down dramatically during the print cycle. I was making booklets of 20 pages each, front and back. The first few printed quickly, but then it started slowly printing a page, pausing for several seconds, and then printing the next page. Are these problems normal for Canon? Did I just get a lemon? The print quality is amazing, but I’m leery of getting another Canon.Mar

    • Hi Mary,

      We haven’t experienced any issues like that with the Canon printers we’ve printed with. If the printer is still under warranty, you might try reaching out to Canon to see if they can do anything. Hope this helps.

    • This sounds like what we experienced with both our Canon and Epson printers. Turns out, it wasn’t the printers at all but our router capacity was stretched too thin by all of our wireless devices. A new router and a new Orbi (booster) solved the problem!

  • Will you please tell me about Xerox Alta Link 8030 Printer. I read many review about it. Printer is not able to satisfy the user as they are saying that red and green colour is not coming well in print. Wil you please tell me about this printer.

  • I would like top print wirelessly from my phone and tablet as well as from two computers in my office. I am definitely leaning towards laser over inkjet. We print guest registrations, office forms, etc and some color. We also print menus and for those use heavier paper. I have heard there are some limitations with laser printer and heavier paper (65 lb), but haven’t seen this addressed. Can anyone provide any input on this?

    • Greetings! I print on cardstocks of multiple weights (65 lb, 80 lb, and 110 lb) using my 6 year-old HP Laserjet Pro 400 Color M475D and have no problems at all. I am always very careful to purchase laser papers and not inkjet papers. I do not have a problem with curling of the heavier papers. I use an 80 lb gloss cardstock for greeting cards and they come out perfect! Happy shopping!

  • Are there any home laser printers that have an alternate paper feed? I want one for crafting, and I often use heavier papers that I find difficult to feed through my current printer. I can find inkjets with a “straight” feed, but really want a laser.

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