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Laser printers are not for everyone. They tend to be bigger and pricier than inkjet printers and aren’t great at producing photos. But they do offer some useful advantages.
They don't have ink nozzles, which can clog with ink when not in use, for example; that means that laser printers require little maintenance. They generally churn out sharp black-and-white pages faster than inkjets, which is why laser printers are office and classroom staples. And the mono models, which print only in black and white, can be significantly cheaper to operate—if you own an inkjet printer you know how pricey replacement ink is.
The top all-in-one option in our Ratings, the Dell E525w not only prints in color but also receives excellent marks for speed and the quality of the text, photocopies, and graphics it produces. It even delivers very good photos.
And at $245, it’s fairly cheap for such a versatile printer. But all that performance comes at additional cost. When you factor in toner replacement and other maintenance, the Dell E525w could set you back more like $700 at the two-year mark, according to our estimates. And that’s a little high for a color laser.
If you’re willing to forgo those high-quality photos, you can save by getting the Dell H625cdw, which has a projected two-year cost of $630.
Samsung ProXpress C2620DW
Like the Dell, the Samsung ProXpress C2620DW, $350, is an outlier in the laser printer world, because it excels at printing color photos and graphics. It handles text really well, shoots out pages quickly, and requires little maintenance. (The estimated two-year cost of ownership is about $510.) However, this printer can’t scan or make copies, which could be a deal-breaker for some.
This all-in-one black-and-white printer is easy to recommend. For starters, you can buy the Brother MFC-L2700DW for $200 or less. And, thanks in large part to its cheap toner, our cost-of-ownership estimate adds only about $50 more a year. And, finally, the scanning, copying, faxing, and auto-duplexing (printing on both sides of the paper) features come in handy in any home office.
This printer isn’t perfect. It doesn’t offer color printouts, and it’s not ideal for charts and graphs. But if you don’t need those options, there’s no need to pay extra for them.
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