The 9 Best Color Laser Printers

Updated January 20, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

9 Best Color Laser Printers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. If you're looking to attain high quality in your hard-copy materials, a top-tier color laser printer is the answer. We've evaluated models designed for intermittent use in the home, as well as units intended for use in a busy office, and have ranked them by efficiency, clarity, connectivity, and value. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best color laser printer on Amazon.

9. Brother HL-3180CDW

The Brother HL-3180CDW can be purchased by itself or with a toner bundle. It is a flatbed scanning model that is capable of an up to 19,200 x 19,200 dpi sampling resolution. It is easy to connect to a wireless network, but it is a bit bulky for the average home setup.
  • adjustable paper tray
  • amazon dash enabled
  • color prints look a bit pixelated
Brand Brother
Model HL-3180CDW
Weight 53.3 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. HP M452dw LaserJet Pro

If you're working in a setting that requires three or more employees to sync production, you will appreciate the connectivity of the HP M452dw LaserJet Pro. It is powerful, compact, and reliable, and its touchscreen controls are exceedingly simple.
  • can print directly from usb drives
  • backed by a one-year warranty
  • photo printing quality is sub par
Brand HP
Model M452DW
Weight 49.6 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

7. Dell C2660dn

The Dell C2660dn is a good choice for offices, as it protects your data with IPsec and SSL data transmission when you send your printing jobs to it via Wi-Fi. It uses toner with a low melting point, so it gets up and running quickly when you need it.
  • secure-print enabled
  • good for high-volume printing needs
  • requires a wireless adapter
Brand Dell
Model C2660dn
Weight 66.1 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Canon ImageClass LBP612CDW

The Canon ImageClass LBP612CDW creates extremely crisp and vibrant color prints, which is something not always found in laser printers. It automatically removes the toner seal for you too, so you don't have to fumble around with anything when refilling it.
  • works with macs and pcs
  • setup is relatively simple
  • paper jams sometimes
Brand Canon
Model LBP612
Weight 41.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Brother HLL8250CDN

The Brother HLL8250CDN is Energy Star compliant and extremely fast when working in black and white, with the ability to churn out 30 pages per minute. It is certified for Amazon Dash replenishment to keep you from ever running out of toner.
  • automatic shutoff
  • ethernet and usb connections
  • toner conservation mode
Brand Brother
Model HLL8250CDN
Weight 51.5 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. Canon Color ImageClass MF634Cdw

The Canon Color ImageClass MF634Cdw can scan both sides of a document in a single pass, making it very efficient when creating two-sided copies. It offers direct connection to any Wi-Fi devices, so you can wirelessly handle printing without needing a router.
  • high-capacity toner
  • supports cloud printing
  • us-based customer support
Brand Canon
Model MF634Cdw
Weight 60 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. HP Color LaserJet Enterprise M553dn

The HP Color LaserJet Enterprise M553dn can wake from sleep mode and begin printing in as little as nine seconds. It produces double-sided pages as quickly as it does single, at a rate of up to 40 sheets per minute. It also features built-in security measures.
  • color display screen
  • no app required for mobile devices
  • 24-hour web-based support
Brand HP
Model B5L25A#BGJ
Weight 70 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Dell C1760NW

The affordable Dell C1760NW is compact enough to fit on or under the average home desk, but it is still capable of high-volume printing of up to 30,000 pages a month. It creates high-quality prints and has a 100-page output tray.
  • extremely energy efficient
  • does a decent job of printing photos
  • comes with some toner
Brand Dell
Model c1760nw
Weight 29.7 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. HP LaserJet M477fdw

The HP LaserJet M477fdw is a compact all-in-one option that can scan directly to a number of different storage devices, including USB drives, specific email addresses, and cloud servers. The company's ColorSphere 3 toner is fast and efficient.
  • nfc touch-to-print feature
  • puts out 28 pages per minute
  • 50-sheet document feeder
Brand HP
Model M477FDW
Weight 59.3 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

A Brief History Of The Laser Printer

The history of the modern printer arguably begins with the development of the first viable paper, which was developed in Ancient China, likely in the first century of the Common Era. Early papers were made not from wood pulp, which wouldn't see common use in the paper-making process until hundreds of years later in the 1840s. Instead, ancient paper was made primarily from hemp fibers or from repurposed scraps of linen, cotton, or other types of cloth.

The next innovation toward modern printing again came from China, where the first printing presses featuring movable type were designed sometime during the early years of the Northern Song Dynasty, which lasted from 960 to 1127 CE. Movable type was far more efficient than traditional woodblock printing, which required brand new carvings for each set of pages to be printed. Chinese is a character-based language, however, and it still made for a laborious printing process, even with movable ceramic tablets available for each character. As a result, the use of these units was not widespread.

In 1450, an innovative German blacksmith named Johannes Gutenberg devised the first printing press that can be thought of as essentially modern. It used movable type tablets made of a durable blend of three materials -- lead, antimony, and tin -- and took advantage of the Arabic-alphabet-based European languages that made typesetting much more efficient. Gutenberg's new printing press would change the nature of information dissemination across the Renaissance world, with the prolific publication of the eponymous Gutenberg Bible serving as the most lasting legacy of his achievement.

Until the advent of the printer -- an approximation of which appeared in the mid 19th century, but was used only for recording specific mathematical calculations -- the printing press remained the standard method for getting words and simple graphics down on paper. In the 20th century, as the pace of technological development and innovation quickened, myriad printers were developed and released to the marketplace. Many were successful, such as the once ubiquitous dot matrix printer, while others saw short lived use, such as the Selectric-type-based Flexowriter from IBM, which essentially used the printing technology of a typewriter hooked up to a computer system.

The first functional laser printer was conceived of and developed by an American named Gary Starkweather who worked for the Xerox Corporation. His idea for using an electrostatic printing process in which a laser created a selective charge on a drum which could then draw powdered ink toner onto a sheet of paper came to him in 1969. By 1972, after several years of development, Starkweather and several of his colleagues had created the first working laser printer.

While not suitable for creating extremely high resolution color graphics or photographs, laser printers are prized in many fields, from the professional to the academic, for their incredibly high printing speeds. If you need multiple pages printed quickly, you need to consider a laser printer. While Gutenberg's printing press could create approximately 240 "impressions"" (e.g. pages) per hour in the hands of skilled workers, today's top of the line laser printers can churn out up to 40 pages per minute (that's about 2,400 pages in an hour).

Choosing The Right Laser Printer For The Busy Office

The first laser printer specifically designed for office use was the Xerox Star 8010, a workstation released in 1981 that sold for the prohibitive price of $17,000. (That figure today has the buying power of $46,592 USD when adjusted for inflation, for the record.) Fortunately, today a commercial laser printer that is entirely adequate for even the busiest offices can be had for considerably less. In fact, you can find excellent laser printers that cost well under $1,000.

One of the most important considerations when selecting a laser printer for an office is not necessarily print speed; even moderately priced units can turn out as many as two dozen pages per minute, after all. Rather, you should look for a unit that boasts plenty of flexibility when it comes to document type. An office will likely see printing on everything from sheets of basic eight by eleven paper, to envelopes of all sizes, card stock, and more. So look for units with large multipurpose tray capacity as well as those with plenty of storage room in the primary paper tray.

Also, consider designating your office's laser printer for use only with written documents, and invest in a separate printer for printing that involves graphics, photos, and even for type-based documents with color; an inkjet printer can't match a laser printer for speed, but it will offer better quality for image printing, and many units are priced affordably.

A Laser Printer For Home Or Small Business Use

If you are looking to buy a laser printer for use at your home, in your small business, in a school or church office, or anywhere else where printing is important but not necessarily a high volume affair, a laser printer still may be a wise choice. That's thanks to the efficiency of a good laser printer's toner ink system.

Many laser printer's use toner cartridges that can produce thousands of pages before needing a replacement, so their use saves you time and might even save you cash in the long run. Toner cartridges are expensive, but they yield plenty of printed documents.

If your laser printer will be used in a school or for a small business, don't overlook the fact that these devices use much of the same technology as photocopier machines; choose one with a copier tray and you will essentially be getting two machines in one.



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Last updated on January 20, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.


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