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best color laser printers

The Best Color Laser Printers in 2021

Author: Robert Wilson

Electronics & Peripherals Expert

Are you looking for a cheap and compact printer for your home? Then you are exactly right here! Color laser printers are not only fast, they are also quiet and offer excellent print quality. A color laser printer is the best choice, especially if you have to print out many pages at once.

In our large color laser printer test we explain what is important in a color laser printer and what you should definitely consider when buying. You will also find out which different types of color laser printers are available and which are particularly suitable for your projects.

Table of Contents

Quick Overview

  • Color laser printers, unlike traditional inkjet printers, can print sharp photo prints inexpensively and at high speed.
  • You can choose between standard color laser printers, color laser printers with a duplex unit, multifunction color laser printers and color laser printers for the office.
  • Important factors that you should consider when buying a color laser printer are the print resolution, print speed, scan, copy and fax functions and support for various storage devices.

Best Color Laser Printers

HP Color LaserJet Pro M254

HP Color LaserJet Pro M254
  • Big performance in compact size – this compact wireless…
  • A faster pace for business – This HP color laser printer…
  • High-impact color quality – count on HP legendary color…
  • Easy mobile printing – The highly rated HP smart app…
  • One-year limited hardware – 24-hour, 7 days a week FREE HP…

The HP Color LaserJet Pro M254dw color laser printer is particularly fast and efficient thanks to its JetIntelligence technology and duplex printing. It creates up to 21 pages per minute in black and white as well as in color.

It works via WLAN and network, has HP ePrint, Apple Airpint, Google Cloud Print, wireless direct, has a color touch display and has low power consumption.

HP Color LaserJet Pro M255dw

HP Color LaserJet Pro M255dw
  • Impress with color and increase efficiency: This business…
  • Print remotely with the HP Smart app: Set up your LaserJet…
  • Save time with customizable shortcuts: Eliminate steps in…
  • Strong security: Help protect your HP printer and sensitive…
  • Wireless connectivity you can count on: Have confidence in…

HP Color LaserJet Pro Multifunction M479fdw

HP Color LaserJet Pro Multifunction M479fdw
  • Built to keep your business moving forward: Print, scan,…
  • Best-in-class security: A suite of embedded security…
  • Automate complicated workflows – Help save time by…
  • Print with or without a network: Use built in Wi-Fi Direct…
  • Speed through tasks: Stay productive with single pass, 2…

Lexmark C3224dw Color Laser Printer

 Our Pick
Lexmark C3224dw Color Laser Printer
  • Compact color laser printer that has dimensions that can…
  • Wireless. Setup is fast and easy. Standard Wi-Fi makes it…
  • Secure. Includes Lexmark’s full-spectrum security…
  • Output that works. Capable of printing up to 24 pages per…
  • Environmentally friendly. Rated EPEAT Silver and energy Star…

Brother Monochrome Laser Printer MFCL2710DW

 Our Pick
Brother Monochrome Laser Printer MFCL2710DW
  • Print more, wait less. Engineered for increased efficiency…
  • Dynamic features meet your evolving needs. The 250-sheet…
  • Flexible printing. The manual feed slot offers flexible…
  • Engineered to deliver productivity. Up to 50-sheet automatic…
  • Printing as mobile as you are. Print wireless from your…

Brother HL-L2300D Monochrome Laser Printer

 Our Pick
Brother HL-L2300D Monochrome Laser Printer
  • Print more, wait less. Engineered for increased efficiency…
  • Dynamic features meet your evolving needs. The 250-sheet…
  • Flexible printing. The manual feed slot offers flexible…
  • Engineered to deliver productivity. Up to 50-sheet automatic…
  • Printing as mobile as you are. Print wireless from your…

Frequently Asked Questions: Color Laser Printers

What are the advantages of color laser printers over inkjet printers?

There are several advantages of color laser printers over inkjet printers. These come to the fore especially when the devices are used for a long time.

  • Long-term cheaper printing
  • No drying of the toner
  • High printing speed
  • Sharp text printing
  • High quality photo print

The main difference between inkjet printers and color laser printers is mainly in their long-term costs. Inkjet printers have a low purchase price and use less electricity, but the toners used in color laser printers are more productive and thus the costs per printed page are lower. The toner also has to be changed less frequently than the ink cartridges of an inkjet printer.

As toner and not ink are used for printing with color laser printers, the ink cannot dry out. This is especially useful if you do not print regularly. The toner burned into the paper also ensures that the printouts are less susceptible to moisture and sunlight.

Since color laser printers do not print each line individually like an inkjet printer, the printing speed is significantly increased in direct comparison. A color laser printer can therefore print significantly more pages per minute than an inkjet printer.

Color laser printers also usually offer more storage space, i.e. more space for paper. They therefore need to be refilled less often.

The printing technology also offers a higher quality when printing texts. This can be seen by comparing the printout of an inkjet printer with that of a color laser printer. The edges of the individual letters are clearly sharper in color laser printers. This increases the reading flow for the viewer.

The quality of photo printing and image printing is also very good in current models, but not as high as that of inkjet printers. The opinions on the Internet about photo printing with color laser printers show, on average, that photo printing and its quality for private use are still sufficient and high-quality prints possible.

Another point is the odor pollution. It is often criticized that printing with a color laser printer produces an unpleasant smell, which can be problematic in some offices. Today’s color laser printers are also more energy-efficient, quieter and smaller than the first models and are increasingly approaching the inkjet printers in these areas.

How does a color laser printer work?

Compared to other printing technologies, the color laser printer uses electrostatics and lasers for printing. Several steps are necessary for a printing process, which the color laser printer performs automatically.

When you send a document to your color laser printer for printing, it reads the entire file and sends information to the built-in components. First the so-called image drum static is charged, which is responsible for bringing the toner from the toner cartridge onto the paper.

A laser neutralizes certain areas of the imaging drum during the process. A magnetic roller then transfers the toner from the color laser printer to these neutralized areas.

The color laser printer then pulls in the paper. In order for the toner to get onto the paper, the paper must also be statically charged. This is done by the so-called charging roller. The toner on the image drum is now attracted to the paper and lies on it.

In order for the toner to adhere to the paper, it must be burned in in a further step. To do this, the color laser printer heats the paper to around 200 degrees Celsius. The paper then runs through in one go and is statically neutralized again by the color laser printer. The printed paper is warmed up, but you can still take it out and use it immediately.

What follow-up costs should I expect with which model?

Basically, the follow-up costs for different models only differ based on the toner costs and paper consumption. In the case of printers with duplex units or multifunction printers, however, the risk of increased follow-up costs due to the wear and tear of the additional technology increases.

The toner, fuser and imaging drum of color laser printers must be replaced at regular intervals. It is worth taking a look at the costs of the fuser unit and the imaging drum, which rarely have to be replaced, but can cause high costs after the warranty has expired.

Toners, on the other hand, like ink cartridges, have to be replaced more regularly than the rest of the consumables. Each provider indicates how many prints one toner is enough for on average. Color laser printers with low follow-up costs estimate under 10 cents per printed page, while this can increase to 25 cents per page for expensive models.

This is relatively similar for devices with duplex units or multifunctional printers, but the follow-up costs could increase if parts of the additional technology have to be replaced. If the scanner of a multifunctional device is defective, this has a not inconsiderable cost.

In contrast, printers with duplex units save a lot of paper by being able to automatically print on both sides, while multifunction printers reduce the cost of copies or scans on other devices. However, it should always be remembered that additional functions also mean additional power consumption, which can be significant if the printer is used frequently and for long periods.

Expensive vs. Cheap Printers: Which factors impact the price?

On the color laser printer market, models can sometimes be found for less than 100 dollars, while the price can also be over 300 dollars. The differences in the price range are mainly in the functions, features and performance of a color laser printer.

With regard to the functions, a distinction is made between standard color laser printers, printers with duplex printing and so-called multifunction printers. Standard printers do not have any additional functions and must be connected to the respective computer via a USB cable, so these are the cheapest to buy.

However, higher prices are set for printers with duplex printing and additional functions. Duplex printing enables automatic printing of the front and back, while multifunctional printers also allow copying, scanning and sometimes faxing. The more additional functions printers have, the more expensive they are usually.

Another important price driver is the option of wireless printing. Many of the new models include this function, which can be used to send print jobs via WiFi, NFC or certain apps, for example. Manufacturers are rewarded for this simple and convenient option accordingly.

Basically, however, it has to be mentioned that cheaper color laser printers are not always better with the same functions. Rather, cheap offers are usually associated with the fact that the follow-up costs for toner or consumables are higher.

Who are well-known manufacturers of color laser printers?

The best known manufacturer of color laser printers is probably Hewlett-Packard, better known as HP. HP developed the very first laser printer and is usually the leader in the world market for color laser printers. HP printers are characterized by high processing quality.

Canon, Epson, Dell and Kyocera are also well ahead. In recent years, the Japanese manufacturers Canon, Epson and Kyocera have focused primarily on resource-saving and environmentally friendly printing techniques combined with attractive designs. The American company Dell usually offers very cheap printers, while toners are often more expensive.

The manufacturers Brother and Samsung, on the other hand, have less market share, but they are still among the most important suppliers of laser printers. Brother printers are characterized by good workmanship in compact dimensions, while Samsung is primarily aimed at commercial customers with its extremely good print quality.

Another well-known brand of color laser printers in the office environment is Lexmark. Founded in the early 1990s, Lexmark mainly specializes in large format printers, which enjoy a very good reputation.

Which color laser printer is used where?

Color laser printers can be found everywhere today. Both in the private sector, for the home office, in offices or in industry.

Since different requirements are placed on the color laser printer depending on the needs, there are also more specific types or a specific type of color laser printer depending on the place of use.

  • Personal use: standard color laser printer, with intensive use: color laser printer with duplex unit
  • Home office / small office: color laser printer with duplex unit, multifunction color laser printer
  • Office / Industry: multifunction color laser printer, color laser printer for the office

When is it worth purchasing an office color laser printer?

Large devices are only suitable in offices and in industry if they are used intensively. If you are looking for a printer for your company, you should think about what your colleagues and you use the printer for. In the creative industry, for example, it is more likely that large, colored printouts will be required.

In an administration, however, mainly individual prints are made for correspondence. In the first case, the purchase of a color laser printer is particularly suitable for the office, in the second case a multifunction color laser printer may be sufficient.

Is a color laser printer right for me?

In principle, a color laser printer is suitable for everything. It doesn’t matter whether you want to print out texts, images, photos or graphics. Due to the long-term advantages of color laser printers, however, they are especially suitable for you if you want to print very little or a lot and you want the costs per printed page to be low.

What are the alternatives to a color laser printer?

If you are not convinced of a color laser printer for certain reasons, you can fall back on two alternatives. The first is the typical inkjet printer, which is inferior to color laser printers in most respects. An inkjet printer can only be useful for those who mainly use photo printing.

For everyone else who rarely has to print something, for example, the cheap offers from local copy shops are an alternative. Individual printouts are usually even cheaper than with your own printer

Can I use a color laser printer to print high quality photos?

Yes, today’s color laser printers also offer the option of high quality photo printing. There is special photo paper for photo printing, with which the quality of the photos can be increased. Compared to other printing technologies, the color laser printer does well when it comes to photo printing.

However, inkjet printers are still ahead of color laser printers in photo printing. Above all, users complain that photos from color laser printers do worse in terms of color depth and sharpness. However, according to our own research on the Internet, the average opinion of most users is that the quality of the photo print is high-quality and completely sufficient.

Can I also print envelopes with a color laser printer?

Commercially available envelopes with windows and overhead transparencies cannot be printed as the color laser printer works with heat and this can melt. However, there are heat-resistant foils and envelopes with heat-resistant windows that are specially made for color laser printers.

The heat-resistant films specially developed for color laser printers are compatible with every color laser printer. In the case of envelopes with or without a window, make sure that the color laser printer is suitable for printing on them. Envelopes must then be placed in a separate tray or manually fed.

With envelopes, you should also make sure that the adhesive strip used to close the envelope is covered. Otherwise, the envelopes may get stuck in the color laser printer.

Which color laser printer accessories are useful?

In principle, you need relatively few accessories for a color laser printer. All connections such as power cables or USB cables are always included in the delivery. For printers without a LAN connection that are used for several PCs, replacement cables are useful every now and then.

As for any printer, you need the right paper, of course, which can be bought in large quantities at cheap prices without any problems. For most color laser printer jobs, normal copy paper is sufficient. For special occasions, for example, special photo paper has to be bought.

Similar to inkjet printers, color laser printers also have to buy cartridges at certain intervals. The starter cartridges usually contain less toner and must therefore be replaced more quickly. A good alternative is buying suitable third-party toners.

Types of Color Laser Printers

There are basically four different types of color laser printers:

  • Standard color laser printer
  • Color laser printer with duplex printing
  • Multifunction color laser printer
  • Color laser printer for the office

Each type has different properties and functions, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Since the individual types overlap in their properties and functions, they cannot be clearly defined. This means that, for example, a duplex unit can also be built into a multifunction color laser printer.

We want to help you find the color laser printer that best suits your needs. To give you an overview of the different types, we will introduce you to the various advantages and disadvantages below and go into the individual features and functions.

Standard color laser printer: Advantages & Disadvantages

The color laser printer with standard equipment offers color printing of documents or pictures. Due to the simple functionality and operation, it is especially suitable for you if you are a beginner.

A color laser printer without additional functions is connected to the USB port on your computer via an Ethernet cable connection (also called a network cable or LAN cable). You will need to position the color laser printer near the computer from which you want to send print jobs.

You can make settings for printing on your computer. Your print job will then be sent to the printer quickly and without delay via the cable. Operation of the color laser printer itself is mostly limited to a button to switch the device on and off.

The devices are usually cheaper than variants with additional functions and are therefore particularly suitable for you if you are looking for an inexpensive entry into the world of color laser printers and the option of text or color printing is sufficient.

Advantages

  • Price-performance ratio
  • Easy handling

Disadvantages

  • No additional functions
  • No automatic two-sided printing
  • Cable connection

A disadvantage of standard color laser printers is that double-sided printing is only possible manually. In the case of double-sided printing, all front sides must first be printed, then you must remove the paper and turn it.

Then the color laser printer can print the reverse side. In addition, due to the cable connection, the printer must be positioned near the computer. The pure standard color laser printers also have no additional functions.

Color laser printer with duplex printing: Advantages & Disadvantages

The particular advantage of a color laser printer with duplex printing is that the front and back are automatically printed when printing.

To do this, the paper is drawn in again after the front has been printed and the reverse is printed. Printing the front and back saves paper and costs. So if you are printing a lot of documents, a color laser printer with a duplex function is beneficial.

Advantages

  • Automatically print on both sides
  • Low paper costs

Disadvantages

  • Higher purchase price
  • Reduced printing speed

Devices with this additional function are usually priced higher than standard color laser printers. Due to the automatic paper feed, the printing speed of the device is also reduced. This means that the printer prints fewer pages per minute than a standard color laser printer, for example.

Multifunction color laser printer: Advantages & Disadvantages

The all-in-one color laser printers are all-rounders and, depending on the model, combine different additional functions in addition to the actual color printing.

So if you want to scan, copy and fax in addition to color printing or if you want to be able to send documents to the color laser printer without cables, such a combination device is suitable for you. Many multifunction color laser printers also offer duplex printing.

Multifunctional color laser printers can be divided into different variants, each of which offers a different number of additional functions. The following terms are common:

  • 3 in 1 variant: color printing, copying and scanning possible
  • 4 in 1 variant: color printing, copying, scanning and faxing possible

Certain models offer an “automatic document feeder” (ADF) for scanning. This ensures that several pages are fed in by the color laser printer, scanned and combined into a digital file (for example a PDF document). The individual pages do not have to be placed individually on the scanner surface, as with a classic scanner.

Many color laser printers also offer the option of wirelessly sending print jobs from (1) the computer to the device or (2) scanned, digitized documents from the color laser printer to the computer

The color laser printer does not have to be close to the computer and there is one less cable to worry about. This is particularly advantageous if several users use the device. Printing from mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets is then also possible.

Wireless printing is possible via these two networks, depending on the color laser printer selected:

  • Wireless Lan (WiFi): An internet connection must be available for this function. The printer and your device must be connected to the internet. Documents can be exchanged or sent from computer and printer via the WLAN network.
  • Near Field Communication (NFC): For this function your mobile device must be equipped with an NFC function. In addition, an app from your color laser printer manufacturer must usually be installed. An exchange of data is possible here over a short distance. To do this, you need to position your device nearby or on top of the color laser printer.

In addition, some devices offer connections for additional, external storage systems such as USB sticks or SD cards. Using an integrated display on the all-in-one color laser printer, you can then select documents and images on your storage medium and have them printed out directly or store scanned content on your external storage system.

Advantages

  • Copy, scan and fax
  • Wireless (WLAN or / and NFC)
  • Connection of external storage devices
  • Multiple user access

Disadvantages

  • Higher purchase price
  • Dependence on the radio network
  • size

Since a network connection must exist for devices with wireless printing, the success of a print job depends on the stability of the network. In addition, due to their additional functions, the devices are usually significantly larger than standard color laser printers and color laser printers with duplex printing.

Color laser printer for the office: Advantages & Disadvantages

Business color laser printers for the office or industry are significantly larger than models for home use and therefore offer the possibility of more complex print jobs.

Color laser printers for offices have two printing units. It is therefore possible for both sides of a paper to be printed directly without having to feed the paper again. The printing process is therefore much faster.

The large color laser printers also often offer more storage space for paper and toner and therefore have to be refilled less often when the print volume is high. This is particularly useful in offices and in industry when there is a lot of printing.

Due to its size, paper over DIN A4 can also be printed. For example, poster printing is also possible. In addition, most office and / or industrial color laser printers include all possible functionalities of a multifunction color laser printer.

Advantages

  • Print speed
  • Storage space
  • Print on A4
  • Touch display

Disadvantages

  • acquisition cost
  • Power consumption
  • size

The color laser printers for use in the office or in industry are usually very large and consume a lot of electricity due to their many functionalities. When purchasing such a device, you can also expect significantly higher costs than the other types of color laser printer. They are therefore not suitable for home use.

Color Laser Printer: Purchase Criteria

Now we would like to introduce you to the factors that you should consider as criteria when making your purchase decision. You can use them to compare the most varied of color laser printers and decide which is best for you.

The following properties are particularly relevant for color laser printers:

  • Print resolution
  • Print speed
  • Automatic two-sided printing (duplex printing)
  • Noise
  • Installation
  • Scan / copy / fax function
  • Wireless printing
  • Support for storage devices and instant printing
  • Flexible paper management
  • Printing costs per page

You should not delimit the factors presented here from one another and base your purchase decision on the basis of a value, for example only the print resolution. First think about what you would like to use your color laser printer for and then decide which of the comparison criteria presented here are important to you.

To help you with your purchase decision, we will go into the individual comparison criteria again in the following sections. We would also like to explain why we consider the indication of printing costs per page to be a difficult factor to compare.

Print resolution

and graphics of the color laser printer. So if you attach great importance to smooth transitions and high image quality, the print resolution as a benchmark is particularly important for you.

The print resolution is measured in the unit “dpi” (dots per inch). It indicates how many dots per inch can be printed by the respective color laser printer. If a print resolution of 600 dpi is specified for a color laser printer, this means that 600 dots can be printed or accommodated on one inch.

The default value for color laser printers is 600 x 600 dpi. This means that the printer can accommodate 600 pixels lengthways and crossways over a length of 2.54 cm (one inch) each.

A high print resolution means that a particularly large number of points can be accommodated and thus an image can be printed particularly sharply. If you plan to use your color laser printer primarily for text printing, the print resolution is therefore less important. The standard value of 600 x 600 dpi ensures sharp and clean typeface.

For photo printing, some devices now also offer a resolution that is above the standard value of 600 x 600 dpi specified here. These are mostly color laser printers with an asymmetrical print resolution, which means that one of the two dpi values ​​is significantly higher while the other is lower. With some current models of color laser printers, razor-sharp printing of images or graphics is therefore already possible.

A high print resolution means better image quality, but due to the high point density, the printing speed of the color laser printer is usually reduced.

Print speed

The printing speed tells you how many pages the color laser printer can print within a certain period of time. Often this is expressed in terms of printable pages per minute.

A distinction must be made whether the printing of color pages or black / white pages is meant. Color laser printers usually produce significantly fewer colored pages within a minute than pages without color. Since the advantages of color laser printers are the sharp text printing and the lower costs in the long term, the printing speed of the black and white pages is particularly important.

In addition, there is a difference between the printing speed of simplex and duplex. If the print speed is specified for Simplex, then it is only specified how many single-sided pages a printer can print.

Duplex specifies how many front and back pages a color laser printer can print in a minute. The duplex value can only be specified if the color laser printer has a duplex unit for automatically printing the front and back. The simplex value must therefore always be assumed and compared as a comparison value.

If you print large quantities of documents or many pages or if several users access the color laser printer (such as in an office or in industry), then the printing speed is particularly important. A printer that takes a particularly long time to print out a document can delay the entire workflow.

Automatic two-sided printing (duplex printing)

The indication of whether a duplex unit is installed or not indicates whether the color laser printer can automatically print on the front and back of a paper. If you want to print large quantities, the availability of duplex printing is important for you.

As already presented for the different types of color laser printers, a duplex unit is built into some of the devices. Instead of having to manually insert paper when you want to print on both sides, the printer with duplex printing pulls the paper back in and automatically prints the reverse side. This saves time and an additional hand movement.

You should note that some color laser printers have an additional printing mechanism. This is mostly the case with the large office color laser printers. The color laser printer can then print directly on the front and back without having to pull in the paper again. This in turn increases the printing speed significantly.

Since most models with duplex printing have a higher acquisition cost, you should decide whether the function is important to you. Manual printing is always possible and sufficient for private use.

Noise

Due to the special construction and operation of color laser printers, a certain mechanical noise cannot be avoided for all models. Warming up the heater and charging the imaging drum with a negative charge already creates a certain amount of noise, after which the heat has to be removed by fans.

Workplace guidelines have set limits so most of the printers available are already within a relatively tight range of noise levels. The main recommendations for reducing the volume are to choose the correct position for the printer. This should definitely be at a certain distance from the desk.

What is much more important, however, is how quickly the respective color laser printer switches from operating to idle mode. Most printers stay ready for a certain period of time so that they do not have to heat up again. This causes a certain volume and can become uncomfortable if used for a long time.

Installation

When it comes to installing a new color laser printer, there are usually few problems. The providers want to guarantee the buyer an easy installation with as little stress as possible. There are usually two methods for doing this.

Some of the providers still supply a CD with a new purchase, which guides you through the installation and contains all the necessary drivers. After a short time the printer will be ready to print using the CD.

Most of the new color laser printers, on the other hand, no longer provide CDs, especially in view of the many laptops that no longer contain a CD drive. After connecting the printer via USB, the operating systems search independently for the respective drivers and install them automatically. This makes the installation even easier.

Scan / copy / fax function

Color laser printers with additional functions offer you, in addition to the actual printing, depending on the model, the possibility of copying, scanning or faxing documents.

Scanning or copying enables you to position documents on a glass surface above the color laser printer and have them read. If scanning and copying of documents is possible in addition to printing, a 3-in-1 variant is usually used.

The different devices then each offer different options for what you can do with your scanned document:

  • Print out a copy
  • Save on external storage device (interface must be available)
  • Send to an email address
  • Send to a computer
  • Sending to other mobile devices (e.g. cell phone or tablet)

With a 4-in-1 variant, it is also possible to fax documents. A document is sent over the telephone network to other fax machines, devices with a fax function or computers. Sending to computers is only possible if they are equipped with the necessary hardware (e.g. an ISDN card).

Wireless printing

Wireless printing allows you to send documents to and from the color laser printer. There is no need to connect a network cable to your computer and to the color laser printer.

There are various radio networks that enable wireless transmission. The well-known ones are WLAN and NFC, which were already presented under the type description of multifunction color laser printers.

However, there are other ways to transfer documents wirelessly. For this, certain software or certain apps from the respective manufacturer must be installed on your color laser printer. The software and apps have different names depending on the manufacturer and also offer a different range of functionalities.

If you prefer a certain type of wireless printing, for example via Apple AirPrint or because you do not have an NFC-enabled device via an app from the manufacturer, you should pay particular attention to the options offered by the respective device.

Support for storage devices and instant printing

With some color laser printers it is possible to connect external storage devices to an interface. Documents on the storage device can then be selected for printing via the color laser printer, or scanned documents can be saved on the storage device in the case of a multifunction color laser printer.

This function is particularly advantageous if several people have access to the color laser printer or if you yourself value the function of being able to print or save documents directly on a portable storage device.

The ability to print a document immediately in the interface can also accelerate the printing speed, as the data does not have to be transmitted to the color laser printer via radio or cable.

The interfaces available vary from device to device. It is common, however, that most color laser printers with interfaces can connect a USB device, for example a USB stick or an external hard drive.

Flexible paper management

Not all color laser printers offer the option of printing A4 paper as well as other formats such as envelopes. How flexibly the color laser printer can be used for different paper documents depends on the integrated paper management.

For example, color laser printers with paper management usually offer extra adjustable compartments for other paper formats so that they can be drawn in and printed correctly. The software or printer driver supplied by the manufacturer can then be used to select which type of paper is to be printed. This enables problem-free printing of different formats.

Should you therefore want to not only want to print documents on A4, but also cards or envelopes, for example, make sure that the color laser printer offers flexible printing of different paper formats.

Printing costs per page

In some tests and comparisons, the printing costs per page are also given. However, you should be careful with this information and a comparison across websites and tests. Since one of the main advantages of color laser printers is their long-term lower cost compared to other printing technologies, some tests of color laser printers also compare the cost of printing per page.

Usually the printing costs per page are calculated on the basis of the recommended retail price of the toner cartridges of the respective manufacturer for your device. Other sites calculate a comparative value based only on the cost of materials after a certain number of printed pages (for example, the average cost per page after 30,000 printed pages).

However, the prices of the toners vary depending on the provider and there are also cheaper alternatives to the manufacturer’s original toner cartridges. The paper used also lowers or increases the price per page. The comparison of the printing costs per page therefore depends more on the accessories than on the color laser printer itself.

When making a comparison based on this criterion, you should therefore pay attention to how the respective costs were measured. However, the criterion must be taken into account as a guideline.

Facts about Color Laser Printers

Does printing with color laser printers affect your health?

In recent years there have been repeated reports in the media about the possible harmful effects of inhaling clay particles. It is still not clear whether this is actually the case.

Color laser printers print with a fine powder (the toner) that is embedded in a toner cartridge. This toner powder contains heavy metals and other substances that are released during the printing process. The emissions are harmful to you when you inhale them. They are suspected of promoting the development of cancer and other diseases.

However, it is argued against it that modern color laser printers are heated so much during the printing process that the toxic particles simply evaporate. The dose released is too low to cause damage. To this day it is controversial whether there is a direct connection between printing with color laser printers and health problems.

We therefore recommend that you do not use your color laser printer in a room in which you are permanently or to make sure that you ventilate after printing or open the window while you are printing.

Which paper or photo paper is right for your color laser printer?

No special paper for your color laser printer is necessary for printing documents and text. However, there are different types of printer paper that differ in environmental friendliness, durability, weight and whiteness.

Standard copier paper is usually sufficient for private households. When printing photos or graphics, we recommend that you use special photo paper so that the printout has a higher quality.

Which toner cartridge is the right one for your color laser printer and what does it cost?

The composition of the cassette is adapted to the respective device. When buying a toner cartridge, you have to make sure that it is compatible with your device. The toner cartridges are available separately and cost more and less depending on the manufacturer

If the acquisition costs for a toner cartridge that is sold by the manufacturer of your color laser printer are too high for you, you can also use third-party toner cartridges. Here, too, make sure that they fit into your color laser printer.

What is the imaging drum and what does it affect?

Laser printers work with the principle of electrophotography. The image drum is a 1-2mm thick piece of aluminum pipe, which acts as a photoconductor through a layer on the surface. The image drum is electrostatically negatively charged by a high voltage source.

The print image is transferred to the image drum by exposure to a laser beam. The negative charge is canceled at the points where the laser hits the imaging drum. By rotating the image drum, the toner, which is also negatively charged, gets its negative charge through synthetic resin components.

Due to this negative charge, it adheres to the previously discharged areas of the imaging drum. Another rotation brings the toner onto the paper and the finished image is created. The imaging drum is therefore one of the decisive factors for the quality of the print.

Care and maintenance of a color laser printer

Basically, a color laser printer requires significantly less cleaning than an inkjet printer. Since dry material is used for printing, nothing can stick or dry out. Regular maintenance is therefore not absolutely necessary.

Nevertheless, a certain amount of dust accumulates inside color laser printers over time, which justifies careful cleaning at certain intervals. Before cleaning, the printer should be unplugged and allowed to cool.

For cleaning, remove the print cartridge and the paper trays as well as the take-up roller. Lint-free microfibre cloths are particularly suitable for easily accessible areas, while cotton swabs are very suitable for corners.

To clean the take-up roll, you can moisten the cloth very sparingly with water. Then you should rub the roll dry and let it dry completely. There are also special cleaning sets for laser printers.

How does the technology in the printer affect its speed?

The printing speed of a color laser printer is mainly determined by the printing technology and the data processing, whereby the differences are often very small.

In terms of printing technology, the single-pass process already dominates compared to the multi-pass technology of older models. With the multi-pass method, the paper has to run around the imaging unit as often as it contains colors. Each color is printed individually.

Most of the new models, however, already work with the single-pass technology, in which the paper only runs once around the imaging unit, since all colors can be printed at the same time.

The data preparation of the printer is closely related to the printer language used. Depending on the printer language, i.e. how a PC communicates with the printer via the printer driver, the printer or the PC handles most of the page preparation.

With the PostScript language, for example, the printer does most of the computing work, which can affect the printing speed. This is because printers usually cannot provide as much performance as computers.

In addition, the respective model version also determines the printing speed. Laser printers with duplex units often take longer because the automatic feeding of the pages for double-sided printing takes a certain amount of time. Office color laser printers, on the other hand, achieve a fast printing speed due to their high performance.

Last product update on 2021-04-10 | Source: Amazon Affiliate