12 Color Laser Printers Explored

Summary And Conclusions

As we've said in every installment of this multi-part printer buyer's guide, we continue to be amazed by the features, functions, and capabilities that relatively modest amounts of money will buy in a printer. This collection of a dozen color lasers, including two MFC units and ten straight-up printers, is certainly no exception. All of these units offer a 10/100 network interface via RJ45 as a standard feature, along with USB 2.0 for direct attachment to a single PC. Four of the units bow toward the past and include parallel interfaces as well, while Dell, HP, and Lexmark all offer wireless network interfaces as options, some with print servers. Lexmark even offers Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) interfaces for its printers as well.

Of all the units we worked with for this review, we came away most impressed when we didn't factor photo printing into our considerations. Though a couple of these printers did decent jobs at printing photographs (on plain and glossy paper), most of them don't really compare well with the kind of photo output you can get on a cheaper inkjet printer.

That observation aside, we found that text output, speed, and cost per page for output is far better on a color laser than on an inkjet. In this area, we were particularly impressed with four units: the Dell 3110cn offers a great combination of speed, features, and cost, as does the Lexmark C534n. We'd rate these as great for SOHO situations where print volume and quality are both important. On the other hand, we liked the HP Color LaserJet 2600n and the Samsung CLP-600n for their graphics and text handling capabilities, even though they are decidedly on the slow side for laser based devices Compare Prices on Color Laser Printers.

The two MFC printers - the HP Color LaserJet 2840 and the Samsung CLX-3160FN - also suffer from slow color output, but may warrant a second look for personal and SOHO users with light-duty printing needs, who also want the convenience of an all-in-one printer to handle copying and scanning as well as printing.

  • gorbehnare
    I was kind of disappointed to see this article completely ignores that these printers employ different Colour Laser printing technologies. In terms of the cost of ownership and cost of print per page different technologies make a huge difference.

    This information can be found anywhere and this article is only good as a list of products that are available in the market and nothing more.
  • exceltoner
    Thank you for info. Do you know if this printer is compatible with a Mac?

    toner cartridge
  • I Have owned the Dell 3110cn Printer for about 7 years and it has been the best, most trouble free piece of hardware I have ever purchased. I was completely fed up with dealing with clogged up inkjet printheads, and walking around with purple hands. I bought the Dell Laser for around $379.00 and the only thing that I have replaced are the toner carts, of which I am on my third set. This Printer is bullet proof, and as a bonus it prints very acceptable color photos in high quality mode. Mine has paid for itself over and over and over with zero problems.