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Inkjet vs laser printers

Top five best laser printers for 2017

By Andrew Laughlin

Article 3 of 4

Laser printers can produce high-quality prints at lightning speeds. See the best laser printers available and find the model that suits you.

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Best laser printers

Which? tests all the latest laser printers, ranging from simple, standard models only able to print, to feature-rich all-in-one machines, with copy and scan functions, too.

Whatever the type, Best Buy laser printers will turn out speedy, top quality black text letters and crisp office graphics prints that light up the page.

Despite lower running costs, laser printers tend to cost more than inkjets. So it's important you don't get stuck with a poor quality laser model - scroll down to see the laser printers we'd urge you to avoid.

In the table below, we've picked out five great monochrome laser printers (only able to print in black-and-white). If you want a laser model that can print in colour for photos or images, head to our Best colour laser printer guide.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access by taking a £1 trial to Which?.

Top five mono laser printers for 2017

Samsung Xpress M2885FW
Today's best price £182.68
Which? score 82%
Reviewed May 2016
Best Buy
Print speed:
5 out of 5
Black text quality:
5 out of 5
Print costs:
5 out of 5
Auto duplexing:
Member exclusive
Wi-fi:
Member exclusive
Three year running cost (£):
Member exclusive

This all-in-one office printer is only around the size of an average compact laser model, yet it offers the full range of print, scan, copy and fax functions. If you need a printer that can churn through pages month after month, look no further.

Samsung Xpress M2825ND
Today's best price £76.14
Which? score 80%
Reviewed Sep 2013
Best Buy
Print speed:
5 out of 5
Black text quality:
5 out of 5
Print costs:
5 out of 5
Auto duplexing:
Member exclusive
Wi-fi:
Member exclusive
Three year running cost (£):
Member exclusive

Both compact and affordable for a laser printer, this big brand machine produces fast, good quality black and white documents at a budget-friendly cost. It lacks wi-fi, but you can still print from a range of devices by using a cable to connect to your home network.

Canon i-Sensys LBP6030W
Today's best price £79.79
Which? score 75%
Reviewed Feb 2015
Best Buy
Print speed:
5 out of 5
Black text quality:
5 out of 5
Print costs:
5 out of 5
Auto duplexing:
Member exclusive
Wi-fi:
Member exclusive
Three year running cost (£):
Member exclusive

Just want to print black text letters and documents? Well, this wi-fi printer could be for you. It's one of the more compact laser printers we've tested, and with pleasingly low toner running costs and an affordable price, it'll keep you wallet happy, too.

Ricoh SP 213SUw
Today's best price £89.99
Which? score 75%
Reviewed May 2016
Best Buy
Print speed:
5 out of 5
Black text quality:
5 out of 5
Print costs:
5 out of 5
Auto duplexing:
Member exclusive
Wi-fi:
Member exclusive
Three year running cost (£):
Member exclusive

This all-in-one mono laser printer is designed to suit a home or small office. It has wi-fi connectivity and prints black text pages really quickly. Even better is that it does this while being pleasingly economical with your toner.

Samsung Xpress M2026w
Today's best price £69.19
Which? score 75%
Reviewed Aug 2015
Best Buy
Print speed:
5 out of 5
Black text quality:
5 out of 5
Print costs:
5 out of 5
Auto duplexing:
Member exclusive
Wi-fi:
Member exclusive
Three year running cost (£):
Member exclusive

Like many standard mono laser printers, this affordable machine produces text documents very quickly. The good news is that the prints are of a great quality, too. For a mono laser printer, it's very cheap to buy and running costs are low.

Not found the laser printer for you? Browse all of our laser printer reviews

And here are three laser printers to avoid 

Good laser printers are built to turn out efficient, top quality prints at an affordable cost. However, we find in our testing plenty of bad models, too. 

While bad laser printers aren't as costly to run as poor inkjets overall, they're still less efficient than Best Buy or higher scoring models. And their print quality is often mediocre, too. Better value for your money can be found elsewhere.

Three mono laser printers to avoid

HP Laserjet Pro M102a
Today's best price £68.39
Which? score 45%
Reviewed Jul 2017
Don't buy
Printing:
3 out of 5
Office graphics quality:
2 out of 5
Images with text quality:
2 out of 5
Automatic Document Feeder:
Member exclusive
Auto duplexing:
Member exclusive
Wi-fi:
Member exclusive

Sometimes it's best to be wary of an attractive price, such as with the case of this big brand laser printer. It may be affordable to buy, but you'll be left feeling short-changed by its mediocre print quality and lack of features.

Kyocera FS-1220MFP
Today's best price £79.02
Which? score 43%
Reviewed Apr 2014
Don't buy
Printing:
3 out of 5
Office graphics quality:
2 out of 5
Images with text quality:
1 out of 5
Automatic Document Feeder:
Member exclusive
Auto duplexing:
Member exclusive
Wi-fi:
Member exclusive

It’s not the worst printer we’ve tested, but not far off. It’s from a fringe brand, it lacks even basic features and, realistically, there’s no reason why you should consider it over higher-scoring alternatives.

Kyocera Ecosys P2035d
Typical price £115.00
Which? score 37%
Reviewed Aug 2015
Don't buy
Printing:
3 out of 5
Office graphics quality:
2 out of 5
Images with text quality:
1 out of 5
Automatic Document Feeder:
Member exclusive
Auto duplexing:
Member exclusive
Wi-fi:
Member exclusive

Not only does this printer look dreadful, but it functions poorly, too. Print quality is nothing to write home about, and you miss out on useful features such as wi-fi. It may be fast in terms of print speed, but that can’t save it from being a Don’t Buy.

Laser vs inkjet: which is better?

If you want sharp text prints that come through quickly, a laser printer is the way to go. While the printer itself is generally more expensive than an inkjet, the printing cost on a laser tends to be lower.

A laser printer’s toner cartridges are pricier to replace than an inkjet’s ink cartridges. But, each one can print a lot more pages, so you’ll easily get your money’s worth.

What’s more, few inkjets can match a laser for speed or high-quality text. Black-and-white laser printers start from around £40, while a colour laser printer or a multi-function, all-in-one printer, with scan and copying features, will cost you upwards of £60.

Sharp text, rapid print speeds and fast colour prints are all hallmarks of a great laser printer, but look for additional features, such as double-sided printing or multiple print trays. These features will cost you more, but if you need to print a lot of long documents or flip between printing on plain and headed paper they can save you time and money.

Why our laser printer reviews are different

We don’t take the manufacturers’ word when it comes to printer running costs. Instead, we run our own independent tests to see how many pages we can print from a toner cartridge. 

We don’t ignore the other practicalities, either. As well as looking at how quickly each laser printer can print black-and-white or colour pages, we find out how easy it is to install new cartridges or load the paper, and look at other everyday tasks. We even test whether printed text smudges when marked with a highlighter pen. 

In our testing, we print long text documents, along with graphs, charts and photos, then assess and rate the prints for colour accuracy (for colour printers), sharpness, overall print quality and also speed.

Slow laser printers take more than three times as long as the best printers to churn out complex pages with lots of graphics, and the quality is rarely worth the wait.

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