Best color laser printers for 2024: tested and reviewed


HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP 4301fdw

HP Color LaserJet Pro 4301fdw

Best all-in-one color laser printer


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HP LaserJet Pro MFP M182nw

HP LaserJet Pro MFP M182nw

Best deal on a color laser printer


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Canon Color imageCLASS MF733Cdw

Canon imageClass MF753cdw

Best color laser printer for small business


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Brother MFC-L3720CDW Color Laser
Brother MFC‐L8905CDW Business Color Laser All‐in‐One Printer

Brother MFC‐L8905CDW

Best all-in-one scalable laser printer for offices


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Canon imageClass MF654cdw
HP Color LaserJet Enterprise MFP M480f

HP Color LaserJet Enterprise MFP M480f

Best color laser printer for medium-sized businesses


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The best color laser printers are a great investment, saving you quite a bit of time and money. Given the high cost of replacing cartridges in inkjet printers, you’ll find color laser printers surprisingly affordable. Laser printers use toner, which lasts a long time, delivering a low cost per page for monochrome documents and fast color prints. The best color laser printers offer quick performance and reliability to help keep your home office or small business productive.

If you need to scan documents for record-keeping and photo capture or want the convenience of a color copier, an all-in-one color laser printer is an essential tool for your small business or personal use. For a small added cost, you get expanded capabilities. That’s why every model on this list is an all-in-one from the best printer brands.

Quick Overview

  • HP Color LaserJet Pro 4301fdw: Best all-in-one color laser printer
  • HP LaserJet Pro MFP M182nw: Best deal on color laser printer
  • Canon imageClass MF753Cdw: Best color laser printer for small business
  • Brother MFC-L3720CDW: Best Brother laser printer for photos
  • Canon imageClass MF654Cdw: Best budget color laser printer
  • Brother MFC‐L8905CDW: Best all-in-one scalable laser printer for offices
  • HP Color LaserJet Enterprise MFP M480f: Best color laser printer for medium-sized businesses

Why you should trust us

Digital Trends has been reviewing printers for 20 years and testing them to determine which offer the best quality and fastest speeds. We check the long-term value of each printer, so you’ll know in advance if a low-cost printer is truly affordable or if it has outrageous toner costs.

Printers are complex machines that require a good understanding of the technology to make a solid recommendation. Reviews also highlight problems with compatibility and other details that can become deal breakers when you depend on particular features.

Key considerations while selecting the best color laser printer for you

There are several key factors to consider when choosing a color laser printer. Purchase price matters, but long-term costs can add up quickly. Review the entire list to find the perfect printer.

Print quality and color fidelity

If you’re choosing color, you need more than a hard copy — you want your document to look great. You still need razor-sharp text, but it’s essential for colors to match what you see on-screen and in photos without banding or streaks.

Speed and economy

A laser printer should be fast and efficient with low running costs. Otherwise, you should choose a more versatile and lower-cost inkjet printer.

Special features

All-in-one printers include scan, copy, and sometimes fax functions, filling multiple roles in your office. Many printers offer duplex printing (double-sided), an automatic document feeder (ADF), multiple paper trays, Wi-Fi connectivity, and walk-up printing. These details could be critically important when making a purchase decision.

hp color laserjet pro 4301fdw review the is sturdy super fast

Alan Truly / Digital Trends

HP Color LaserJet Pro 4301fdw

Best all-in-one color laser printer

Pros

  • Lightning fast print and scan speeds
  • Good print quality
  • Two paper trays
  • Easy setup and use
  • Reliable operation

Cons

  • Color cost per page is just OK
  • No borderless printing

Why you should buy this: It’s a modern, eco-friendly color laser printer with great speed and quality.

Who’s it for: Home offices and small businesses that need documents printed quickly.

Why we picked the HP Color LaserJet Pro 4301fdw:

With blistering fast print and scan speeds, the HP Color LaserJet Pro 4301fdw makes short work of challenging jobs. It prints 35 pages per minute (ppm) for monochrome and color documents and scans with its ADF at 31 ppm.

Color documents look great and photos come out nice even on plain paper. A USB port allows walk-up printing via a thumb drive, making the LaserJet Pro 4301fdw an excellent all-in-one printer for home and office.

HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP 4301fdw

HP Color LaserJet Pro 4301fdw

Best all-in-one color laser printer

HP LaserJet Pro MFP M182nw rests beside a stack of printed documents.
HP LaserJet Pro MFP M182nw rests beside a stack of printed documents.

HP

HP LaserJet Pro MFP M182nw

Best deal on a color laser printer

Pros

  • Low price makes this color laser printer a great value
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi provides quick connection and good speed
  • Large, easy-access control panel

Cons

  • Lack an automatic document feeder
  • Small, two-line display

Why you should buy this: It’s a great bargain on an HP color laser printer.

Who it’s for: Anyone upgrading from an inkjet printer for more speed and durability.

Why we picked the HP LaserJet Pro MFP M182nw:

An HP color laser printer usually costs a lot more than this. HP is recognized as one of the most popular brands for rugged and durable laser printers, so you know a LaserJet will have good quality and long-lasting value.

The HP LaserJet Pro MFP M182nw outputs the first page in 11.6 seconds and has sustained print speeds of up to 17 ppm. That’s not superfast for a laser printer, but doubles or triples the color document speed of most inkjets. Combined with budget pricing, this is a good introduction to laser printers for anyone who has used only inkjet printers so far.

Setup should be quick and easy with the HP Smart mobile app, or you can connect the LaserJet Pro MFP M182nw directly to a Windows PC or Mac. HP quality is rarely this cheap.

With integrated scanning and copying, this will work nicely for a home office to take the burden off your inkjet printer.

HP LaserJet Pro MFP M182nw

HP LaserJet Pro MFP M182nw

Best deal on a color laser printer

Canon Color imageCLASS MF753Cdw all-in-one laser appears on white.

Canon

Canon imageClass MF753cdw

Best color laser printer for small business

Pros

  • Superfast print and scan speeds
  • Good print quality
  • Two paper trays
  • Easy setup and use
  • Reliable operation

Cons

  • Color cost per page is just OK
  • No borderless printing

Why you should buy this: Great color print quality in a multifunctional printer.

Who it’s for: Small businesses who needs to print or copy documents and graphics quickly.

Why we picked the Canon imageClass MF753Cdw:

Laser printers are known to be fast and rugged, and the Canon imageClass MF753Cdw fits this description well. This printer is built for speed and durability, blasting through big jobs at up to 35 pages-per-minute. Picture quality is surprisingly nice for a laser printer, with accurate colors and minimal grain. The imageClass MF753Cdw is hard to beat for an office that needs to make or reproduce color documents that feature graphics and photos.

Canon’s imageClass MF753Cdw matches the fastest color lasers and offers full-duplex printing, copying, and one-pass duplex scanning from its 50-sheet document feeder. If your business outgrows the 250-sheet paper tray, you can add a 550-sheet cassette to expand capacity.

The only downside to the imageClass MF753Cdw is the somewhat high cost of color toner, a common issue with color laser printers.

Canon Color imageCLASS MF733Cdw

Canon imageClass MF753cdw

Best color laser printer for small business

Brother MFC-L3720CDW product shot on white

Brother

Brother MFC-L3720CDW

Best Brother laser printer for photos

Pros

  • Solid print quality for text and photos
  • Mobile and wireless printing support
  • Great choice for home offices

Cons

  • No auto-duplexing capabilities
  • Toner can be expensive

Why you should buy this: You’ll get full-color laser prints quickly at an affordable price.

Who’s it for: Home and small office customers with moderate print volume needs.

Why we picked the Brother MFC-L3720CDW:

Color laser printers aren’t cheap. This affordable Brother makes a great addition to a home office or small business. It has many of the same features as more expensive models, like its 3.7-inch touchscreen for easy access to functions and a 250-sheet tray that lets you print more without replacing paper.

With a numeric pad for faxing, fast single-sided scanning, and quick copying, this printer is ready to help make your workday easier. It’s a large, heavy printer that’s designed to last a long time.

If you like the look of this printer, but need duplex scanning and copying, Brother’s MFC-L3780CDW offers super-fast single-pass scanning of multiple double-sided documents in its automatic document feeder for about $100 more.

Brother MFC-L3720CDW Color Laser

Brother MFC-L3720CDW

Best Brother laser printer for photos

Brother MFC‐L8905CDW appears on a white background.
Brother MFC‐L8905CDW appears on a white background.

Brother

Brother MFC‐L8905CDW

Best all-in-one scalable laser printer for offices

Pros

  • Fast print speeds
  • Duplexing supported
  • Economical operating costs

Cons

  • Large size takes up space

Why you should buy this: Brother’s MFC‐L8905CDW delivers fast printing speeds and long-lasting supplies at affordable operating costs.

Who it’s for: Small and medium-sized businesses.

Why we picked the Brother MFC‐L8905CDW :

The Brother MFC‐L8905CDW features ultra-high yield toner cartridges that supply up to 9,000 monochrome pages and 8,000 color pages, so you rarely need to interrupt a busy workday. An optional 500 sheet paper tray expands the onboard capacity of 250 sheets in the main tray and 50 sheets in the multi-purpose tray.

Print speeds of up to 33 ppm make short work of long documents and extra copies. This sturdy business printer offers duplex for fax, scan, copy, and print functions and can connect to any device with Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or USB. A USB port allows walk-up operation with a thumb drive, while an NFC reader limits access to authorized personnel.

The Brother MFC‐L8905CDW has a recommended duty cycle of 4,000 pages per month but it can handle printing up to 60,000 pages in a month. For such a rugged printer, Brother didn’t skimp on convenience features. The seven-inch color touchscreen can be customized with up to 64 shortcuts to speed up frequent operations.

Brother MFC‐L8905CDW Business Color Laser All‐in‐One Printer

Brother MFC‐L8905CDW

Best all-in-one scalable laser printer for offices

Canon imageClass MF654cdw product shot on white background.
Canon imageClass MF654cdw product shot on white background.

Alan Truly / Digital Trends

Canon imageClass MF654Cdw

Best budget color laser printer

Pros

  • Bargain price
  • Great print quality
  • Fast performance
  • Good photo quality
  • Media tray for easy envelope printing

Cons

  • No duplex scanning
  • High color toner cost

Why you should buy this: It’s the best budget-friendly option for home offices

Who it’s for: Home offices.

Why we picked the Canon imageClass MF654Cdw

If all you need is a printer that’s fast, reliable, and has great quality at an affordable price, Canon’s imageClass MF654Cdw offers great value. On sale, it can be found as low as $300, a great bargain for a color laser printer with great color graphics quality. With a slight tweak to settings, you can set photos to print at 1200 dots-per-inch, resulting in good plain paper pictures.

At 22 pages-per-minute, it’s not the fastest color laser printer, but it works well for standard-size documents. The 5-inch color touchscreen and USB-A port on the front makes walk-up printing simple.

Canon imageClass MF654cdw

Canon imageClass MF654Cdw

Best budget color laser printer

HP Color LaserJet Enterprise MFP M480f on a white background.

HP

HP Color LaserJet Enterprise MFP M480f

Best color laser printer for medium-sized businesses

Pros

  • Compact size with loaded features
  • Solid security features
  • Smartphone app support

Cons

  • Higher than average cost-per-page print costs

Why you should buy this: HP’s Color LaserJet Pro MFP M480f is a speedy all-in-one printer that’s designed for printing and digital document archiving with intuitive support for cloud storage.

Who it’s for: Small businesses that need a speedy color laser printer.

Why we picked the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M480f:

Workgroups and businesses that don’t have much office space to spare to house a large printer will appreciate HP’s Color LaserJet Pro MFP M480f. The MFP M480f adds multifunctional features that will help with your office’s document needs, including a built-in flatbed scanner, automatic document feeder, and duplexing capabilities. The M480f is a well-rounded multifunction printer that can still output up to 29 ppm in black and white or color.

This speedy but compact number has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low-Energy, and mobile printing is supported across a number of devices and platforms. The big limiting factor on this printer is its small 250-sheet paper input tray, though larger offices with bigger print jobs can upgrade to the optional 550-sheet tray. Duplexing is supported to help save paper and the environment. A front-facing USB port makes it easy to print from a storage drive. The printer can print from or scan to a variety of cloud providers, making it easy for digital document archiving. Businesses on a limited print budget can invest in high-yield toner cartridges for a lower per-page print cost.

HP Color LaserJet Enterprise MFP M480f

HP Color LaserJet Enterprise MFP M480f

Best color laser printer for medium-sized businesses

Frequently Asked Questions

Color laser printers versus inkjet printers: what’s best?

Laser printers are better for text documents, as they produce crisp text even at small font sizes. Over time, they are also cheaper to run than cartridge-based inkjets. However, laser printers require a larger initial investment. If you don’t print very often, a cheap inkjet printer could make more sense and it may take a long time before its higher operational costs catch up to the higher initial cost of a laser printer. For smaller print jobs, the faster pages-per-minute rate of a laser printer also won’t be much of an advantage.

If you’re looking to save money in the long term and need to print pictures, check out inkjet solutions that rely on tanks for ink rather than cartridges. Since the tanks are refillable with bottled ink, tank printers cost much less than color toner for laser printers. Not only will tanks be better for the environment through less waste, but they will save you money for larger print jobs. That’s why tank printers rank highly on our list of the best inkjet printers.

Laser printers are still more durable, reducing maintenance costs if you print at high volume. Lasers generally offer faster printing speeds, saving time on large print jobs. That’s why businesses often choose laser printers. Some inkjet printers, like the Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850 are nearly as fast as lasers.

Beyond print quality, inkjet photo printers can also handle a wider variety of paper types and sizes compared to laser printers. Some very large inkjets are available that can print posters and banners. A color laser printer will handle inline photos and graphics in documents just fine. Most modern color laser printers, especially those made for small offices, will be able to handle standard sizes and types of print jobs, from standard documents to labels and card stock.

While color laser printers have gotten much better at handling photographs, if you’re looking to make detailed, color-accurate photographic prints to hang on your wall, display in a gallery, or sell to customers, a high-end inkjet photo printers is still the way to go (or simply outsource the work to a photo lab).

Do color laser printers come with Wi-Fi or AirPrint support?

Yes. As with inkjet printers, wireless connectivity has become standard on color laser printers. That means you can use Apple AirPrint for your iPhone and iPad with nearly any printer, and Android’s print service is equally adept at connecting. There are more details about mobile use below.

You can also use Wi-Fi to print and scan with Windows and macOS. However, if you use a Linux computer or want to print from a Chromebook, check the manufacturer’s page to confirm the printer is compatible with your system.

How can I print from my iPad, iPhone, or Android device?

Color laser printers support Apple AirPrint, making it easy to print from an iPad or iPhone to a printer on your Wi-Fi network. Android phones and tablets can also connect to Wi-Fi printers quickly and easily.

For scanning, maintenance, and other specific features, you will need to install the manufacturer’s mobile app from Apple’s App Store or Google Play. The mobile app will often provide more options for quality, input tray, and paper size and type.

How often will I have to buy toner?

This depends on how much you print. Toner cartridges often have yields of 2,000 pages or more (check the specifications of your printer for your model’s specific yield). For light home use, that means many people could easily go a year or more without replacing toner. For office use, the replacement interval will be shorter, but toner could still last a few months.

How can I save money on toner?

The first step is to print efficiently; that is, double-check your page layout settings and make sure everything is correct before you hit that print button. You can also save money by preventing wasted color toner by setting a black and white printer as the default.

When it is time to reorder, you can save money by buying third-party toner cartridges. However, buying third-party toner likely isn’t recommended by your printer’s manufacturer, but so long as you make sure it’s compatible with your printer, it should work just fine. However, some printers, like the HP model above, look for a toner that uses a special chip identifying it as original equipment. HP warns that while some other cartridges may work today, they may not in the future.

Can I buy a color laser printer with built-in fax?

Yes. Many all-in-one laser printers can scan, copy, and fax documents. If you’re doing a lot of faxing, copying, or scanning, be sure to choose a printer with an automatic document feeder (ADF), and if you want to do double-sided scans and double-sided prints, a model that has a duplex ADF and duplex printing will be best. Double-sided prints can also help save money if cost is a concern. Note that not all all-in-ones — also called multifunction printers — have fax modems, so be sure to check the specs before you buy. If you need a multifunction printer, be sure to check out our best picks for all-in-one printers.

How do you test color printers?

To find the best color laser printers, we factor in criteria such as speed, price, maintenance costs, and any unique features that help them one-up the competition.

Our selections are based on our long- and short-term testing; experience with earlier models; familiarity with the company’s technologies; consultation with industry experts, fellow journalists, and users; online forums; lab results; and other third-party reviews. We look across the board — not just at our own experiences — to find consensus on what we think are the best-performing printers you can currently buy. We also look at list pricing to determine if a product is worth the cost. We will even recommend printers that aren’t new, provided the features are still best-in-class.

The printer market evolves constantly, with manufacturers either introducing better models with new features or basic upgrades. So, you can expect our picks to change as well. But don’t worry — the models you see here will be with you for some time, and if we anticipate better models on the horizon, we will state that upfront to help you decide whether you should buy now or wait.

Which is the best color laser printer for home use?

When searching for a color laser printer for home use, you probably don’t want a 100-pound beast meant to survive the rigors of a shared work environment.

A compact, budget-friendly color laser might be ideal. Printing photos is a common use for home printers and some models have decent quality even on plain paper.

Is a laser printer good for color?

The first laser printers were monochrome, but most manufacturers offer several color laser printers that provide great quality for color documents.

However, some handle photos better than others. For photographic-quality color pictures, it’s hard to beat an inkjet printer that’s optimized for photos.

Are laser printers being phased out?

Laser printers will continue to be manufactured for the foreseeable future. However, there are some concerns about their environmental impact.

Epson, for example, is phasing out laser printers worldwide by 2026, citing the significant energy required to generate enough heat to fuse toner onto paper.

Meanwhile, HP has found ways to make laser printers more eco-friendly by altering toner formulations and improving efficiency.

What kind of paper can color laser printers use?

You can use paper labeled as compatible with laser printers, but color laser printers work well with multipurpose and even inexpensive recycled paper. Standard sizes and weights are fine and some laser printers can handle heavy card stock and unusual paper sizes. Check the manufacturer specifications if you need to print on paper that is thicker or larger than normal.

Since laser toner fuses to the paper, the only other restriction is that the paper can withstand high heat. That means inkjet paper might not be compatible with a laser printer. While most inkjet printers require expensive coated paper to get the best results, even a low-cost color laser can print nice color graphics and acceptable photos.

Since color laser printers work with ordinary paper, that lowers the cost per page a bit. That said, you can find glossy paper for laser printers, but it’s not as common.

How can I prevent banding in color laser photo prints?

While inkjet printers can blend ink droplets for a wide range of colors, the waxy toner of a laser printer offers a limited palette of colors. The result is banding in regions of similar colors with subtle gradations.

For example, photos with large swaths of blue sky are difficult for color laser printers. The easiest way to prevent banding is to select a different photo. However, that’s not always possible.

If your heart is set on a particular picture, there’s a way to reduce banding with a little photo editing. Load the image into a photo editor and apply a little noise with a filter or effect. It might take some trial and error, but it’s usually possible to reduce banding without making the picture too noisy.

If you find our top picks aren’t the right fit for your specific needs, there are other color laser and other printer types that are worth checking out. If you’d like a top-rated printer that can match the quality of the best scanners, or you simply just need a more affordable model, be sure to take a look at some of the all-around best printers on the market.

If you’re looking for additional savings, check out our guides to the best cheap printer deals and best laser printer deals available now.

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