Home > Computers & Electronics > All-in-One Printers > Best Laser All-in-One Printers

Best Laser All-in-One Printers

By: Amy Livingston on June 20, 2018

Monochrome laser all-in-one printers: Fast and reliable

Do you want to print only black-and-white documents? Get a laser printer, experts advise.

Laser printers free you from many of the headaches that go hand-in-hand with inkjet technology. Sluggish print speeds, constantly running out of ink, nozzles that clog and require repeated cleaning cycles if you don't print regularly — you'll never suffer any of these again. Price is no longer a deal breaker: Some monochrome laser printers now cost no more than a color inkjet, both up front and in the long run. If photo printing is important to you, consider an inkjet all-in-one printer (covered elsewhere in this report), but for black-and-white documents, it's simply no contest.

Our sources point to the HP LaserJet Pro MFP M426fdw (Est. $300) as the best overall performer in this class. It earned an Editors' Choice award from PCMag in 2016, and a version of this printer (see below) is currently recommended by Consumer Reports. It also receives solid ratings from owners at Amazon and Best Buy.

This all-in-one laser printer includes print, scan, copy, and fax functions. It has an auto duplex mode, allowing you to print, scan, and copy two-sided images quickly, and a 50-sheet ADF (automatic document feeder). It comes with two paper trays for paper of different sizes, from a 3-by-5 card up to legal-size paper. It can connect to your computer or mobile device with either wired or wireless technology, including Near Field Communication, or NFC. If you want to save a few dollars and don't need wireless connectivity, the HP LaserJet Pro MFP M426fdn (Est. $270) lacks that, but is otherwise the same printer.

Consumer Reports tests the M426fdn version and found it very good on most metrics. It prints fast, churning out text pages at the rate of 21.5 pages per minute (ppm). Quality is very good for printed text, scans, and copies, and it uses very little toner for maintenance. Toner cost is low, too, at only 3.2 cents per printed page. Overall, this AIO printer should cost you around $550 over its first two years.

The main weakness of the HP LaserJet Pro MFP M426fdw is its image quality. Consumer Reports says that while text prints well, graphics in grayscale look "only fair" – and, like other monochrome laser MFPs, it's no use at all for printing photos. M. David Stone of PCMag takes a small shot at its text printing, saying it's "at the low end of the range" for a black-and-white laser printer -- before adding: "but it's easily good enough for most business use."

Despite these quibbles, most users are happy with the HP LaserJet Pro MFP M426fdw. It earns 4.3 stars from roughly 300 owners at Amazon and 4.6 stars from over 200 owners at Best Buy. They say it's easy to set up and use, prints fast, and is thrifty with toner – and most of them are satisfied with its quality for both printing and scanning.

However, there are a few complaints about reliability. Users report a variety of problems that cause the printer to stop working within a few months after purchase, and they find HP's customer service less than helpful. A Consumer Reports survey shows that HP laser printers have a middling record for reliability overall, with 8% of owners saying theirs broke down within the first three years. The reader survey at PCMag found similar results, giving HP an exactly average overall score of 8.1 points out of 10.

If $300 for a printer is more than your budget can handle, you can get the speed of a laser printer for less with the Canon imageCLASS MF244DW (Est. $145). This laser MFP doesn't include a fax function like the HP LaserJet Pro MFP M426fdw, and it doesn't support NFC. However, it has many of the other features found on the HP printer, including a 35-sheet ADF and a second paper tray. It can print in duplex mode, but it can't scan or copy two-sided sheets automatically like the HP.

In Consumer Reports' tests, this Canon AIO isn't quite as fast as the HP, but it still puts out a respectable 18.5 ppm. Text, scan, and copy quality are all good, and the graphics quality actually exceeds that of the pricier HP printer. Toner is a little bit pricier at 4.1 cents per page, but the lower purchase price of the unit itself more than makes up for it. Over the course of three years, this Canon AIO will cost you only around $240 to own – less than the initial purchase price of the HP.

We found over 175 reviews for the Canon imageCLASS MF244DW at Amazon, with a respectable overall rating of 4.3 stars out of 5. Owners say it produces high-quality prints quickly at a low cost per page, and most of them find it easy to set up. However, some owners are miffed that it can't scan two-sided sheets. Also, like the HP printer, it gets a few complaints about durability and mechanical glitches. Canon's overall rating for reliability in Consumer Reports isn't quite as good as HP's, with 10 percent of owners saying their laser printers broke won in the first three years. However, Canon owners surveyed by PCMag give the brand the same overall score as HP.

Color laser all-in-one printers: Full color without the inkjet hassle

For laser convenience in living color, reviews recommend the HP Color LaserJet Pro M477fdw (Est. $630). Ben Keough of Wirecutter recommends it as "a worthy step up for home offices and small businesses" that need the speed and convenience of a laser printer. Testers at Consumer Reports also give it high marks for speed and convenience, though they're not convinced its performance justifies its price. It also gets mostly strong feedback from owners on retail sites.

Geared toward small-office or workgroup use, the HP Color LaserJet Pro M477fdw has a 250-sheet main paper tray, 50-sheet multipurpose tray, and 50-sheet ADF. HP says it can print 50,000 pages per month (max), but recommends keeping it to 4,000 per month on a regular basis. Handy features include cloud connectivity, a duplexer, a touch screen, and an easy-access USB port to make copies, scans or prints from a thumb drive. It carries a one-year warranty.

Keogh says the M477fdw can do anything a good color inkjet can do, only faster. It can print text pages at a blazing 27 sheets per minute, even over Wi-Fi, and can scan 24 images per minute. It also produces sharper text and crisper graphics than Wirecutter's top-rated inkjet, though the colors aren't quite as vibrant. Still, more important for a small office, it's "up and printing just a couple seconds after you press print," rather than taking several minutes to emerge from slumber.

However, results in Consumer Reports' tests aren't quite as impressive; it prints text at only 15.8 ppm, and its text and graphics quality are good but not great. Also, while you can print photos on this machine, they won't look anywhere near as good as on a high-quality inkjet.

Color toner for the M477fdw costs a pretty penny; a full set of high-yield cartridges can cost more than the printer itself. Fortunately, you get a lot of pages for your money. Back-and-white text pages cost about 2.4 cents each – on par with a mono laser – and color pages between 12 and 16 cents.

User reviews for the HP Color LaserJet Pro M477fdw are generally positive. It gets a 4.5-star overall rating from owners at B&H Photo, but only 3.9 stars out of 5 at Amazon. Owners on both sites say that the printer is fast and quiet, and that it produces good images with clear color. However, some users have run into variety of glitches with this machine: it loses its wireless connection, prints out garbled text, and scans in pages off center. And, like owners of the HP LaserJet Pro MFP M426fdw, they're not thrilled with HP's customer service.

Our runner-up in this category, the Brother MFC-9130CW (Est. $290), doesn't get a ton of expert feedback, but home and small business users are smitten with this money-saving little workhorse. It gets solid feedback at Amazon, Best Buy, and B&H Photo.

PCMag is one of the few experts to look at this Brother AIO. Tony Hoffman gives it 3 stars out of 5, calling it a "value priced" MFP that's "best for small offices with occasional need for color printing." It prints more slowly than the HP, producing 6.5 ppm of mixed office documents in Hoffman's tests. Text looks very nice indeed, Hoffman says, but graphics don't dazzle like the HP's. Hoffman calls them "fine for in-house business use" but says he'd hesitate to "pass them to clients I was seeking to impress."

This pared-down model lacks two of the HP's pricier frills: There's no duplexer, and no walk-up printing from a USB stick. However, it does include a fax function, a touch screen, a generous 250-sheet main paper tray, a 35-sheet ADF, and single-sheet manual feed. You can print wirelessly from your computer, smartphone, or tablet, or use the high-speed USB port. The MFC-9130CW can print 30,000 pages per month (max), but Brother recommends no more than 1,500 pages per month normally. Brother's reliability record is stellar, and the company backs the printer with a one-year warranty.

We found more than 2,000 owner-written reviews for the Brother MFC-9130CW, with overall ratings between 4 and 4.5 stars out of 5. Despite Hoffman's reservations about print quality, most owners say it prints both text and images well, with good color quality. They also like its speed and economical toner use – though users warn you must make sure to set it to black-and-white if you don't want it to use colored ink for everything. We saw a few complaints about mechanical glitches, but fewer than for most all-in-one printers.

Elsewhere In This Report
Recently Updated
All-in-One Printers buying guide

What every best All-in-One Printers has:

Read More »

Learn More »