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Best Laser All-in-One Printers

By: Tara Tuckwiller on June 29, 2017

Mono laser all-in-one printers: Thrifty and reliable

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

Laser printers get rid of many of the headaches that go hand-in-hand with inkjet technology. Overpriced ink, constantly running out of ink, clogged nozzles that permanently ruin your printer if you don't print regularly, sluggish print speeds -- you'll never suffer any of these again. Price isn't an issue: Monochrome laser printers now cost about the same as inkjets, and they're cheaper to use in the long run. If photo printing is important to you, look elsewhere, but for black-and-white documents, it's simply no contest.

So, which laser all-in-one is the most blissfully headache-free? Again, it's no contest. Brother printers rule this category, year after year. Brother stands alone at the pinnacle of PCMag.com's 2016 Readers' Choice Awards (it has won for eight years straight), where readers rate it more reliable than any other printer brand.

Specifically, the Brother MFC-L2740DW (Est. $200) is recommended in reviews more often than any other all-in-one printer, period. In fact, it's the only one that's top-rated by owners at every retail website we checked -- a testament to its real-world dependability.

That's really the key difference. Performance-wise, there's not much to separate one mono laser all-in-one printer from another. In one major test, experts exhaustively tested 17 models, from six different brands, and recommended every single one. Text quality, scan quality, print speed, ease of use -- all were judged very good or excellent, and the Brother MFC-L2740DW is no exception.

Graphics could look better, expert testers agree, but they look fine for school reports or internal business use. ComputerShopper.com's David English consistently got slight horizontal streaks on his printed graphics from the Brother MFC-L2740DW, although this didn't happen in other tests.

Photos, of course, are a non-starter, as with any mono laser printer. "Photo quality is good enough to print recognizable images from photos on Web pages, but nothing more demanding than that," says M. David Stone at PCMag.com.

Speed is fast -- 9.2 pages per minute (ppm) of mixed PDFs, spreadsheets, PowerPoint and text documents in tests at ComputerShopper.com and PCMag.com -- and the Brother MFC-L2740DW whips out text-only pages at a brisk 16.7 ppm in another test.

Cost-to-own is about average for an all-in-one printer in this price range; text pages cost about 3.2 cents each in a leading test. Unlike many printers, the Brother MFC-L2740DW comes with a full-size drum unit -- not a short-lived "starter" drum -- that will last through your first 12,000 pages, ComputerShopper.com points out.

Features are where the Brother MFC-L2740DW really shines -- notably, its elegant single-pass duplex copying, scanning and faxing, its "most impressive feature ... by a long shot," English says. "Translation: It can capture both sides of a document passing through the ADF [automatic document feeder] at once, saving you time." Rival all-in-one printers slowly duplex in a more cumbersome, herky-jerky fashion, by scanning one side of a page, spitting it out, flipping it over, and then scanning the other side.

You can print either wired or wirelessly, with Wi-Fi, Ethernet and USB connections, with your computer, smartphone or tablet. You can also scan to or print directly from cloud sites (including Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, OneDrive and more).

Generous paper capacity (250-sheet main tray, single-sheet manual feed and 35-sheet ADF for up to legal size paper), a touch screen, letter-size flatbed and healthy monthly duty cycle (10,000 pages max, recommended up to 2,000 pages normally) make the Brother MFC-L2740DW suitable as a heavy-duty home office or shared workgroup all-in-one printer. It comes with a one-year warranty and free phone support for the life of the unit.

For smaller budgets, consider the cheaper Brother MFC-L2700DW (Est. $130). It's the same all-in-one printer minus a few features: There's no touchscreen, no direct-to-cloud access, and a regular duplexer instead of the fancy one. Print quality is identical however, and it earns equally glowing reviews from owners, too.

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. $385). "If you've grown exasperated with your inkjet AIO's failings, it should hit the sweet spot," says Ben Keough at TheWirecutter.com. Owners agree, awarding it high ratings at retail sites.

Like their black-and-white brethren, color laser all-in-one printers are a pretty capable bunch. All speedily crank out great-looking graphics, text, scans and copies in one major test of 10 color laser all-in-ones that included the HP M477fdw. However, the M477fdw packs more features than most: It's "the best deal we could find that was capable of doing all the same stuff as a $200 inkjet (duplex scanning, duplex printing, ADF, and the like)," Keough says.

Color toner costs a pretty penny, but the M277dw's high-yield cartridges soften the blow a little. With that cartridge, black-and-white text pages cost 2.2 cents each (on par with a mono laser) and color pages, 13.6 cents. Overall, experts say you'll spend $120 per year to run the printer -- typical for a color laser.

Handy features abound. "This MFP is equipped with just about every productivity and convenience feature available," says William Harrel at ComputerShopper.com. The M477fdw has cloud connectivity; a duplexer; touch screen; walk-up USB port to make copies, scans or prints from a thumb drive; and Harrel's favorite, "a 50-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) that supports single-pass auto-duplex scanning. Translation: The scanner can feed pages and, if they are double-sided, capture both sides at the same time. "

Speed is outstanding. "This LaserJet Pro is fast," Harrel says, with mixed office documents churning out at 10.6 pages per minute (ppm). In another test, text prints at a brisk 15.8 ppm.

Few find much to grouse about when it comes to print quality. Fabulous-looking printouts deliver text "very near to typesetter-quality," Harrel says, and presentation-quality graphics ready to impress clients. Bottom line: "You'll never have to worry about the quality," Keough says.

Geared toward small-office or workgroup use, the HP Color LaserJet Pro M477fdw has a 250-sheet main paper tray, 50-sheet multipurpose tray, 50-sheet ADF and letter-size flatbed. HP says it can print 50,000 pages per month max, but recommends keeping it to 4,000 per month on a regular basis. It carries a one-year warranty.

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 good feedback at Amazon.com, BestBuy.com and BHPhotoVideo.com.

PCMag.com is one of the few experts to look at this Brother AIO. Tony Hoffman reports that "it's a good, cost-effective MFP [multifunction printer] for an office with an occasional need for color printing."

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. Printing runs more slowly (6.5 ppm of mixed office documents). Text looks very nice indeed, Hoffman says, but graphics don't dazzle like the HP's.

"Graphics are fine for in-house business use, including PowerPoint handouts, though I'd be hesitant to pass them to clients I was seeking to impress," Hoffman says. But plenty of users disagree. Teachers, college students, home business owners and small business owners leaving user reviews largely say that the Brother meets their needs perfectly.

Handy features include a touch screen, generous 250-sheet main paper tray, 35-sheet ADF and single-sheet manual feed. You can print wirelessly, or from your smartphone or tablet, besides the Ethernet and USB ports for wired hookups. The MFC-9130CW can print 30,000 pages per month max, but Brother recommends 1,500 pages per month normally. Brother's reliability record is stellar, and the company backs its all-in-one printers with a one-year warranty, with free phone support for the life of the product.

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