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How To Pick The Right Laser Printer For Your Needs

By Erez Zukerman on 17th September, 2013 | Hardware Stuff |  No Comments

Monotone laser printers are beginning from chips, but are they worth buying? What in the event you look for when you buy a new laser printer for your office? The catalogs and boxes are covered in buzzwords: PPM, DPI, auto-duplex, network ready, Google Cloud Print, AirPrint - what can they mean? Do you need fax capabilities? Should you buy an all-in-one? Let’s address these questions one by one and aid you in getting a laser printer that’s suitable for you and your office.

A Printer Buzzword Glossary


I want to start with demystifying the buzzwords marketers use to wow us into buying their printers. You can keep this post in an open tab and employ this list being a reference when reading printer specs.

ADF: Automatic document feeder. Put a number of papers along with the scanner, and it’ll bring them in one at the same time. (Applicable to all-in-one printers with the integrated scanner.)

AirPrint: Apple’s wireless printing feature. If you own a Mac and want to print wirelessly, you need a printer that supports AirPrint. It has already been available on iOS since iOS 5, if you want to print from your iPad or iPhone, you’ll want an AirPrint-compatible printer.

All-in-one: Denotes a form of printer which could also be used like a fax, photocopier, as well as a scanner.

Auto-duplex: “Duplex” means printing on both sides in the page. Auto-duplex printers are capable of doing this by themselves, without you having to manually flip the page over.

DPI: Dots per inch. A rough measure of printing density or quality. Laser printers typically vary from 600 to 2,400 DPI.

Google Cloud Print: A service from Google that lets any compatible app print over the Web. Print from a phone, from your tablet, and shortly probably from Google Glass, too.

Network ready: A network-ready printer can connect to your LAN (local area network) alone. You don’t need to plug it right into a computer: It’s like a unique mini-computer, so everybody is able to use it.

PCL6: Printer Command Language, version 6. A way for computers to talk with printers, instead of something you ought to generally care about like a selling point.

PPM: Pages-per-minute. An oft-touted metric showing how quickly a printer works under typical printing conditions. Having a fast printer is nice, nevertheless for most small offices, this certainly will not be a vital purchasing consideration.

What About Fax Capabilities?


Some printers tout their faxing capabilities: For one thing, celebrate for a very impressive control panel: Just look at the Brother MFC7360N shown above: All those buttons, oh my gosh!

But as it pertains down to practical, day-to-day use, creating a printer with an integrated fax is little higher than a gimmick for some small businesses. Yes, you still need to fax documents from time to time, but email-to-fax service like Interfax are only easier to utilize (and extremely cheap, too). Making use of one's printer’s built-in fax requires plugging it in to a phone line, adding another wiring hassle to worry about. Not only that, however, you’ll must keep the line free whenever you desire to send out faxes.

But what if you need to receive a lot of faxes, as opposed to send them out? Well, for starters, you might wish to look at your workflow and discover if it can be made more effective: Fax is a technology well past its prime. And if you really have to receive fax documents constantly, you'll find fax-to-email services. These vary by country, plus some telephone companies offer them as additional value service to your existing phone line and voicemail box. You’ll gain both convenience, and much better archiving to your received faxes.

In short, fax capabilities ought not matter on the vast majority of buyers.

Is Getting an All-in-One a Good Idea?

An all-in-one printer includes fax, yes, but more importantly, it includes a scanner. Unlike fax capabilities, having ready usage of a scanner can be quite useful for many offices. Going paperless is not just a fad: Converting dead trees to files is not just space-efficient, but in addition makes for better archiving and searching.


Some inexpensive laser printers, like the $110 Canon imageCLASS MF3010 shown above, include rudimentary scanners. When I say “rudimentary” I mean which they don’t provide an automatic document feeder. In other words, it is possible to only scan one page at a time. If you’re going to do any scanning whatsoever, itrrrs likely that you’ll be scanning multiple page at the same time. So this sort of scanner simply makes for any bad compromise: You do have a scanner, but it’s a problem to use.

Instead, if you think you’ll be doing any scanning, you need to get similar to the Canon Laser imageCLASS MF4880dw, currently selling for $165 on Amazon. This printer features a scanner which lets you feed in approximately 35 pages at any given time.

Is Network Connectivity Important?

Network connectivity is very important, but not likely in the way you imagine: These days, it's very easy to make any printer “network connected” within the sense that you are able to easily share it. Simply connect it for the USB port of the modern computer running OS X, Windows, or Linux, and also the operating system would allow you to share the printer with other people on the network.

So why is network connectivity important all things considered? Three significant reasons:

  • We don’t all use desktops: Most modern offices still at least one pc, although not all. If everyone within your office works on the laptop, you’ll have to have a network-connected printer.

  • It’s an opportune yardstick: You’d be hard-pressed to locate a “serious” printer that doesn’t offer network connectivity today. If the printer you’re considering doesn’t have networking capabilities, you should think twice prior to getting it.

  • It makes wiring easier: With a wireless printer, you only have to worry about one cable (power). You can input it in the closet, or in any other unobtrusive corner of your respective office.

Interestingly, not using a network-connected printer doesn’t mean you can’t use Google Cloud Print: Google permits you to connect your “classic” printer to its Cloud Print service, easily.

Can’t You Just Recommend One Good Printer?


Why yes, yes we can. If you just require a simple laser printer for any small office without a built-in scanner, you need to seriously consider the excellent Brother HL-2270DW, proudly poised atop this very paragraph. This fine printer currently retails for $100 on Amazon (we did say “cheap as chips”), and possesses an impressive 4.2-star average out of over 1,700 customer reviews. In other words, this is often a mature, tested product that’s been afflicted by its paces, and delay.

The HL2270DW is really a beast: It prints 27 pages each minute, and its paper tray holds 250 pages. It does support wireless connectivity, this means you’ll be capable of stash it in a few inconspicuous corner of your office without worrying about wiring anything up (apart from power, obviously).

If you only scrolled all the way down here looking for one recommendation, this can be a solid printer - but you actually should scroll back up now and read the whole article, because it may not the right printer for you (you could possibly do need one which has a scanner?).

Did this post assist you to pick out a printer? Which one do you go with, and why? Let us know within the comments!

Image Credits: Brother HL-2070N Via Flickr

This review contains affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation should you decide to buy something based on our recommendation. Our judgement is definitely biased, and our recommendations will always be based about the merits from the items.

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