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Best laser printer 2020: top picks for color and mono printing

Best laser printer
Image credit: Brother

On the hunt for the best laser printers 2020 has to offer? Then you've come to the right place. In this guide you'll find some brilliant laser printers that can handle color and mono printing, while keeping running costs down and print speeds (and quality) high.

In the battle between laser printers and inkjet printers, while inkjets are better at printing photos, laser printers are much better for printing large volumes of documents quickly and quietly - making the best laser printers ideal for office use.

Laser printers also won’t demand a new ink cartridge every hundred or so pages. In fact they don’t use ink at all. They rely on toner cartridges which are capable of printing thousands of pages before they need replacing. In other words, laser printers are considerably cheaper to run.

And where inkjet nozzles can become blocked or dry up when you leave them for long periods, laser printers don’t care how often you use them. They need less attention in general and they’re always ready to leap into action, which brings us to the other key advantage, speed. We’ve tested a Xerox machine that prints at a rate of 55ppm (pages per minute), which is more than double the speed of the fastest inkjet. And if you’re comparing pages of black and white text, the best laser printers will almost always produce prints that look more crisp and consistent.

Perhaps best of all, the best laser printers are more affordable and flexible than ever before. This means they make great home printers as well as being used in offices. The best laser printers come in every shape and size, and we've listed our top recommendations so that you can find the right laser printer for your home or office.

Xerox VersaLink B600DN

(Image credit: Jim Hill)

Turbo-charged printer for heavy print loads

Category: mono laser printer | Print speed: 55ppm | Paper sizes: up to A4 | Paper capacity: 550 | Weight: 22.3kg

Record breaking speed  
High paper capacity 
Wi-Fi is extra

With a print speed of 55 pages per minute and room for a whole ream of paper on board, this compact device can keep a large work group printing continuously - more than justifying its place among the best laser printers around. The initial cost for a monochrome print-only device might seem high, but this premium machine is actually very economical to run and its consistent print quality justifies the price tag. The intuitive five-inch touchscreen interface will further cut down your operating time.

Brother HL-L5100DN

(Image credit: Jim Hill)

2. Brother HL-L5100DN laser printer

Compact unit for the very busy SMB

Category: mono laser printer | Print speed: 40ppm | Paper sizes: up to A4 | Paper capacity: 300 | Weight: 10.7kg

High print speed 
Compact unit
No inbuilt Wi-Fi 
Tiny display

This little grey box can really churn out the pages and despite the size, it will hold a lot of paper too. This makes it ideal for the small office with a high demand for black and white documents. The quality is consistent and the per page print cost is attractive. It’s light on features with no Wi-Fi or a front USB port, but what it does, it does very well.

Kyocera Ecosys P6230cdn

(Image credit: Jim Hill)

3. Kyocera Ecosys P6230cdn laser printer

Heavy duty printer for heavy workloads

Category: colour laser printer | Print speed: 30ppm | Paper sizes: up to A4 | Paper capacity: 500 | Weight: 28.3kg

Paper capacity 
Rapid print speed
Tiny display panel
No inbuilt wi-fi

Kyocera’s hefty print-only device feels well built and it has enough capacity for 500 sheets of paper and large toner cartridges, which makes it suitable for a big workgroup or a busy home office. It prints quickly in duplex mode and runs very quietly too. The display and buttons are rather small, but it is well armed with security features to prevent private documents going astray. 

Xerox B215

(Image credit: Jim Hill)

4. Xerox B215 laser printer

Affordable 4-in-1 laser with touchscreen appeal

Category: Mono laser printer | Print speed: 30ppm | Paper sizes: A4 | Paper capacity: 250 | Weight: 11.5kg

30ppm print speed 
Useful touchscreen 
Limited print resolution   
Slow to wake up

By Xerox’s standards, this compact four-in-one laser printer is a modest affair, offering print, scan, copy and fax functions in a small and relatively affordable package. Despite the low price, however, you still get a large tilting touchscreen for easy operation and a none-too-shabby print speed of 30ppm. You can fit 250 sheets of paper in the main paper tray and it comes with enough toner for 1,500 monochrome pages and has a fairly low per page print cost of around 2.2 pence per page

Canon i-Sensys MF735Cx

(Image credit: Canon)

5. Canon i-Sensys MF735Cx laser printer

Swift and secure laser printing

Category: 4-in-1 colour inkjet printer | Print speed: 27ppm | Paper sizes: up to A4 | Paper capacity: 250 | Weight: 26.5kg

Fast print speed  
Excellent photocopier
Noisy in operation 
Insensitive touchscreen

Canon’s multifunction printer looks well-designed, feels well-built and performed strongly in our tests - placing it among the best laser printers on the market. It’s loaded with features for printing securely in a large workgroup or scanning, copying and faxing wirelessly. The large touchscreen control panel also makes accessing all of these functions fairly painless. It prints promptly, if somewhat noisily, and turns out crisp duplex pages on demand. Though the initial cost is high, it comes with enough toner for up to 6,300 mono, or 5,000 colour pages.

Lexmark B2236dw

(Image credit: Lexmark)

6. Lexmark B2236dw laser printer

Compact and cost-effective laser printing

Category: mono laser printer | Print speed: 36ppm | Paper sizes: up to A4 | Paper capacity: 250 | Weight: 6/8kg

Compact unit 
Fast print speed
Tiny display panel
Small starter cartridge

This unassuming square box provides an affordable means of churning out monochrome pages in a busy small office atmosphere. It can hold 250 sheets of paper and a toner cartridge capable of delivering up to 6,000 printed pages. The included starter cartridge can manage only 700 pages, but by including all of the key features, such a Wi-Fi, duplex printing and robust security at a competitive price, we can strongly recommend it.  

Xerox VersaLink C500DN

(Image credit: Xerox)

Premium laser printer for the busy office

Category: colour laser printer | Print speed: 43ppm | Paper sizes: up to A4 | Paper capacity: 550 | Weight: 28kg

Very fast printing  
Smart touchscreen
Wi-Fi is extra

This high-end print-only device from Xerox is built for the more demanding small to medium business where print speed and paper capacity are key factors. But in addition to printing quickly in duplex mode and holding more than a ream of paper, this machine has strong security features and a particularly sophisticated touchscreen that will save time spent operating it. It is an expensive machine, but the quality here is high and by using high-capacity toner cartridges, the running cost is quite low.

Ricoh SP C261DNw

(Image credit: Jim Hill)

8. Ricoh SP C261DNw laser printer

Well rounded printer for the small office

Category: colour laser printer | Print speed: 20ppm | Paper sizes: up to A4 | Paper capacity: 250 | Weight: 23.8kg

Vivid colour pages  
Duplex and Wi-Fi
Noisy and slow 
Not user-friendly

Ricoh’s colour printer comes with the essential features, such as Wi-Fi connectivity, duplex mode and secure printing built in. It looks a little dated with those wobbly plastic panels and its print speed is somewhat slow compared to other laser printers, but the print quality is particularly pleasing with both mono and colour pages and the price is competitive. 

HP Color Laser MFP 179fnw

(Image credit: Jim Hill)

9. HP Color Laser MFP 179fnw laser printer

World’s smallest 4-in-1 laser printer is also pretty affordable

Category: colour laser 4-in-1 printer | Print speed: 18ppm (mono) | Paper sizes: A4 | Paper capacity: 150 | Weight: 14kg

Limited capacity    
No auto duplex

HP has scored another ‘world’s smallest’ with a multifunction device that misses nothing out. It will print, scan, copy and fax and has a 40-sheet automatic document feeder for scheduled jobs. It also has Wi-Fi built in, but we should warn you that there is no auto-duplex mode. If that’s not an issue this strikes us a very low price for such a conveniently compact laser printer.

HP Color LaserJet Pro M454dw

(Image credit: HP)

10. HP Color LaserJet Pro M454dw laser printer

Small, speedy and refreshingly simple laser printing

Category: colour laser printer | Print speed: 28ppm | Paper sizes: A4 | Paper capacity: 300 | Weight: 18.9kg

Fast print speed
Expandable design 
Limited print resolution  

This deceptively simple laser printer is surprisingly well specified and feature packed. For instance, it can print at a rate of 28ppm in either mono, or colour and can print both sides of the page automatically. Dual-band Wi-Fi is built in and there’s a front-facing USB port for walk-up printing. It even has a flashy tilting colour touchscreen interface. And despite its small proportions, there’s room for 300 sheets of paper in its main paper tray and if that’s not enough, the modular design allows you to add a second tray and load another 550 sheets. 

  • Check out our list of the best printers, no matter if they are ink jet or laser