Wireless Laser Printer Review
Why Buy a Wireless Laser Printer?
The top performers in our review are the Samsung ProXpress C3060FW, the Gold Award winner; the Brother MFC-L6700DW, the Silver Award winner; and the Xerox WorkCentre 6515/N, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a system to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of the top 10 wireless laser printers.
Wireless laser printers are excellent tools for both homes and offices. They produce documents with crisp text quickly, and you don’t have to worry about the mess of liquid inks. These printers have quickly become more popular as their prices have fallen in line with those of inkjet models.
Laser vs. Inkjet Printer
Before you shop for a printer, you first need to decide if you want an inkjet or a laser model. They use very different technology, and both have their pros and cons.
An inkjet printer is your best option if you want to print vibrant, solid colors. For example, if you print a lot of photos, you definitely want to go with an inkjet model. This type of printer uses liquid inks, and they cost much less per cartridge than the toner cartridges used by laser printers. Still, toner cartridges have higher page yields, which evens out the per-page cost of printing.
Laser printers use an entirely different technology. Instead of liquid ink, they use powdered toner. They are better at printing sharp text than inkjet models and are also better for printing in high volumes because they are faster.
Color vs. Monochrome
While some laser printers can print in color, others only print in black and white, also known as monochrome. Monochrome models only require one toner cartridge, and they are smaller and less expensive than color laser printers. If you only print text documents, a monochrome printer is money-saving option.
Color laser printers are more expensive, mostly because they require four toner cartridges. Also, keep in mind that laser printers’ color capabilities don’t match those of inkjet printers – the colors they produce simply aren’t as sharp and vibrant.
Single Function vs. Multifunction
Some color and monochrome wireless laser printer can do more than just print. Unlike single-function models, multifunction printers can also scan, copy and fax. A multifunction design makes the device more versatile and limits the number of machines you need to make space for in your home or office.
We included the best single-function and multifunction printers in our review, as well as color and monochrome models. In our rankings, we gave preference to printers that print in color and have multifunction designs, but monochrome and single-function printers are still powerful and may be better for you – it’s important to consider your individual needs first and foremost.
Wireless Laser Printers: How We Tested, What We Found
Wireless laser printers are complex, and even the most basic machines boast a long list of technical specifications. But we didn’t just consider the printers’ specifications – we test all of them hands-on and evaluated each one’s quality and performance. Specifically, we looked at each machine’s speed and print quality, as well as how much it costs to operate on a per-page basis.
We ran each printer through a series of tests, printing dozens of documents. Each document was designed to focus on a specific aspect of printing, such as color blending or producing sharp, readable text. We evaluated the documents under high magnification, looking for spots of unwanted ink and pinpoint printing errors. We also compared the documents side by side and scored and ranked them based on readability and image quality.
We found that all the printers in our review offer adequate print quality. You can easily read the text they print and none of the documents had an unacceptable number color or inking errors. However, some printers pulled ahead of the pack. Those that produce documents with exceptionally high print quality earned A grades.
One advantage laser printers have over inkjet printers is their fast print speeds. However, even among laser printers, speeds vary drastically.
With each test document, we tracked the time it took to print from the moment we sent the command from our computer until the last page exited the printer. We divide the time we recorded by the number of pages in the document to find the average time per page. We used this same process for both black-and-white and color documents.
Much like inkjet printers, there is an inverse relationship between print speed and quality when you use a laser printer. Faster printers tend to produce lower-quality documents, so it’s import to consider if speed or quality is most important to you.
Cost of Operation
Laser printers use toner, which is a fine powder that bonds to paper using heat. Toner cartridges cost more than the ink cartridges inkjet printers use, but they have much higher page yields, which makes them comparable in price.
To calculate the average cost for a single printed page, we looked at the manufacturers’ prices for the replacement toner cartridges each printer uses. Based on industry-standard testing, manufacturers report the average page yield for each toner cartridge. We used these two numbers to calculate print costs on a per-page basis. This is just an estimate and not an exact amount, as each page you print requires a different amount of ink. This approximate price per page makes it easy to compare the printers’ long-term operating costs, which tells you just how economical each one truly is.
Additionally, we considered each printer’s duty cycle. According to the manufacturer, this is the number of pages the machine can print in a one-month period without incurring damage. Printers with high duty cycles can handle more high-volume printing jobs. The duty cycle is also a good indicator of a printer’s longevity and durability. Duty cycles range from 10,000 pages to almost 100,000 pages.
What Else Is Important in Choosing a Laser Printer?
There are additional features to consider before making any final purchasing decisions. You should look at a machine’s paper-handling features, mobile-printing options, connectivity features, and help and support options before you buy it.
Paper handling encompasses how the printer moves paper from when you load it until the machine ejects it on the output try. In our reviews, you can find information about how many pieces of standard paper each printer’s input tray holds and if the device has additional input trays as well. Some machines have additional features like duplex printing, so you can print on both sides of a single sheet of paper without manually flipping and reloading each page.
Smartphones and tablets are commonplace in our daily lives, so you should look for a printer that pairs with your mobile devices. Look at each printer’s mobile capabilities to see if it supports Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print or other popular apps like Mopria. Many manufacturers make their own printing apps that connect to a variety of devices and make printing, scanning, and managing your printer’s settings and ink levels easy.
Look for products that provide a Scan To function, which lets you scan a physical document and save it as a digital file in your cloud storage, send it in an email or share it via social networks. This feature makes it easy to share digital files in few steps.
Help & Support
Because wireless laser printers have a lot of features and moving parts, it’s important to have access to support resources. There are many tools, such as online user manuals, troubleshooting guides and FAQs, that help you navigate through many problems on your own. If you have specific questions, manufacturers provide one-on-one help in a variety of ways. Depending on the company, you may be able to contact customer service reps by email, telephone, live chat, social networks and forums.
Best Wireless Laser Printers: Our Verdict & Recommendations
Our Gold Award winner is the Samsung ProXpress C3060FW. This color wireless laser printer produces nearly pristine prints. It is a multifunction device with superb scan and copy quality as well.
The Brother MFC-L6700DW is our Silver Award winner. This multifunction monochrome machine has low operating costs and fast printing speeds. It can also handle large printing jobs.
The Bronze Award winner is the Xerox WorkCentre 6515/N. This color multifunction laser printer creates high-quality prints, has a large touchscreen and includes an extensive feature set.
Another wireless laser printer worth considering is the HP Color LaserJet Enterprise M553dn. This wireless laser printer is the best single-function printer on our lineup. Also, the Canon imageCLASS LBP151dw is a budget machine that is both capable and powerful.