It’s no wonder that laser printers are a staple in just about every business, no matter how big or small. They’re fast, they’re economical, and now they can even print in color. At HP®, we know a thing or two about laser printers. After all, we developed the very first desktop laser printer in 1984
with the original HP LaserJet. Today, we build a huge variety of laser printers so you can find one that suits your printing needs.
But with so many different laser printer models available, how do you find the one that’s right for you?
Let’s identify the best laser printers for the 5 most common printing needs:
- Home use
- Office use
- High-volume printing
- College use
- All-in-One printing
What’s the difference between a laser printer and inkjet printer?
An inkjet printer uses ink, which is sprayed onto the paper via small nozzles (jets). The paper slides beneath a roller, which fuses the ink to the paper.
A laser printer doesn’t use traditional ink. Instead, it uses a grain-like substance called toner. A laser mechanism “traces” the image on a steel drum and then toner is applied to it with a static charge. The laser basically marks where the toner is going to be applied.
The laser-and-toner mechanism is much faster than the ink nozzle mechanism, and that’s why laser printers are generally faster than inkjet printers. The laser mechanism is also more precise than the nozzles. Ink droplets spread when they hit the paper, and inkjet nozzles can only move vertically and horizontally, so they can’t produce diagonal lines as well as laser printers can.
Traditionally, laser printers could only print in black and white, but nowadays you’ll find lots of HP laser printers that can also print in color
. Inkjet printers are still known to produce higher-quality color images, but the gap is narrowing. If you need to print standard color documents, like reports, memos, or letterheads, you’ll be more than satisfied by the quality of our HP color laser printers.
1. Best laser printers for the home
When laser printers were first developed, they were used almost exclusively for offices. But nowadays, lots of people are using laser printers in their homes. Let’s see why that is. Here are the best HP laser printers for your home.
Black and white option: HP LaserJet Pro M404dn printer
Laser printers are generally larger than inkjet printers because the laser mechanism requires more machinery. That’s one of the reasons why they’re not as common in homes - there’s just not as much room in the home office.
But if there’s one thing you should know about HP®, it’s that we’re experts at building complex machines in compact sizes. That’s what we’ve done with the HP LaserJet Pro M404dn
. This laser printer only measures 15 x 14.06 x 8.5 inches, which makes it one of the best laser printers for home use.
This print-only device can’t scan, copy, or fax, and it only prints in black and white. But it prints really fast at 40 pages per minute (ppm), so you’ll love it if you frequently print a large volume of documents. Maybe your kids are always printing school reports, or you may have to print lots of spreadsheets for clients or to take into work. It’s also compatible with Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print, features that make it even more suitable for your home. And you can print directly from your smartphone or tablet via HP Smart.
Colour option: HP Colour LaserJet Pro MFP M281fdw printer
If you’d prefer a colour laser printer for your home, check out the HP Colour LaserJet MFP M281fdw
. This printer is larger than the one previously mentioned, and it prints at speeds up to 22 ppm - still very fast, but not quite as fast as the black and white model. But as a multifunction device, you’ll be able to copy, scan, fax, and print in color, which more than compensates for speed and size.
2. Best laser printers for your small business
A laser printer is perfect for your small business. Small businesses mostly have to print memos, records, and other types of documents that don’t require professional-quality color. Businesses usually have to print a large volume of documents, and laser printers are well-suited to that. If you have employees in your office, they’re less likely to be stuck in line at the printer if you’ve got a laser printer. Here’s the best laser printers for your small business.
Black and white option: HP LaserJet Enterprise M607n printer
The HP LaserJet Enterprise M607n
is one of the best printers for small offices. This isn’t the smallest HP laser printer and it’s not the largest one, either. It’s just perfect for a small to medium-sized office space, compact enough for a business electronics table or front desk, and large enough to do high-speed printing.
You can print black and white documents as fast as 55 ppm. You have the option to save paper by printing double-sided if you want to, and amazingly, double-sided printing is nearly as fast as single-sided printing. The 550-sheet input tray ensures that you’ll cut the amount of time you spend loading the printer with new paper.
This printer doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but that’s why it’s optimal for a more simplistic office where you only need to print a large volume of black and white documents. If you need a printer that can also scan and copy, check out one of our All-in-One printers
Colour option: HP LaserJet Enterprise 700 color MFP M775dn printer
If you need a colour laser printer for your small business, check out the HP LaserJet Enterprise 700 Color MFP M775dn
. This laser printer can print black and white or color documents at fast speeds, and it can also copy, scan, and fax. It’s a great printing choice for your office if you need to print color documents or if you need to do a wider range of printing tasks, although it can’t print quite as quickly as the HP M607n.
Another great feature: you’re able to print on a variety of different media types – envelopes, postcards, glossy paper, etc. - and paper sizes - up to A3.
3. Best high-volume laser printer
Laser printers are built to print a high volume of documents. High-volume laser printers are built to handle a very large volume of documents. These types of printers are great for small to medium-sized offices that have to print an enormous number of documents each and every week. Check out this best high-volume laser printer for your small business.
Color option: HP LaserJet Enterprise 700 Colour MFP M775f printer
The HP LaserJet Enterprise 700 Color MFP M775f
is a tall laser printer that’s attached to a wheeled stand so you can easily roll it around the office. It has a paper capacity of up to 4,350 sheets - wow! - and it can print at speeds up to 30 pages per minute. It’s doubtful you’ll ever have a line at the printer with this machine in your office, thanks to the stacked paper trays and easy-to-use touch screen display.
The HP LaserJet Enterprise 700 Color MFP M775f enables you to print, copy, scan, and fax in color or black and white, so it’s a versatile device that you can use for a multitude of purposes. You’re also able to print on a variety of media sizes up to Ledger/A3, so it’s great if you need to print marketing materials, letterheads, or brochures. When you scan, you’re able to send your scans directly to your email – no need to plug in a flash drive or connect the scanner to a computer.
4. Best laser printers for students
A lot of people think a laptop or tablet is the most important device for college students, but let’s not forget how important a printer is. Nothing is more frustrating than when you’ve worked all night on a term paper, only to receive a late grade because you couldn’t get to the library fast enough to print your paper. While lots of college students may prefer student-oriented printers, like the HP Sprocket or a compact inkjet printer
that can print photos for your dorm room wall, laser printers are actually a great choice for students. Students often have to print lengthy term papers, notes, and reading material, so a speedy laser printer is actually a great option. Here are the best laser printers for students.
Black and white option: HP LaserJet Pro M15w printer
Student printers need to be compact so they can easily fit in a student’s dorm room or apartment. Unfortunately, laser printers tend to be a little larger – except for the super-compact HP LaserJet Pro M15w printer
. It’s the perfect size for college living spaces. This just might be the most compact laser printer ever made. It weighs only 8 pounds and you can easily fit it on a small desk, or tucked in a corner out of the way.
This device prints black and white documents only, but you can print as fast as 19 ppm. You’re able to print on plain paper, envelopes, postcards, and labels.
Often, college campuses have unreliable WiFi. Thankfully, you’ll be able to print using WiFi Direct when you’re unable to secure an internet connection. WiFi Direct sets up a WiFi connection from your printer to your device – you don’t even need a router. With the HP Smart app, students can print from their smartphone or tablet or from the cloud. We’ll go over HP Smart and other HP printing programs at the end of this article.
Color option: HP Color LaserJet Pro M254dw printer
If you need a color laser printer for college, check out the HP Color LaserJet Pro M254dw printer
. It’s a little heftier than the HP M15w, but still compact enough for a college living space. This printer can print color and black and white documents as fast as 22 ppm, and it’s got an intuitive touch screen that makes it easy to manage your printer settings and check supply levels. You can also insert a USB drive and print documents from it.
Here’s another cool feature. You can do voice-activated printing if you have Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Microsoft Cortana.
5. Best All-in-One laser printers
All-in-One printers can print, copy, scan, and fax. You can perform a variety of office tasks all with one device. Here are the best All-in-One laser printers from HP.
Black and white option: HP LaserJet Pro MFP M148fdw printer
The HP LaserJet Pro MFP M148fdw
is a compact and affordable All-in-One laser printer that’s great for a small workplace or home office. It can’t print in color, but it can print black and white documents at speeds up to 30 pages per minute. You can control the printer via the simple control panel, and there’s voice-command functionality, as well.
Color option: HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M479fdw printer
If you need an all-in-one printer that can print in color, check out the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M479fdw
. This is a very compact laser printer that features an easy-to-use touch screen display. You’re able to print color and black and white documents at speeds up to 28 ppm, and you can scan directly to email thanks to built-in wireless support. There’s a ton of wireless connectivity options, for that matter, including built-in dual-band WiFi. Dual-band WiFi enables you to print from your device without having to use a shared internet connection.
HP printing programs and software
HP has a variety of great printing programs. Many of our HP laser printers
are compatible with one or more of them.
Printers with HP ePrint
have a unique email address where you can send documents or images for printing. This enables you to print things from your computer from anywhere in the world, as long as you have an internet connection or roaming data.
HP Smart is an app that enables you to print directly from your smartphone or tablet. You can even print images from your device’s camera roll.
HP Instant Ink
HP Instant Ink
is our simple subscription service where you can have new ink or toner cartridges delivered straight to your doorstep. Compatible printers can monitor your supply levels and will automatically order new ink or toner for you when you’re running low.
About the Author: Zach Cabading is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Zach is a content creation specialist based in Southern California, and creates a variety of content for the tech industry.