Choosing a... Laser printer
Laser printers used to be much more expensive than inkjets and were typically restricted to offices. They are now much more affordable, however, and offer several benefits over inkjets, including lower per-page printing costs and faster print speeds.
A decent laser printer will typically cost around £80, and will happily print hundreds of black-and-white pages per hour. If documents are your priority, you’ll want a high minimum speed and low print costs. However, you’ll probably be limited to black-and-white printing at this price.
Although you can still buy singlefunction laser printers, multifunction peripherals (MFPs) are now far more common. These models can scan and photocopy documents as well as print them, and some of them also have fax capabilities. Laser MFPs start from around £200.
Heavy-duty office lasers designed for printing thousands of pages per month can cost thousands of pounds. They use large individual toner drums, which can cut running costs. Automatic duplex (double-sided) printing is also common here.
Although laser printers are more suited to printing text than graphics, many are still able to produce high-quality photographs. Speed isn’t a priority here – instead choose a printer that reproduces subtle tones well. You can’t determine this by looking at the specifications; only hands-on testing will do, so remember to check our reviews before you buy. Borderless printing (up to the edge of the paper) should also be possible.
If you want to print from multiple devices, make sure you look for extended connectivity. Decent laser printers can be shared on your local network and have USB ports for direct printing, memory card slots for printing images from a digital camera, and iOS, Android or Google Cloud Print support for printing from mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. An LCD preview screen offers greater control for this method of printing.