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Cheap Laser Printers, Best Cheap Color Laser Printer
Cheap Color Laser Printers Buying Guide
Already omnipresent in large offices, laser printers are rapidly invading homes and home offices thanks to new technology and lower price points. Budget-priced laser printers, color and monochrome, are relatively new to the market and have been warmly welcomed by consumers now that there are plenty to choose from in the $100-$300 range.
To help you choose the best color laser printer that fits with your budget, we've assembled a list of features and performance attributes worth knowing about.
Budget Color Laser Printers Memory.The amount of memory on an economical laser printer matters when you're printing a high number of jobs or memory-intensive jobs (think big InDesign or Photoshop files). The minimum you'll find on inexpensive laser printers is 16MB, which is more than enough for typical home use and what you get with the Konica Minolta Magicolor 1600w (starting at $130, Amazon), for example. If a lot of people make heavy use of the same printer, as is often the case in small offices, 32MB or even 64MB is preferable. The benefit of having some extra memory in your budget printer is apparent when it takes over for the computer's memory and frees up your PC to keep working so you don't have to worry about the print queue backing up.
Indeed, users appreciate the advantage of having this built-in memory. One budget color laser printer review on Buzzillions specifically mentions the 32MB of memory in the Samsung CLP-315W (starting at $169, Amazon), which the user bought to replace a 16MB-memory HP Color LaserJet CP1215 (starting at $166, Amazon). But 16MB seems to be enough for many users, including those posting on the Best Buy site about the HP CP1215, who aren't the least bothered by queuing several jobs at a time. The Brother HL-4040CN (starting at $228, Amazon), on the other hand, comes with a whopping 64MB of memory, which can be expanded to 512MB. 512MB would be definite overkill for the home, but perfect for a group of three or four who may be using it simultaneously through a network. (BTW, network printers usually come with more memory than those that don't support networks.)
Inexpensive Color Laser Printers Connectivity and Wireless.One of the main features distinguishing lower-priced color laser printers from more expensive color laser printers is connectivity options. Most budget color laser printers only come with a USB port for plugging into a single computer, while the pricier models may feature Ethernet ports for networking and PictBridge for photo transfers. But you only need networking capability if you want many computers to print from the same printer, which is usually not the case in a home or home office. Both the HP Color LaserJet CP1518ni (starting at $338, Amazon and outside the Cheapism price range) and the Brother HL-4040CN come with a standard Ethernet port for connecting to a network of computers.
Another connectivity feature is wireless, which is useful if several people in the home need to print or if you're a laptop user and don't want to be tied to your printer. Reserved mostly for higher-cost color laser printers, like the Xerox Phaser 6130/N (starting at $299, Amazon) and Lexmark C544dw Laser Printer (starting at $400, Amazon), wireless is available on the CLP-315W, the (fraternal) twin of the Samsung CLP-315 (starting at $129, Amazon) and on the monochrome Brother HL- 2070N (starting at $170, Amazon, with very limited availability). Posting on Amazon, one user notes s/he didn't particularly care about the wireless feature at first but quickly discovered how convenient it is for printing documents from a new netbook. Another budget laser printers review on Amazon relates how the Samsung CLP-315W handily prints output from six home computers, a mix of Macs and PCs. Wireless setup can be a little tricky, however, but as this Best Buy customer points out, the end result seems worth the minor hassle.
Cheap Laser Printers Size.Laser printers by design are larger than their inkjet cousins. Thankfully though, many inexpensive color laser printers have shrunk in size and will fit on your work table without taking up a lot of space -- a real virtue for many users, like this one commenting on Buzzillions. The Samsung CLP-315 and the Dell 1230c (starting at $199, Amazon) have small footprints (15.3x12.3x9.6) and weigh less than 25 pounds. However, if you're not careful you can wind up with a printer that's too big for the space you have. The HP Color LaserJet CP1215 is a sturdy 38 pounds and the Brother HL-4040CN, which is more office printer than home printer, weighs in at 64 pounds. This Pricegrabber color laser printers review suggests using a separate table for the heavyweight Brother. A printer this big, however, is probably a bit much for occasional daily use.
Cheap Color Laser Printers Paper Capacity.Budget laser printers, both color and black-and-white, have feed trays that hold from 150 to 250 sheets of paper. The more paper a printer can hold, the less often you need to refill it, a definite plus in the efficiency column. The Konica Minolta Magicolor 1600w can handle 200 pages, for example, while more office-centric color laser printers usually have bigger trays: the Brother HL-4040CN has two trays -- a 250-sheet tray for regular paper and a 50-sheet tray for special sizes, like envelopes
Bargain Laser Printers Paper Handling.If you plan to print on small postcard-sized paper, envelopes, or anything other than 8.5x11, you need to make sure that your value color laser printer can handle it. Many laser printer trays can and some, like the Samsung CLP-315W, do a better job of it than others. This Buzzillions laser printers user review discovered that printing in batches of seven on the Samsung CLP-315W was the key to printing out envelopes for her wedding invitations, and an Epinions reviewer notes that printing 60 business cards on card stock proceeded smoothly with the twin Samsung CLP-315. The much larger Brother HL-4040CN, comments another consumer on Epinions who prints reams of marketing and educational materials for a busy clinic, never jammed during more than four months of heavy use with paper of varied weights and sizes.
Best Cheap Laser Printers
Samsung CLP-315 / Samsung CLP-315WThe 315 and the 315W (the latter is wireless) set a high standard in the personal color laser market; they are small, compact, and light, and praised by experts and users who love the demure size as well as the quality of the print output.
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Good Cheap Color Laser Printers
Konica Minolta Magicolor 1600wNew on the scene, experts like this model for its compact size and low price but are most impressed with the color-quality and fast print speeds.
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Brother HL-4040CNA small-office workhorse weighing 64 pounds that slips into the budget price range, this 'entry-level' color laser offers high-level print quality, fast speeds, lots of memory, and flexible paper handling; for many, it's too much printer but might suit homes/small offices where printing averages at least 50 pages/day.
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Konica Minolta Magicolor 1600w Review
Brother HL-4040CN Review
Samsung CLP-315 / Samsung CLP-315W Review
HP Color Laserjet CP1215 Printer Review
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