Digitalization is increasing day by day. And we are almost on the verge of going paperless. But, until we entirely do away with papers, the world heavily relies on it. So, let’s look at the best laser printers for office use in 2018.
No doubt, email is a prominent medium of instruction in offices. However, it’s not as efficient as handing out paper leaflets. A perfect example of that would be offices for print media: sometimes they require journalists to collect critical information on paper so that there are no chances of cyber theft.
Even at home, you rely on paper to do your tasks which generally involve creating projects for students, etc. Not to forget, the Government works entirely on paper. No work is entirely done using technology; paper is essential.
Albeit, with so much mention of paper, where do you think these papers with text on it come from? As childish as this question seems, it’s printers that process heaps of papers each day.
Printers itself have morphed into various forms: there’s your regular inkjet printer, a laserjet, and the latest iteration- the 3D printer. But for now, let’s contemplate the difference between a laser and an inkjet printer, as our prime focus today is on laser printers.
What’s the difference between a Laser and an InkJet printer?
There’s a huge difference between a Laser and an InkJet printer. And the difference affects how the images appear on the paper and how the final product turns out to be.
Laser printers use toners to produce an image, which is different from the ink used in InkJet printers. Basically, a toner is electrically charged powder that is fused to paper fibers using heat during the printing process.
MeyersDirect explains it as, “Imagine you have a paint roller with an embossed pattern. If you rolled that roller through paint and then rolled it on a wall, the raised pattern would be transferred onto the wall. That is essentially what happens in laser printers, but with static electricity and a ‘drum’.”
Further, the drum appears as a thick rolling pin. The laser in the printer uses electric charges to draw an image on the drum. The toner deposits at the charges which are then transferred to the paper.
The term InkJet is a literal description of what these types of printers do. Firstly, they use ink instead of a toner and spray that ink over the paper in a series of tiny dots.
An essential problem that arises with InkJet printers is that if you use a low-quality paper, the paper may absorb excess ink resulting in a feathered paper. In addition to that, the images or text on the paper may appear smudgy. But, the list of problems doesn’t end here- the ink doesn’t dry immediately on the paper, leaving out room for accidental smudges.
Although, the problems you face depends upon the type and quality of paper you choose. Usually, a brighter paper may produce the best results when printed upon by an InkJet printer. This is because a bright paper often constitutes a smooth surface. And smooth paper reflects the light back in the same direction making allowing the printer to better analyze printing the image.
Why choose laser printers over InkJet?
- They produce accurate images without smudges.
- They don’t necessarily require the best quality of paper to produce good results.
- Toners (used in laser printers) are more expensive than ink cartridges (used in InkJet printers) but they can print significantly more pages and have a better long-term value.
- Laser printers are costlier than InkJet printers but are cost-effective in the long term.
- They are faster than InkJet printers, thereby saving time- an essential asset for offices.
Things to consider while choosing the best laser printer in 2018
Choosing the best laser printer for office use in 2018 is a difficult job, acknowledging the fact that there are tons of options out there.
But, there are certain perimeters you should consider that’ll help you choose the best one.
The amount of space that the printer requires.
There has been a gradual increase in the number of startups in the past few years, and not all of them can afford to buy playground-sized offices. Taking that into consideration, in relation to printers; the one you should buy must easily fit into the available space.
Usually, InkJet printers have a smaller form factor as compared to laser printers. However, as we’ve discussed above noting down the reasons so as to why InkJet printers are unfit for office use, there’s no other option other than looking for a laser printer with a smaller form factor.
Albeit, there are certain laser printers that do a good job not towering over you at your desk. You need to aim for those. Again, height is not the prime issue here when it comes to accommodating a printer on an office desk. The main issue is the width, which usually decides how much space is the printer going to cover.
Thankfully, the options fitting into these criteria are ever-increasing.
The number of available connectivity options
Offices have employees, that need regular access to the printers.
Small offices that have a minimal employee count do away with USB as their source for transferring data to the printer. However, large offices that have a fairly large employee strength cannot afford every employee to stick their USB into the printer (as this may cause security issues).
Thankfully, printers also have other options including ethernet which enables the user’s ability to transfer files over a shared PC connection. Even though Ethernet is the prime medium for a connection with the printer, offices can also use printers with connectivity options like Apple’s AirPrint, Google’s Cloud Connect, etc.
Latest printers also have an option to transfer print data through near-field communication (NFC), which is basically a technology enabling users to just tap their devices on a specific area on the printer to initiate the transfer and eventually, the print process. However, this requires smartphones and tablets to have NFC support; which isn’t the case in most offices. So, maybe don’t focus on NFC while choosing the best laser printer for office use in 2018.
There are a slew of options out there if you want to select the best printer for office use based on the output quality.
The idea that output quality matters varies in different corporations. For example, if you are an investment firm, you won’t care about output quality. But if you’re someone who works in a more creative field like a print medium, you would need better output quality to print images.
So, depending on what you do, contemplate what printer you want in terms of output quality.
It matters a lot. But it’s entirely dependent on your usage.
If you usually print one or two pages at your office, you should go for an InkJet printer as they are much cheaper than most laser printers. Laser printers are considered to be the speediest.
However, the printing speed of a laser printer also varies among different brands and types. The speediest could cost you more than slower ones. But, laser printers are gradually leveling out the differences between them.
Speed printing is, once again, not required for most offices. But, the stock market, for example, is a field where speed printing is a must. Not to mention, print media also requires prints faster as journalists covering competitive topics value even seconds.
How much do you print a day?
This is by far the most crucial aspect to consider when buying a printer.
Most laser printers can print about 16-20,000 pages per day until the printers start to wear out. And offices, unlike homes, consume printed papers in a vast majority. So, an easy way to know how much you print is to measure how often do you buy paper bundles.
Based on that, you can decide whether what printer with the suitable capacity is applicable for you. Additionally, you must also decide if you’re gonna do a lot of duplex printing (printing on both sides of a paper at the same time), and based on that, foresee if you need a printer with duplex printing capabilities or not. Although, the best printers for office use in 2018 do have duplex printing as a default feature.
As much as everything else’s concerned, you might now want sensitive data from your office to leak out. You might not want to be the guy who messed up everything in the office.
Offices have tight digital security. Workstations require passwords and biometric authentication to get access to data servers, databases, etc. However, that same data is also transferred to printers for printing. And it could be easily hacked by an intervention in the transfer.
Admiringly, a vast majority of printers today have added security features like encrypted transfers, secure firmware, etc.
Although, it’s you who have to choose just the right kind of printer that is just as secure as it is versatile. Remember, your company’s identity depends on your choice.
This is the rule for every product. You must, at all costs, check for extra features in the product.
Extra features may include anything, but, speaking of printers, those include a scanner, a fax machine, etc. Even in 2018, there aren’t many printers that offer extra features. But those that do, have a hefty price tag.
But, if you think it this way: you won’t have to spend cash on additional scanners and fax machines if you buy a printer having these features with a hefty price tag. Such printers have the most utility. And that’s a thing you should consider as well when buying the best office printer in 2018.
That said, let’s take a look at some of the best office printers in 2018.
Brother has earned fame with its high-quality printers. Its printers dominate the market and most office spaces.
Similarly, the Compact Monochrome Laser printer, HL-L2350DW lives up to Brother’s brand name. It is compact and can fit in the smallest of desks at the office. Its square-shaped form-factor makes it the most adorable printer in the market, weighing just 15.9 pounds.
However, I wouldn’t deny that its design is a bit boring, part of which is owing to the lifeless dark grey color. It has minimal controls which are present as buttons rather than a touchscreen. And speaking of buttons; there are just seven of them which control the entire printing process. This is as minimal a printer could get.
It’s a monochrome printer which means that it can only spurt black toner out of its cartridges- no color printing on this one. This comes from Brother’s passion to create cost-effective printers. This one particularly focuses more on that part. So if you have a small office or a home office, this printer from Brother is the best for you.
Delving into the technical stuff, this printer can print up to 32 pages per minute, which is not a bad number for printers in this price range. You can store almost 250 pages at a time in the tray, including both letter and legal sized paper.
It supports duplex printing which means that it can print on two sides of one page, thereby saving paper.
Any printer’s quality significantly depends upon the toner or ink used in it. In this case, Brother uses high-yield replacement cartridges identified as TN 760. It has the capacity to print up to 3000 pages, which, again is not that bad. Also, this printer has Amazon’s Dash support- a service provided by Amazon wherein if the toner is about to get empty, the printer will automatically order more from Amazon.
The Brother HL-L2350DW also has splendid connectivity options. It supports wireless transfers from smartphones, tablets, PC’s etc. Internally, it has a 64 MB memory that can be used for incomprehensive printing.
However, this printer doesn’t show traits of being secure. So, if your office deals with a lot of sensitive stuff, my advice is to reconsider buying this one.
Lastly, Brother offers free support in form of live chat, call, and online for this printer.
Unlike Brother, HP is not just a printer company. It has various divisions that produce several other products including laptops, cameras, phones, tablets, software etc. Though, out of all these products, HP is most well-known for its printers.
The HP LaserJet Pro M402n has a sleek design with accented aesthetics. And, unlike Brother’s printer featured above, this one is meant to look good in an office. Although, having a white color could harm its charm in the long run with continuous usage, and it certainly won’t be an easy task cleaning it.
This printer is also a monochrome one and also has better specifications than Brother’s which has been mentioned above. For starters, it has a 1.2 GHz processor which converts the data that you send to the printer in a format readable by the printer. A printer processor is also called a printer driver.
The control buttons on this printer are also fewer. Albeit, another improvement here is that the HP LaserJet Pro M402n has an LCD display. While having LCD displays don’t necessarily add value to the printer, it increases its accessibility. You’ll know if something goes right and also when something goes wrong.
Printing-wise, it has the ability to let roll around 40 pages per minute and has a 350-sheet paper input capacity in the tray. It comes with pre-installed toners, which can be replaced with even higher quality cartridges.
But, the one thing that this printer sucks at is productivity. You cannot connect to the printer wirelessly, and the only options available are to connect through Ethernet and USB. But, it’s completely appropriate for a work environment. However, extra connectivity options further enhance the experience and maybe speed up the process.
HP’s this printer is strongly focused on security as well. It encrypts the data transfers between the host and the printer and constitutes a fair and secure transfer. Security on this printer has been stretched to an extent that even its cartridges come with a unique chip for identification. With this, you won’t be able to use third-party toners which often degrade the printer.
It also smartly turns itself off and on based on the duration of inactivity, which saves a lot of energy.
Amazon also hosts its Dash technology in this printer, using which the printer can automatically detect low powder in the toner and order itself a new one. Lastly, 24×7 web support along with one-year limited hardware warranty comes along with the package.
Gaining the third spot on this list of the best office printers in 2018, the Brother MFC9130CW printer cannot be defined in words. Yet, I’ll attempt at it.
The most notable thing about this printer is that its an MFC one. MFC stands for Multi-Function Center. It’s basically an abbreviation assigned to printers that have two or more functions. Take this one, for example- it’s a printer, scanner, copier and a fax machine. A more casual name for these types of printers is ‘all-in-one printers.’
Inside, it’s a laser printer, but on the top- it’s a scanner and a copier. And once again, on the inside, it’s a fax machine.
You can transfer information to it wirelessly using a smartphone, tablet, laptop, basically anything with access to a wireless internet connection along with printing functions.
Although, as it’s said- a jack of all trades becomes master of none, which is the case with this printer. It’s good in everything else, except for printing itself. Unlike other printers in this list of the best printers for office use in 2018, it prints at a very slow rate- only 19 pages per minute. This could act as a boulder if you have a busy office.
On the bright side, however, it also outputs color prints at 19 pages per minute, which is a significant rate. On top of that, this printer offers better controls than the last two options. It has a full-fledged keypad along with color touchscreen allowing you to have a better grip of the prints.
It has 48-bit color processing (input), 24-bit color processing (output), grayscale: 16-bit color processing (input), 8-bit color processing (output). Also, it supports high-impact business printing, at up to 600 x 2400 dpi using Brother’s Digital LED Print Technology.
Lastly, one more caveat in this printer is its inability to manage duplex printing. I’m sorry, I should’ve put my words together properly- it doesn’t have duplex printing.
Design-wise, well, it looks like a printer should. Albeit, this is the one that could tower you while you’re working at the desk. So, if you’re not a speed-freak and don’t care about duplex printing, this printer is for you.
Like I said, HP pretty much dominates the printer market. And this printer is an additional drop to the ocean of available options in HP’s database.
It ships with laser print technology, making it a laser printer, while it allows other functions as well including scanning and copying. Inside, 256MB of RAM powers its memory. Basically, a printer uses RAM to remember the pages allocated to it for printing. And this one does a good job doing just that.
It has a duty cycle of 75,000 pages and prints black and white as well as color at a rate of 31 pages per minute. You can set in as much as 250 sheets in its tray at a time.
Design-wise, it has beautiful curves that define the simple printer-like design. Although, the color combination is off-limits and would not suit an office room. So if you’re someone who is super conscious about how the office looks, you must reconsider buying this printer from HP.
It has a 3.5-inch GCD touchscreen display, as the printer doesn’t sport any physical buttons. That makes the printer look more minimalistic and less daunting while operating it.
This printer supports duplex printing and has an ability to host 10 envelopes in its tray ready to print. Connectivity options include HP’s own e-print and Apple’s AirPlay. However, you always have the option to connect to the printer via Ethernet or USB.
It’s secure as well to the HP standards. So, this is almost the printer you should go with.
This is the best office printer you could get in 2018. It’s the ultimate printer there is in its class.
Frankly, you won’t have much space left in your small office if you go for this one, but if you have an office that can blissfully accommodate this beast, it’s the best option. Its design does justice to its size while being accessible at the same time. You don’t have to set this printer on a table (you can’t) as its height is enough for you to be able to reach to its controls easily.
This printer is also the best performing printer in this list. It prints a staggering 58 pages per minute, though, being monochrome. It has a 4.3-inch color touchscreen that enables smooth interaction with the printer. The touchscreen is also very vibrant, unlike other printers with a touchscreen in this list.
This printer nails the connectivity part by offering almost every option available out there. You can use AirPrint, Google’s Cloud Print, HP’s e-print, WiFi direct, Ethernet connection, USB, and even NFC. Additionally, having a hefty price tag, this printer also nails the security aspect. With end-to-end encryption and other similar security features, your data should do good.
It also has HP’s automatic On/Off function which enables the printer to put itself to sleep after a certain number of minutes of inactivity. The beast from HP also ships with a software- HP JetAdmin which allows a user to manage the printer, troubleshoot errors, and overall make using the printer dead simple.
The recommended monthly volume for this printer falls around 5000-16000 pages and supports duplex printing. It has 3 levels containing input trays, each having different capacities- 100-sheet input tray 1, 500-sheet input tray 2, and 500-sheet input tray 3.
Also, the various media sizes supported are letter, legal, executive, statement, 8.5 x 13 inches, 3 x 5 inches, 4 x 6 inches, 5 x 7 inches, 5 x 8 inches, envelope, and the US postcard.
This printer is for offices that require the most use of a paper, like print media, investment firms, etc.
These were the best office printers in 2018 that you could spend your or your company’s valuable bucks on. Just like everything else, printers are also getting smart these days. But for how long would we need them? My take: not for long.
Do you have any other options that you thought should’ve made the list? Let us know in the comments below.