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Best Color Laser Printers for Small Businesses

written by: Steve McFarlane•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 5/18/2011

We take a look at the best color laser printer for small businesses.

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    Color Laser Printers

    Running a business is challenging in and of itself, so the last thing a business owner wants to be worrying about is choosing the best printer for the business. The speed, reliability and general print quality of laser printers make them the obvious choice for small businesses but the number of laser printers on sale can make the decision-making process dizzying.

    All of the printers discussed here can be had for under $700 and have essential workgroup features such as network printing, larger input and output trays and high-capacity toner cartridges. Some printers can even handle multiple tasks such as printing, scanning, faxing and collating in either color or monochrome. These printers also come with fast processors and enough memory to keep the workflow moving along at a clip.

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    Lexmark C544dn

    The Lexmark C544dn color laser printer supports resolutions up to 1200 dpi x 1200 dpi and will print at an impressive rate of 25ppm. The printer is network ready and doesn’t need a server to be integrated and used on a network. While the quality of text prints is a touch below par, as compared to other laser printers, it is good enough to serve the purposes of most small business operations. The C544dn has a 500mhz processor that allows the printer to handle complex documents quickly, even when on double sided printing duties.

    • Connection Type: USB, Ethernet
    • Number of Cartridges: 4 lexmark c544dn color Laserjet printer 
    • Direct Printing from Cameras: Yes
    • LCD Preview Screen: No
    • Rated speed at Default Resolution (Mono): 25 ppm
    • Rated Speed at Default Resolution (Color): 25 ppm
    • Duty Cycle: 55,000 pages per month
    • Input Capacity (printer input only): 250 sheets
    • Network-Ready: Yes
    • Duplexing: Yes
    • Cost Per Page (Mono): 2.4 cents
    • Cost Per Page (Color): 12.8 cents

    Price range: $367.00 - $629.00

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    Samsung CLP-315

    This is a petite and efficient color laser printer that can be had for under $200. At this price, the CLP-315 should be high on the list of any small business owner who is looking for high quality printing at a relatively low cost. While the printer lacks a fold out tray for manual feeds, it does handle print jobs quietly and impressively. The CLP-315 can print at a maximum resolution of 2400 dpi x 600 dpi and will print the first B/W in 14sec and the first color in 26sec. The printer measures only 15" x 12" x 10" and should make a neat addition to any small office.

    • Connection Type: USB Samsung CLP 315 Color laserjet printer 
    • Number of Cartridges: 4
    • Number of Ink Colors: 4
    • Rated speed at Default Resolution : 16 ppm
    • Duty Cycle: 20,000 pages per month
    • Input Capacity (printer input only): 150 sheets
    • Network-Ready: No
    • Duplexing: No
    • Cost Per Page (Mono): 3 cents
    • Cost Per Page (Color): 15 cents

    Price range: $154.99 - $249.00

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    HP Color LaserJet CM1312nfi MFP

    The HP Color LaserJet CM1312nfi MFP is an impressive all-in-one printer that will handle your faxing, stand-alone copying, and printing. It is relative slow for a laser printer but this can be forgiven, considering that it does so many other things well and has a manageable asking price under $500. This LaserJet is tall and heavy, so it is a bit surprising that it has only one paper tray and no auto-duplexing feature.

    • Connection Type: USB, Ethernet
    • Direct Printing from Media Slots: CompactFlash Type I, CompactFlash Type II, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Memory Stick Duo, Secure Digital, MultiMedia Card, xD-Picture Card
    • LCD Preview Screen: Yes
    • Rated speed at Default Resolution (Mono): 12 ppm HP Color LaserJet CM1312nfi MFP 
    • Rated Speed at Default Resolution (Color): 8 ppm
    • Scanner Type: Flatbed with ADF (Standard or Optional)
    • Scanner Optical Resolution: 1200 pixels per inch
    • Maximum Scan Area: 8.5" x 14"
    • Standalone Copier and Fax: Copier, Fax
    • Duty Cycle: 30,000 pages per month
    • Input Capacity (printer input only): 150 sheets
    • Network-Ready: Yes
    • Duplexing: No
    • Cost Per Page (Mono): 3.2 cents
    • Cost Per Page (Color): 16.9 cents

    Price range: $318.46 - $575.00

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    HP Color LaserJet CP2025n

    Although the HP CP2025n is rather slow to print black documents and doesn’t support features such as USB-direct printing and wireless networking, this color laser printer shines in output quality, and ease of use. The CP2025n prints up to 11 pages per minute, which is slow for a laser printer, but it doubles the print speed of most other multi-functions in its category. The CP2025n also has a high monthly duty-cycle, so I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a workhorse printer for use in a high demand work environment.

    • Connection Type: USB, Ethernet
    • Direct Printing from Media Slots and USB: YesHP Color LaserJet CP2025n 
    • LCD Preview Screen: small backlit LCD
    • Rated speed at Default Resolution (Mono): 12.75ppm
    • Rated Speed at Default Resolution (Color): 8.31
    • Duty Cycle: 40,000 pages
    • Input Capacity (main tray): 250 sheets
    • Network-Ready: yes
    • Duplexing: no
    • Cost Per Page (Mono): 3.5cents
    • Cost Per Page (Color): 4.3ents

    Price range: $324.99 - $449.95