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Buying Guide for an All-in-One Laser Printer

If you're looking for an efficient printer for your home or office, an all-in-one laser printer could be a good fit. All-in-one printers are convenient because they do the work of several different office appliances, such as scan documents, copy, fax, and print.

How does a laser printer work?

There are inkjet printers and laser printers. Laser printers use the same mechanism as a photocopier to reproduce an image on paper. A photo-sensitive drum picks up powdered toner ink with an electrostatic charge and presses it onto the paper as it travels over it. Heated rollers then melt the ink onto the paper. The difference between a laser printer and a photocopier is that the printer isn't copying an existing image. Instead, the printer "draws" the image to be printed onto the drum using a laser that creates pixels of static charge. The toner ink then clings to the drum where the laser hit it. The process can create precise images quickly.

What is an all-in-one printer?

An all-in-one printer combines the functions of traditionally separate pieces of equipment. They usually can function as a fax machine, flatbed scanner, photocopier, and computer printer. This innovation eliminated the need of having several pieces of equipment to accomplish the same functions by taking advantage of the fact that they all shared similar processes like scanning printed pages, being able to copy hundreds of pages, and printing them out. All-in-one printers can also be set up to print one-sided copies or two-sided copies.

What types of laser printers are there?

There are a couple types of laser all-in-one printers on the market to consider when looking for a new printer such as those that do duplex printing, AirPrints, wide-format printing, and so on. The print quality on different laser printers differ, too. You should also note that laser all-in-one printers designed for home users and businesses differ mainly in their size and speed.

  • Monochrome: Black-and-white only laser printers are faster than most other printers, being capable of speeds slightly more than 15 pages per minute. They are limited to grayscale printing, however, and are intended for printing text documents.
  • Color: Color laser printers are slower than monochrome printers, but they can still hit speeds of more than 10 pages per minute. These printers are more difficult to maintain because each color ink needs its own photosensitive drum. You'll also need color cartridges rather than the standard black toner cartridges. Color laser printers can produce high-quality images at resolutions typically around 2,400 dots per inch (dpi).
  • Network printers: Network printers are designed to connect to a local area network using a wireless connection or network cable, making it possible to print to it from any computer on the same network. These laser printers can serve the laser printing needs of an entire home office or commercial office.