Laser printers are fast, precise – and relatively expensive. But is it worth the extra charge? That depends entirely on the use, found Stiftung Warentest in a detailed test of dozen devices. Only one model was completely convincing.
With their extremely fast printing speed and sharp writing, laser printers are especially perfect for work. But are they superior to inkjet models in every way? No, says the Stiftung Warentest. Especially those who occasionally print color pages or even photos are likely to be disappointed with most of the models. After all: the best device in the test is also one of the cheapest.
Five simple printers and seven multifunctional devices were tested. The testers can give the all-clear in one respect: All tested models print fonts extremely well – at least in black. The printing speed and the light and water resistance are good to very good for all devices. A page of text is ready in three to four seconds on all devices. This is where laser printers can show their full potential. But if you expect additional performance, the result differs considerably. And when it comes to toner costs, the models we tested did not cover themselves with fame.
The price-performance tip is also the test winner
With a price starting at 190 euros, that is Canon i-SENSYS LBP623Cdw Not a real bargain compared to other printing technologies, but among laser printers it clearly offers the best performance for the money – and as the test winner, it is the clear recommendation to buy the models without combined functions such as scanning or copying. It offers the best print result in the test and is the only device that creates good-looking color pages. Printed A4 photos remained mediocre, but none of the devices did better. When it comes to operation, Warentest sees room for improvement; changing the toner is more laborious than necessary. The toner costs themselves are not cheap at 3 cents per black and white, 10 cents for color and 90 cents for photo prints, but they are lower than with all other tested models. The test result: The Canon is the only device that is “good” (2.4).
If you only want to print black and white, that’s it Brother HL-L3230CDW Worth a look. It prints just as well as the Canon – at least as long as no color is involved. Then the note crashes. On the other hand, the prints from the Brother machine are more stable than those of the test winner. Warentest rates the operation including changing the cartridge a little better than the Canon. The price per black and white page is only slightly higher at 3.5 cents; the purchase price starts at 205 euros. The device owes the poor overall rating of “satisfactory” (2.9) primarily to the poor color prints.
No milk pig
Even with the multifunctional devices, it is important to weigh up. While all of them shine with pure text prints, color and photo prints are consistently mediocre to poor. So no model can achieve a good print grade. Accordingly, the evaluation of the copies is mixed – after all, they also depend on the print quality. The egg-laying woolly milk sow does not exist. If you only want to print text and occasionally scan something, you will still find it.
The best multifunction printer comes from Canon again: The i-SENSYS MF643Cdw brings text to paper cleanly, quickly and consistently. It is the only model that can scan text, color pages and photos well to very well. And he can also score points with copies – at least with written pages. As one of three models, it can at least deliver decent-looking text copies. But you can forget about color pages and photos. The toner costs are okay with 3 cents per page of text. There is no fax function. The “satisfactory” overall grade (2.8) is the best of the combination devices. That has its price: The device is available from 270 euros.
If you want to use the printer as a copier more often, then the color laser is MFP 178nwg from HP an alternative. Warentest is the only model to rate both text and color copies as good, but the HP device must also fit photos. Compromises compared to the multi-function winner are above all the minimally poorer text scan function as well as the noticeably higher toner costs of 4.5 cents per page. But the pressure resistance is better. The overall grade, however, is hardly worse with “satisfactory” (2.9). The price: from 220 euros.
Incidentally, none of the devices is recommended as a savings device for multiple printers. If you really print a lot, you should consider a device with a bottle filling system.