Dell B1160w Review

From $67 Best

Dell's B1160w is one of the few wireless monochrome laser printers in this price range. With 32MB of memory, Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity, this is an affordable choice for home users who need a printer that networks and gets the job done quickly.

Despite some nits that get picked in Dell B1160w (starting at $67, Amazon) reviews, this black-and-white laser printer is a darn good choice for budget shoppers. In fact, it would be hard to find any better model for such a low price. CNET says in its review that the printer is a cinch to set up and the Wi-Fi connection for wireless and networked printing is a welcome feature, but it grouses about the absence of an Ethernet port and the limited feature set. On the other hand, the B1160w is good where it counts. Testing by CNET found that text prints out sharp and dark and at a speed of 17 pages per minute although graphics and photo print results are nothing special. A review by PC Mag takes the opposite tack, saying photo and graphics printout is above par for black-and-white laser printers while text quality falls short. This expert also laments the B1160w's relatively low paper capacity and lack of support for duplexing and wired networking. Users, meanwhile, are largely thrilled with the printer. Dell B1160w reviews at Dell's site comment on the speed, wireless capability, easy setup, quality output, and value price. One trucker reports relying on the printer for emails and work documents while he's on the road and an attorney says he carries it with him to meetings. A few users complain about the frequent need to replace toner cartridges and their cost.

With a footprint of 13 x 8.5 x 7 inches and weight of 8.8 pounds, the B1160w fits almost anywhere. Its maximum resolution is 1200 x 1200 dpi and the manufacturer-rated print speed is 21ppm. It features 32MB of RAM, a 300MHz CPU, an input tray for 150 sheets and an output tray that holds 100. The B1160w connects to a wireless network or to a single computer through a USB 2.0 connection and responds to commands from Android mobile devices. The B1160w is compatible with Windows (including Windows 8), Linux, and OS X 10.4 to 10.7. It accepts a wide variety of media, including transparencies, envelopes, labels, archive paper, cardstock, cotton, legal, letter, and A4/A5-sized paper.

The Dell B1160w is a good choice for budget-minded home users. It doesn't have all the features one might need in a small office printer, but its wireless networking support, fast print speeds, and solid text printout are laudable and practical strengths.

Where to buy

Brother HL-5450DN Review

From $135 Best

The HL-5450DN monochrome laser printer from Brother sports a large paper capacity, offers cloud printing, and delivers documents in a hurry. Text output quality is outstanding and the 64MB of RAM is a plus.

Brother HL-5450DN (starting at $148, Amazon) reviews agree that this monochrome laser printer meets and exceeds expectations for the budget category. An expert at PC Mag thinks highly enough of the HL-5450DN to name it an Editor's Choice for its attractive features (e.g., larger-than-average sheet capacity, auto duplexing), high quality graphics output, and low operating costs. Although tests for this review found print speed to be a touch lower than expected (10.8ppm for a set of business applications), the report concludes this is quite fast given the entry-level price point. CNET is big on the printer's support of cloud-based printing through Google and Apple AirPrint but holds a different view of the printout. The expert review commends what it considers very sharp, dark text and speedy printout (21.13ppm for black text) while criticizing the checkered patterns that occasionally pop up in printed graphics. Users are quite satisfied, according to Brother HL-5450DN reviews at B&H and Newegg, where posts say this single-function laser printer delivers excellent print quality, and with haste. They particularly like the automatic duplexing function and easy setup for networking.

Manufacturer specifications for the Brother HL-5450DN note a maximum print speed of 40 pages per minute and resolution up to 1200 x 1200 dots per inch. The printer boasts a 250-sheet paper tray plus an additional multipurpose tray that can hold 50 sheets, and a 150-sheet output tray; the black-ink toner cartridge is rated to last 8,000 pages. There is an Ethernet port for wired networking or a USB 2.0 connection for a single computer. And, as noted above, the right app on a mobile device lets you print remotely from the cloud. Under the hood is a 400MHz processor and 64MB of memory. The HL-5450DN supports a variety of paper types, including bond, envelopes, labels, letter and legal-sized paper, A4, A5, and B5, and it can print on both sides automatically. This model is compatible with Windows (including Windows 8), Mac OS X, and Linux. It measures 14.6 x 15.1 x 9.6 inches.

Most low-cost laser printers are short on features, but the Brother HL-5450DN includes a lot of nice touches, such as support for cloud printing, auto duplexing, and generous memory. The lack of support for wireless printing is a disappointment, but the Ethernet interface offers partial compensation. In short, the Brother HL-5450DN is a value buy.

Where to buy

Canon ImageClass MF3010 Review

From $89 Good

The Canon ImageClass MF3010 doesn't have many extra features, but is as cheap a multifunction (no fax, though) laser printer as you'll find -- and it performs admirably. It has 32MB of memory and connectivity is limited to a USB 2.0 port.

A cheap multifunction laser printer for one user is what you get with the Canon ImageClass MF3010 (starting at $89, Amazon), according to reviews. The lack of networking features is a drawback, an expert review by CNET asserts, but the ease of use, fast print speeds (clocked by CNET at 17ppm for text), and crisp and clear text printout (even with small fonts) are definite strong points. Tests conducted by PC Mag for a review involving a battery of business applications measured output at 10.3ppm, which the expert says exceeds that of most multifunction laser printers. On the down side, the review continues, text and graphics quality is merely average and the relatively high per page cost of 4.1 cents might be a turn-off to users with heavy print needs. Nonetheless, users hold this printer in high regard. Canon ImageClass MF3010 reviews at Walmart and Amazon cite attributes such as quality scans and prints, rapid printout (three times as fast as an inkjet, says one post), small size, and budget price.

The ImageClass MF3010 is a multifunction device that prints, copies, and scans but doesn't fax. It offers a maximum print speed of 19ppm and features a 600 x 600 dpi maximum resolution (up to 9600 dpi, interpolated, for color scans) and 64MB of memory. The MF3010 connects via USB 2.0 only -- no wireless or Ethernet support, so no networking possibilities. The input tray accommodates 150 sheets of many types of paper (e.g., plain, heavy, bond, envelopes, labels) and the output tray holds up to 100 sheets. The MF3010 measures 14.7 x 10.9 x 10 inches, and weighs 16.8 pounds without the toner cartridge. It supports Windows (including Windows 8) and Mac OS X 10.4.9 and up.

If you need a multifunction laser printer with network capabilities at home or in the office, you'll need to look elsewhere. But for single user purposes, this inexpensive multifunction printer is a solid choice.

Where to buy

Buying Guide

Already omnipresent in large offices, laser printers are rapidly invading homes, home offices, and small businesses thanks to new technology and lower prices. Consumers have warmly welcomed cheap monochrome (black and white) laser printers and the sub-$150 range is bursting with product. We checked out budget-priced monochrome laser printers, including multifunction models, and identified several that would serve you well.

Cheap Laser Printers Buying Guide

The two best cheap laser printers are single-function models that easily meet performance expectations: the Brother HL-5450DN (starting at $135) is a fast-printing, feature-rich machine and the Dell B1160w (starting at $67) is a very low-priced laser printer that includes wireless support. Our next favorite cheap laser printer is the no-frills Canon ImageClass MF3010 (starting at $89), which hits the mark for affordable multifunctionality (print, copy, and scan). If you're interested in a budget color laser printer, you'll need to step outside the Cheapism zone. One that caught our attention is the Samsung CLP-415NW (starting at $216) for its strong performance -- color prints in particular -- and attractive price. Thanks to the current state of technology and its implementation, we didn't find any low-priced laser printers that should be completely ignored.

Aside from the best cheap laser printers on our list, we found a handful of other entry-level models worth mentioning. Dell's B1260dn (starting at $150) is slightly slower than other printers we researched but boasts a large paper tray that's a boon for users who print often and/or long documents. Canon's ImageClass LBP6000 (starting at $77), designed for personal use rather than for sharing, is quite cheap and does its job well. Samsung's SCX-3405FW (starting at $160 new; $90 refurbished) is a multifunction laser printer that's just beyond our price ceiling but is small and sports lots of features.

"Mono" laser printers have two performance characteristics that users care about: output quality and print speed. Laser printers have a sterling reputation for printing sharp, dark text, but budget models' success at printing graphics or black and white images doesn't quite compare. Print speed, measured in pages per minute (ppm), is impressive, even in the entry-level segment, especially when stacked against the inkjet competition. We occasionally ran into some griping by reviewers about toner costs, but most users readily acknowledge that cartridges for cheap monochrome laser printers last longer and are far less costly than cartridges for color models.

The features on budget lasers are fairly standard but vary in their specifics, so sweat the details when shopping. The first order of business concerns connectivity; that is, how you plan to connect printer to computer. Some of the best cheap laser printers support Wi-Fi; some models have an Ethernet port and may also offer wireless support; and others have only a USB 2.0 connection. If the printer will be shared, choose a laser with Wi-Fi and/or Ethernet connectivity. Other related connectivity options debuting in this price segment are printing from the cloud and/or from mobile devices, two functionalities that up the convenience factor.

Next, check specs for printer memory; more is better than less, especially when you need to print several documents in a row or jobs that hog memory. This specification varies from model to model; some cheap laser printers contain as little as 2MB of RAM and others sport 64MB or more. The resolution on cheap laser printers is fairly standard, typically maxing out at 600 x 600 dpi (dots per inch) or 1200 x 1200 dpi; multifunction models may have scanners with resolutions that are considerably higher. Laser output of text doesn't require particularly high resolution, but graphics and images reproduced in black and white appear much sharper at higher resolutions.

The paper handling capacity of a budget laser printer also merits consideration. Most in the Cheapism price range have an input capacity of 150 sheets, but some can take up to 250 sheets. As for media types, the models we looked at are pretty flexible -- all accommodate commonly-used paper sizes and some combination of labels, envelopes, transparencies, and paper types (bond, letter, legal, cardstock, etc.).

One potential drawback -- some models currently available do not support Windows 8. Regardless, this crop of laser printers doesn't take up lots of space, which means you can set one almost anywhere.

Features Comparison Buying Guide continues below table

Laser Printers Performance Reviews

The two characteristics that laser printers reviews most often address are print speed and print quality. Consumers expect a strong one-two punch here, and the laser printers we researched give them just that.

Laser Printers Speed.

According to the laser printers reviews posted by consumers at sites like Amazon, Newegg, and Staples, the best low-cost printers are fast enough for home and small office use. Print speed, measured in ppm (pages per minute), is the holy grail of the laser printers category, especially at the lower end of the market. Indeed, laser printers enjoy a well-earned reputation for printing large amounts of text quickly and for spitting out black and white graphics and images at a good, albeit slower, clip. Although some of the models we singled out are speedier than others, the differences among them are minimal. If you print only a handful of pages a day you won't notice whether the rate of production lags the best by a page or two a minute. But if you frequently print lots of jobs or many long documents, you'll probably want a larger, faster, pricier printer.

Manufacturers' specifications for print speed are usually based on draft-quality text printing on standard, letter-size paper; documents heavy on graphics/photos take longer. Multifunction printers often list the number of copies per minute (cpm) that the copier function can spit out, and this spec is very similar to the printer's per minute output. Experts use different testing methods when preparing their laser printers reviews, so results for any given model vary from one reviewer to another. Their tests, however, often include text, graphics, and images, so the results tend to be slower than the official specs.

With a rated top speed of 40ppm clocked by the manufacturer, the Brother HL-5450DN (starting at $135) almost passes for a speed demon. PC Mag put the printer through a complex "business applications" test (text, graphics, images) and found that it managed 10.8ppm, a result this laser printers review considers quite reasonable given the budget price. CNET logged the speed at 21.13ppm for text-only printout, and attributes the good performance to the machine's 400MHz CPU.

CNET also put the Dell B1160w (starting at $67) -- another of our top picks -- through its paces and measured black text output at 17ppm (versus the manufacturer's claim of 21ppm) while a laser printers review by Computer Shopper says this model can crank out 20ppm. The Dell B1260dn (starting at $150), on the other hand, turned in a performance of 8.3ppm in PC Mag's test suite of business applications, a rate the expert report says is about average for the lower-price end of the market; Dell rates text-only speed at 29 ppm.

A single-function laser printer from Canon, the ImageClass LBP6000 (starting at $77), churned out an acceptably speedy 10.6 pages a minute in business applications testing by PC Mag compared with a manufacturer's specification of 19ppm for text only. The single-function color model we researched, the Samsung CLP-415NW (starting at $216), claims 19ppm for color and/or black and white text. PC Mag tested this model as well, again using a suite of business applications, and gauged the speed to be 6ppm, which the lasers printer review deems reasonable for the mix of color and black and white.

The multifunction models we researched also deliver output in good time, according to expert laser printers reviews. Canon's ImageClass MF3010 (starting at $89), which earns a spot on our list, hits 10.3ppm in the business applications test run by PC Mag, which surpasses rates these experts measured for some pricier multifunction mono lasers. Canon stakes a claim of up to 19ppm for this printer, while CNET counted a notable 14.9ppm for black text. Specifications for the Samsung SCX-3405FW (starting at $162) state print speed of up to 21ppm, although the business applications test run during PC Mag's laser printers review pegged the pace at 7.7ppm, an acceptable but far from knock-out performance.

Laser Printers Resolution and Print Quality

Laser Printers Print Quality.

Laser printers are at their best, and deservedly known for, turning out laser-sharp text. Reviews of budget models by experts and users generally confirm that reputation. They do, however, hesitate when it comes to laser printers' quality of graphics and photo prints, a response that isn't surprising given the limitations of black and white image reproduction, particularly with entry-level machines.

But because consumers and home/small office users rely on mono laser printers primarily for text printout, the print quality of graphics and images is of secondary importance. It's rarely mentioned in consumers' laser printer reviews but does crop up in expert reviews, which are also written for business users. Another point worth noting: Text printout deemed of "average" quality in experts' reports is still viewed as sharp, clear, and dark; that is, easy on the eyes, regardless of font size or type, and more than acceptable for all but the most demanding business presentations.

Our top laser printers picks are good examples of this phenomenon. An expert at CNET says text output with the Brother HL-5450DN is dark, clear, and crisp but considers print quality of graphics and images less satisfactory, with botched transitions from one shade of gray to the next and fuzziness in the shadow areas in small photos. CNET likewise commends text print quality on the Dell B1160w and downgrades the print quality of graphics and images; PC Mag, on the other hand, asserts that the B1160w spits out good-looking graphics, especially compared to other monochrome lasers. The multifunction Canon ImageClass MF3010 also draws mixed appraisals of text versus graphics/photo print quality. CNET proclaims the text to be excellent -- crisp and accurate -- but regards graphics and image printout as so-so, with noticeable loss of detail in shaded areas.

Experts' opinion of laser printer print quality produced by the Samsung CLP-415NW, the one color model we researched, is just the opposite. PC Mag named this model an Editor's Choice, partly due to excellent graphics and photo printout, which it places near the top of the quality range for color printers. Photo prints look so good, the review states, that it's hard to tell they're not the actual photos. Text output, meanwhile, is totally fine but short of desktop-publishing standards.

Laser Printers Resolution.

Specifications for a laser printer always note resolution, measured in dpi (dots per inch). Laser printers resolution simply refers to how sharp text, graphics, or photos appear on a printed page -- the higher the resolution, the sharper the printout. For most laser printer tasks a resolution of 600 x 600 dpi is plenty, but for detailed graphics and images, more dots per inch is preferable. Multifunction devices that include a scanner, like the Canon ImageClass MF3010, may provide a separate resolution for scanned documents. If you see a scanner resolution that's "enhanced" or "interpolated," it means the laser printer processes the scan to artificially improve the resolution, often by making the pixels in the image larger.

Many budget laser printers have a maximum resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi. Among the models discussed in this guide, that list includes the Brother HL-5450DN and Dell B1160w (our two top picks), and the Dell B1260dn. The multifunction Samsung SCX-3405FW boasts a maximum laser printer resolution of 1200 x 1200, while the scan resolution maxes out at 600 x 600 but jumps to 4800 x 4800 with enhanced resolution. Both Canon models we researched, the ImageClass LBP6000 and multifunction ImageClass MF3020, have a maximum 600 x 600 dpi resolution but the MF3020 reaches up to 9600 dpi (interpolated) on scans of color documents. Samsung's color laser printer, the CLP-415NW, stands above the monochrome models with a laser printer resolution of 9600 x 600 dpi for black and color printout.

Laser Printers Memory, Laser Printers Wi-Fi

Entry-level laser printers tend to have similar specifications for certain features, such as paper capacity, but show more variation in laser printers memory and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Laser Printers Memory.

The amount of memory packed inside a laser printer matters most when printing a large number of jobs or memory-intensive jobs (think big InDesign or Photoshop files). In other words, the more memory, the more or more complex documents the printer can store in the queue.

Among the models we researched, the Canon ImageClass LBP6000 contains the least amount of laser printer memory -- just 2MB. This printer is designed for only one user, though, so the limited memory capacity isn't a problem unless you print lots of documents on a regular basis, in which case you should buy a different machine.

If several people make heavy use of the same printer, as is often the case in small offices and increasingly at home, 32MB or even 64MB is preferable. And that's the amount of laser printer memory you'll find on many budget models. Among those discussed in this guide, the 64MB column holds the Brother HL-5450DN, Dell B1260dn, and Canon ImageClass MF3010; the Dell B1160w sits on the 32MB side. The two Samsung printers we researched (both priced beyond the Cheapism zone), the multifunction SCX-3405FW and color CLP-415NW, boast laser printer memory of 128MB and 256MB, respectively.

Laser Printers Wi-Fi Connectivity.

In the past, entry-level laser printers included only a USB port for connecting to a computer, but that's starting to change. More and more budget models now offer networking capability with Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity. If only person will be using the printer, a USB-only connection is sufficient, but not optimal (no printing when you're sitting in another room). If the laser printer will be shared and/or you want remote access, choose one with Wi-Fi connectivity; if you don't have a wireless network but need to share, a printer with an Ethernet interface is called for.

All the models we researched feature a USB 2.0 port, which is the sole connectivity option on the Canon ImageClass LBP6000 and ImageClass MF3010. Laser printers with USB-only typically cost less than those with network capabilities. The Brother HL-5450DN, Dell B1260dn, and Samsung SCX- 3405FWand CLP-415NW all sport an Ethernet port for a wired network connection. The Dell B1160w and two Samsung laser printers additionally support laser printer Wi-Fi connectivity (i.e., wireless 802.11b/g/n connections).

Although the Brother HL-5450DN doesn't support wireless networking, it does have another nifty feature -- cloud printing. That is, when the printer is turned on and connected to a network, you can access (through a desktop, laptop, or mobile device) and then print documents stored in the cloud. The Samsung CLP-415NW also supports cloud printing. A related option is printing from mobile devices, such as an Android phone or iPad fitted out with the relevant app, which lets you send a document -- an email, say -- to your home printer. Among the models we researched, the Brother HL-5450DN, Dell B1160w and B1260dn, and Samsung CLP-415NW support printing from mobile devices.

Laser Printers Paper Capacity.

The feed trays on budget printers typically hold a maximum 150 to 250 sheets of paper. The Brother HL-5450DN and Dell B1260dn boast the largest paper capacities among the printers we researched, each with a 250-sheet input tray and a 150-sheet output tray; the HL-5450DN also has a 50-sheet multipurpose tray for irregular-size paper. The Dell B1160w and Canon ImageClass LBP6000 come with a 150-sheet input tray and 100-sheet output tray, as do the two multifunction models discussed here, the Samsung SCX-3405FW and Canon ImageClass MF3010. Samsung's color laser machine, the CLP-415NW, sports a 250-sheet input tray and 100-sheet output tray. 

Sometimes print jobs call for paper other than the standard 8.5 x 11 variety, and here laser printer capacity depends on the model. The Brother HL-5450DN, for example, prints to plain paper, envelopes, labels, bond paper, and A4/A5/A6/B5/B6 paper types. Canon's multifunction ImageClass MF3010 lists letter, legal, A4, A5, B5, heavy paper, labels, and envelopes among paper types it takes, while the Canon ImageClass LBP6000 adds transparencies to that list. Both of the Dell laser printers we researched, the B1160w and B1260dn, accommodate an impressive array of media types, including transparencies, labels, envelopes, cardstock, cotton, archive paper, and, of course, letter and legal-sized paper.

A laser printer that can automatically print on both sides of the paper is an efficiency booster -- in terms of saving time, dollars, and trees. This is a rare feature in the entry-level arena and among those we researched is available only on the Brother HL-5450DN and Dell B1260dn. Needless to say, posts at sites such as B&H and Amazon indicate that users really appreciate this resource-saving functionality.

Additional Products We Considered

Samsung CLP-415NW Review

From $216

Samsung CLP-415NW (starting at $216, Amazon) reviews are quite enthusiastic about this low-cost color laser printer. After testing by PC Mag that entailed a variety of business applications, the experts awarded it an Editor's Choice label for speedy and sharp-looking output -- a double victory for any laser printer -- and an array of convenient features. The experts rated print speed at six pages a minute, noting this is very respectable for a machine that produces color and black-and-white. The review is especially effusive about the quality of graphics and photo images, and says the latter could almost pass for actual photographs. As for text printout, it's very good but not quite up to "best" desktop publishing standards, PC Mag concludes. Users also applaud the quality of color and photo copies, which one review at Amazon describes as "fantastic," especially compared with inkjets. Assessments posted at Newegg are more restrained, with concerns expressed about the rapid disappearance of toner (despite the "eco" option). Some users also report that setting up the wireless connection can be a challenge.

The Samsung CLP-415NW prints at a maximum speed of 19ppm in black and/or color and boasts a maximum resolution of 9600 x 600 dpi. Its 256MB of memory and 533MHz dual CPU means the queue can hold large jobs from multiple users. There is no automatic two-sided copying but the CLP-415NW does support manual duplexing. It has a 250-sheet input tray and a 100-sheet output tray, accepts media from 3x5 inches to 8.5x14 inches, and supports media types such as bond paper, labels, transparencies, cardstock, envelopes, and glossy paper. Connectivity options include USB 2.0, wireless 802.11b/g/n, and wired Ethernet; the Samsung CLP-415NW also prints from mobile devices (with the appropriate app). The CLP-415NW is comparatively hefty -- a full 36.6 pounds with a 16.5 x 16.8 x 10.4-inch footprint and is compatible with versions of Windows up to Windows 7, some Linux, and Mac OS X 10.3-10.7.

The CLP-415NW from Samsung shows that you can get a relatively cheap color laser printer that churns out high-quality materials at a fast pace. It may not be suitable for a busy small office due to its relatively small paper tray, but is an excellent option for home users and small offices that need high-quality color laser prints, network support, and substantial memory. Even with a price tag that exceeds the Cheapism ceiling, this looks like a deal.

Where to buy

Canon ImageClass LBP6000 Review

From $77

Near the bottom of the laser printer price ladder, the Canon ImageClass LBP6000 (starting at $77, Amazon) earns affirming reviews -- especially from consumers. This is a small and fast laser printer designed for one-person use, and for the most part, performance is more than adequate. A review at Top Ten Reviews commends the fast printing, user friendliness, and small size, but pans the measly 2MB of installed memory. The expert at PC Mag notes that the ImageClass LBP6000 is short on features, which isn't surprising given the very low price, and says text quality is high (good enough for most business documents), and photo prints hold their own on downloads from the web or personal files. Graphics printout is a struggle, however, the Canon ImageClass LBP6000 review continues, showing some "dithering" in images and dot patterns in solid sections. These experts tested speed using a variety of business applications and recorded a very respectable 10.6ppm. Users find a lot to like about this monochrome laser printer. Comments posted at Amazon reveal their appreciation for its print quality and speed, quiet operation, small footprint, and simple setup.

The Canon ImageClass LBP6000 features resolution of 600 x 600 dpi and print speed for black text up to 19ppm. It comes with a 150-sheet input tray and 100-sheet output tray and handles several types of paper and media, including transparencies, labels, envelopes, and heavy and plain paper. With just 2MB of memory and a lone USB 2.0 port (no Ethernet port or support for wireless networks), this model is clearly designed to accommodate the needs of a single user at home. It's compatible with Windows (up to Windows 7), Linux, and Mac OS X 10.4.9 (and higher) operating systems. It measures 9.9 x 14.2 x 7.8 inches and weighs 11.1 pounds without the cartridge.

If you're looking for a simple, entry-level laser printer that doesn't have any networking responsibilities, the ImageClass LBP6000 may be the best deal you'll find. It's small and fast and prints text well.

Where to buy

Dell B1260dn Review

From $150

Dell B1260dn (starting at $150, Amazon) reviews are good for this monochrome laser printer. It's priced near the mid range for entry-level models and while light on features, it comes with several that impress reviewers. At Computer Shopper, for example, the review commends the compact size, the auto duplexing, and the "eco" mode, and adds that business graphics and documents print out quickly and look very sharp. The expert at PC Mag also praises the graphics and text quality but says photo prints sit lower on the quality scale. This Dell B1260dn review clocked print speed at a decent 8.3ppm in its business applications test. One user who posted comments at Dell's site reports that printing is clean and quick and another says the machine is fine for home office use. Several reviewers caution, however, that replacement cartridges are pricey.

The Dell B1260dn is fairly small, measuring 13.7 x 13.3 x 7.8 inches and weighing just shy of 16 pounds (with toner cartridge; slightly over 14 pounds without). It comes with a larger than average 250-sheet input tray and 150-sheet output tray, auto duplexing, support for mobile device printing, and an eco mode that saves on electricity and toner. The maximum print speed for black text is 29ppm and maximum resolution is 1200 x 1200 dpi. A single user can connect to the B1260dn through its USB 2.0 port and the Ethernet interface supports networking. The printer sports 64MB of memory and is compatible with Windows (including Windows 8), Linux, and Mac OS X 10.4 and higher. It can handle several paper and media types, including cardstock, transparencies, cotton, archive, labels, envelopes, and thick paper.

The Dell B1260dn is a good deal for users who value the relatively large paper capacity and support for mobile printing. It's a bit on the slow side compared to some other laser printers we researched, but text and graphics print quality is excellent and the price screams for buyers' attention.

Where to buy

Samsung SCX-FW3405FW Review

From $162

If you need a compact multifunction laser printer, Samsung SCX-FW3405FW (starting at $162, Amazon) reviews suggest this may be the model for you. Expert and consumer reviewers like the small size and, for the most part, the performance. PC Mag writes in its review that text and graphics print quality is well above average for monochrome machines although photos are well below par. As for speed, the site's business suite applications test produced a rate of 7.7ppm, which the experts deem acceptable, albeit a tad slow. Users find the printer to be sufficiently fast and at Staples, their Samsung SCX-3405FW reviews commend the print quality and features such as wireless connectivity. Posts at Amazon generally say the printer is easy to set up (even for the technically challenged), faxes are easy to send, the copy function produces very clear printouts, and the price is right. On the other hand, some Samsung SCX-3405FW reviews gripe about a complicated setup and unreliable wireless, especially with Macs, and a small cartridge that runs out of toner quickly. The PC Mag expert notes the absence of an auto-duplex feature but welcomes the presence of a 40-sheet auto-document feeder.

The SCX-3405FW is a multifunction device that prints, scans, copies, and faxes. Its top print/copy speed is 21ppm and maximum resolution is 1200 x 1200 dpi (600 x 600 dpi for optical and 4,800 x 4,800 enhanced when scanning). The SCX-3405FW comes with a 150-sheet input tray and a 100-sheet output tray, and like most laser printers it accepts different paper sizes and types, including paper from 3 x 5 inches to 8.5 x 14 inches, envelopes, labels, card stock, archive, and cotton media. The printer runs on a 433MHz CPU and boasts 128MB of memory. Connectivity is possible with a USB 2.0 connection, an Ethernet cable, or through Wi-Fi. The SCX-3405FW is compatible with Windows (not Windows 8), Linux, and Mac 10.4 and newer operating systems. By multifunction printer standards, the SCX-3405FW is pretty small, measuring 15.8 x 11.5 x 11.7 inches and weighing 17.6 pounds.

The SCX-3405FW offers several appealing features and reasonable performance for the price. It's a step slower than the multifunction competition, but for home use and laid-back offices, this shouldn't be much of an issue.

Where to buy