Best Color Laser Printer for photos

The Best Printers for $150, $300, $500, $750

There’s the printer you want and the printer you can afford. Where do your budget and your needs meet? To help you decide, we’ve selected the best models at or around four major price thresholds: $150, $300, $500, and $750.

A $150 printer is in most shoppers’ reach, and is almost always an inkjet unit that’s designed for low-volume use in home offices, homes, or dorm rooms. At about $300, you get a choice of faster, more capable inkjets, and a few very basic laser or LED models.

Many color laser and LED products come into view at the $500 price point, and at $750 or more, you can begin to enjoy the speed, features, and cheaper consumables of serious office printers.

Know Your Printing Needs

How much printer do you need? (Click to enlarge chart.)The best printer has the capacity, features, and speed to match what you actually print on a regular basis. Take a few minutes to think hard about what types of things you print—whether it’s documents, photos, or something in between—to make sure you get a printer that can produce satisfactory output quality in all areas. Also think about how much you print, to make sure you get enough paper capacity; and how many people need to use the machine, in case you require wired or wireless networking capabilities. Check the chart to the left for a quick profile of the kind of printer you can get with the money you have.

Though multifunction printers appear to be the wave of the printing future, they have some limitations. If your office is very busy, forcing a single machine to juggle everyone’s printing, copying, scanning, and faxing demands could overwhelm it—and frustrate your users.

Another considera­tion to keep in mind: If you have a long-term need to scan hundreds or even thousands of pages of documents, a dedicated document scanner that has its own automatic document feeder will simplify that job considerably.

When a Bargain Printer Isn’t

Printers costing less than $100 are rarely worth recommending, as they tend to be slow performers with pricey ink cartridges. The exception is if you print very little—just short text documents, for instance, with little or no color, and no more than a dozen pages per week—because your high ink costs will be spread out over a longer period of time. If you print a dozen or more pages per day, however, or if you want to print colorful pages or photos, you’ll be better off with a printer whose inks are economical. (Editor's note: This paragraph was corrected from the version that appeared in the PCWorld March 2012 print issue. The intended advice is that high-priced inks, while not recommended, might be tolerable for people who don't print much. PCWorld regrets the error.)

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FAQ

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Where can one purchase a color laser photo printer?

A colour laser photo printer produces high quality pictures and texts with a laser beam on so normal plain paper. One could purchase a laser printer from any electronics store.

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