Years ago owning a color laser multifunction printer was an expensive dream to small and home businesses. Fortunately devices that can scan, copy, fax, and print in color have steadily declined in price and now any small business can enjoy the convenience of being able to produce quality marketing materials and business documents in full living color without having to visit the local copy shop. Included software bundles and/or panel commands allow you to handle network printing, faxing, and scanning chores. Here are the best color laser multifunction printers for small business budgets.
The Lexmark X548DE is at the high end of the price scale ($1000 plus) and is suitable for small businesses who have high volume printing, copying, faxing, or scanning requirements. It comes with 512 MB installed memory, USB and gigabit network interfaces, duplex printing capability, and an 85,000 page per month duty cycle. Maximum print speed is 25 pages per minute and the 1200x1200 dpi resolution gives excellent print quality. Paper capacity is 800 sheets via a 550 sheet tray and a 250 sheet manual tray. If you need more paper capacity choose the Lexmark X548DTE which comes with an additional 650 sheet tray. For a workgroup class printer the X548DE has a surprisingly small footprint, and setup of the unit is simple via the 7 inch color LCD screen. One thing to watch for is toner prices - the extra-high-yield toner replacements are much cheaper on a price per page basis than the standard units.
The Brother MFC-9970CDW gives excellent value for its mid-range price. It provides fast, automatic duplex printing at up to 30 ppm with impressive output quality and comes with USB, Wi-Fi, and network interfaces. The 50-page automatic document feeder and duplex scanning/printing capability provides for convenient 2-sided printing, scanning, faxing, and copying. Standard paper capacity is 300 sheets via a 250 sheet drawer and a 50 sheet multipurpose tray. An optional 500 sheet tray is available. Print resolution is 2400x600 dpi and the duty cycle is 60,000 pages per month. This multifunction printer's combination of features and price make it a top choice.
The Brother MFC-9560CDW has most of the same features as my top choice, the Brother MFC-9970CDW above; fast, quality printing (up to 25 ppm in both black and white and color), built-in automatic duplexing, and two-sided printing, scanning, faxing and copying. As with the MFC-9970CDW it comes with USB, Wi-Fi, and network interfaces, 256MB memory, and 300 sheet paper capacity. Print resolution is 2400x600 dpi. The automatic document feeder is slightly smaller and can hold up to 35 sheets. The duty cycle is less than the MFC-9970CDW at 40,000 ppm. The MFC-9560CDW is also less expensive.
Another excellent choice in the mid-range price category, the Canon MF8380CDW delivers fast duplex scanning, copying, printing, and faxing at speeds up to 21 ppm at 2400x600 dpi resolution. It has a 50 sheet automatic document feeder and paper capacity is 300 sheets consisting of a 250 sheet tray and a 50 sheet multipurpose tray (an optional 250 sheet tray is available). Interfaces include USB, network, and Wi-Fi. The duty cycle is 40,000 pages per month. Print quality is generally very good although as with most color laser engines photo print quality is not the greatest. Don't expect to move this unit too often - it has a large footprint and weighs 70 lbs when loaded.
5. OKI MC361MFP
For a small to medium sized office the LED-engined OKI MC361 is hard to beat. It prints up to 25 ppm at a resolution of 1200x600 dpi and has automatic duplex printing, scanning, copying, and faxing. It comes with USB and Network interfaces and can scan to or print from a USB key. It includes a 250 sheet tray and a 100 sheet multipurpose tray and the automatic document feeder can hold up to 50 sheets. An optional 530 sheet tray is available. The duty cycle is 45,000 pages per month. Print speed and quality are very good. Setup is more complex than it should be and the MC361 is louder than comparable units when in full operation.
6. Dell 1355CNW
The Dell 1355CNW is a top pick for a small or home office with limited space and a tight budget. It is compact in size and weighs approximately half of some of the above units, so it can easily share your desktop. It also has very lower power consumption. Of course the smaller size and lower price means that it is lacking some of the features found on more expensive models, such as duplexing. It does come with USB, Wi-Fi, and network interfaces and can scan to or print directly from a USB stick. Maximum print speed is 15 ppm at a resolution of 1200x1200 dpi. Paper tray capacity is 150 sheets and the automatic document feeder holds up to 15 pages. The duty cycle is 30,000 pages per month. Print quality is very good.