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Five of the Best Color Laser Printers

With the price of color laser printers falling and their photo quality improving, the list of reasons not to buy a laser printer is a short one. Laser printers offer faster printing speeds and better text quality than inkjet printers. Many of the color laser printers currently on the market have photo quality that is above the level of acceptability for standard office documents, client communications and presentations. If you're in the market for a new printer and you want fast, professional output, you must consider buying a laser. Here are five of the best color laser printers on the market.

Dell 2130cn

This is a great printer for a modest price. It is an ideal starter model for a small office or personal setting. PCWorld tested this model and found that "plain-text pages burst out at a rate of 25.3 pages per minute (ppm)….Its tested graphics speed of 5.7 ppm is extremely fast." If speed is a factor in your home or office setting, this might be the model to consider. Unfortunately, the model does not come standard with a duplexer. Dell sells a duplexer separately, but there are two other laser printers that include one standard for a lower cost than buying the add-on.

Xerox Phaser 6280N Color Laser Printer

This printer is touted to have the best black text quality and to be an ideal printer for a small office setting. The price is reasonable, though toner costs are reportedly high. This model also lacks duplex print capability, but for about $100 more, one can upgrade to the 6280DN model that does offer duplex printing. If speed and text quality are your highest priorities, this is a great choice. Some reviewers report that color quality can be a bit variable, but others find that the variances make colors look more vibrant. This printer is not designed for heavy usage, but for a small office setting, it seems a great candidate.

Xerox Phaser 6360DN Color Laser Printer

If speed is your concern, then the Xerox Phaser 6360DN is your printer. Reviewers agree that this model's claim to output about 42 pages per minute is accurate - one of the fastest print speeds some have encountered. With this type of speed, however, print quality is somewhat sacrificed. It is not poor quality - just no better than average. This printer is designed for moderate office use - up to about 100,000 pages per month - and is ideal for a busy small office. This is probably too much printer for personal use.

Lexmark C734dn Color Laser Printer

The good news is that this printer includes duplex print capability and its replacement toner is inexpensive. The bad news is that the default color palette is slightly aggressive. PCWorld reviews indicate that flesh tones are orangey, and flowers "practically glowed." On the positive side again is the long list of standard features included with this model: multiple input and output trays, a drawer to accommodate narrower media like envelopes, duplexing for letter- and legal-size paper, and a multi-purpose tray that can take banner paper up to 36 inches long. This is a versatile printer that offers fast speeds and convenient features.

Xerox Phaser 7500 Color Laser Printer

This is a pricey model but worth it for those who require the ability to print on tabloid- or banner-size paper. It prints at high speeds (Xerox touts 35 ppm for plain text) and offers automatic duplexing. Print quality was reportedly appealing overall, except for an orange hue to flesh tones. Overall, this printer was reviewed well but is probably best suited to those who need larger format outputs.