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The 5 Best Multifunction Color Laser Printers in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

Shopping for the best multifunction color laser printer is a pretty tough task. Typically, a multifunction and color printer would be an inkjet one, especially considering the fact that color laser printers have much higher running costs than inkjet ones.

However, color laser printers do bring out some of the best and high-quality color pictures, so if you want to print for professional purposes, it’ll be worth the investment.

Without further ado, here’s a list of the best multifunction laser printers you’ll find on the market.

List of the Best Multifunction Color Laser Printers in 2020

  • Canon Color imageCLASS MF644Cdw – Best Overall
  • HP Color LaserJet Pro Multifunction M479fdw – Best for Small Businesses
  • Canon Color imageCLASS MF733Cdw – Lowest Running Costs
  • HP Color Laserjet Pro M180nw – Best for Home Use
  • Brother MFC-L3770CDW – Best for Connectivity Options

Comparison Table:

PrinterPriceNumber of CartridgesSpeedResolution
Canon Color imageCLASS MF644CdwCHECK PRICE4 toners22 PPM600 x 600 DPI
HP Color LaserJet Pro Multifunction M479fdwCHECK PRICE4 toners28 PPM600 x 600 DPI
Canon Color imageCLASS MF733CdwCHECK PRICE4 toners23 PPM600 x 600 DPI
HP Color Laserjet Pro M180nwCHECK PRICE4 toners17 PPM600 x 600 DPI
Brother MFC-L3770CDWCHECK PRICE4 toners25 PPM600 x 2400 DPI

The 5 Best Multifunction Color Laser Printers in 2020

1. Canon Color imageCLASS MF644Cdw – Best Overall

Canon Color imageCLASS MF644Cdw

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The imageCLASS MF644Cdw is one of the best multifunction color laser printer that allows you to print, scan, copy, and fax. It comes at a reasonable price and packs plenty of great features.

For scanning, the imageCLASS MF644Cdw comes with an automatic document feeder (ADF) that features auto single-pass duplexing. This means that the scanner can scan both sides of the document without you having to flip it over.

It’s quite versatile as it can print sizes as small as 3 x 5-inches or as big as 8.5 x 14-inches (legal-sizes) at a 600 x 600 DPI resolution and a speed of 22.

Furthermore, running costs aren’t that high for a color laser printer, but it’s still not the most economical choice. The 1,200-page yield on color toners is a pretty good amount, though.

With a 250-sheet capacity, the imageCLASS MF644Cdw minimizes the number of times you have to refill the tray. It’s also equipped with a 5-inch intuitive touchscreen that enables you to interact with your unit easily.

Moreover, it’s packed with connectivity options, including USB Type-A, WiFi, WiFi Direct, RJ45 connections as well as thumb drive support. The WiFi Direct option allows you to print from services such as Mopria Print, AirPrint, and Google Cloud Print.

Pros:

  • All-in-one unit
  • Plenty of connectivity options
  • Handles various paper types and sizes

Cons:

  • Not the best print quality
  • High running costs

Bottom Line

Like most multifunction color laser printers, the Canon Color imageCLASS MF644Cdw isn’t the most cost-efficient in terms of running costs. But since it’s an AOI (all-in-one) unit, has a fast operation, and is packed with connectivity options, it’s a superb choice.

2. HP Color LaserJet Pro Multifunction M479fdw – Best for Small Businesses

HP Color LaserJet Pro Multifunction M479fdw

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If you’re a small or medium-sized business, you’ll probably benefit a lot from the HP M479fdw.

It comes with a 28 PPM printing speed, which is the highest on the list, and which also suits fast-paced environments with high-volume printing needs.

Not only that, but it also has several safeguards to ensure that your data is protected from hackers that use printers as entry points into networks. It even sends you a notification if someone tries to intercept data or if it detects vulnerability in the firmware. Finally, it comes with optional PIN/Pull printing.

As for the performance, the HP M479fdw can handle media of different sizes up to 8.5 x 14-inches, and prints at a 600 x 600 DPI resolution, which is similar to most multifunction color laser printers.

It’s even equipped with two paper trays; one of them has a 50-sheet capacity for small jobs, and the other has a 250-sheet capacity to suit large jobs. The former also enables the printer to tackle the scanning jobs at a speed of 26 PPM or copy jobs at 19 PPM.

Being a multifunction unit, the HP M479fdw offers you printing, scanning, copying, and faxing functions. Through the 4.3-inch color touchscreen, you’ll be able to check and adjust the setting of your ongoing processes.

As for connectivity, you can use the USB 2.0 and Ethernet slots in the back to connect directly to a computer. Alternatively, you can use WiFi connectivity that enables you to use Google Cloud Print, Mopria, AirPrint, HP ePrint, and the HP Smart App.

With the HP M479fdw, you’ll be able to produce 50,000 pages per month maximally. The recommended average is between 750 and 4,000 pages.

Pros:

  • Safeguarding against hacking
  • Fast performance with decent quality
  • Decent connectivity options
  • Equipped with an ADF

Cons:

  • Resolution isn’t the best
  • Scanning quality is terrible

Bottom Line

With a high monthly duty cycle, fast performance, and plenty of safety and connectivity features, the HP M479fdw is a top-notch choice for small and medium-sized businesses.

3. Canon Color imageCLASS MF733Cdw – Lowest Running Costs

Canon Color imageCLASS MF733Cdw

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Although the imageCLASS MF733Cdw is more expensive than the MF644Cdw or the HP M479fdw, it comes with the lowest running costs. If you’ll be printing a lot of documents, I highly recommend this printer to save more money in the long run. Not to mention, it also has a higher monthly duty cycle of 50,000 pages and a tray capacity of 250 sheets.

What’s more, the imageCLASS MF733Cdw has a decent print quality of 600 x 600 DPI, which it can produce at a speed of 23 in duplex or 28 PPM in simplex. The imageCLASS MF733Cdw integrates a V2 (Vivid and Vibrant) Color Technology that further enhances the color and sharpness of its output.

Speaking of which, it’s equipped with a 50-sheet ADF flatbed scanner that enables you to use the scanning function. However, the duplexing feature only applies to printing and not scanning, which means you’ll have to manually flip the pages between scans.

A downside to this printer, however, is that it comes with a single cartridge system. This means that while the process of swapping out old ones for replacements is simple, you’ll have to get rid of half-empty or even almost full cartridges if only one toner cartridge runs out.

As for the connectivity options, the imageCLASS MF733Cdw allows you to connect to it through USB, Ethernet, built-in WiFi, WiFi Direct and NFC, with support for various mobile printing protocols, including Mopria, Google Cloud Print, and Apple AirPrint.

To control the printing, scanning, copying, and faxing processes, you can use the large 5-inch color touchscreen LCD display.

Pros:

  • Superb printing quality in both color and monochrome
  • Easy to operate while integrating high technology features
  • Elegant design

Cons:

  • Subpar scanning
  • Heavy ink usage
  • Single Cartridge system forces you to throw away toner

Bottom Line

The imageCLASS MF733Cdw comes with high-quality printing, an all-in-one capability which means one of the best all in one color laser printer. Although it’s not the most affordable option upfront, it does offer the lowest running costs, which means that it’s the best option for high-volume printing.

4. HP Color Laserjet Pro M180nw – Best for Home Use

HP Color Laserjet Pro M180nw

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The HP M180nw is a budget multifunction color laser printer that’s quite compact, which makes it an excellent choice for home use.

However, it’s worth mentioning that it comes with print, scan, and copy features; no faxing capability, though.

The M180nw has a 600 x 600 DPI quality, which is on par with most options on the list. However, its speed is limited to 17 PPM, which is pretty substandard. It’s pretty versatile as it can print documents as small as 3 x 5-inches and as large as 8 x 14-inches.

Moreover, it uses 204A original toners with a 900-page yield for color, and which can change according to your selected DPI or print quality.

Despite its low upfront price, the HP M180nw has pretty high running costs, the highest on the list, in fact.

The downside to this option, however, is that it can’t print in duplex (double-sided) mode automatically, and its scanner doesn’t come with an ADF (automatic document feeder), which means you’ll have to flip the pages over manually.

Finally, it comes with robust connectivity options, including USB 2.0, Ethernet, WiFi, Ethernet, and WiFi direct to enable you to print directly from your mobile devices.

And to track relevant information, the M180nw is equipped with a 2-line LCD display and a keypad with function buttons for easy controls.

Pros:

  • Decent output quality
  • Low upfront price
  • Small and light with a sleek design
  • Strong mobile connectivity

Cons:

  • Slow printing speed
  • Lacks duplexing
  • Doesn’t have an ADF
  • Relatively high running costs

Bottom Line

The HP M180nw is an ideal entry-level multifunction color laser printer. It comes at a low price, but its running costs are relatively higher than other options, so it’s more suitable for medium or low-volume needs. And because of its compact size, it’s the best choice for home use.

5. Brother MFC-L3770CDW – Best for Connectivity Options

Brother MFC-L3770CDW

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Compared to the HP M180nw and Canon Color imageCLASS MF644Cdw, the Brother MFC-L3770CDW has very affordable running costs. So, despite its higher upfront price, it’s more economical in the long run.

It’s a real multifunction option as it’s equipped with scanning, copying, and faxing, besides the basic printing. It can print documents at a speed of 25 PPM and a resolution of 600 x 2400 DPI, which is a combination that’s hard to beat.

Moreover, it supports double-sided printing as well as duplex scanning in a single pass thanks to the 50-page ADF that automates the scanning process.

In terms of connectivity, it has WiFi Direct, WiFi, USB thumb drive support, and NFC connection that allows you to connect and print directly from smartphones and tablets. To allow you to control settings and check progress, the Brother MFC-L3770CDW comes with a 3.7-inch LCD touchscreen.

Pros:

  • Fast operation
  • Excellent print, scan, and copy quality
  • A myriad of mobile connectivity options, including NFC

Cons:

  • No auto-duplexing feature for scan and copy

Bottom Line

Although the Brother MFC-L3770CDW comes at a relatively high price, it’s one of the options with low running costs. It’s also pretty fast and offers a plethora of connectivity options, which makes it suitable for low-volume offices.

Shopping for a Multifunction Color Laser Printer

Before you make up your mind regarding the multifunction color laser printer you’ll get, you should bear in mind the aspects that affect its operation. Consider how often you’ll use the printer, how you’ll connect to it, the quality of its output, and how fast you want it.

Here are the aspects that’ll help you finalize your decision.

1. Connectivity Options

The more versatile the connectivity options on your printer, the easier you’ll be able to carry out its functions.

The most basic ones would offer USB and Ethernet connections. Some will offer WiFi Direct connectivity that allows you to print directly from a compatible device, but some will require a wireless access point on a network; in other words, you’ll need a router.

Finally, the most advanced options will be equipped with NFC technology that enables you to print by tapping the printer from a compatible device.

2. Cost of Consumables

Consumables are things you’ll have to buy on a regular basis in order to use your printer, and these would be replacement cartridges and paper.

This is why you should do thorough research on the cost of printing tied to your printer. Consider things like how often you’ll need to replace your toner cartridges, the yield of a single cartridge, and how much it would cost to print a single page.

A printer with duplexing capabilities will help you save a lot on paper, which brings us to…

3. Duplexing

A printer capable of duplexing will enable you to print on both sides of a paper at once. In terms of scanning, it will spare you the need to manually flip over the page.

While the latter saves time, the former can save both time and money.

4. Print Speed and Resolution

It’s only normal to seek out a printer with the best specs, including speed and resolution. There’s usually a tradeoff between the two.

If you’re looking to print in large volumes, you might end up sacrificing some of the resolution for the higher speed.

On the other hand, if you’re concerned with the quality of the prints, you should go for a lower speed and a higher DPI number. After all, the higher it is, the more details will be in your prints, and consequently, the crisper they’ll look.

Final Thoughts

I’ve gathered every option that can be considered the best multifunction color laser printer on the market, and all of them are pretty close in terms of price, speed, and resolution.

However, I’d recommend the Canon Color imageCLASS MF733Cdw if you have high-volume printing needs and want to save on toner as much as you can. After all, it’s the option with the lowest running costs.

If you’re looking for an option that combines speed with decent quality, go for the HP M479fdw. It’s the ideal choice for a small business printer for an environment where speed and connectivity options are essential.

Finally, if you’re going to do some at-home simple printing, I’d recommend the HP Color Laserjet Pro M180nw. It comes at a very low upfront price, and the high running costs wouldn’t be a problem if you’re not going to print that often anyway.

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