When printing photos you have to go for an inkjet printer, right?
That’s probably what you have been told by those not brave enough to check if a laser printer can do the job.
Laser printers are the type you buy because you are after productivity, print speed and longer lasting duty cycle. But they can actually print good photos if you take the time to set the printer up right and use the correct print media for the job.
So, what is the best laser printer for photos?
Now that we’ve set the record straight, let’s see if we can find the best color laser printer for photos.
List of Top Color Laser Printers For Photos
Comparison Table For 10 Top Color Laser Printer for Photos
Are Color Laser Printers Any Good For Photos?
For high-resolution color photos, it is better to go for an inkjet printer. However, for standard color photo printing, you can use a color laser printer. If using a laser printer for photos, ensure you use photo paper specific for laser printing. A special type of paper is required due to the different heat processes that a laser printer uses.
Can Laser Printers Print On Glossy Photo Paper?
Yes, laser printers can print on glossy photo paper. However, this needs to be done with a laser-specific gloss photo paper to ensure that the toner fuses with the paper.
Inkjet-compatible photo papers will cause serious issues with your laser printer.
Is Laser Or Inkjet Better For Printing Photos?
Inkjet is better for printing high-resolution photos. However, if you have a high-resolution image and a laser printer that can print 300dpi, you will still get good quality from a laser printer.
Do Laser Printers Come With Full Toner?
Check the sellers’ page to know for sure, but most laser printers arrive with a full toner. However, this may not be a high-yield toner cartridge and may give fewer prints than the standard cartridges that you will buy later.
Can A Laser Printer Print Color?
Yes, there are laser printers that print color.
Traditionally, laser printers were only printing monochrome as they were used for black text on documents.
However, with computer software advancing and people requiring graphs, charts, and images in their documents, manufacturers have adapted to engineer laser printers with a color option.
How Long Does Toner Last In A Laser Printer?
Toner cartridges tend to expire after two years. However, if you do a lot of printing per week, you may not even get close to this date.
It is not the toner itself that will go bad. Toner is a plastic-based substance and can actually last a very long time. However, other elements in the toner cartridge do not have the longevity, which is why the two-year expiry exists.
Do You Need Special Paper for A Laser Printer?
If you want to get the best performance from a laser printer, even if printing simple documents, you should get laser-specific paper.
However, for document printing, paper exists that can be used on both a laser and inkjet printer.
For other types of printing, such as photograph printing, you should definitely check that the paper is laser specific or problems will occur with your printer.
5 Best Color Laser Printers for Photos Reviews
1. Canon Color ImageCLASS LBP622Cdw | Best Laser Printer for Photo Priniting
The first printer on our list allows you to get vibrant colors and quick printing done.
From a laser printer featuring four color toner cartridges, you get 600×600 dpi resolution picture. For photo printing 300dpi is generally fine, so don’t be worried that this dpi figure seems a lot less than inkjet models. This printer has the dpi to print a quality photo, you just need to make sure the photo file you are using is of high quality.
This printer has two input trays, both of which can hold the same size of media, which is 3.5×5” up to 8.5×14”. Therefore, using a gloss coated laser paper, you will be able to print photos of postcard size and larger pictures if you so desire.
With the Canon Color ImageCLASS LBP622Cdw you will be able to print photos directly off your phone using wireless technology which includes Apple AirPrint for those using Apple devices, and Google Cloud Print, for those who have a Google account.
- Print thousands of photos a month with 2500-page monthly duty cycle
- Speedy printouts at 22 ppm
- Rapid 10.3 seconds first print out time
2. HP Color LaserJet Pro M479fdw | Best Photo Laser Printer
This all-in-one laser jet printer from HP is a great photo quality laser printer for both scanning and printing photos.
The color print resolution is the same as the previous printer on our list at 600x600dpi which will get you a fine color photo. The benefit of having a scanner here is if you have old photos you want to store digitally to print off later, you also have that option available. Any scanner that can do a 600-dpi scan is suitable for this job.
Two input trays allow you to print a minimum 3×5” photograph and a maximum 8.5×14”. Just remember that if printing the bigger size your file should be a higher resolution to maintain image quality.
Wireless connectivity allows you to print photos direct from any mobile devices, but you also have the option to connect the printer to your computer using USB Type-A if you so wish.
The monthly duty cycle of 50,000 pages means you can print photos and do your office work without worrying that you are overworking the printer.
- Manage the printer easily with 4.3 color touchscreen
- Fast color prints at 28 pages per minute
3. Brother HL-L3270CDW | Best Wireless Color Laser Printer
This laser printer comes with a superior dpi to the first two printers we have looked at. So, if you fear that 600×600 dpi is not enough for your photo printing requirements, then the Brother HL-L3270CDW will give you a 2400×600 dpi.
That is good not only for photo printing, but also for producing highly professional looking text and graphics if you wish to use the printer for office work as well.
This printer comes with one input tray, so you will have to switch your print media if your printer is to fulfil a dual role. The tray can handle media as small as 3×5” and as large as 8.5×14”.
Color print speeds come in at 25 pages per minute, with a 14-second first print out time which is extremely efficient.
The 2.7” color touchscreen will allow you to connect and print direct from cloud apps such as Dropbox and Google Drive, while you also have built in Wi-Fi to print direct from smartphones and tablets.
- Monthly duty cycle of 30,000 pages
- Toner save mode reduces costs when not printing photographs
- Manual feed slot allows for varied print media
4. HP Color LaserJet Pro M255dw | Best Color Photo Laser Printer
The HP M255dw is an affordable laser printer, best suited to a home office, that packs a 600×600 dpi color resolution providing great photo prints provided the file you print from is high quality, and you are using the correct type of paper for the job.
This printer comes with just the one input tray that allows you to use print media of 3×5” to 8.5×14” making standard photographs possible, and high quality larger photos so long as you ensure you are printing high resolution images.
Being a more affordable model, you will not get all the features of the other 600×600 dpi printers on the list, but most of what is missing are additional extras that do not impact on print quality.
For example, this printer will allow you to connect via Wi-Fi and USB Type-B but doesn’t have the option of using direct printing apps. It is an issue of convenience, but not the end of the world because it’s the difference of a minute or so in connecting.
- 2.7” Touchscreen enables you to change printer settings easily
- Rapid 22 pages per minute in color
5. Brother MFC-L3750CDW | Best Wireless Color Laser Printer
Our final review is this all-in-one printer from Brother that features a 2400x600dpi print resolution, a 2400dpi optical resolution flatbed scanner, and a 600x600dpi resolution copier. All of those are specs that mean whether printing, scanning or copying a photo, you will get a clear image.
The 2400 dpi scanner will be able to scan the details of any photos and replicate them in a print of exactly the same quality. This means you can easily scan and print old photos if needing to make copies for others, or if making copies of other people’s photographs from a time before digital cameras.
The input tray allows you to print photographs from anywhere between 3×4.47” to 8.5×14”, and on print media that weighs 60 to 163gsm.
Mobile printing is possible from the Brother MFC-L3750CDW via Wi-Fi, and apps such as Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print and Mopria.
Finally, this printer is relatively compact so would maximise the amount of space is a smaller room or office area.
- 3.7” LCD touchscreen allows you easy access to printer controls and settings
- Single-sheet manual feed slot allows you to use specialist print media
- 25ppm speed
Color Laser Printer for Photos Buyer’s Guide
A bit of a myth has developed with regards to resolution and printing color photos. This has likely come about from how inkjet ‘photo’ printers have been marketed, screaming at you that they print with a 4800×1200 or 9600×2400 resolution.
Thus, when you look at a laser printer with a 600×600 dpi resolution you think to yourself that there’s no way it can print a decent photo.
But this actually isn’t the case. The quality of the photo printed is more about the quality of the photo that has been taken. A high-definition photo will print clearly, just like you get from the photo shops with a 300dpi printer.
The best color laser printer for photos is more than capable of meeting every day, standard photo needs with their lower dpi.
You only need to go for an inkjet ‘photo’ printer if printing really artsy high-quality images that are going to be looked at by photo aficionados. But even then, it is the configuration in terms of number of ink colors that makes more of a different than the print resolution dpi.
b) Duty Cycle
You need to check the monthly duty cycle of the printer to see whether it matches your printing load. If you are buying a laser printer, it is quite likely you are looking for something that prints photos and does a bit extra.
If that is the case, you want to get something with a monthly duty cycle in the tens of thousands if possible.
Should you need something for occasional document printing, and the occasional set of photos, then something with a 4-figure unit should suffice.
Be careful to check the different figures for maximum duty load, and recommended duty load. Sometimes there is a huge disparity and your printer could face problems long before it hits that maximum number.
c) Media capacity
Look for the sizes of print media that you can use with the printer. Most of these laser jets have a smallest size of 3×5” which is enough for you to print slightly larger postcard size photos. The maximum capacity should be at least A4 size, but you may find multipurpose trays that allow a larger media type.
If you want to pay a bit more you can get printers that connect through mobile apps, but a standard Wi-Fi connection should be fine if you don’t want to go for the fancier options.
The best laser color printers for photos are equally as good at producing clear, fantastic images as the best inkjet printers when you are looking at standard photo quality.
The main difference between an inkjet photo printer, and a laser printer is when the inkjet has a wider range of colors it can produce greater color saturation on more professional shots.
Snap something on your phone and a laser printer will get you an image you are happy with, so have a think about the options we’ve shown you, and you won’t regret buying any of the machines we have talked about.