Multifunction Monochrome Laser and Laser-Class Printers

When text, the occasional copy, scan, or fax, and speed are what you need

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When you think about it, there are literally hundreds of applications for black-and-white printers—from doctors’ offices, to auto shops, to title companies, to college students. How many can you think of? And it helps if that monochrome printer also has a scanner for, well, scanning, copying, and faxing, as the need arises, making the machine, of course, a multifunction printer, or MFP, and for many offices all the more valuable.

So that you don’t have to go fishing around the Printer/Scanner section for a viable monochrome printer, here is a roundup of four black-and-white laser or laser-class (fixed LED array), MFPs. As usual, the order below doesn’t necessarily suggest that one printer is better than another. (Much of that depends what and how much you’re going to print.) Instead, this is just a convenient way for you to compare them.

Dell E515dw Multifunction Printer
Dell's entry-level E515dw Multifunction Monochrome Printer. Dell

Dell sells to a lot of businesses that use monochrome printers. (The company has uncanny saturation in several industries, including government and medicine.) This is a relatively inexpensive machine with a so-so cost per page and print speed. The attached review, though, is of a low-volume monochrome MFP, Dell’s E515dw Multifunction Printer. If your environment requires only low-volume monochrome printing with the occasional need for copying, scanning, and faxing, you should definitely take a closer look at this printer.

In addition, it has a wealth of features for its low price. This would also make a good personal MFP for the executive who requires the occasional black-and-white print, copy, or fax, or perhaps a full-color scan.

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Canon imageCLASS monochrome multifunction printer
Canon imageCLASS monochrome multifunction printer. Photograph courtesy of Canon

Here’s another low-volume multifunction laser with a small 10,000-page monthly duty cycle and a relatively high cost per page. (The monthly duty cycle is, of course, the number pages Canon says the printer can handle without undue wear.) This is what I call an “occasional-use" MFP, meaning that you wouldn’t really want to print too many pages on it, because compared to other printers it would cost too much to use. That said, this is good little printer for what it is. Like many of today’s printers, in order to enjoy all of its features, the printer itself needs access to the Internet.

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OKI Data MB492 Multifunction Printer
Monochrome printing and more with a low cost per page. OKI

Now were talking no-nonsense monochrome laser MFP, with a high duty cycle, decent print speeds, expandability, and a highly competitive cost per page. Unlike the first two printers in our roundup, this one is designed to churn hundreds of pages per day, thousands of pages per month, month in and month out. There’s nothing glamorous here, just a high-volume workhorse.

Oh, and I should mention that this is an LED, or light-emitting diode fixed array printer, rather than a true laser. Even so, print quality is as good as you’d expect from a black-and-white laser device.

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Dell E514dw Multifunction Printer
Dell's E514dw Multifunction Printer delivers excellent monochrome prints. Dell

Here’s a stripped down, or smaller version of the E515dw listed earlier. For under $200, you get essentially a full-featured monochrome laser-class printer, complete with an automatic document feeder, as well as access to a number of Internet cloud sites. In fact, as a Dell workgroup printer it is entitled to access to Dell’s Document Hub, an online feature for controlling work flow, and performing optical character recognition (OCR), as well as several other mobile online cloud and security features.

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