A few years ago, my uncle called asking about a topic I knew little about: color laser printers. He’s an attorney and wanted to produce cleaner, crisper color prints for his practice. At the time, the options were few, and those color laser printers that were available were pricey. If memory serves, the model he settled on – which was on the low end of the price spectrum – was $700.
I hadn’t thought much about color laser printers since then, but last week a friend called asking about them. My initial response was that they’re nice, but expensive; a little online research quickly proved me wrong, however, at least about that latter part. Like everything else tech, the prices have come down… way down.
The printer I recommended to my friend was the Samsung CLP-315W, the most affordable color laser printer I could find. The printer’s MSRP is $455, but Amazon.com is offering the printer for $171 (via the third-party retailer FastFriendlyService). NewEgg has it for $219.
Here’s the skinny on the Samsung CLP-315W:
The printer has built-in Wi-Fi (b/g), which is good if you want a little flexibility in where you can place the thing, but USB connectivity is also an option. Its footprint (the amount of space it takes up on a desk or other surface) is 15×12-inches. The printer is rated for 17ppm for black prints and 4ppm in full color; not exactly lightening, but acceptable for most users’ needs I’d imagine. Max print quality is 2400×600 dpi. The printer works with Windows XP, Vista and 7, and Mac OS 10.3+ [Drivers Link].
Rather than a single black toner to replace, as is the case with monochrome models, color laser printers have four toner cartridges: black, cyan, magenta and yellow. On Amazon, each cartridge runs about $34-38. Refill kits on eBay are much cheaper, but you may not want to worry about filling your own toner cartridges – depends on your comfort level.
From what I can tell, $35 per toner cartridge is pretty low, but it still seems pricey. At that price, you could get a new printer for a few dollars more than buying all four cartridges at once. But most of the time you won’t need to replace them simultaneously.
Amazon ratings on the printer are good – 4ish out of 5 stars. More than 75% of NewEgg users rated the printer 4 or 5 stars out of 5.
For more details on the CLP-315W, take a look at the User Manual [PDF Link].
Do you have experience with the Samsung CLP-315W? Know of another affordable color laser printer you’d recommend? Vent or show your love in the comments section.