Personal Laser PrinterThe personal laser printer is perhaps the most useful accessory for the home PC user since the mouse. Page for page a personal laser printer is by far much cheaper than any inkjet printer could hope to be. There are dozens of manufacturers making laser printers from Hewlett packard to Brother and Xerox. Features vary greatly in personal laser printer models and the decision process can be confusing at times. I'm going to run through the different things to consider when trying to purchase the best personal laser printer for the money.

How fast does the personal laser printer need to be?

All personal laser printers advertise their speed, but honestly, for the average home user does it matter if a page takes three seconds or two seconds? If speed isn't really a consideration, and it really shouldn't be, then don't consider it at all. The price of a personal laser printer climbs drastically the faster it prints. A personal laser printer speed may be an issue if you print 100's of pages at a time, if you print this kind of volume though you shouldn't be looking at a personal laser printer and instead should opt for a more business oriented printer. 

Also, no matter what a printers advertised speed is it'll take a few minutes to warm up before it prints the first page.  So, if you only print one or two pages at a time it's not going to take 5 seconds, it'll take more like 2 minutes.

How big can the personal laser printer be?

There is a trend these days to make the personal laser printer smaller and smaller, this is called a space saver or compact design. Personally I'm all for this, but consider this, the smaller the personal laser printer is the more features have to be sacrificed. Usually this is having less paper types to choose from and a smaller overall paper tray capacity. If you tend to print in 11 x 17, or even envelopes then you need to read the features carefully to make sure the personal laser printer you are interested in can support all the paper types you want to use.

Now for the average home user just printing out one or two pages of stuff once in a while the need for 11x17 paper is non-existant.  Don't worry about losing the ability to print on oversize paper if you're never going to use it anyway.

What will you print with the personal laser printer?

All laser printers have different resolution capabilities. Check the stats to see what they are. For average, day to day text printing all laser printers are fine for the job. If you want to print color photos though you should be aware that color laser printers are generally terrible at it unless it's specifically made for photo quality work, you're better off buying a cheaper color ink jet printer if you want to print color photos.

How much do the replacement toner cartridges cost for the personal laser printer?

Unfortunately many manufacturers sell their personal laser printers cheap, but literally rip you off when it comes to getting a new replacement cartridge. Make sure you research how much they cost before you buy the printer you're looking at. It's also a good idea to calculate the cost per page, just divide the number of pages the printer cartridge is rated for by the cost.

How does the personal laser printer connect to your PC?

Amazingly very few, if any personal laser printers come with a printer cable. You'll need to buy one of these too, around $20. A good option, if you have a home wireless network, is to get a personal laser printer with built in wireless networking. Not only will you be able to save on the printer cable, but every computer in the house will be able to use the personal laser printer from anywhere in your home. A great option for you laptop users!

Read this great article if you want to learn more about wifi laser printers.  There's a few more things to consider but it's not rocket science.

Finding a great price on a personal laser printer

Heres a great laser printer available on Amazon, it's highly rated and even has full duplex printing.

Perhaps the easiest way to find the lowest laser printer price is to read laser printer reviews on such sites as Consumer Search or Consumer Reports. Not only can you read unbiased laser printer reviews from home users such as yourself but often times they'll list the lowest laser printer price available on the web. You will of course find many more helpful links right here on the page to help you.