Best Multifunction Color Laser Printer

So... I'm getting tired of looking up reviews to try to find a good multifunction color laser printer as most reviews aren't too favorable of any of the printers and I am hearing some people saying that Brother is good and HP is bad, but reading reviews that are more favorable towards HP than to Brother. Would love to hear the opinion of professional users that have had good or bad experiences with them. I don't need to print a ton per month, but would prefer something relatively fast, yet not too expensive per page. I would like something that scans well and software management that organizes scanned documents would be a bonus, but not sure if anything decent comes with them.
G27Asked:
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Colour Lasers are expensive per page, What is low usage? 1000 pages/month? /week? /day?
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G27Author Commented:
I won't use color much, but would like it if I need it. I have heard that some printers use the color cartridges when printing black, which would be bad. I am under 100 pages a week, so pretty low. I know that makes the cost of printing almost a non-issue, but I would rather not have to replace toner any sooner than I have to and I really want something that is reasonably fast, cost effective and reliable. It would also be nice to replace my flat bed scanner with something that would auto-feed. Duplexing is important as well.
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Each feature adds to the price:
Duplexing, Auto-Sheet Feed Scanning, Separate Black Cartridge,
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nobusCommented:
i have an HP laserjetPRO 200 color (which is rather low cost) and am very happy with it
maybe something for you?
http://www.shopping.hp.com/en_US/home-office/-/products/Printers/HP-LaserJet/CF147A
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G27Author Commented:
ve3ofa, I understand that each feature adds to the price. I am just trying to list the features I am looking for and would appreciate some recommendations. I don't expect to pay $200 for a good multifunction color laser printer, but I am also not looking to spend $2,000 for the ability to print 50 ppm. I have seen what look like good multifunction color laser printers for $400 - $700, but they all seem to have their issues based on reviews. The problem is that you never know the experience level of the person doing the review. I figure that experts on here know whether a printer is actually good or bad.

Inobus, I'm looking for a multifunction color printer, not just a color printer.

So.. can I get some recommendations on good multifunction (all in one) color laser printers?

Thanks.
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
Hi G27,
I have the Brother MFC-9840CDW and MFC-9970CDW. The 9840CDW is considered obsolete, but the 9970CDW is current, and is reasonably priced (in my opinion):
http://www.brother-usa.com/MFC/ModelDetail/4/MFC9970CDW/

Although the list price is $700, I've seen the street price as low as $479, although now it is over $600 at Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Brother-MFC-9970CDW-Wireless-Networking-Duplex/dp/B004GXAY9E/

There are less expensive Brother color laser MFCs, including several new models. Here's a link to them:
http://www.brother-usa.com/MFC/Color_Laser_Multifunction/

I don't know the cost-per-page for any of their color lasers...not even the ones I own, since I do relatively little printing. The toner cartridges are expensive, but I don't go through them often.

I've had excellent results with numerous Brother MFCs for many years, including the latest-and-greatest 9970CDW. It is a color laser (with automatic duplex printing), a color/grayscale/B&W scanner (with automatic duplex scanning), as well as a fax and copier. It has ISIS, TWAIN, and WIA drivers, including all those drivers available for 64-bit W7. It comes bundled with Nuance's PaperPort for document imaging/management although it's probably going to be version 12SE, which you may want to upgrade to the full 12 (not SE), or 12 Pro, or the latest-and-greatest 14 or 14 Pro (yes, they got superstitious and skipped version 13).

Here's a brief review of the 9970CDW that I posted at a PaperPort site a year ago ("PP" in the quote below means PaperPort):

This is Brother's replacement for the MFC-9840CDW, which is now considered obsolete ("Discontinued Model"). The MFC-9970CDW has a huge advantage over the 9840CDW - it does duplex scanning in a single pass. The 9840CDW physically flips the page to do duplex scanning, so it takes three passes: scan the front, flip the page, scan the back - SLOW! Yes, it's automatic, but on a large document, it's actually faster to simplex-scan the fronts, simplex-scan the backs (so just two passes, not three), and use PP's Capture Assistant to put the doc together. But the 9970CDW has dual cameras, so it does a duplex scan in one pass - FAST! Another (should be) advantage of the 9970CDW is that it has an ISIS driver (of course, it also has TWAIN and WIA). Generally speaking, ISIS drivers are superior to TWAIN and WIA drivers. I tested all three drivers with PP14 Standard and PP14 Professional in W7/64-bit. The only connection tested was wired Ethernet (supports 10/100), but the device also provides wireless (b/g) and USB (2.0) connections. All three drivers worked well, but I wasn't with the device long enough to do performance testing. The ISIS driver will likely perform the best, but I have no data to verify that, and my usage of the device is limited. So if anyone else has this MFC and can do some performance testing on the three drivers, that would be terrific - please post your results here. This device required the usual tweak to get duplex scanning working - see my tutorial on how to do that. Overall, this is an amazing device for a street price in the $500-600 range (currently $499 at Costco, but I paid $529 at Amazon, with both prices including free shipping). If you get one, I recommend adding a 256MB memory chip to bring the total to 512MB (has 256MB built-in). Street price of this chip is $10-15 (I paid $11 at Amazon for the Kingston 256MB, DDR2, SDRAM, 144-pin, model KTH-LJ2015/256 memory module).

The "tutorial" that I referred to above about duplex scanning is in an article here at EE called Automatic Duplex Scanning in PaperPort Versions 11, 12, 14:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Server_Software/Document_Management/A_10331-Automatic-Duplex-Scanning-in-PaperPort-Versions-11-12-14.html

Regards, Joe
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G27Author Commented:
Joe, Thanks for the info. I saw the review for this and was impressed, but the reviews at Amazon talked about paper curling, which is worse the heavier weight the paper gets. Have you experienced this? How heavy is the paper you use? Also, I can't remember if it was this printer, but I saw a review that if you want to scan a legal sized document you can't use the auto-feeder. Have you tried scanning legal sized documents? Again, I don't recall if it was said of this printer or another one.
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
> Have you experienced this? How heavy is the paper you use?

I use 32 lb. (Boise and Hammermill) and have not experienced the curling problem on the 9840CDW, which is at my primary location. I don't spend much time with the 9970CDW, which is at a secondary location, but the last time I was there, I don't recollect any curling on the output (but I don't know what weight paper it was). I'll send an email to ask for more info/feedback from that location and will post back here as soon as I get it.

> Have you tried scanning legal sized documents?

The ADF on 9840CDW works fine for simplex (one-sided) legal size scanning. However, it does not support duplex (two-sided) legal size scanning, so in that case, I use PaperPort's Capture Assistant and the "Scan Other Side" functionality. This works well, but anyone who needs to do a lot of duplex, legal size scanning should not get this unit. Nearly all of my duplex scanning is letter size, so it's not a problem for me.

But the (most likely) good news for you, since you'll be getting the 9970CDW, not the "obsolete" 9840CDW, is that this is supposed to be one of the improvements in the 9970CDW, although I don't recollect testing it. But the 9970CDW manual says this:

Document Size (2-sided (Duplex))
ADF Width: 5.8 to 8.5 in. (147.3 to 215.9 mm)
ADF Length: 5.8 to 14 in. (147.3 to 356.0 mm)

I'll ask my 9970CDW location to test a legal size duplex scan and will post back here. Btw, Brother is really good with documentation on its site. You may find all of the 9970CDW docs here:
http://www.brother-usa.com/support/ModelInfo.aspx?R3ModelID=MFC9970CDW#.UiDmET97AsA

Regards, Joe
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
Update re the MFC-9970CDW:

(1) Paper doesn't curl...two types/weights: multi-use 20 lb. and laser 28 lb.

(2) ADF legal size duplex scanning works fine.

Regards, Joe
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G27Author Commented:
Thanks for your response Joe and thanks for the time you took to check into my concerns. I really appreciate it.
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
You're very welcome. Regards, Joe
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