HP LaserJet Pro M281fdw Wireless Color Laser Printer Review

HP LaserJet Pro M281fdw Wireless Color Laser Printer Review.

The HP LaserJet Pro M281FDW is a large, multi-function laser printer that could even appeal to small business owners. It has an excellent scanner on the top and an automatic document feeder for multi-page scans.


The HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M281fdw is a small, entry-level AIO laser printer designed for small offices, home-based offices, and small workgroups.

Its small size also makes it a good fit as a personal color laser. It prints fast enough for its class, but it lacks a few features, such as the ability to scan and copy multipage, two-sided documents without your having to flip them manually.

In addition, its high running costs will, for most users, relegate it to being a low-volume printer capable of churning out only a few hundred pages each month.

If you need more than that, several models, especially inkjet alternatives and higher-volume laser AIOs, are available with the ability to deliver monochrome pages at under 1 cent per page, and color pages for 5 cents or less.

Connectivity and Security

There are myriad ways to connect to the M281fdw, as it comes with the latest, fastest wired and wireless options, including Gigabit Ethernet and dual-band 802.11n 2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi, respectively, and can connect to a single PC via USB.

Mobile options include Apple AirPrint, Mopria, Wireless Direct (HP’s version of the peer-to-peer network protocol, Wi-Fi Direct), HP’s ePrint and other various HP mobile apps.

It has support for USB memory drives for printing pages formatted in Microsoft Office file formats, as well as PDFs, TIFFs, and JPEGs.

And for further connection and emulation compatibility, you get HP PCL6 and PCL5c, HP PostScript level 3 emulation, and PCLm page description languages.

Plenty Fast Enough

HP rates the M281fdw at 22 pages per minute (ppm), which is 3ppm faster than its sibling, the HP M277dw, and the Canon MF634Cdw.

The M281fdw printed our 12-page Microsoft Word text document at a rate of 21.7ppm, or just slightly under its rating. That’s almost 2ppm faster than the Canon MF634Cdw, and about 2ppm slower than the Brother MFC-L8610CDW.

The HP M277fw was tested under an earlier set of protocols, using different documents, software, and hardware, so comparing its print speeds here would be impractical).


  • Good output quality
  • Easy-to-navigate 5-inch color touch screen.


  • Somewhat high purchase price.
  • ADF does not support auto-duplexing.
  • Lacks near-field communication (NFC).

Whats More

The HP LaserJet Pro MFP M281fdw is smaller than its sister, the MFP-M477fdw. However, it can handle the same heavy-duty workload as our best value pick, the Dell Color Cloud Multifunction printer  up to 2,500 pages per month.

The MFP M281fdw’s main input tray holds the standard 250 pages, but it doesn’t have a secondary tray.

While this saves you some space, you might have to change paper or refill the machine more frequently. The printer has a single-page document tray for making quick scans.


The HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M281fdw prints using laser technology, which picks up powdered ’toner’ on a roller and fuses it to the paper with heat.

Its text quality is Excellent, as we’ve come to expect from a laser printer. Text printing was very quick, 14.3 pages per minute, costing 2.2 cents per page. Its color graphics printing is Very Good for reports, newsletters and web pages, at 4.6 pages per minute, costing 16.5 cents per page.

It prints photos poorly, like early color laser printers. It has auto-duplex printing to print both on sides of the page, with no loss of quality.

If the black ink runs out, it stops printing—it can’t be set to just use the remaining color ink. The capacity of the main paper tray is 250 sheets, a generous size.

There’s a second single-sheet input tray for full-size paper, in case you just need a printout on letterhead, for instance.

Scanning and Copying

Scanning performance was Excellent, suitable for any task including archiving photos. It can scan or copy an area up to 11.7 x 8.5 inches (letter size).

Copying performance was Very Good, suitable for most purposes. It has an Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) for easily scanning/copying a stack of pages.

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