Reviewed on: May 2017
Small, medium and large offices that need a mono printer. The M501 HP printer is designed to churn out page after page, with large capacity cartridges, simple installation and basic features. While the lack of wireless is a knock to some, the overall performance otherwise is excellent. We don't say it often, but well done HP!
Features & Connectivity
The HP M501dn has a decent feature list, but is let down by missing two of the most often requested features; wireless & scan/copy. If you can live without these then the M501 has everything else you'll need, and they all work very well:
- 550 sheet paper tray (can add a second optional tray)
- 100 sheet multipurpose feeder
- Automatic duplexer (2-sided printing)
- USB & Ethernet connectivity
- Airprint & Google Cloud Print
One important point to note is the paper tray. While the base 550 sheet tray, and upgrade option for a further 550 pages, is more than suitable for most, heavier users may perfect to look at larger machines with trays upwards of 2,300 pages.
The HP Laserjet Pro M501dn isn't the quietest printer around, but we've experienced louder printers and it's definitely within the 'acceptable' range for noise output.
If you need a printer with scanning, wireless etc then we recommend trying the previous best-buy Canon MF6180dw.
Print Speed & Quality
The HP M501dn printer has excellent print quality for a workhorse-style printer. While it may struggle slightly converting images to greyscale, as it is a mono printer, you'll get similar results from any mono printer. Where it really stands out is the quality of the text printing. Text is crisp and accurate, even at much smaller fonts, and the black always came through bold and rich. Considering the number of pages this printer is designed for we expected a more workman-like quality, but it far surpassed our expectations and would be surprised if the M501dn was anything less than ideal for whatever you need.
This printer is also nippy in the speed ratings. The first-page speed average just under 9 seconds, not too bad for a laser that needs to warm up, and the overall print speed was between 22-23 pages per minute. Not the fastest, but more than enough for all but the heaviest workloads and excellent for a printer in this price range. You can significantly speed this up to over 45 pages per minute in draft mode or printing "simple" files, such as small text-only documents, but we doubt you'd need this. Overall, a solid all round performance.
Cartridges & Running Costs
One of the major reasons we recommend the HP M501dn printer, other than the excellent print quality, are the cartridges it takes. The 'standard' yield, if you can call it that, is up to a huge 9.000 pages, and the higher capacity toner is up to a whopping 18,000 pages. These kind of numbers are rarely seen in printers this size and are perfect for busier offices. Handily, the drum is built into the cartridge which means you only have one consumable to replace in the printer. Toner running low? Replace the toner, that's it! Nice and simple.
Running costs are pretty good, buying the higher capacity genuine HP toner works out around 1.2p which is very competitive. If you're willing to use our quality-guaranteed compatible cartridges you're in for a treat, with a quite ridiculous running cost of around 0.5p per page. Bargain!
If you fancy a printer similar to this but don't need such high capacity cartridges, we recently reviewed the HP M402dw printer which is just as solid a machine and has wireless!
Who Should Buy This Printer
Any busy office that just wants a simple, easy to use printer that prints very well. Large capacity cartridges will keep your office ticking over with incredibly cheap running costs; there aren't many better laser machines out there.