The Best Laser Printer for Foiling

Toner foiling has become an extremely popular print method but with it comes a host of difficulties. Foil printing is a speciality printing process where metallic or pigmented foil is applied to a printed page via a heated die leaving the desired effect on the surface it was applied to. Metallic foils in colours such as gold and silver are most commonly used as it leaves a quite striking design that a lot of people look for in wedding stationery, invitations etc. The metallic foils shiny and radiant finish leaves a big visual impact.

The Difficulties of Laser Printing and Foiling and How It Works

The process consists of printing out a design onto your chosen media then passing the page with foil placed over the required areas through a hot foiler/laminator. The process of applying heat to it causes the toner to re-melt and become tacky, which in turn causes the foil to adhere to it. Once you peel the foil sheet away, the areas covered in toner now have a foil finish.

The process itself can be fairly labour-intensive and can not only require multiple attempts but can also be a costly process. Also bear in mind that A4 laser mono printers generally cannot print onto cardstock thicker than 220 gsm, with the one exception being an OKI machine at 256gsm, which we wouldn’t advice using for this type of printing process. The other factor to consider is also the effectiveness of toner for the foiling process. The majority of new printers use a polymerised toner that results in a nice, crisp and shiny output but doesn’t tend to lend itself to the foiling process.

Which Printer Should I Use for Foiling?

In the A4 range of machines, the only one we currently have that we know has definitely worked for foil is the Samsung M3820ND, and models up from this Samsung will also work. The limit on the paper weight is 220gsm via the single sheet bypass feeder though and the customers who purchased these are using a foiling machine as opposed to a laminator. Like their A4 counterparts, A3 mono machines are also restricted in both the media weight they can handle as well as having the same issue of not being suitable for foil.

Samsung M3820ND Image

We’ve sent samples from a range of different devices for toner foil testing and have very little success with other brands outside of the Samsung machines mentioned.

Our advice would be to go ahead and use the Samsung ML380ND or similar Samsung machine so long as you’re not looking to print on thicker media than 220gsm.

Handy Tips

  • • Ensure dust and other debris is removed before pressing the foil down.
  • • Use good quality laser suitable paper and good quality foil for better and more consistent results.
  • • Don’t be tempted to put through the laminator/foiling machine a second time. This will almost certainly end in disaster!
  • • Give your foil a minute to cool down once the process is complete.

 

For a more in-depth look at the process of toner foiling and other methods such as hybrid printing, check out our Foiling and Photo Print news post.

16 Replies to “The Best Laser Printer for Foiling”

  1. I am using Brother MFC9125CN and Brother TN 240black toner cartridge since 2017. The post is quite informative and helpful for me because I am thinking of buying a printer in a few days.

  2. Is there any update on this? Interested to know if any other models have been tested?

    1. Hi there, thanks for getting in touch.

      Unfortunately we haven’t done any new testing at the moment. As the need to improve the energy efficiency of printers increases, there is more focus from manufacturers on reducing the fusing temperatures of toner. In order to achieve this, the toner composition has to change and this is why they now contain more wax-like substances. Unfortunately, this is a trend that is likely to continue, so if anything the newer machines are even less likely to be suitable than previous ones.

      Thanks
      The Printerbase Team

  3. Thanks for such a great post. I have just purchased the samsung xpress m2835dw for use with deco foil and an amazon laminator.
    I am finding the results really patchy, with lots of black spots after foiling.
    I have changes the settings to be thicker card stock, high resolution, max clear text with all black font and max edge enhancement with 0 brightness / 100 contrast.
    I am using a smooth card stock, but have tired with thin paper also and get same result.
    It feels like the toner isnt dense enough almost.
    I am a wedding stationer so need a card stock which would be suitable for table numbers / invites etc.
    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Jo, thanks for getting in touch and for the great feedback.

      Unfortunately, the M2835DW model is one of the lower resolution devices (1200 x 600dpi) and not one of the ones we would usually recommend for foiling. The news post recommends the M3820 model with a 1200 x 1200 dpi or the M3320, which shares the same resolution. As you rightly suggest, the issue is likely one of toner density and not paper related. The maximum recommended weight on any of these devices is 220gsm and so are not recommended for thicker card stocks. There isn’t a solution currently available that can handle heavier papers and so of the devices available we would recommend the Samsung M3820 for this application.

      I hope this helps.
      Thanks
      The Printerbase Team

    2. Hi JO,
      I have exactly the same printer. It’s a proper nightmare, I will be sending it back.

      However to help you: make sure the toner it set up at max black density, all the eco mode’s off, printer features set to highest resolution and edge enhancement off.

      P.S. It can’t print ANY graphics (images) in good quality. Just text. The only good thing I can say – prints 300gsm from manual tray without an issue.

      Heat up the laminator for at least 20 mins. 🙂 I can foil text just fine with this horrible device.

  4. Thanks Danial
    I really appreciate your reply. I will mull over your reply, it has been very informative. I might play around with the toner density, and seriously consider another printer, eek! I might try to get hold of some glossy type media too that is laser friendly. Do you have any suggestions? Also I read your post on foiling and photo print and was wondering if you have any suggestions for media that I could try ink jet printing on, and then laser printing on after for foiling? Am I right in thinking that not all paper for ink jets are suitable for lasers? Is it the coatings and do they melt in laser printers? Does printerbase supply such media? And lastly jus to check it is the Samsung range ProXpress range M3320 and upwards? Or just the M3320 and M3820? You seem to be the guru on this so I will hanging around this website a lot I think.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Helen, no problem at all.
      Xerox do a range of gloss coated media, which you can find here – https://www.printerbase.co.uk/printer-paper/standard-office-paper/xerox-colotech-paper/colotech-gloss-coated.html – they also do some supergloss – https://www.printerbase.co.uk/printer-paper/standard-office-paper/xerox-colotech-paper/colotech-supergloss.html – which is coated only on one side, but as the names suggests, it’s very glossy. There will be other brands available, you just need to ensure it meets the requirements for your device on weight and also that it is laser approved. Some papers are suitable for both inkjet and laser, but these would generally be uncoated plain papers. The reason being that ink will not stick to laser coated papers. If you try to print an inkjet coated paper on a laser machine, you will melt the coating and damage the fuser (and printout). In general, people looking to print on an inkjet followed by a laser or vice versa use a standard uncoated media – https://www.printerbase.co.uk/printer-paper/standard-office-paper/xerox-colotech-paper/colotech.html – or an uncoated craft paper. Regarding your last point, it would be the M3320, M3820 and up. Essentially the Samsung mono models with 1200 x 1200 dpi as the lower end models have 1200 x 600dpi resolution.
      I hope this helps!
      Thanks

  5. Hi Danial

    I have just posted this in another thread, and then just discovered this post of yours from today, so I will post here too if that’s ok? Here are my ramblings regarding foiling…

    I must say that this is probably the most informative and most recent advice that I have been able to find on the internet. I, like previous posters, was looking for a laser printer for foiling. I spoke to some knowledgable printer sales staff at a local shop and got swayed into buying a machine different to what I was thinking of first. I ended up with the Oki c332dn. I love that it is almost a flat path. It is a great printer.

    However, I really it just isn’t the right printer for me to do foiling with. I was worried for a few reasons. – Firstly, I wondered if there was a difference with a true laser versus an LED one such as the OKi that I have?
    – Secondly, it is a colour machine, which by some reports does not work quite as well as a monochrome machine. Maybe the density of the black is different when using composite black as opposed to full black?
    – Thirdly, it is a fairly new printer and I don’t know the full composition of the toner. What would we be looking for in terms of toner make up? This doesn’t seem to be mentioned int he specifications.

    I know that the quality and smoothness of the media has an effect on the foiling as well as the quality of the foil itself.

    It got me thinking of looking for a compact (as I am running out of room with 3 printers already :-/), monochrome laser printer that is reasonably priced. Preferably with a back feed. I know I am asking a lot, I am getting very picky from starting to know what does and doesn’t work. I came across a blog that mentioned the Canon LBP6030w. Did you ever get to test this for foiling? It does seem to have a door at the back which made me think it may cope with a heavier cardstock. What kind of toner does it use and what kind of toner am I looking for? I have been looking at the Samsung that you ahve been recommending, but obviously it is tricky to get hold of, a little bit more than I would like to spend (I may get divorced if I am found to spend more on printers), and at best has a U feed (not so great for card foiling).

    Any suggestions you have are very welcome.

    Thanks for your time, I really look forward to your response.
    Helen

    1. Hi Helen, thanks for getting in touch and I’m delighted our post has been helpful.

      Regarding your first question about the differences between laser and LED, there isn’t really much difference and where foiling is concerned it is down to the toner. The difference between laser and LED is the method by which the machine draws the image on the drum. The rest of the process is identical.

      With monochrome machines, they tend to actually have a lower print density than a colour machine in most cases. It is possible that the toner composition is different for black on mono machines than on colour ones, although that isn’t certain. Also, printing a four colour black on your colour machine would actually make the overall coverage more dense and so could provide a better base for foiling.

      With the toner composition, you won’t find the specific toner composition of toners in any of the specs, most likely because each manufacturer has their own recipe suitable for their own toner/drum/fuser setup. The key difference between old toner and new ones though is the number of wax-like substances used. The key for manufacturers is to create toner that is glossy and bold to view, whatever it is that they use to make this the case does not appear to lend itself to the foiling process. We did ask a toner manufacturer about this, and they implied the same. It’s also worth noting that another factor is the fusing temperature, to make a laser/LED printer more energy efficient, it is effective to reduce the fusing temperature. In order to do that, you change the toner makeup to melt at lower temperatures.

      It is true that the quality and smoothness of media will have an effect. Rough media won’t work so well as the toner sits in the ridges of the page and it’s hard to make the foil contact it evenly. The smoother the better in our experience.

      With your final point, we haven’t tested the Canon range as far as I’m aware but it is not one that we have ever heard used by customers doing foiling. Also, it looks to have a standard feed in method and not a rear exit tray and so it still adopts the ‘U’ shape feed path, it would also only be rated for 220gsm. We can only say with any certainty that the Samsung ones we previously mentioned are suitable. As for choosing toner, there is not a hard and fast rule as we currently only know from trial and error and feedback of the ones that work. If there is a chemical composition of toner that works, we don’t know it nor would the manufacturers give that information to us as their toner is effectively a recipe that they would want to keep to themselves. As toner technology advances, it’s likely to become worse for foil as the factors the printers consider such as glossy output and energy efficiency are adverse to the foiling method.

      I hope this helped!
      Thanks

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