Four Entry-Level Monochrome Laser Printers, Reviewed

Which Monochrome Laser Printer Is Best?

Really, any of the printers rounded-up today could fit into a home office setting, satisfying specific needs. But based on our hands-on testing, two models stand out in particular.

Overall, Brother's HL-6180DW posted the fastest performance, and by a wide margin in some cases. This alone could be reason for recognition in a printer review with benchmarks, but there were other features that also helped it secure the first mention in our conclusion. For example, its large 500-sheet paper tray can take a whole pack of paper, meaning you'll spend less time maintaining the printer and more time cranking out the documents needed in hard copy form. And although the HL-6180DW is not as secure as HP's LaserJet Pro M401dne, the addition of secure printing should be more than enough protection for home offices and small businesses. Finally, when you factor in an easy setup requiring little more than a power cord, this $300 printer punches far above its class. 

A runner-up more worthy of a value-oriented shout-out is Dell's B1260dn. To be frank, we didn't expect much from a $140 laser printer. That just sounds too good to be true. But Dell proved a low price can be indicative of solid value as well. Armed with respectable, if not outright fast print times, and the highest graphics printing quality, you'd be almost assuredly unable to find a better option than the B1260dn at this price point. As a personal printer with nice extra features and high-quality output, it's near the top of the list.

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64 comments
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  • blackmagnum
    Perfect timing for the office upgrade. These laser printers definitely offer better printout/ price ratio compared to ink jets.
    3
  • phate1337
    Hey, I recommend you try and get your hands on a low end Kyocera desktop printer. as an engineer that has worked on many many brands of printers, scanners and photocopiers, the most reliable by far has to be Kyocera for desktop A4 Mono printers.
    0
  • cypeq
    For regular desktop printing (that's their goal) any would do, they all well... print, your only guideline should be prints per month, if you want proper durability of device.
    1
  • Achoo22
    The Dell sometimes goes on sale - I've seen it drop well below $100 in the past, including free shipping. I've used lots of devices from Brother in the past, and their drivers tend to be among the worst in the business in terms of stability and OS support. When Windows 9/Ubuntu Next/Plan9/whatever comes out, don't be shocked if you're without print services for a while. Being able to hold a whole ream of paper at once is pretty awesome, though, and means an awful lot more in practice than shaving a few seconds off of a print job.
    -1
  • Someone Somewhere
    Would be nice if you'd posted the toner cartridge sizes and costs, too. Many budget lasers come with cartridges only in the ~700 page range, which is better than an inkjet but still relatively small.
    6
  • XGrabMyY
    My favorite entry level laser printer is by far the 2270DW by Brother. I can buy 6000 page yield cartridges for about 12.50USD, and they last for that long. It is unreal how much value you get for a 90-120USD printer (I spent about 90 to a 100 for each of my two) and they duplex and have wireless printing - super easy to setup AND Brother even supports Windows 8/8.1 RT. You really can't ask for anything better!
    6
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    As a sysadmin with dozens of Ubuntu systems under control, the choice is easy. HP, because it's the only thing that's decently supported :D (And use 3rd party cartridges to avoid being ripped off by HP)
    4
  • Someone Somewhere
    Printing works fine on both my Brother and HP network printers, on Ubuntu and Windows. Never had driver issues with either.
    2
  • bloody llama
    The article doesn't mention anything about longevity or ease of repair on these printers. I understand that it is somewhat outside the scope of a simple review, but my experience with laser printers has lead me to believe that the brother printers last much longer and are much easier to repair over the long haul. Try letting an office of real estate agents abuse one for a decade and that gets real important.
    1
  • vaughn2k
    In the Philippines, we have this Brother Printer HL-1110 (http://welcome.brother.com/ph-en/products-services/printers/hl-1110.tab1.html), costs U$67.0 and can print 21ppm. ;)
    0
  • Someone Somewhere
    No networking and manual duplexing only. I'd give it a miss.
    0
  • ram1009
    Try Samsung.
    1
  • Onus
    I've had a Brother 2070N for 7-8 years. Although I'm not sure I've printed more than 2K-3K sheets in all that time, I'm still on the original cartridge. It has been trouble-free otherwise. It sleeps peacefully most of the time, but wakes right up when I or my wife print to it over our LAN.
    1
  • The original Derfman
    This article is missing the one thing I would like to know in my budget printing needs. Cost over time. Please, next time you do printer reviews... add this.
    4
  • Sername
    Don't know if you've noticed the Dell and Xerox have identical looking driver graphical interfaces. Most likely both are rebranded Samsungs.
    4
  • Onus
    HP has made it to my personal "Do Not Buy" list. They have forgotten that they are first and foremost a printer company. In my managed work environment, the HP Universal [Failure] drivers are constantly being stepped on, and must be manually deleted and reloaded each time. I choose not to contend with that sort of driver nonsense on my own time too.
    -1
  • iknowhowtofixit
    I love Brother laser printers. I have an MFC series laser printer that is 6 years old and just won't die. It fell about 8 feet on a moving truck and survived that too.
    1
  • The Black Laser
    I recently purchased a Brother HL-2280DW, which is a wireless multifunction laser printer and I couldn't be happier. Plus, it was like 100 bucks. Total no brainer.
    2
  • odoketa
    I have the Brother 5250DN, which is basically an older version of this printer, with a wired connection. It's been a solid workhorse for five years now.
    1
  • gypsydan
    I finding you did not mention. I understand Brother does not allow you to refill their toner cartridges. Do the other mfg's allow cartridge refills? I HAD used Brother for years, but no longer.
    -1