12 Monochrome Laser Printers

Lexmark E120n

At first glance, the Lexmark E120n is just another $150 laser printer and is not much different from the three other printers at or near the same price point in this Buyer's Guide. In addition to being quite compact - its dimensions are 9.8" x 15.3" x 14.6" (25cm x 38.8cm x 37xm) and it weighs 15.2 lbs (6.9 kg) - it also comes equipped with a 10/100 Ethernet interface, as well as the now-standard USB 2.0 port. It also prints at a up to a decent 19 ppm, with resolution of 600x600 to which Lexmark applies some dithering magic for 1200x1200 image output quality.

The OKI E120n is another compact cube in black and silver.

The E120n uses fairly low page-yield consumables that produce up to only 2,000 pages. These cost $67 for return program models and $87 for keepers, which produce cost-per-page numbers of 3.35 and 4.3 cents per page. Aftermarket products are also available at prices in the $40-$50 range, which brings costs down a bit from there.

Text output from the C3400n is a little bit less sharp and clear than what you'll get from more expensive printers but is certainly good enough for everyday use. We found type starting to fuzz up a little between 3 and 4 points, whereas other laser printers didn't show this effect until between 2 and 3 points (which requires a magnifying glass to see). Graphics and halftone output both show some banding and posterization in gray areas, but is good enough for internal use (but not for professional publication).

Low-paper capacity is the real Achilles heel for this printer, however. It provides a 15-sheet capacity in its multipurpose feeder, and a 150-sheet standard tray, with no options for additional trays so that paper capacity tops out at a mere 165 pages.

  • Maybe I am reading it wrong but this printer offers a separate image drum compared to its toner drum. They come apart and you can buy toner separately. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but the toner might last 2500 pages, but the drum is good for 10,000, so why replace the drum if it isn't ready? The other personal laser printer I was looking at only had one replaceable part, drum/toner together. This was the main reason I got one, I could control my cost better.
  • Sorry, previous comment was for the Brother HL-2040.
  • Brother HL Printers 2040

    Brother HL-2040 is a compact monochrome laser printer designed for both small office and personal use. Brother HL-2040 features a built-in memory of 8MB, 250-sheet paper capacity tray and affordable printing supplies. Compatible Brother HL-2040 toners are known for its quality and inexpensive price tag. As such, Brother HL-2040 toner cartridges are able to generate 2,500 pages of high quality printouts at top 5% coverage.