12 Monochrome Laser Printers

Consumers Like Laser Printers (If They Can Cover Their Purchase Costs)

Sales of inkjets at the low end of the market outnumber those for lasers by a ratio of three or four to one, primarily because the entry price for a monochrome laser printer ranges from $100-$200, compared to $100 for an inkjet printer. That said, buyers who do need heavier duty cycles, or for whom print quality is paramount, will find a lot to like about laser printers, both color and monochrome. A survey of consumer monochrome laser printers indicates that they number over 180, with only about one in six sporting MFC capabilities. Our selection of 12 of the best-selling models from major vendors thus represents a little over 7% coverage for the whole market space (but we do cover an entirely proportionate number of MFCs, thanks again to the occasionally odd statistical effects of working with small numbers).

Monochrome laser printers represent another amazing demonstration of how inexpensive serious technologies can sometimes be. The printers we include in this article range in price from around $100 to no more than $375 (leaving out the relatively expensive GCC XL40 tabloid model we included, which costs around $1,900, thinking that only those who need to print big pages will be willing to spring for such a printer anyway). Monochromes lasers offer outstanding monthly duty cycles (none less than 7,000, one as high as 35,000, most in the 10-20,000 range, with no such number available for the Canon MF4150), outstanding page rates (none less than eight and up to 35 for monochrome output), and large paper tray capacities (none less than 150 pages, some as high as 800). All of this information is summarized in the table that follows, along with other interesting speeds, feeds, and more.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
PPM.b<10>3020-25Pages per minute rates printer output speed, which is usually higher for black&white (b) output
Resolution.b6001200600Monochrome resolution normally the same for horizontal and vertical; translates into 300x300, 1200x1200, ...
Scanres.o600x600100x12002400x1200Scanning resolution often resembles color print resolution, but not always (applies only to MFCs)
Scanres.e19200x1920019200x1920019200x19200Enhanced resolution tends to be the same for all MFC printers (applies only to MFCs)
Paper handlingLLLLA4pe+LLpe*All printers handle legal and letter size paper, high end units add numerous photo and envelope sizes (pe+), mid-range units offer basic photo (3x5, 4x6) and envelope support (pe*)
Fax PPM3204-6Price and fax output rate appear strongly related (applies only to MFCs)
Copy PPM63021-30Copy output rates vary across a wide range (applies only to MFCs)
Tray Capacity150800350Many laser printers can accommodate a second paper tray, to double overall capacity
Typical interfacesUSBUSB, parallel, RJ45USB, RJ45Most modern lasers can connect to a computer (USB) or a network (10/100 Ethernet via RJ45)

Table 1: Common value ranges for monochrome laser printer features and functions

The low end of the monochrome laser printer market appears to start at around $100, though you can find deals for less than that from time to time. Be prepared to spend at least $50 and as much as $90 for toner cartridges for these printers. In return, you'll get major output capabilities, great looking printed pages and good costs per page for consumables.

Keep Things Tidy And Clean

One optional purchase that at least some printer users find helpful is a printer stand. These office furniture items offer a handy place to park your printer (generally on top) and include drawers and/or shelves where you can keep paper, envelopes, cartridges and so forth. You can spend as little as $20-$30 on a plastic tabletop model, or over $150 for free-standing cabinets or racks. Either way, they provide a great way to keep your printer and its supplies organized and available (the casters or wheels on freestanding models also make the whole thing easy to move around when rear access or outright relocation is called for).

By design, laser printers use a heating element to melt toner granules into liquid form onto the paper to lay down text, color and images. Toner granules do tend to go astray from time to time and the paper path in laser printers can get a little dirty over time. You can purchase special cleaning kits for these printers that include supplies and information to help you keep your printer clean and working properly. We strongly urge purchase and use of such things, because they will keep your print output looking good, and reduce wear and tear on your printer.

  • 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.