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A word to the wise: Find the Toner WordStr menu under the General tab on the back-end control panel, and switch it to Continue as soon as you can.Some user reviewersnote that the printer fires off a low toner warning even when theres plenty of toner left in the cartridge. That prevents you from printing at all until you change the cartridgebasically robbing you of a few dozen pages worth of toner (if not more). When you switch it to Continue, youll get to use all of your toner. It is sketchy that Brother sets it to Stop by deult, tricking you into buying more toner than you need. But most printer companies try to rip off their customers one way or another. There are no angels here.

If you have more serious print and scan needs but dont quite have the budget (or workload) to justify a business-class printer, theHP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdwis a upgrade over our other picks. It delivers high-quality color prints, copies, and scans; its much ster than cheaper models; and it offers more robust admin settings and security options for use in an office environment. Color laser machines like the LaserJet Pro cost more to buy and run thaninkjet printers with comparable features. But laser printers are sturdier and more reliable than inkjets, and if you want the best one for a home or home office with moderate printing and -handling needs, this one hits the sweet spot.

We couldnt jam the L2340 even when we tried, but theres an access hatch on the back if you need to clear obstructions. The front panel opens outward for access to the toner cartridge and drum. And theres a single-sheet manual feed, if you want to try printing notecards, envelopes, or labels (more on that later).

To test duplex speed, we printed out five copies of the four-page ISO document. For single-sided printing, we ran off four copies of the ISO document. We also tried duplex printing at the highest quality setting for each printer. These tests give us a feel for not just how st a printer will be able to spit out a 10-page book report, but if the differences between them are substantial enough to make a difference in day-to-day life.

We settled on testing two print-only finalists: theBrother HL-L2340DW(though we actually ended up testing its fraternal twin, theHL-L2360DW), and theSamsung Xpress SL-M2835DW.

Plenty of people want a copier and scanner in addition to a printer, so we also sought out a great monochrome multifunction printer. We looked for models with a reasonable purchase price, low toner costs, Wi-Fi connectivity, mobile apps, duplex printing, and an automatic document feeder (rather than just a flatbed scanner). We winnowed down a pool of 42 mono MFPs and ended up with a shortlist of three finalists: theBrother DCP-L2540DW(now unavailable), theCanon ImageClass MF247dw, and theSamsung Xpress SL-M2875DW.

After nearly 250 hours of research and testing over the past few years, weve found that the best choice for an affordable laser printer right now is theBrother HL-L2340DW. Among the dozens of laser printers weve looked at, the L2340DW is one of the most economical and least frustrating printers you can buy.

The best thing about the L2340 is the dirt-cheap cost of ownership. It only uses about 1.7 cents worth of toner per page.Even counting the wear on the drum,the cost works out to about 2.3 centsless than most other non-professional printers out there. Compared to a similarly low-cost inkjet printer, youll save something like $20 per year on document printing even if you print just 500 pages per year. The more you print, the more the math vors the Brother.

If our pick is out of stock or too expensive, grab this near-identical version instead. Its a little ster and has an Ethernet port, but otherwise its the same machine.

Getting the M2875DW up and running is straightforward. A quick installation guide walks you through the setup of the physical machine, and a separate guide helps you set up the Wi-Fi connectivity, which is a mostly automated process. On both Windows and Mac machines, we were up and running within 15 minutesright on par with the other mono multifunction printers (MFPs) we tested, the Brother DCP-L2540DW and the Canon ImageClass MF247dw.

We surveyed our readers, kept an eye on feedback in our comments section and email inboxes as well as following Twitter feeds to better understand our readers real-world needs. We also considered reviews from other editorial sources includingCNETComputer ShopperConsumer Reports(subscription required), andPC Mag, and read many hundreds of customer reviews at retailers websites, primarily Amazon.

For scanning, the Samsung M2875DW went through a 54-page document in about 5 minutes, 26 seconds while outputting to a Windows laptop. Thats about three minutes ster than both the Brother and Canon models we tested. When scanning to a mobile device, the Samsung took exactly the same amount of time, while the Canon was inexplicably ster and Brothers mobile app crashed under the strain. The Samsung is reliable; thats good enough for us.

The Brother HL-L2340DW (left) produces text thats plenty crisp and sharp at sizes as small as 2 points, though on close inspection, the Samsung M2835DW (right) outperforms it.

So who shouldnt get a laser printer? If you dont have a lot of money to spend but need to print in color, an inkjet printer is the only way to go. Inkjets are also the only (relatively) affordable way to print glossy, high-quality photos at home. And a decent inkjet that can scan, copy, and print in color costs much less than a color laser machine with the same features. We recommend some decent inkjet machineshere.

As long as you know what youre getting into, youll probably be OK with the graphics quality. Layout elements like column dividers, charts, tables, or other elements are fine, so dont be afraid to print invoices, tax forms, memos, or anything along those lines. But images will not look very good. If print quality is important to your business, buy a better printer than this or outsource your important jobs to a print shop.

For the multifunction printers, we added speed tests for copying and scanning a large (54-page) document, composed of mixed output from our printing tests. We also tested the scan quality of each MFP or AIO using a glossy test photo printed on ourall-in-one pick, the HP OfficeJet Pro 8720. We scanned at all available resolutions and looked for notable qualitative differences between each machines output, from sharpness to color rendition and contrast.

At the time of publishing, the price was $110.

One of our readerspointed out to usthat the L2340 prints relatively low-quality text when its working through native Google Cloud Print. If youre a Chrome OS user and need to print fine text (the example we saw was mangled math equations), the L2340 may not be acceptable. Were not sure whether competing models are any better, but it seems like the problem stems from Brothers shoddy drivers.

This color laser all-in-one can handle most common tasks in a home-office or small-business setting, for a price.

At the time of publishing, the price was $110.

As with any wireless device, the L2340 may encounter connectivity problems. The most common issue is that sometimes the printer doesnt wake up from Deep Sleep mode. This happened to us just once during our months-long test period, but its been a chronic issue for some of our readers. If youre affected by this, the first step wed recommend is to make sure that youre usingthe official Brother driversinstead of generic drivers like AirPrint. If that doesnt fix your issue, one reader shared a solutionthat involves adjusting a few settingsincluding disabling Deep Sleep altogether.

There is no such thing as a perfect printer, and the Brother L2340 is no exception.

At the time of publishing, the price was $430.

Scan quality on the M2875DW is acceptable. Text looks great, and scanned ph

If you print less than once a week on average, or mostly print text-first documentslike school assignments, invoices, shipping labels, tax forms, real estate applications, personal records, permission slips, ticketsa mono laser printer is probably all you need. Assuming, that is,you really need a printer at all.

Finally, we looked for a high-end color laser all-in-one for people with more serious small office or home office needs. It needed to be st and flexible, offer great print and scan quality, and have a relatively affordable price tag, if possible (though none of these machines are cheap). Filtering through the color laser AIOs from top manucturers, we arrived at four models that checked off all our requirements at a reasonable price: theBrother MFC-9340CDW, theCanon color ImageClass MF726Cdw, theHP Color LaserJet Pro M277dw, and theHP Color LaserJet Pro M477fdw, the upgrade pick in our all-in-one printer guide.

The first few minutes you spend setting up your printer can tell you a lot about what its going to be like to own the thing for the next few years.

The HL-L2340DW prints pages for cheaper than its peers, is easier to set up, and will work with just about any modern laptop, smartphone, or tablet.

The first few minutes you spend setting up your printer can tell you a lot about what its going to be like to own the thing for the next few years. Its a sign of how much effort the manucturer put into the design and execution, so we paid close attention to the setup process. We set up each printer on both a Windows PC and a Mac, following the manucturers instructions and trying to use Wi-Fi where possible. We considered setup a success once we could print a page from a web browser and then shut the printer off, turn it back on, and get it to print again.

This wont affect most users, but Brother skimped on built-in memorythe L2340 has just 32 MB. Thats plenty of memory for most typical text files, but if youre printing very long documents (upwards of 30 pages, depending on the fonts, images, and layout of the files), the printer may not be able to complete the job in one pass. Your mileage may vary. For comparison, the Samsung M2835DW that we tested has 128 MB of memory, so it can handle much larger print jobs if needed.

Experimenting with quality settings also helped us get miliar with the print menus. We spent time in the standard print box, as well as the hidden control panels that most printers have.

If you want an affordable monochrome laser printer that can also copy and scan, theSamsung Xpress M2875DWis a good choice. While most other laser printers at this price only have a flatbed scanner, the M2875DW has an automatic document feeder, which can handle multi-page documents much ster. Setup is easy, cost per page is low, and its print, copy, and scan quality all compare vorably to other multifunction machines weve tested.

At the time of this writing, the price of the L2340 has been hovering around $100 at major retailers. If youre ready to buy and its more than $10 or so above that price, wait a few days to see if it dropsprices changeall the timein this category, so be patient if you can. Since its beenas low as $70, your patience could be rewarded in a big way.

Based on the best-seller lists at major retailers, most people want a printer thats affordable, with a low cost per page and minimal maintenancea machine that can handle basic jobs. Most of those printers are monochrome laser printers, so we focused on those when considering candidates for our main pick.

Like any laser printer, the L2340 is st. (We actually tested the HL-L2360DW, the step-up-but-not-really model, which is slightly quicker than the L2340.) In our tests, we measured about 29 ppm with plain text, though the figure drops to about 15 ppm for duplex printing. Thats a little bit slower than the Samsung M2835DW, which we clocked at about 31 ppm, though the Brother duplexes ster. But listen: All of these printers are so st that the extra speed just does not matter for almost anybody who should own a printer like this. When you print your tax returns in the spring, its either going to take one minute or one minute and a few seconds. And compared to inkjet printers, which often need to take a minute to clean out their print heads before they get going, laser printers always start their jobs within a few seconds.

If our pick is out of stock or too expensive, grab this near-identical version instead. Its a little ster and has an Ethernet port, but otherwise its the same machine.

For home use, the M2875 is plenty speedy. In our testing, it hit about 18 ppm while printing a standard, single-sided IRS 1099 PDF. Two-sided printing slows things down a bit, to about 11 ppm. Those results are in the same ballpark as the other two mono MFPs we tested; the Canon was a tiny bit ster, and the Brother a touch slower. (We cant really compare these results to the results we gathered for our main pick, since we printed different documents over different networks in different years.) Samsung advertises 29 pages per minute, which is probably true in certain conditions (like , letter-style text documents in common fonts that we used for testing our main picks), but youre unlikely to see that speed in the real world.

Printing from a mobile device to the L2340 works smoothly enough, whether its via AirPrint on iOS, or Brothers proprietary iOS and Android apps, or Google Cloud Print, which works with any system, including Chromebooks (even without a host computer).

Like any laser printer, the L2340 prints good-looking text. Large letters have crisp edges and dark centers, and small text is legible down to two-point font. Print expertDean Turpinsays that its absolutely fine for printing any text-first document, including official forms.Owners seem happywith the print qualitywe havent found any user reviews that complain about text legibility.M David Stone at PCMagwrites that the text is subpar by laser standards, but admits that its good enough for most business use, and adds even subpar text for a laser is better than youll get from most inkjets.

Someusers ran into trouble installing the L2340 wirelessly. If you havent been able to get the printer to work wirelessly at all, your first step should beto reset the network settings. From there, try a wired installation, even if you plan to use the printer wirelessly. One reader told us that even with the wired connection, it took quite a while for his printer and router to spot each other. After a couple of iled attempts, he decided to walk away in the middle of the process, but when he came back after a few hours, it had succeeded.

Wirecutter supports our readers with thousands of hours of reporting and testing to help youfind the stuff you need in order to live a better life. You support us through our independently chosen links, which earn us a commission.Read more about what we do.

The more you print, the more the math vors the Brother.

The M2875DW prints better-looking text and graphics than its competitors. While the Brother DCP-L2540DW prints dark images rife with banding, and the Canon MF247DW produces graphics so light theyre sometimes hard to see, the Samsung strikes a solid middle ground with appropriate brightness and smooth tonality. Fonts are dark, remain legible down to 2 points, and dont have the speckles or jagged edges that can come out of some other cheap laser printers. Even in the resource-conserving Toner Save and Eco modes, print is easy to read down to 4 points. We saw little to no evidence of banding or articts, and it reproduces textures and gradients more accurately than other laser printers weve tested. It also allows more control than our main pick over print options, though youll need to install Samsungs bloated print-manager software.

The Samsung M2875DW scanned a 54-page document in 5 minutes, 26 seconds, which is about three minutes ster than other models we tested.br /

If you want, you can stretch your pennies even further with the L2340. Automatic two-sided printing helps save . Toner Save mode can extend the lifespan of a cartridge (though the print quality is awful). If youre comfortable using third-party supplies, plenty of reputable toner cartridges and drum replacements are available through trustworthy suppliers, all cheap enough to get the cost per page down to about one cent.

The Brother HL-L2340DW (left) produces inconsistent textures compared to the Samsung M2835DW (right), though the quality is still acceptable for tax forms or most other official documents.

The HL-L2340DW prints pages for cheaper than its peers, is easier to set up, and will work with just about any modern laptop, smartphone, or tablet.

With a flatbed scanner and a 50-page document feeder to handle large jobs, this speedy monochrome multifunction printer is a cost-effective upgrade.

We also checked out each printers quality options, including toner-density sliders and any available print-resolution settings to see what you can expect with toner-saving options and whether we could eke out better-looking text.

The L2340 is probably not the right printer if you need to print on anything besides letter- or legal-sized .

The L2340s intece is acceptable, as long as you plan to stick to easy print jobs on typical sizes. Brother doesnt include print manager software, but we dont think anyone will miss it. Options within the system dialog are limited to the common changeslandscape or portrait orientation, type, duplex printing, print quality, and a few others. Print quality can also be adjusted on the tiny, one-line LCD, if you want to do it that way. A browser-based control panel lets you make some obscure adjustments to admin settings and print quality, but unless you need to set up native Google Cloud Print access, youll probably never get that deep into the intece. Brother has drivers available for operating systems dating back to OS X 10.7 and Windows XP. (Linux is covered, too.)

Contrast is flat, textures are grainy, and theres noticeable banding.

If you print less than once a week on average, or mostly print text-first documents, a mono laser printer is probably all you need.

If you want an affordable printer that can also copy and scan, theSamsung Xpress M2875DWmono-laser is our vorite option. The cost of operation is low, and its easier to install than most of its competitors. It also has a 50-page auto document feeder, whereas many of its competitors only have a flatbed scanner. The ADF makes it much easier to copy and scan multi-page documents. The M2875DW also has reliable Wi-Fi connectivity, auto-duplex printing, convenient mobile apps, and support for both AirPrint and Google Cloud Print. We think its best for home users, but it could work for a small office with modest needs.

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All told, weve spent about 250 hours researching and testing all types of home and home-office printers over the years. For this guide to laser printers alone, weve considered 102 different printers and tested 11 of them. And in this particular update youre reading now, weve put in about 20 hours of research and testing, so that we could add recommendations for a couple of new types of laser printers, based on reader requests.

Setting up cheap printers is often a headache, but we found theL2340to be less of a pain than its closest competitors. We got it up and running in 10 minutes without a USB cable or an installation CD. Try not to laugh, but the one-line, 14-character monochrome LCD gives the L2340 an edge, because some of its competitors have no displays at all.

What are the chances that youll run into network trouble with the L2340? Well, it hasa relatively strong user rating on Amazon: 3.9 out of five, across more than 4,000 user reviews (at the time of writing). Thats a solid score, sincepretty much all printers suck. Yes, the L2340s tally includes more than 700 one-star reviews (also at the time of writing), many of which are from people who ran into connectivity problems. Thats not great. We cant promise youll be able to make it work, but we think most connectivity problems are fixable. Most people wont run into these problems in the first place, and we cant promise that any other affordable laser printer is any better, either.

We also tested out other connectivity standards. We tried mobile printing from an Android phone via each manucturers Android print service, as well as from an iPhone via AirPrint. Then, we installed and printed from the proprietary mobile apps the manucturers offered. We also tested native Google Cloud Print connectivityan especially important feature for Chromebook users, since there are no native printer drivers for Chrome OS. We considered Google Cloud Print compatibility a success when we could print from a phone using cellular data, without a host PC or Mac as the go-between.

The one-line, 14-character monochrome LCD gives the L2340 an edge, because some of its competitors have no displays at all.

Mono laser printers never print good-looking graphics, but the Brother HL-L2340DW (left) struggles a bit more than most with gradients and fine details, and theres some visible banding as well. The Samsung M2835DW (right) resolves more of the light grays, and creates a better-defined, smoother-looking print.

To start, we scouted for all the current monochrome (black and white) laser printers we could find for under $200, our cutoff for affordability. Then we whittled these down to printer-only models (we considered copy/scan models separately), and those with automatic duplex printing, Wi-Fi, and support for mobile printing. We also vored models with cheaper toner costs. To winnow out any clunkers that had good specs but poor real-world performance, we read through dozens of customer reviews and editorial reviews.

Weve been testing printers since 2012, spending hundreds of hours since then on researching and testing, and editor Liam McCabe (who wrote earlier versions of this guide) has been covering printers since we began considering the category. Im new to the category, but Im a former editor mand have experience as a reviewer of consumer electronics, specializing in photography and imaging gear.

If the L2340 is out of stock or its price jumps, consider theBrother HL-L2360DWinstead. Itll print a few extra pages a minute and has an Ethernet port if you want to plug it into a home network instead of connecting via Wi-Fi or USB. But otherwise its just like our main pick: Same design, same intece, same toner, same print quality.

TheHL-L2340DWis among the cheapest printers to operate that weve tested, with a cost per page of only 2.3 cents, including wear on the drum. Its also easy to set up, and it works reliably on most wireless networks and almost any modern laptop, smartphone, or tablet (yes, including Chromebooks). Since its a laser printer, its well suited to running every day, sitting idle for weeks at a time, or anything in between. It can do automatic two-sided printing, too, and print speeds are quick. No printer is perfectthe L2340 struggles on some networks and its deult print quality could be better, though its fine on higher-quality settings. Despite the shortcomings, the L2340 is the most sensible choice for most people who need to make hard copies of term s, tax forms, concert tickets, or other text-based documents from their home, home office, or dorm room.

The L2340 is smaller and shorter than most mono laser printers, at roughly 14 by 14 by 7 inches, which should be small enough to comfortably fit on top of or under most desks, or on big shelves. The 250-sheet tray fits as large as 8.5 by 14 inches (legal size), and sits completely inside the machine. Some competitors, like the Samsung M2835DW, have a tray that sticks out of the back of the machine, so that it doesnt quite fit into a corner or against a wall.

In our testing, the L2340 worked smoothly with most systems and standards: Mac and Windows, USB and Wi-Fi, AirPrint and Google Cloud Print, and a few more. ManyreviewersonAmazonfoundsetupto be pretty easy too. A small subset of users have reported difficulties with wireless networking, which can be true of pretty much every cheap printer. The good news is that there are ways to fix those issues,which we cover below.

Weve begun testing for our 2018 update of this review and added details about the newer laser printers were considering to theWhat to look forward tosection.

We did all the testing for print-only models back in early 2015. We scouted the field again in late 2016 and late 2017, but we havent found any new models that presented a serious challenge to our main pick, so weve yet to retest.

Laser printers can be a more economical, less frustrating alternative to inkjets. While laser printers tend to cost more to buy at first, theyre often cheaper to operate because monochrome toner is so inexpensive. Toner cartridges dont have to be replaced as often as ink cartridges and are less of a burden. Unlike inkjets, a laser printer wont clog up if you go weeks or months between print jobs. Laser printers also tend to be ster than inkjets, and they usually produce sharper-looking text as well.

TheBrother HL-L2340DWmonochrome laser printer is the laser printer that we think will work the best for most people. Toner is a bargain, and it was easier to add to a home network than other models like it. All the crucial features you can expect from a decent document printer are here: Wi-Fi, auto duplexing, and support for important mobile printing standards. Text is crisp, and print speed is as st as youd ever need in a home office.

Reviews for the L2340 are generally ET loves itPC Mag thinks its fine, andConsumer Reports  (subscription required) pickedthe nearly identical HL-L2360DW(more on that later)as a Recommended model. Amazon reviewer Steven V. Markssums upthe general sentiment: So pleased with this printer after three weeks. Top-quality printing, graphics are more than adequate, wireless setup was way easier than I would have imagined.

At the time of publishing, the price was $130.

For print-quality testing, we used reference documents that were predominantly text-based, with some elements like columns, tables, or charts. They include: instructions for the1099 tax form, astar chart designed for lens sharpness testinga document from the International Organization for Standardization(ISO) meant to mimic a typical office report, and a Word/PDF document with the same sentence repeated in descending font size from 72 points to 1 point. We printed a few photos and a grayscale test chart, too, since more data is always better, and it can be instructive to see how each printer handles material that really pushes against the limit of its capabilities.

At the time of publishing, the price was $130.

First and foremost, the L2340 may be an adequate graphics printer for some people, but its not a great one. Contrast is flat, textures are grainy, and theres noticeable banding. Our print expert Dean Turpin thought that we mightve been testing a lemon, but it wasnt just our unit. Other ownershave beefwith the quality, andPCMags David Stone writes, its good enough for any internal business need, but not for something youll want to hand out to a client or customer when youre trying to make a good impression.

We also stress-tested all the -feeding parts of each printer, including the main trays and document feeders if the printer had one. We (slightly) overstuffed them with to see if theyd jam, and we also fed them single sheets to see if they could pick each up.

While the L2340DWs deult print quality is worse than that of its closest competitor, the Samsung M2835DW, its fine for most home use. If you boost the print-quality setting, the difference mostly vanishes anyway. Even with that downside, we think the L2340DW is the better affordable laser printer overall because its easier to set up and troubleshoot, and user reviews suggest that its more reliable over a couple of years, too. You probably (probably) wont ever feel like beating the L2340DW to a pulpOffice Spacestyle.

The L2340 is probably not the right printer if you need to print on anything besides letter- or legal-sized . Yes, it has a manual feeder that you can use to print envelopes and notecards, but getting it to work well is hit-or-miss. It put a big ol crease in every envelope we tried to print. The print drivers are not the best, so you may have a hard time lining up the text on things like labels. It emulates PostScript, like all printers do these days, but its crummy emulation, so it may have trouble crisply reproducing uncommon fonts that arent baked into the printer itself.

TheHL-L2360DWis the fraternal-twin Brother (hiyo!) to the HL-L2340DW, and is worth grabbing if its cheaper or easier for you to get your hands on or if you need an Ethernet port. The L2360 can print a few extra pages per minute, but theyre both wicked st for home-use standards, and you probably wont notice the difference. From what weve seen so r, the L2360 tends to cost a few dollars more than the L2340, and isnt available at as many stores. But again, the differences hardly matterfollow your wallet.

With a flatbed scanner and a 50-page document feeder to handle large jobs, this speedy monochrome multifunction printer is a cost-effective upgrade.The Best Laser Printercheapest laser printer cartridges

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