Reliable monochrome laser printer

I am helping an elderly client get a new laser printer as her old LaserJet 1102 won’t work with her new macOS according to HP tech support.
After checking theWirecutter and reading numerous Amazon reviews I am wondering if there are any good mono lasers for a decent price out there.
What are you using and liking?

Here are some of the makes and models I have check and brief notes on their defeciencies:

Brother HL-L2350DW (thewirecutter pick) has to be power cycled frequently to wake up, The Wi-Fi is 100% not functional, 88 pages of Amazon 1 Star reviews.

Brother HL-L2370DW Printer is asleep. Always. Needs to be unplugged, plugged back in each time you want to print.

Brother HLL2390DW doesn’t wake up

Brother HLL2395DW doesn’t wake up,

Brother MFCL2710DW stops printing when toner low but not depleted. Conncetion issues

Brother MFCL2750DW loses connectivity

Brother HL-L5100DN black dots

Brother HL-L6200DW this model has a flaw that causes pages to crease

Canon imageCLASS LBP162dw high cost consumables, low quality print

Canon imageCLASS MF232w good reviews but only 19

Canon imageCLASS MF236n No Wireless Support; Can’t Support Apple AirPrint, stopped working after 6 months

Canon imageCLASS MF244dw wireless won’t connect, paper jams

HP LaserJet Pro M15w Nice paperweight; worthless printer

HP - LaserJet Pro M102w requires drum and toner, poor build quality

HP Laserjet Pro M203dw Wireless Laser - Unreliable

Samsung - M2835DW CREEPY PRIVACY POLICY, poor tech support

I have a Brother HL-2240. I paid like $50 for it a few years ago. Use it to print tax returns for friends/family I do on the side and the odd job here at there. It works great. We have a few of the same model at my day job office as well. I buy toner on Amazon for like $15 a pop. No complaints. I wish it was wi-fi but I’m in my office when I print so plugging it in isn’t a huge deal.

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I have the 2240 at work and have had no issues with it up to High Sierra. I haven’t upgraded to Mojave yet.

I also have a 2270DW which is WiFi enabled at home. Also works great and does duplex printing which is very handy to save paper.

I would recommend either model.

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Epson, Brother, Canon and HP top the list at Consumer Reports, but you’ll need a subscription (or pay) to see the results. PCMag’s results are here. And ConsumerSearch’s results are here.

How do you know these complaints - which I assume to be from people of unknown technical ability posting on a site somewhere - are valid? I don’t trust online whinges tbh, and I’ve found that between Wirecutter, CR, ConsumerSearch and judicious parsing of amazon product scores I can find excellent products.

I’ve had a series of Brother monochrome laser printers and have recommended the brand to friends and relatives with Macs, and have had or heard nary a complaint. (For many years now Brother drivers have offered excellent compatibility with Macs.) Most recently a family friend bought a Brother HL-L2340DW and the only issue she had was flaky WiFi, which might have been due to the distance she’d put the printer. IIRC she ended up giving up on wireless printing and buying a $5 Amazon 16-ft USB cable and connected it to her Mac across the room, and the printer runs flawlessly. FYI the apparent successor model, the Brother HL-L2350DW is Wirecutter’s pick for best b&w laser printer.

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I was in the same situation less then a month a ago, inclusive a discussion whether you should trust something like several pages of 1-star reviews complaining about terrible network connectivity (my short opinion: you either want to push your luck, have some time and nerves to waste or you totally should).

Now, in detail: Brother was an obvious choice for me, too, but their network problems across several models indicate they either have a very bad network stack, or a cheap WiFi chipset. Note that not all chipsets are born equal, I had a MacBook (broadcast chipset) which had terrible problems with 2 routers (atheros). Both were otherwise completely reliable devices.

HP seems to be a “low specs, high prices” company these days - most of their machines have 600x600 dots resolution.

Samsung has poor driver support and as far as I know, they’ve sold their printer business to HP recently.

A lot of these “cheap” monochrome printers are not cheap at all, if you want some reasonable options like duplex and WiFi. Many of newer models have cartridges with chips, so you can’t get cheaper third-party cartridges. So, after some search my decision was to avoid them.

I went with a pretty expensive Canon MFU which is pretty good so far, but one option I almost went with was a Kyocera Ecosys P5021cdw.

Pro:

  • Color Laser, but can be switched to monochrome mode in settings, where it should use only black toner
  • Has third-party cartridges, no chips on them
  • WiFi no one complains about
  • Duplex
  • Very good resolution and print quality
  • With some luck, you can get it to a price of a new monochrome laser

Contra:

  • Big and heavy

Here is the link to a tread with my struggle. Good luck!

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I still use an old Brother that just keeps ticking after 10-12 years. It is a MFC model without wifi that I hooked up to an Airport Express. Only thing I miss is AirPrint which is mysteriously lacking from the Airport Express.

However, looking for a small WiFi print server could possibly be an alternative to the unreliable, built-in ones?

That’s pretty bad WiFi if a 16ft cable fixes the problem.

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Not necessarily. My WiFi printer is about 8 feet from my computer, but both are one flight up and 20 feet laterally from the WiFi router through which they both connect.

I have no wireless connectivity issues, and the printer is used by computers on both floors of the house, so I don’t need the cable solution. But if I did, a cable would work for the upstairs computer.

I was not there to troubleshoot, or even know exactly what the problem was. Depending on the model or brand setting up WiFi on printers can be an elaborate process and for non-techies it can seem convoluted and impenetrable. So it could be user error, or a WiFi problem, who knows. My friend wasn’t interested in parsing technical details or instructions, and $5 fixed the issue and she says she loves her printer.

Yeah, that’s cool, just a commentary on the printer’s WiFi capabilities.
As @Quahog pointed out, and I hadn’t considered, the computer and printer could be ten feet apart, but 40 feet from the router.

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I have a Brother HL-2270DW that has been trouble free so far. Typically if there’s a problem, it’s user error. :roll_eyes:

I’ve got a Brother L2540DW (printer, scanner, copier), $120 at the time. that has never been a bit of trouble, 2½ years now. No Wifi – it connects to the LAN via Ethernet. It also has a static IP because I had read about connection problems using DHCP. There is a setting from the control panel that will let it print until the bitter end of the cartridge if you insist.

All of these Brother models seem basically the same. I’d say if they are plugged into the router they should be trouble free. Be aware that the user ratings on Amazon combine models together.

That’s a great point, and very annoying!