Home printer
April 18, 2019 9:04 AM   Subscribe

I need a cheapish home printer for my Chromebook. That's it. Only black and white printing. Can you help me decide?
posted by mrfuga0 to Technology (21 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If it's only black & white, a laser printer will be cheaper & so much more reliable than an inkjet. I struggled with finicky inkjets for years, & finally went with Wirecutter's recommended "affordable choice for basic tasks", the Brother HL-L2350DW, and I've been very happy with it. Wifi printing has been easy & reliable from MacBook, Windows laptop, and Android phone.
posted by jeffjon at 9:15 AM on April 18, 2019 [5 favorites]

I'd go for The Wirecutter's pick. I have the same need, and have a Brother B&W laser printer from probably five years back. Shoved it in a corner, let it sit in standby mode, and I can print to it from anything on my network wirelessly.

I've moved it around, let it sit months at a time without printing anything, and it's popped to life instantly. Never had any paper jams or the ink clogs you'd get from letting an inkjet sit idle.

I was beat to the post! But for good reason, I'd second the recommendation.
posted by mikeh at 9:16 AM on April 18, 2019 [4 favorites]

Yep, a Brother. I have one and I love it.
posted by Jahaza at 9:18 AM on April 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

Nth-ing the Brother recommendation. For a while I thought it was having network problems, but those turned out to be my fault.
posted by praemunire at 9:20 AM on April 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

One more vote for the Brother.
posted by neroli at 9:20 AM on April 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

I can also recommend Brother for a no-frills, Google Print compatible, duplex black-and-white laser printer. I've owned one for years.

If you have room in the budget for one frill, I would get a Brother that has a full LCD control panel, because my slightly older model just has a one line calculator-style display that's a bit of a pain to navigate.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 9:21 AM on April 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

I have had versions of this printer for 10+ years for my home office. The printer is affortable, supplies are affordable, I've never had problems with one. They are great.

(also : Wirecutter recommends it for people who print a few times a year. I print way more than that: Maybe 5000 pages or so a year, I'm guessing. And have had no problems ever.)
posted by ManInSuit at 9:32 AM on April 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've been happy with my Brothers, not so happy with my HPs and Dell. The only real question in my mind is whether having use of a scanner is worth getting a multifunction one for you or not. I don't scan things often but when I do it's really nice not having to run out some place to do so.
posted by Candleman at 10:05 AM on April 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

I bot the Brother on the same recommendation, about 18 months ago-- it's been great. I recently replaced the toner cartridge for the first time, and went with a third-party cartridge on Amazon, from EZink. It's working great; so that, too, is an option for saving money on the consumables.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:32 AM on April 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

It is super important to consider the cost of ink/toner. There are a ton of very cheap printers out there, but the ink cartridges are $50-150 each. In my experience, they sometimes dry out too, so if you don't use it often, you'll find yourself needing to buy them often.

My "solution" to this was to buy a Brother multifunction that is laser. Although the laser toner refills are expensive, they tend to last me a few years and they don't dry out. (I print something a few times each month).

I also have an HP color printer just for the occasional color need and I feel like I've spent far more money on it.
posted by k8t at 10:43 AM on April 18, 2019

Nthing Brother single-color laser printers. You can get good auto-duplexing for cheap now, too (printing on both sides of a page). One thing to keep in mind is that they warn you of low toner LONG before the toner is actually low, and getting the printer to keep printing until the toner really runs out is different for each model and can be a bit of a runaround. But once you figure it out (google is your friend), you can keep printing until it gets streaky and pretty much double your toner yield, in my experience.
posted by rikschell at 10:59 AM on April 18, 2019

If I ever decide to get knuckle tattoos, they will be
H L - L   2 3 5 0

It is the good printer.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:01 AM on April 18, 2019 [7 favorites]

Ditto to the Brother reccos. We have a 2340 at my house that (with the latest firmware) has been very reliable. Works great with our Macs and the kids' Chromebooks.
Tangentially, regarding toner: be aware that the online prices for your local office supply store (rhymes with Maples) may be drastically different than the shelf-prices for the exact same toner. Stay vigilant! In my case, the store was willing to match their own online price.
posted by Wild_Eep at 11:07 AM on April 18, 2019

+1 for the Brother. Fast, quiet, duplex and I can print to it from my dang iPhone. I found mine on Craigslist for $40.
posted by caek at 12:16 PM on April 18, 2019

Do you need another vote for the Brother HL-L2350DW? well here it is. I liked it so much I went out and also got its bigger sibling with scanner (HL-L2390DW) so I guess now I have a collection.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 12:55 PM on April 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

My brother HL-2170W will turn 10 this fall. It just works.
posted by mkultra at 12:59 PM on April 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have a Brother L2340DW and like mkultra said, it just works.
posted by Dolley at 1:45 PM on April 18, 2019

I would get a Brother that has a full LCD control panel

Oh hell yes. We have a Brother 5370DW (reliable for 10+ years, only now acting weirdly slow and curiosly messy after a drum replacement) with no display, and its lack of status/feedback is annoying
posted by scruss at 2:01 PM on April 18, 2019

I work with big Canon office units, an assortment of color Dell units, an army of HP in every shape and a couple of poster printers and at home I have a Brother HL 5240 DW. It's an old unit from 10 years ago. In fact I have two, I upgraded ages ago to get the same unit with a duplexer. It's been on the network and printing without issue for years. The only reason I would replace them is to get direct support for modern dodads.

Brother are super consistent in their naming convention so it will be model number that gets bigger with duty cycle/features/price and the following:
  • D = DUPLEX
  • T = TRAY
  • C = COLOR

posted by zenon at 7:40 AM on April 19, 2019

Response by poster: Ordering the Brother now! Thanks everyone.
posted by mrfuga0 at 1:00 PM on April 21, 2019

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