Simple laser printer
October 8, 2022 8:27 AM   Subscribe

Hi everyone; I would like a simple laser printer(not all in one). Black & white is good. Doesn't have to be real fast. A laser printer where I can buy 3rd part toner,lol. Apparently HP requires you to ONLY use HP toner. Suggestions please? Thank you :-)
posted by LOOKING to Computers & Internet (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Our cheap Brother has served us well for almost 10 years now, and off-brand toner works well and is easily available.
posted by kandinski at 8:47 AM on October 8, 2022 [22 favorites]

When I had a similar need, I looked at older askmes, and ended up focusing on Brother black and white printers. At the time, "HL-L2350DW" hit the sweet spot. (purchased in 2019) So far it's been trouble free. I am not a heavy printer user. I used up the included toner and am still running on the first replacement cartridge. Double sided works fine, no jams. Have printed a few sheets of address labels, also fine.
posted by mrgoldenbrown at 8:50 AM on October 8, 2022 [4 favorites]

Brother, 100%. Ten years ago, I replaced my Brother laser printer only because I needed duplex printing. I gave my old one to friends who used it for a decade until they needed some additional feature, and they passed it on to another friend. The one I bought ten years ago is also still working just fine. I recommended one to my sibling and he's thrilled with his too. They just work. For years and years. And with wireless printing, you can just stash the thing in a closet somewhere if you don't want to look at it.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 8:58 AM on October 8, 2022 [5 favorites]

Best answer: The recurring answer to these AskMe's is generally Brother, particular model depends on the Asker's requirements.
posted by Stoneshop at 9:01 AM on October 8, 2022 [7 favorites]

A year ago I bought the cheapest entry-level Brother laser printer, and it's been fine. IIRC, it was on offer at Curry's (big box store) and was under £100.

It sticks to the WiFi like glue, prints without problem from desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile, it's never jammed and the print quality is good. So far I've not needed to replace the toner, but, from research, third party cartridges should be fine.
posted by essexjan at 9:01 AM on October 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

The HL-L2350DW is where it's at. The toner cartridge that it comes with is only partially filled, but I got a two-pack of replacement cartridges on amazon for $25 that have worked fine.
posted by jonathanhughes at 9:05 AM on October 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

I recommended one to my sibling and he's thrilled with his too

So your brother liked your Brother?
posted by kevinbelt at 9:34 AM on October 8, 2022 [5 favorites]

> I recommended one to my sibling and he's thrilled with his too

So your brother liked your Brother?

Yes, and I specifically went with "sibling" because that sentence was way too confusing otherwise! 😁
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 9:45 AM on October 8, 2022 [3 favorites]

I followed the general "Brother" recommendation about 4 years ago and it's been a nightmare for wireless printing. It's difficult to wake up, has to be constantly reconnected to the network, and can't handle large document sizes reliably (it gets stuck on spooling 50% of the time, so I have to laboriously print 10 pages at a time manually). (Yes, I've done all the firmware upgrades, upgraded my OS, drivers, everything.) My other printer printed over the same network flawlessly for years, so I don't really know what's up. I didn't hook it up until it was too late for me to return it, so I try to print everything I need at once so I can deal with an hour or so of deep rage.
posted by MagnificentVacuum at 9:54 AM on October 8, 2022 [3 favorites]

Hit post too soon. So my advice is this: Everyone loves their Brother. Get one. Open it immediately and try it under a normal use case scenario. Don't be me.
posted by MagnificentVacuum at 10:02 AM on October 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

I've got the Brother as well, and have only one complaint: I once had to enter my long-ass wifi password twice in a day, which you do by using up/down arrows to go through the alphabet (both cases) and numbers, so it took literally hundreds of button-presses to complete. So that was one annoying day out of years of happy service.

I also note that it does fine with third-party toner cartridges; I use E-Z Ink brand.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:16 AM on October 8, 2022

I too am a happy Brother owner. I just replaced the drum and toner with a 3rd party one and it works perfectly. A Brother branded drum is almost as expensive as a new printer.
posted by kathrynm at 11:55 AM on October 8, 2022

Yet another Brother user. Make sure you get one that supports wifi driverless printing (aka AirPrint / IPP). By the time you've added it to the network, all the devices on that network will have found it and be able to use it. This is indistinguishable from magic.
posted by scruss at 12:14 PM on October 8, 2022 [4 favorites]

I bought my brother printer in 2010 and it's going strong over 10,000 prints later. Toner is still $20 and I've only replaced twice. Mine is just USB and that's fine with me.
posted by bbqturtle at 4:30 PM on October 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

Nthing the recommendation for Brother Laser printers, though I would agree that at least on mine (HL-L2340DW), the wifi networking can be flaky for reasons that mystify me, if that's a consideration. I don't depend on wifi to print so it's a minor annoyance for me, but if I were to do it again I'd splurge for the one with an ethernet port.

As a printer, I have zero complaints. I personally would go for a model that does duplexing (which mine does) for both-sides printing as its tedious to do that manually, but other than that it's a solid, basic printer.
posted by Aleyn at 7:10 PM on October 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

I have two Brother lasers, both still going strong after 8 (HL5450-DN) and 10 (HL-3170CDN) years of use respectively. BUT the problems mentioned above with wifi printing are so bad with the 3170 that I've given up trying to use it wirelessly and plug in with a USB cable instead. It goes into some kind of power-saving deep sleep that the print command over wifi can't wake it from. I've tried everything to fix it to no avail.

The other printer has been fine in every way. Duplexes, was cheap, fast enough, very reliable. You can use aftermarket ink, and there are many instructions on youtube for disabling the print counter so it doesn't try make you throw out half full cartridges -- on mine it's just a matter of covering over a little window with a piece of tape.
posted by ogorki at 7:29 PM on October 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

I've got a Brother inkjet which I would assume used the same communications stuff as the laser printers. I haven't had wifi problems with it, but I did with a previous Epson printer. That said - if you have multiple ports on your router, and you will be printing in the same room as the printer all the time, get an Ethernet cable and connect the printer to your router via an Ethernet cable. I think you'll find that you have less communication issues _and_ the speed for printing large files will improve.
posted by TimHare at 9:10 PM on October 8, 2022

Apparently HP requires you to ONLY use HP toner.

Nah. You can get other, cheaper brands. Maybe they're dodgy things that reuse hp toner "shells," I dunno, but they exist.

We have an m255dw. It's fine.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:12 AM on October 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

Okay, so I’m going to pile on, here, but for a reason. Yes, Brother. Of course Brother. They are apparently the only manufacturer in the consumer printer space that isn’t trying to turn their hardware into a subscription business and/or tacking on gimmicky useless features that just make the product worse. They’re also still a apparently an engineering company, unlike most of the other companies playing in this space (H-P, Lexmark, Canon, Epson). That reflects in the product design and quality.

I have been buying Linkyo (previously direct marketed as SuperMediaStore) third party ink and toner products for pushing a couple of decades, and they offer very inexpensive Brother-compatible toner cartridges as well as drums that have been trouble-free for me. You can get ‘em on Amazon if you’re so inclined.

However! A caveat!

Yes, my experience — and we’re talking about literally just my one HL-L2360DW because I’ve never needed another printer since I bought it — is that the July 2022 firmware for my pretty steadily aging printer is bad at waking up from what it calls “deep sleep” in response to network traffic. Previous firmware versions did not exhibit the behavior.

The old firmware would respond to an ARP (or NDP) request while asleep, which would then, after 5 to 20 seconds, shake the rest of the network stack awake enough to check if someone was tying to send SYNs. The new one doesn’t do that consistently enough for my taste. It also doesn’t reliably wake periodically to respond to multicast DNS, which means a lot of auto discovery features stop working randomly (AirPrint and IPP auto discovery in particular).

The new firmware I chucked in there 3 months ago is pretty bad at networking. Until I figured out that it wasn’t ARPing I’d been crossing my fingers to see if it would wake up every time I used it since summer. Sometimes it would after a few minutes, sometimes it never would and I’d power cycle the thing to get it to take a job.

Since I have several perfectly good always-on computers around the house, I just slapped a manual ARP table entry on one of them and have that emit an ICMP ECHO request at the printer every minute or so. It’s been problem free since then. Yes, I tried sending WOL packets at it. No, it doesn’t respond to them.

Weirdly, this has nothing to do with the WiFi stack, per se. It stays associated (mostly in P mode) as a station continuously and without interruption.

Many people are not going to sit there with tcpdump trying to figure out why their old beloved printer stopped waking up. Fewer will go, “oh yeah, I’ll just do this horrible hack to keep it responding to address resolution until the bug is fixed.”

So, yeah, if your chosen model happens to suffer from this bug you might have some annoyances until Brother patches it out. Considering my printer was discontinued several years ago and they still produced a firmware update this year, I’ve got some faith that they’ll eventually come around and fix it. And of course, not every model is going to suffer this, nor is every user going to run into this exact bug.

Get a Brother, it’s a great mechanism, the printer is a bargain, inexpensive as hell to operate. Just be aware that back in July I ran into my very first problem and I’m sitting here waiting for the fixed firmware to come out.
posted by majick at 9:31 AM on October 10, 2022 [3 favorites]

Always Brother. Simple printers, multifunction, whatever. I admit I’m tech-dopey enough not to understand why sometimes I’ve been able to run it through my home wifi network and sometimes (like now) I’ve had to switch to the printer’s network every time I want to print (not a huge deal as my phone and computer store the printer’s network and password). Brothers are the simplest and most reliable printers and the ink cartridges last the longest of any I’ve tried.
posted by saltykitten at 2:16 PM on October 10, 2022

OMG majick - thank-you, thank-you - since July my Brother has been problematic with networking, and now I know why.
posted by rozcakj at 12:02 PM on October 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you everyone for all your suggestions :-)
posted by LOOKING at 4:59 AM on October 13, 2022

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