Cheap wireless laser printer with 3rd party toner is the way to go

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I’m just here to say that my probably decade old HL-2140 is holding in there just fine. It was $49 at Fry’s. I priced out carts and drums at the time as the priner was being discontinuted for the 200 family. Drums ran $100 to $120 and carts were $40 to $60. So, I bought a second printer just to use as a drum donor or as a backup if the first one failed. Newegg has sales on toner every now and then for <$9/cart. I’ve stopped buying it because I esitmated I have enough to wear out the two drums I have. :slight_smile: I’ve gotten nothing but good service from this printer. Once you learn the secret codes to tell it you changed the toner car, drum, etc., it’s easy to deal with. I wrote a cheat sheat and I keep it in a manilla file folder next to the pritner along with the periodic test sheets that I print to monitor drum and cart lifetimes–I note the date on them so I have a complete history of how the printer behaved over the course of its life. That’s come in handy at least once already to diagnose an issue with it.

Strongly recommended. If I had this to do over, I’d get a wireless one with duplex. As it is, I have an RPI type board running as a print server on the wired network so everyone can share the printer. Works wonderfully. The only challengs is some OSs seem to insist that I can’t be installing the right driver for this networked printer as the HL-2140 isn’t a networked printer. Once you convince it otherwise, things go just fine.


Like most printers, the cartridge that comes with it is likely only half capacity. But yeah, third-party ink is the way to go; just make sure your printer of choice can accept them.


So, I don’t print often. I have an HP officejet Pro, and I use HP’s instant ink program, which is free for up to 15 pages a month, and $1/10 pages after that (and if you print more often, they have other monthly plans as well).

The best part of this service (other than it being free for my use case) is that HP sends you completely full cartridges, so they will essentially last indefinitely (and they’ll replace them should they expire).

If I printed more, lets say, 50 pages a month, the cost would be about $48/yr, which I think is still competitive with laser + toner cartridges.

Likely not as you scale up in your printing requirements, however.


Here to second (third? fourth?) the recommendation in the original post. I bought a brother b/w laserjet printer a couple of years ago and have been absolutely pleased with it in ways no HP can match. I got the DCPL2540dw, which has the same duplexing and wireless features (and it was pretty darn easy to connect via wireless). Scans and copies, too. I’ve only had to buy a new toner once in three years, but I also don’t print a ton. And they’re affordable! Mine was $109 in 2016 on sale. It’s since been replaced by the newer 2550dw, which is selling for $129.

Don’t buy another cheapo craptastic inkjet for $40. Get yourself a nice Brother laserjet.


Your math has me a bit confused…

So $1/per page after 15?

Then wouldn’t 50 pages a month cost you $35/mo, so $420/yr?

Should your first value have been $1/10 pages?

Correct. Fixed.

Here’s the pricing page for reference.


wipes brow Whew, I thought that was pretty steep!

I go through maybe one toner cart every 18/mo. So, for the ten years I’ve had it, two printers at $49 each and 6 toner carts at <$9 comes out to <$152 or $15/year. I’d guess that I’m not even half way through the toner I have and I have at least one full printer life left, so the price will drop this next decade. That’s pretty cost effective at any page/mo rate.

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Ah, good. I may have to look into that. My problem is that I print so rarely that the ink usually goes bad before it’s used up. But I also would print a bit more often if I had a printer in the house.

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Yeah, I have to do several rounds of cleaning every time I need to print something.

Truth is, my primary use case is scanning, secondary is printing pictures of the wee beastie for grandparents, and then lastly the occasional form or letter (the former routinely then signed and scanned back in, sigh).

But I have a fantasy of writing letters, old-school, that this would nail.

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I’m always a bit scared of laser printers in our smallish living room. They used to produce quite a lot of ozone, which is not really healthy. But maybe that changed with more modern laser printers?

+1 (or wherever we are) on Brother.
I have a 2280DW laser jet. Very happy with it.

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I got curious and just checked how old my b/w laser printer is (an HP LaserJet 4000) and was surprised! 22 years, refuses to break, haven’t replaced toner in the 5 years that I have owned it.
It has ridiculously low memory which forces you to learn how to delete “heavy” images from PDFs, which, otoh, helps reduce the toner I use!
And the Linux driver works nicely - something I have also found to be true of my parents’ Brother printer-scanner-combo, to my surprise.
EDIT: forgot to mention it is very wired, via a parallel-to-USB cable :slight_smile:

Wow. Had no idea they got so cheap. Have been using second hand lasers for decades (two of each - twenty years and two HPLJs). I used to buy 4 year old business printers. That’s exactly how old they are when returning from leasing and being refurbished. None of these machines ever caused any problem. I had to put my previous laser printer out of service together with my last computer with a parallel port. :slight_smile:
Still printed like a charm.

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Cheap wireless laser printer with 3rd party toner is the way to go

or…find a 2 decade old (feb 99) HP laserjet 2100 on the streets of berlin, buy original and sealed toner (expired 2010, 5000 pages at 5%) for 10-15 bucks at ebay and youre good to go with glorious and real 1200x1200 dpi in pitchblack over the whole page if you want to.
but yeah, on the other hand, the driver installation under win7 was just a tiny bit exhausting. but the printer has usb.

(sorry, as a dumpsterdiver I couldnt help it. besides, I think humanity produced already enough stuff to last for the next 100 years.)


I recommend Brother lasers to all my clients/friends/relatives, with one caveat: whatever this year’s cheapest model is, avoid it and go one model higher. Why? Because one of the best things about Brother lasers (apart from being cheap and cheerful and MUCH more reliable than HP’s consumer offerings in the past 20 years) is that they can use the HP LaserJet II/III/4/5 (PCL 5 or 6) drivers that used to be shipped with Windows (and are still available for download from Microsoft, though they try to make them hard to find).
Those OG PCL drivers have had every hellishly-formatted print job imaginable thrown at them over the past 30+ years, and They. Do. Not. Crash. Which is more than I can say for any more-recent printer drivers; software quality is not a high priority for most printer manufacturers. I especially detest HP’s more recent offerings, and the build quality of their newer printers isn’t so hot either. But once upon a time, HP built their printers like tanks, and wrote drivers the same way; Brother printers allow you to relive those glorious trouble-free days.

But not if you buy the cheapest model in any particular year. For some reason, Brother insists on making a “host-only” model every damn year, which lacks the PCL interpreter chip. Costs 10 cents less to manufacture*; sells for $20 less; will ruin your day and shorten your life expectancy. It used to be that you could tell which ones to avoid by their model numbers; not anymore. Just take a quick look at what’s on sale and avoid the cheapest one; the second-cheapest will still be a great deal.

*Might be more than 10 cents. I don’t care.

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The problem I had with inkjet printers, back before I finally said goodbye to them forever, was that after the first few dozen sheets they invariably stopped being able to print straight lines.

They’d offset the head by a bit each pass of the head, so vertical lines would be weirdly jaggy. They’d also generally suffer from rotation of the vertical lines even within a row, and color printing was just a mess. Plus, well… don’t get the paper wet.

I’d never get good use out of my ink cartridges, either, because half the ink would be spent printing out test pages and ink head cleaning cycles which never seemed to help.

Until the toner runs out, my Brother laser printer consistently produces perfect pages every single time. Unlike an HP laser I had, it also wakes up to print every time so I never have to go randomly power cycle it.


I’ve never had a consistently positive experience with a wireless network printer. I know it’s often the only choice for many people but I’d never buy one for myself.


My wife is a kindergarten teacher and this program has worked extremely well for her. Especially since she has to print so much color. Now that we’re in the summer she’ll get rollover pages which become very useful for the beginning of the school year.

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Brother stuff used to suck. Hard. REALLY HARD. This was in the age of dial-up but I can’t remember why they sucked so hard.

I can’t speak of their printers but I can say they make surprisingly a really bad ass CNC milling machine, Speedio series, for only 80k with a high speed spindle and HSK tooling. Im blown away by the thing.

Whatever is up with that company now they seem to be making really nice stuff.

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