Great wireless laser printer for $60

Originally published at:

1 Like

Hey Mark, about the 3rd party toner cartridges… Are the handful of bad reviews just isolated cases of unlucky folks? I have a similar Brother printer and I was wondering about buying non-Brother toner cartridges, but I am worried. Can you (or anybody else) give me some hope? Thank you.

1 Like

They’re not as good, but OK. We’ve had occasional trouble with toner fixing on some 3rd party cartridges - it doesn’t depend on brand as much as batch - so have moved back to using Brother brand on our Brother printers. You get so many copies on the original cartridges, especially if you override the “cartridge empty” error, that the hassle of dealing with a marginal cartridge wasn’t worth the savings for us.

1 Like

I’ve been using a Brother HL2140 for years–got it for $49 at Fry’s–and it’s been a great little printer. It’s not wireless nor networked, but that’s nothing that a little single board computer can’t fix.

The third party toner carts haven’t been a problem. The only issue is that the printer fakes being out of toner and you have to do a strange button press sequence to convince it that the cart is new. So, for large capacity carts, you may have to do that once or twice during the life of the cart. Newer printers may be different.

1 Like

I haven’t used that model but we’ve had an older one for several years and (other than a plastic manual paper load tray breaking, probably from our cat who feels that the printer is his nemesis) it’s been really good, I would never go back to inkjet.

I have refilled the original Brother starter toner cartridge eight times without any problem. The first time requires a counter gear to be installed, which converts it into a TN-450 cartridge. (Alternatively, you can use the secret button sequence.) After that, each refill costs about $5 for a bottle of toner. BTW, do the refilling outside.

This $65 HL-2240 printer has been completely trouble-free for four years. I also like that the drum and fuser are replaceable.

Anyone can reccomend a cheap 11x17 laser printer? BW totally cool

1 Like

I bought basically that same printer 5 years ago (for $90) and it has been terrific. The initial half-full toner cartridge it came with far outlasted its rated pages. Finally, I bought a pair of third-party replacements, and I’ve had issues ever since. I can only use the page feeder to print anything unless I want to hit the go button every ten seconds forever.

Keep in mind that the printer mfrs are very strict, and getting stricter, about using their own stuff. Most, if not all of them, are push downloading firmware updates that disable your printer when you don’t use proprietary toner. AFTER YOU BOUGHT THE PRINTER!

Can I say for sure that I just don’t have a bad cartridge? No. Can I say that it’s true for the hundreds of other commenters on Amazon? Maybe they’re all lying about being bricked by Brother (and Epson, etc.).

All I’m saying is that even if the mfr itself tells you the printer will be fine with third party consumables, they might change their minds next year and brick your device, then blame it on you. At some point (like this article) it’s cheaper to buy a new printer every time you need to replace the toner.

I have 2 2340-dws, got them for about 80 eash bucks 3 years ago. Both have been trouble free (one gets a lot more use than the other). I had problems with non-Brother cartridges, but the Brother ones are not too expensive for as long as they last (i.e. they are about the same cost as cartridges for the inkjet I used to have, but last a lot longer (and don’t clog)).

I just printed 200 pages last night on an HL- 5470DW with a cartridge that claimed to have run out a week ago. (I should probably print out the tricky “override” button sequence in case it disappears from online.) The print quality was starting to get a little rough, so I selected “improve toner fixing” in the advanced print settings; this slowed the printing a bit, but the print looked great. I don’t know which printers have this option in their drivers, I think the old HL-1440 in my office does not.

I can’t see Brother doing this, they are a pretty pro-customer company. Canon on the other hand is terrible in this regard. A couple of years ago I bought a Canon Pixma inkjet printer while living in Norway, the cartridge for the model went on sale at Best Buy in the US so my wife brought one over for me. It wouldn’t work, and after wasting an enormous amount of time on troubleshooting (including finding and trying hidden menu commands) the company finally admitted to me that they region-locked cartridges in firmware to prevent customers finding deals in other countries.

1 Like

Is the sequence"'up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start"?

1 Like

My Brother HL-2040 just keeps on keeping on.

Can confirm durability.

We’ve had at least 30 of these small Brother lasers in an educational environment for over five years. They get all kinds of abuse, and have done great. The only real problem we’ve had is that they lose network settings if left unplugged over the summer, but I don’t think that’s as big of a deal if you only have one of them.

1 Like

My HL-2140 has that option. It’s recommended for heavy weight papers–I tried 130lb and it wasn’t enough. I never thought to try it on lighter paper. When my printer told me my cart was empty and started printing poorly, I hit the magic sequence to tell it that the cart was changed and printing quality went back to normal immediately. Like it was completely faking the poor quality to get me to change the cart. You might try that?

Edited to fix ‘cart’ from ‘card’.

I did try that, the rough printing was after the magic sequence.

I use the “improve toner fixing” setting quite a bit, it helps substantially when printing on the slightly slick colored paper I use for some jobs. Maybe it works better on some of their printers than others, eg might they have lazily added it to printer drivers even on models where it doesn’t do anything?

1 Like

It helped with the printing on heavy paper. Without that setting, the toner barely held on and could be just blown off or wiped away with a gentle brush. With the setting, the toner was fused, but not very strongly and could be scratched off with a fingernail. I just assumed that 130lb card stock was outside of what I could expect to print on my $49 printer. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Can you bless us with the key sequence?

I bought a Brother wireless color laser printer based on your recommendation about two years ago, and love it. Prints look great, easy to set up, quiet, fast. It just works. I have been thinking about getting a printer for the garage so I can print out parts diagrams and electrical schematics instead of messing with my phone with greasy hands, pinch zooming on stuff and getting annoyed. This just might be the droid I’m looking for. Thanks again!

1 Like

This looks like a good description. Enjoy. Steps 1-8 are for the BW HL printers. Seems they went a little crazy with the WordPress formatting of that numbered list. Step 9 begins the directions for the MFC printers.

Edited to clarify instructions.


Bought one this summer and sent my LYING HP inkjet packing.

“I’m out of ink!”