Brother HL-L8260cdw Printer Review

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  • Robust and reliable over a 5 year period
  • Quality we were happy to send out to our customers
  • Cheap compatible toner cartridges widely available

The “c” stands for “colour”

The “d” stands for “duplex”: automatically print on both sides of the paper (without having to turn the paper over and put it back in the tray yourself)

The “w” stands for “wireless”, so you can hook it up to your internet access router and then print to it from your laptop

During the last 5 years it’s printed pretty much every invoice, dispatch note, instruction booklet, catalogue and product label we’ve needed

All without a hitch, apart from having to replace the yellow cartridge after having refilled it a few times. The black cartridge also got changed in the natural cycle of things, meaning we’ve bought just 2 toner cartridges in 5 years

The yellow compatible toner we bought cost less than £15 excluding sales tax. The rest of the printing was achieved by refilling either the two cartridges we bought or the four “inbox” cartridges that arrived with the new machine

Print quality

There’s no objective way of assessing the “quality” of what desktop printers produce. The most meaningful thing we can say is that we were happy to send everything this printer produced to customers and prospective customers. See the video above for shots of real test prints coming off the printer

Running costs

There’s a vast ecosystem of cheap compatible toner cartridges for this printer. A situation that’s encouraged by the fact that the OPC drums are separate from the toner cartridges. So compatible manufacturers haven’t got the expense of having to make OPC drums: they’re essentially only having to make half a cartridge

The HL-L8260cdw toner cartridges can also be refilled, which cuts carbon emissions and reduces plastic waste

Potential downsides

It’s pretty big. If desk space is an issue for you, the exact dimensions of the machine can be seen on sellers’ websites. Or failing that, Brother’s website

All 4 OPC drums come in a single unit. If a single OPC drum developed a problem, by default you’d be looking at having to change the whole drum unit: about $150 in the USA and £100 ex VAT in the UK as we write this. The unit’s rated by Brother as yielding 30,000 pages. If you get less than that and feel like making a warranty claim, it’s not clear how that might pan out

That said, our drum unit’s still purring along after 5 years. Any laser printer you choose will have to run the gauntlet of OPC wear and tear: OPCs are integral to the technology

The best colour laser printer for business

Proven to be robust in the field over 5 years, quality we’re happy to send out to our customers and cheap toner options a go-go

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