back to article Ten... sub-£100 mono laser printers

Mono laser printers still produce better black text than any inkjet. If you want clean, pin-sharp characters on the page and don’t print colour, buy a laser. If you have a limited budget, look for one at under £100. Here are 10 you should consider, which can print fast, don’t take up much room on the desk and are very easy to …


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  1. mccp

    sub-£250 shirley?

    Seems to me that half these printers cost more than £100 - judging by the price noted in the review and presented by Amazon on clicking the Amazon button.

    1. GatesFanbois

      Re: sub-£250 shirley?

      It did say at the begining of the article you would have to look around to find them around the 100 quid mark and that it was the SRP that was quoted in the article. The Kyocera Mita FS-1320D, which I think was the most expensive at 232 quid, is showing up on a google shopping search at £107.40.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: sub-£250 shirley?

        You can get a colour laser printer for less than some of these, without shopping around. Given the amount I was spending on ink* £150 was a pretty good investment for a Samsung

        *Every single time I wanted to print something, the ink cartridge had dried up, clogged and needed to be replaced. For this reason I find a laser printer much better for my low printing volumes, despite them normally being associated with high volume.

      2. amanfromarse

        Re: Re: sub-£250 shirley?

        It's out of stock at the supplier where it's selling for £107 and also at the supplier selling it at £118. It seems to be retailing around £170 at Ebuyer, Dabs etc.

        It's very common in a Google shopping search to get the odd supplier offering the product at a price much lower than everybody else. Usually, they are out of stock or don't even have a page for the item.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: Re: sub-£250 shirley?

          Or more often the "cheap" google prices turn out to be without VAT

          1. amanfromarse

            Re: Re: Re: Re: sub-£250 shirley?

            No, more often they turn out to be what I said.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: sub-£250 shirley?

              £107 > £100 stlg

  2. Mage Silver badge

    Perhaps sub £250

    In reality sub £100 would be useless.

    My last laser printer was Brother. I wish I had bought the Duplex version. But I needed it in a hurry and the local shops had NO Duplex printers.

    Important is cost of consumables and how many pages they do.

    1. Martin

      Well, we'll see...

      I'm going to buy the HL-2250DN - Duplex and networked, good reviews (including here), linux drivers and you can get it for less than £80. Why should it be useless?

      1. melt

        Re: Well, we'll see...

        I've got a HL-2250DN, it's been really solid so far. The web interface lets you chuff about with a lot of settings too - on mine you can tell it to ignore the built-in "toner low" counter.

    2. Miffo

      Re: Perhaps sub £250

      I got a cheapo Smasung laser printer about 7 years ago to get the wife through university. It cost £59 including VAT and delivery. Handy with only one wage coming in. I saved money by refilling the cartridge and it saw a *lot* of work - she likes printing! It's still in use though it has an easier life now.

      So not useless at all. Duplex would have been nice but you can get that under £100 now.

    3. the spectacularly refined chap

      Re: Perhaps sub £250

      Decent sub-£100 printers are certainly out there. It's only a couple of months since I bought an Epson M2000DN. Although that's really more of a small workgroup printer I can't imagine what more you'd want from a home device which is where I'm using it - Ethernet, duplex, a wide range of emulations including real Postscript, and toner costs of a penny a side retail or 0.3p if you get your carts off ebay.

      Cost? £82 from CPC including VAT and delivery, and it went down another tenner last month. I note it's listed as out of stock on their website at the moment, but they're awaiting delivery so presumably it will reappear. It's probably worth keeping an eye on if you're in the market for that sort of thing.

  3. Chris Cartledge

    Electricity Consumption - a Real Cost

    It is a great pity that no information on electricity costs is given. These are significant, particuarly when compared to a low capital costs, as is shown by the Typical Energy Consumption (TEC) for the four printers that are listed on:

    On a UK average electricity tariff for 2011, these costs are:

    Brother HL-2130 £32.24

    Brother HL-2250DN £35.83

    Epson Aculaser M1200 £40.68

    HP LaserJet Pro P1102w £16.05

    1. Steven Jones

      Re: Electricity Consumption - a Real Cost

      I'm a bit dubious about those quoted costs. As an example, the Brother HL-2130 is estimated at 215kWh per year. Averaged out, that's over 24watts 365 days per year, 24 hours per day. It's equivalent to the printer being in full ready mode (i.e. hot and ready to go) for 7 hours every day and printing for 1 hour. That's well over 1,000 pages per day, vastly more than the usage this sort of printer is designed for, an wholly atypical of a home office or domestic situation. Also, the printer defaults to entering deep sleep mode (0.8W) after 5 minutes. In a domestic situation this is how it can be expected to remain for the vast majority of the time (or switched off).

      In fact Brother's estimate is 0.913kWh per week or 47kWh per year which is about £5 and an average of about 5W. I think that's much more realistic for typical home use - indeed it would be at the high end in my view.

      I suspect that's typical of most modern printers. Until somebody puts an energy usage monitor on one of these for a few months in a typical environment, we won't know for sure, but for now I think the estimates are simply wrong for any environment where this class of printer will be used.

      1. Chris Cartledge

        Re: Re: Electricity Consumption - a Real Cost

        The TEC on the SUST-IT site is that given by the manuafacturer when registering the product for ENERGY STAR. It does measure the electricity consumption under a standard workload. The formula for number of pages printed is complex but can be found here:

        and it does work out as high load for personal printers, I think. Most personal printers spend most of their time doing nothing and it is interesting to see the consumption for idle mode:

        Brother HL-2130 0.8W

        Brother HL-2250DN 0.9W

        Epson Aculaser M1200 8W

        HP LaserJet Pro P1102w 2.7W

        So the Epson is costing about £10 per year just to leave plugged into a live socket!

      2. Greg Eden

        Re: Re: Electricity Consumption - a Real Cost

        There is a trick with home printers. When not in use, which is most of the time, you turn them OFF!!!

        1. Steven Jones

          Re: Re: Re: Electricity Consumption - a Real Cost

          True, but for printers with a sub 1W deep sleep mode the environmental and monetary saving is small - about £1 per year. It's probably better to have a low deep-sleep power usage and decent energy management than relying on people remembering to turn things off promptly.

    2. Tapeador

      Re: Electricity Consumption - a Real Cost

      Good post.

      To which I'd add - toner AND replacement drum cartridges - the latter being separately replaceable on most makes. Many OEM toner cartridges for the above brands cost MORE than the printer itself!

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Aesthetics not part of the review?

    Since all of these look like the beige computers of the early nineties.

    I know this is a tech site, but if i am going to have a large bulky item sitting in my house it should not look like something out of a playmobile box. The apple "isn't it pretty to look at" genie is out of the bottle, ugly computers are sooooooo last century.

    I got the samsung ml1630w which is both nice looking, sub 100 and wifi.

    1. melt

      Re: Aesthetics not part of the review?

      It's a printer. Shove it in the attic or pantry and you'll only see it to retrieve prints.

    2. Patrick R

      Re: Aesthetics not part of the review?

      Did you expect a mark or maybe best, a picture ?

      There you have it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Aesthetics not part of the review?

        Wow, voted down so much for asking for a nice looking device.

        Even people justifying products being so ugly as to need putting in an attic or pantry... didn't know you folk were so attached to such poor product design.... or was it because i mentioned apple.

        Maybe this explains why so many companies try to avoid leaving procurement entirely to the IT dept.

        1. Matthew 3

          Re: Re: Re: Aesthetics not part of the review?

          I think it's probably more that people realise that in a sub-£100 category design isn't going to sway people's opinion as much as saving a few bob.

  5. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    Samsng ML-4500

    When my printer dies, I'll surely be buying one of the Brother's or a Samsung. We use them in work and they are good, quick, clean and cheap.

    But given that my printer's been running for, oh, must be 10 years now and only has a £30 cartridge about once every two years (and even that's only because the toner contains the light-sensitive drum - the cartridge itself can be refilled with any-old-toner-powder at least 2-3 times if you really want - they even have removable plastic "caps" on the official toners!), works on Linux and Windows, laughs at envelopes and cost me about £80 all that time ago, it will have to die before I move on.

    I don't think mono-laser technology has ever really moved on since then. Sure, gimmicks and new interface but nothing significantly better (so my combination of Samsung ML-4500 and Intel NetportExpress - which uses an Intel 386 chip, for goodness sake! - has managed to future-proof me all that time). But colour laser has come on a storm since then, coming into the sub-£100 market itself.

    Does anyone really still buy inkjets, even for home use? If I pay £60 for some ink/toner, I want to feel like I'm changing car components when I put it in, not decanting a thimble.

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  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Amazed with Samsung!

    Now, its not a 100 pound printer, slightly more expensive, but 1.5 / 2 years ago I got myself a multi-purpose Samsung SCX-4623 printer (laserprinter, scanner, copier and fax). First because I could get it fairly cheap, and second because this one fully supported networking.

    Linux (CUPS) has always given me nothing but trouble with this one, but on Windows everything just works great. Quite frankly, its been almost 2 years now and its still going strong. Its very easy for a small office to have such a critter ready for work, but without the need to put it on your desk or table. It simply sits in the further side of the room.

    Before I had this one I always figured Samsung to be good for phones, but that's it. Well, I had to re-adjust that idea a little ;-)

  7. Russell Mowbray
    Thumb Up

    re Sub £250 shirley

    I bought two Brother HL2250Ds just before Xmas at £104 each (so close to the sub £100). Both function perfectly, quickly and economically. The only difference between them and the one recommended here is the lack of an ethernet port but given that where I use them (swimming galas) there is no network available this is fine with me.

  8. David Given
    Thumb Up

    What's Konica Minolta doing these days?

    A large number of years ago I bought a Konica Minolta PP1400W laser for about fifty quid. I plugged it in to my Ubuntu box and it just worked, and it's worked brilliantly ever since: cheap to buy, cheap to run, excellent output, warms up in about five seconds, and a sheet feeder that actually works. It's not fast but for the kind of light print jobs I do, it's ideal.

    Does Konica Minolta produce an equivalent modern printer?

    Oh, and BTW, I turn it on, print something, then turn it off again. No standby power loads.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Nice to see this...

    ..My ancient HP LJ-6 is finally giving up the ghost (misfeeeding all the time) so time for a new laser. As I only print out every now and again an inket is a complete waste of money as I'd be buying new cartridges all the time.

    Samsung and Brother seem to be the winners in other reviews as well.

    1. Stu_The_Jock

      Re: Nice to see this...

      I assume you have tried cleaning the paper feed rollers with a moist cloth to remove the years of paper dust buildup ?

    2. Z80

      Re: Nice to see this...

      The problem could be the separation pad in the input tray. I quick search turned up an HP forum thread which suggests they stopped sending out the free fix kit in 2003 though...

      That seemed to sort out the ones we had for a while at least from what I remember.

  10. Ogi

    I miss my panasonic kx-p4400

    Does anyone build laser printers that are upright? I live in a tiny studio flat with very very limited desk space. I don't have the space on my desk for these kind of square printers. The kx-p4400 was taller than it was wide which I loved. It could sit next to my monitor on the edge of the desk.

    Alas I think the Ex took it with her when we split up, as I can't find it along any of my stuff.

    Thing is, I can't find them second hand, nor can I find any new ones that are a similar shape. Does anyone here know of such laser printers?

    (It looks like this: )

    1. DRendar

      Re: I miss my panasonic kx-p4400

      Erm... Did you even read the article?

      At least ½ of the printers reviewed were upright, with fold-down feed/output trays.

      Personally I hate these, as you get dust buildup, and you have to take the paper out in order to close them, but each to their own.

      1. Steve Foster

        Re: Re: I miss my panasonic kx-p4400

        Um, no, none of the printers in the review are uprights. Fold-out trays do not an upright make; an upright has H being the largest dimension of WxDxH (and such dimensions are usually broadly similar to that of a Mini-Tower PC).

      2. Ogi

        Re: Re: I miss my panasonic kx-p4400

        Yes I did read it, and they still took a lot of real estate compared to the Panasonic. At least they look like they take up a lot of space. Perhaps future reviews could include the dimensions of the printers being reviewed?

        Then again, I never had a problem with dust buildup, and while I would have to take the paper out to close it, I hardly ever had to close it, unless I was moving stuff around, which might happen once a year during spring cleaning. Otherwise it just sits there all the time.

        I don't know, I think I hardly ever close my printers unless I'm moving them about, but that's just me I guess.

        I had the previous Samsung model mentioned in the review, and the brother series, and they were both physically bigger (although very good printers. However the Samsung "Linux drivers" are a pain to install. Why couldn't they just provide a PPD file and be done with it, rather they had to wrap it in 100+MB of autoexec installers that need a GUI to run).

        I could not keep those printers on my desk, so ended up in the closet, or on the floor (where they invariably get kicked and something gets broken). As you say though, each to his own :)

        1. Some Beggar

          Do: Re: Mi: I miss my panasonic kx-p4400

          If you leave it open all the time then surely it takes up roughly the same amount of space as one of the fully enclosed models? I'm not sure what the advantage is of having an origami version of something if you never fold it away.

          1. Ogi

            Re: Do: Re: Mi: I miss my panasonic kx-p4400

            It takes nowhere near the same amount of space. Yes, the top sticks out a bit, but underneath is a lot of space. I can either put stuff under the tray, or just have it hang out the side of the desk, facing the wall. As most of the weight is still on the mini-tower like box, this is a very stable arrangement. It also frees up more desk space for my monitor and other office-things I use on a day to day basis.

            I could not stick the large ones half off the desk without serious stability problems. As I mentioned before, I had both the brother and samsung laser printers.

            I mean what, the thing was 4 inches wide? Truly a nice and efficiently packed laser printer. I guess I'm a minority in wanting these kinds of printers, which I guess explains why nobody makes them in this form factor anymore....

  11. Tony S

    Tight fisted

    I've been a fan of the Kyocera FS1010 for many years. Solid, reliable and cheap to run. Thye stopped making them quite a while ago, but I bought a load of refurbished machines for £200 (no, not each - for a pallet load!)

    The factory is a dirty place, and the users are the type of people that don't bother about cleaning or even treating equipment with care. I complained to the production managers, but all they are interested in is that people can do their jobs. They don't see the cost, so don't care about it.

    By having these really cheap printers, I can afford to dispose of one if it gets broken, instead of wasting hours trying to repair it. In most cases, I can just take the network card out of the damaged machine, put it in a new one, and Robert is your father's brother.

    A shame that there are not a few more of them around. And yes I am a tight fisted git (and proud of it!)

    1. amanfromarse

      Re: Tight fisted

      Yes, yes, very good.

      Or you could buy one for £100 and not have to worry about where to keep a pallet of printers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Tight fisted

        He wouldn't have to worry where to park a Airbus either. Neither that nor your point seem to be a concern for him. I'm always amazed how many factories have the ability to put pallets somewhere.

  12. Some Beggar

    Everybody loves tables.

    Any chance of a Which? style summary table for these "N best X" articles?

  13. Gene Cash Silver badge


    For me, the ability to toss the shitty CUPS crap and just run lprng is important, so I want a printer that does Postscript. This also gets around "does my driver/setup know how to handle duplex" too, as PS deals with this natively.

    My old Brother HL-5240 does PS just fine and cost <US$120, so it's not a high-end feature.

  14. The Nameless Mist

    1130n review details WRONG.

    Your reviewer has his wires (or should that be ports) crossed.

    The model description is the 1130n which has USB and ETHERNET.

    The plain 1130 has only USB.

    So either the model name reviewed is wrong, or the reviwer wasn't looking at the ports.

    The unit doesn't have a FLIP OPEN custom feed like the Samsung 2250, it has a slide feeder like the 2130.

  15. Johnny Canuck

    Pshaw, I scoff at new printers

    I'm still using my laserjet 4 (got it out of the garbage - just needed a toner and pickup rollers). It has ethernet and works with cups though you have to use the laserjet 5 driver or it prints the same page over and over again. This, even though I sell and recommend Brother products.

  16. Alan Firminger

    Epson Aculaser M1200

    Equipped with a parallel port, does it accept text input ?

    And is the control language named ?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Err, sub-£100?

    So your recommended sub-£100 mono laser printer is the Brother HL-2250DN, at £164, with the Samsung ML-2165W, HP LaserJet Pro P1102w, Kyocera Mita FS-1120D and Kyocera Mita FS-1320D all costing between £100 and £232...

    Remember the good old days when The Register would make fun of ZDnet for doing things like this?

  18. Dive Fox

    I'll stick to me LaserJet 4000N what I picked up for $15 at a secondhand shop, with a full toner! Just needed the rollers cleaned, and the toner will probably have gone off by the time I'm close to exhausting it with how often I print! Saving me pennies and the environment, I am!

  19. Gordon Fecyk

    Do these networkable printers do Point and Print?

    HP burned my britches when I first consulted for a company that had a few of the HP 2600N Color Laserjet printers. These supposedly-network-capable printers didn't support point-and-print functionality in Windows Server. Pundits of the day blamed HP's "host-based printing" system for the failure to support point-and-print.

    Point-and-print isn't a big deal in a two workstation network. When you have non-admin users spread out over ten stations or more, point-and-print, along with logon scripts, are work-savers.

    While folks blamed "host-based" printing as the cause, I didn't buy that. Okidata line printers did "host-based" drivers for a long time, yet they support point-and-print effortlessly. HP's excuse was that the 2600N was not designed as an enterprise printer. whoopty-******-doo. If you put a LAN port on a printer, expect some admin somewhere to run it off a Windows print server.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Editorial bias...

    Samsung ML-1670

    "Running costs, at 3.2p per ISO page, are above average, but only by a few tenths of a penny"

    Samsung ML-2165W

    "The cost per ISO page is at 2.9p, well below average."


  21. AJ MacLeod

    The occasional mention of Linux or Mac in this review, but it's still not quite what we've been asking for every time a printer review comes round.

    Is it really so difficult to state briefly whether PCL or PS are supported? If "Linux Support" means relying on badly written, hard to find, badly packaged and generally out of date custom software (pretty much like most Windows printer drivers actually, come to think of it) then it's really not worth having.

  22. Charles Harbud

    I'm running an old HP laserjet6p via an Edimax PS3207U print server. A new toner for the HP is nearly £100. I fancied the Samsung ML-1865 small mono laser printer but Edimax say it won't work with the print server and there's no firmware update that will fix it. I emailed Samsung to see if they could recommend a new print server that will work with their range of printers and got the most useless reply - the answer is No they can't. The cost of consumables (toner cartridges) must be taken into account. I recently found Staples were selling the Samsung ML-1665 for £49.99 but a new toner cartridge in the same store (on the same day) for £55.99. Digging a little deeper, a kit is available to refill it yourself for £14 if you look on youtube and don't mind a little brain-surgery.

  23. Timo

    THANKS El Reg

    I definitely owe you at The Reg a big thanks. My poky HP Laserjet 6L tore through another batch of toner, and I was just about to reorder when this article came through. Turns out that Brother is having a huge set of deals right now in February, so was able to get the HL-2270 for $USD 80. I'm excited for the ethernet and duplexing, no plans to use WiFi just yet. Too bad the intro toner cart is only rated for something like 700 sheets, but it also looks like they are very easy to refill.

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