This post was most recently updated on January 12th, 2019
For a budding business or a small office, a printer is a big investment. You need something that your employees will find quick and easy to use, without using the entire quarterly budget. The best printer for a small office is something that is fast, easy to use, and cost-effective. The Brother HL-L8360CDW is all these things.
How Do We Determine the Best Printer for a Small Office?
I’ve worked in multiple office settings, from four employees up to two-thousand. For the purposes of this article, I’m going to consider a small office as having less than 30 employees. I’m also going to assume a print volume of fewer than 1,000 pages per day. I think this is a high volume for a small office setting.
Also, whether opening a new law office, running a small real estate agency, or operating an accounting firm, you probably need a laser printer capable of high volume and high speeds. Something that prints great quality is also a good idea. Lastly, the best printer for a small office something that is cheap and meets all your needs.
The Brother HL-L8360CDW is a very new color laser printer. It has a lot of good features and a few drawbacks that you need to consider when deciding if this is the printer for you.
Here’s what I’ve found with the Brother HL-L8360CDW
Low printing cost
Probably the most important aspect of a printer for a small office is the cost of ownership. For a high-volume color laser printer, an MSRP under $400 is very reasonable. That includes enough ink to print up to 1,500 pages, just to get you started.
The Brother HL-L8360CDW has a couple of options for toner. If you are trying to keep your expenses low over the entire year, you’ll want to buy the highest yield cartridges possible. These are the TN-436 series of cartridges.
Now, I won’t lie, replacing all these cartridges adds up fast. In fact, you’ll spend more than the price of the printer on replacement cartridges. But, for that investment, you get 6,500 pages per cartridge. That’s a cost per page of one cent for black, and two for each color. This also means only changing your cartridges once per work week, which is awesome.
If the best printer for a small office is one which is cost effective, then the Brother HL-L8360CDW hits the mark.
Decent customer service
Now, I’ll preference this entry by saying, I don’t think any printer manufacturer has great or even good customer service. Customer support is meant to save the company money. However, there are two approaches to this.
A company like Amazon chooses to save the company money through customer retention. This means doing whatever you need to satisfy the customer.
The method most of these electronics companies choose to employ is saving money by never taking responsibility. This saves them money by never offering returns, but it costs them in the long run.
With all that being said, I think Brother is one of the better printer companies in this regard. They tend to be generally helpful and try to talk customers through their problems on the phone. They’ll still probably advise you to return the product to the retailer, but they at least make an attempt to help with your problem. They aren’t as good as Amazon’s customer support, but they are nowhere near as bad as HP.
High Speed, high storage
The Brother HL-L8360CDW is designed to produce a huge amount of prints. It accomplishes this in two ways. Method number one is speed. This printer will crank out prints at 33 pages per minute in black or color. Especially for color, this is really cooking.
The other way you move a lot of prints is by spending less time replacing consumables. I’ve already mentioned how you will spend less time replacing toner. The other consumable you won’t be replacing often is paper.
This printer has a large 250-sheet paper tray, which is expandable with extra trays. You can expand the trays on this printer to get up to 1,300 pages of paper storage. This allows you the versatility to choose how much storage you need based on your printing needs.
Among the many security features this printer offers, you’re able to set up unique profiles for each of your employees. The Brother HL-L8360CDW can be programmed to hold up to 200 users. Also, you can code each user to an ID card to release print jobs (I’d make sure to have your I.T. person take care of this).
As you can probably tell by the images, the Brother HL-L8360CDW doesn’t have a scanner. It is just a printer. The reason I chose a plain color printer for the best printer for a small office is that many offices have no scanning needs.
If a scanner or auto-document feeder is a must-have for you, I’d recommend checking out the Brother MFC-L8900CDW.
Big and heavy
There’s no way around it, this printer is huge. Like ’64 Impala turns like a school bus huge.
This printer is nearly twenty inches tall with no auto document feeder. Add to that another five inches for each additional paper tray, and you’ve got a massive printer.
I don’t think this is a deal breaker for many small offices, but it is something you should consider.
Beating the drums
Brother laser printers have consumable drum units. And that sucks.
Each drum unit for this printer is rated for about 30,000 pages. This means at 1,000 pages per month, you’ll probably be replacing the drum units once per month.
First, these things are hard to find. Second, they aren’t cheap. The MSRP for each drum is around 150 dollars. Basically, this adds two cents to every print you make. In the long run, this is still a very low print cost. But, at the time you need to buy them, drum units definitely hurt your wallet.
I’ve heard from some customers that this printer has a very spotty WIFI connection. Now, to me, the best printer for a small office doesn’t necessarily need WIFI. You should be using a hardwired network connection. It is more stable and secure.
From what I’ve seen on Amazon reviews, the WIFI connection issue has been fixed with firmware updates. Any time you install a new printer, you should update the firmware. Hopefully, this issue is fixed and stays fixed.
The Brother HL-L8360CDW is a great color laser printer. It meets all of the criteria I could think of for the best printer for a small office. When you are looking for a printer for a business, it’s important to be thinking long term. Are the cartridges expensive? Yeah. Are the drums expensive? Yeah. But, will you save money over the course of months or years? Yes, you will. And that’s how your business will stay in the black.