This post was most recently updated on June 5th, 2020
If you own a business of any kind, chances are you’ve been told to buy a color laser printer. However, laser jet printers can be a great investment for home use as well. We had a laser printer in my home growing up, and my parents only had to replace the cartridges twice through three kids school careers.
There are many benefits to owning a laser printer. They are fast, reliable, efficient, and they don’t take liquid ink cartridges. Laser printers print with toner, which is a powder-based pigment that gets adhered to your paper with heat. Because it is a powder, toner cartridges never dry up or expire, and the printer can work after not printing for years.
But what if you want to print documents with stunning color saturation and graphic elements? What if you only print a couple pages per month, or seasonally? A color laser printer may still be the best option for you.
So what brand should you buy? While Canon and HP both manufacture great laser printers, there is no denying that Brother still owns the consumer Laser printer space. They have a reputation for making great laser printers, and they’ve earned it.
Why buy a Brother?
Brother is a company which makes some poor products, like most of their inkjet printers. However, what they do well, they are usually the best at. They were known for making some of the best typewriters when those were still a thing. Also, if you know anyone who uses sewing machines a lot, they will probably tell you about their Brother.
This is the case with their laser printers. Up until recently when HP stepped their game up, whenever somebody came into the store looking for a laser printer, I took them right to the Brother aisle. They’ve been the industry standard for a while because they build resilient, efficient printers for business customers at a reasonable price. And these features benefit home users as well.
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is a high-end business class color laser jet printer. As such, it delivers on many things you’d expect.
While it isn’t lightning fast, the MFC-L8900CDW keeps up. 33 pages per minute of black and white as well as color is enough for most businesses’ needs. You won’t set any land-speed records, but if you do the math, that’s a ream of paper in fifteen minutes.
Better than the speed is the money this printer will save you on ink or toner. The black TN-433 cartridge for this printer will yield up to 4,500 pages. That comes out to about 1.5 cents per page of black at MSRP. The high-yield color TN-433 cartridges are a bit more expensive than black, at a regular price of about $135. However, you do have the option of buying the lower-yield TN-431 for a standard price of around $75. The TN-431s will print about 1,800 pages per color for a price per page of 4.2 cents per page. The higher yield TN-433s print about 4,000 pages per color, for a price per page of only 3.4 cents per page. With the higher yield cartridges, you save money and change your cartridges less, but if you don’t print much color the standard size may be right for you.
Like most laser printers, the 8900CDW prints crisp text and charts. Because of the way liquid ink works, you get a faint darker outline to text. Toner doesn’t have this problem, so on a small level, reading laser printed documents is easier on your eyes.
This printer has a maximum resolution of 600 dpi, which is standard for laser printers. It’s high enough for images within documents and flyers. Giving a customer a flyer with color makes them four times more likely to remember the information on it. This means that high-quality color prints are a must, and this printer will give them to you.
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW has a fairly large paper tray, holding 250 sheets. This way you can run a bunch of copies and go through a whole ream in two runs.
This printer also includes automatic duplex printing, for even better color flyers and documents. You can print wirelessly with ease over a WIFI connection, and over an Ethernet or USB connection. Lastly, this printer has a five-inch color touchscreen, which is large and awesome.
The first con is more of a preference than a con. I don’t like Brother’s interfaces. I think they are clumsy and hard to follow. Some people may like them; I’m just not used to them.
Also, while 33 pages per minute is very fast for many users, anyone printing for publishing purposes may need something faster.
This printer can hold much more than 250 pages, but you need to buy additional paper trays. For the MSRP, I would typically expect a 500-page paper capacity.
The size. Like most color laser printers, this thing is huge. This isn’t a printer you can have on your desk in your home office. You need a large, dedicated printer space.
For a business, small office, or frequent user, the Brother MFC-L8900CDW color laser printer is a great choice. Brother lasers are sturdy and reliable, and this model is no different. It’s fast and efficient, and I would highly recommend it.
Now, earlier I said color laser printers are a great option for home users as well. And they are, just not this one. It’s huge. It has a high price tag and the toners are expensive up front. While 90% of home users will never need to replace the starter cartridges on something like this, you should do some math to see if you’ll actually save money with this printer before buying it for home.
If you’re looking for something more practical for occasional at home use, check out the Brother MFC-9330CDW. It is smaller, almost as fast and efficient, and just as reliable as the 8900CDW. The printer is cheaper up front, the cartridges are cheaper, and it’s another printer I’d highly recommend.