The Brother HL-L2300D is a good buy for the home office that needs a small, affordable printer that spits out monochrome text documents at high rates of speed. We found its overall text quality to be quite good relative to its competitors. Unfortunately, the graphics and photo printing capabilities are lackluster, and the printer has some serious ease of use issues due to limited connectivity options. But the HL-L2300D's speed, affordability, and compact size make it a solid option for students or home offices with simple printing needs.Editor's Note: We updated this review for the Brother HL-L2300D on June 14, 2022, with an unbiased look at value and recommendations for other directly comparable products.
Brother HL-L2300D Review
Pros: Compact design, good printing speed and quality
Cons: Very limited connectivity (no WiFi or Ethernet and it doesn't come with a USB cable)
Compare to Similar Products
|Price||$110 List||$220 List|
$219.99 at Amazon
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$124.89 at Amazon
$100.00 at Amazon
|Pros||Compact design, good printing speed and quality||Sturdy, well-built, awesome interface, strong all-around performance||Mulptiple connectivity options, compact and small size, great operating cost with a moderate initial purchase price||Small size, good graphic and photo quality for its price class||Decent photo quality, small size and lightweight, decent text quality|
|Cons||Very limited connectivity (no WiFi or Ethernet and it doesn't come with a USB cable)||Lacks duplex scanning, proprietary ink only||Mediocre photo, graphic, text quality, display screen, and user interface||Expensive operating cost, no duplex printing, inconsistent quality for print jobs, HP ink cartridges only||No display screen, difficult to troubleshoot, costly to maintain, sluggish printing speeds|
|Bottom Line||This printer does a stellar job at high-speed monochrome document printing, but lacks connectivity options, making it less versatile and convenient||A strong all-around printer where photo and graphic printing, cost efficiency, user interface, and print speed all score high||A cost efficient printer that makes a great pick for casual home use but isn't the best option for high quality document or photo needs||A simple, small printer that excels at photos, but is costly to operate||Don't be fooled by the low purchase price - this printer does a decent job, but maintenance comes at a cost|
|Rating Categories||Brother HL-L2300D||Epson Workforce Pro...||Brother MFC-J4335DW||HP DeskJet 4155e||Canon Pixma MG3620|
|Text Quality (25%)|
|Operating Cost (25%)|
|Ease of Use (20%)|
|Graphics and Photos (15%)|
|Printing Speed (15%)|
|Specs||Brother HL-L2300D||Epson Workforce Pro...||Brother MFC-J4335DW||HP DeskJet 4155e||Canon Pixma MG3620|
|Type||Laser||All-In-One Inkjet||All-In-One Inkjet||All-In-One Inkjet||All-In-One Inkjet|
|Capabilities||Print, Scan||Print, Scan, Copy, Fax||Print, Scan, Copy, Fax||Print, Scan, Copy|
|Resolution (Black)||2400 x 600||4800 x 2400||Not Available||1200 x 1200||600 x 600|
|Resolution (Color)||2400 x 600||4800 x 2400||1200 × 2400||4800 x 1200||4800 x 1200|
|Supported Paper Sizes||Letter, Legal, Executive, A4, A5, A6, B5, B6||3.5" x 5", 4" x 6", 5" x 7", 8" x 10", Letter, Legal, A4, A6, Half Letter, Executive, User-definable (3.5" — 47.2" L), Oficio 9; 8.5" x 13"; Mexico Oficio||Letter, A4, Legal, Mexico Legal, India Legal, Folio, Executive, A5, A6, Envelopes (C5, Com-10, DL, Monarch), Photo (4" x 6")/(10 x 15 cm), Photo L (3.5" x 5")/(9 x 13 cm), Photo 2L (5" x 7")/(13 x 18 cm), Index card (5" x 8")/(13 x 20 cm)||Letter, Legal, 4" x 6", 5" x 7", 8" x 10", No. 10 envelopes||4" x 6", 5" x 7", Letter, Legal, No. 10 envelopes|
|Dimensions (excludes extensions)||14.0" x 14.2" x 7.2"||16.7" x 15.3" x 10.9"||17.1" x 14.2" x 7.1"||16.9" x 13.1" x 7.9"||17.7" x 12.0" x 6.0"|
|Paper Handling Input (sheets)||250||250||150||60||100|
|Monthly Duty Cycle||10,000||33,000||30,000||1,000||Not Available|
|2-Sided Printing||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes (Manually)||Yes|
|Ink Cost per Ream: B/W||$16.66||$28.56||$5.50||$66.63||$52.75|
|Ink Cost per Ream: Color||Not Available||$13.40||$7.83||$84.95||$69.42|
|Estimated Lifetime Cost of Ownership||$385||$605||$250||$1,155||$950|
|Claimed Pages Per Minute||27||25 (Black) / 12 (Color)||20||20||8|
|Measured Pages per Minute: Single-Sided B/W||22||10||11||8||5|
|Connectivity||USB 2.0 (No wireless connection)||WiFi, Ethernet, USB 2.0||WiFi, Ethernet, USB 2.0||1 Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n with Bluetooth® 4.2; 1 Hi-Speed USB 2.0||Hi-Speed USB PictBridge (Wireless LAN)10 Wireless LAN (IEEE 802.11b/g/n)|
|Operating System Compatability||Windows Server 2008 R2, MacOS X, Mac OS 10.7.x, Mac OS 10.8.x, Mac OS10.9.x, Windows XP, Windows Home Edition, Windows XP Professional||Windows 10, Windows 8, 8.1 (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows 7 (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows Vista (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows Server 2003 SP27 — Windows Server 20197, Mac OS X 10.6.8 — macOS 10.15.x8||Linux, macOS (12), macOS (11), macOS (10.15), macOS (10.14), Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008||Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 7, MacOS 10.12 Sierra, MacOS 10.14 Mojave, MacOS 10.15 Catalina, MacOS 11 Big Sur, Chrome OS||Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows 7 SP1, Windows Vista SP1, Vista SP2, Windows XP SP3 32-bit, Mac OS® X v10.7.5 - 10.10|
|Google Cloud Print||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Brother HL-L2300D is a great printer for those that need something small, affordable, and super fast but don't care about WiFi or Ethernet connectivity. While not very good at printing photos or graphics, the HL-L2300D is not a bad option if you just need something that spits out lots of text documents quickly and doesn't cost much to maintain.
The Brother HL-L2300D performed well here, earning a solid score in the text quality metric. We saw consistently good print quality and sharp text with the occasional fuzziness (though not enough to detract much from its score).
For its text quality and fast printing speed, the HL-L2300D provides a nice package for those looking for something that pumps out quality, monochrome documents at an affordable price.
The HL-L2300D is a very affordable monochrome, laser printer. Its initial purchase price is low, and its lifetime operating cost is fairly low. It's worth noting that a replacement cartridge costs almost as much as the printer itself; however, you can potentially get 3,000 pages of prints out of each. That comes out to about $18.50 per black and white ream (500 pages). The HL-L2300D cannot print color, so you won't ever need to worry about color cartridge replacement costs. It's also one of the least expensive printers in our lineup to own over time, making it a great choice for those whose top priorities are price and speed.
Ease of Use
Some of the hiccups we experienced here really hurt the HL-L2300D's overall score. We're not sure how the manufacturers seem to have missed some key issues here, and ultimately the HL-L2300D received a low score in this metric. The initial setup was involved but not particularly difficult. You first have to remove a piece from inside the printer and connect it to the drum found separately in the box.
The real issues began when we tried to connect our computer to the printer. The HL-L2300D's drivers only seem to be available on the supplied install CD that it comes with. This wouldn't be a big issue ten years ago, but in the 2020s, not many computers come supplied with CD drives anymore. For some reason, the Brother website had no compatible drivers available for download. We were forced to use their live chat customer service, only to be left with no solution other than to cannibalize another device's USB cable (the HL-L2300D came with no cables other than its power cord). You can see why we scored this printer so poorly here. The onboard controls weren't terrible, but there is no display screen to navigate settings, which is expected of an inexpensive device.
If it weren't for the glaring connectivity issues, the HL-L2300D actually would've scored higher. Unfortunately, as it stands, our experience led to a low score in this metric and a disclaimer that you should understand before purchasing this printer.
Being an affordable monochrome laser printer, the HL-L2300D has no real graphic or photo capabilities, thus its lower score in this metric.
We measured the HL-L2300D's ability to use the grayscale to represent colors in images and photos. Discounting its inability to print color, it could not produce accurate photo prints in black and white. The images appeared darker than their original, and there was noticeable striping in the upper portion of the page. We also noticed some irregular pigmentation in business graphics, and while the text was mostly legible, some boxes had obvious blurring. Overall image resolution was also subpar: there was a general softness to images where there should've been clear detail. The grayscale display was also quite lackluster, and while there were clear differences between shades, black and darker hues blurred together. Ultimately, you shouldn't buy this printer for its photos and graphics ability.
This printer is one of the faster models that we tested, as the HL-L2300D can pump out full-page (low quality) photos in just 6 seconds and 12 duplex and 22 simplex pages per minute.
This is where this printer shines: speed and affordability. If you can forgive the ease of use oversights, or if using your own, self-supplied USB cable doesn't bother you, and you want an inexpensive, fast printer, the HL-L2300D is a solid option. We see this printer performing well in an environment like a dorm room or a home office that needs something fast, small, and simple that can be set on the same desk as the computer that it's plugged into. There are only a couple of other printers in our lineup that were faster than the HL-L2300D, and both are nearly five times the initial purchase price, nearly triple the lifetime cost.
Should You Buy the Brother HL-L2300D?
Despite its flaws, the HL-L2300D does fill a niche in the market: it's small, very affordable, and super quick. We think students and home offices who don't mind plugging in when they need to print and whose priority is speed and price might find the HL-L2300D a worthwhile investment.
What Other Printers Should You Consider?
The Brother HL-L2300D is a solid buy for those in need of a fast, affordable, monochrome printer, but it does have some serious drawbacks. The specific downfalls of connectivity and lack of color capability are offered by similarly economic options like the Brother MFC-J4335DW. But if you're set on the speed of a laser printer, consider a high-quality model like the HP LaserJet Pro M428fdw.
— Alex Hocevar-Smith and Genaveve Bradshaw
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