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Best Printers for the Classroom

Best Printers for the Classroom

It’s no secret that teachers print frequently and having to share a breakroom printer or copy machine can quickly become a nuisance.  Buying your own classroom printer can easily solve that problem, but with so many different printers on the market, it’s hard to know which one is right for your class.  The first step towards finding the right fit is to identify your printing needs.  To get started, begin by asking a few basic questions:

  •         How frequently do I need to print?
  •         How much do I want to spend on ink?
  •         Is printing in color a priority?
  •         Do I need a scanner or copier built into the printer?
  •         Do I need to print wirelessly?

Once you have laid out your expectations, you can already start to whittle down the options.  A history teacher will likely find that they require a very different printer from an art teacher, and there are affordable printing options for both!  In this guide, we have selected a handful of the best printers for a variety of classroom uses, and hopefully we’ll help you find one that is just right for you and your students.

Strictly Black and White

Brother® HL-L2300D

Sometimes black and white prints are all you need.  Monochrome laser printers are the preferred choice for most teachers thanks to a high volume print capacity and low operating cost.  Brother’s HL-2300D is a compact, inexpensive option that prints fast (up to 27 pages per minute!).  Automatic duplexing comes standard, letting you easily print two-sided study guides for that upcoming economics final.  At a price of just $79.99* on Amazon, it won’t break the bank either.

There are two cartridge options for the Brother HL-L2300D, the TN630 standard yield and the TN660 high yield toner.  High yield toner cartridges are usually a better investment because they hold more ink, which means more prints!  Case in point, the TN630, priced at $30.49*, will print around 1,200 pages.  It’s high yield counterpart, the TN660 cartridge is just $15 more dollars and offers more than double the prints at 2,600 pages.  The DR360 drum unit is a separate consumable for this machine, and should generally be replaced after the use of 3 or 4 toners.  At $81.19, it is worth considering when you are factoring in the total cost of operating the printer.

To keep your costs down, we suggest going with LD brand compatible replacements; they offer the same standard of quality as an original Brother cartridge, for a fraction of the price.  LD sells their compatible TN660 for $19.99 and the DR360 drum for $26.99!

Monthly Duty Cycle 10,000 Pages
Print Speed 27 ppm (pages per minute)
Connectivity Hi-Speed USB 2.0
Paper Size Letter, Legal, Executive Sizes
Warranty 1 year limited warranty offered by Brother
Cartridge Name Brother TN660 High Yield Black Toner
Page Yield 2,600 Pages
Drum Unit Brother DR630 Drum Unit
Page Yield 12,000 Pages
Price Comparison of Original Brother TN660 and Compatible TN660
Original Brother Price $53.99
Original Brother Cost Per Page 2.6 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $19.99  – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 0.57 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Brother DR630 and Compatible DR630
Original Brother Price $85.99
Original Brother Cost Per Page .71 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $26.99  – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page .22 cents per page

 

Budget Friendly All-in-One

Brother® MFC-J985DW

Dipping into your own pocket for classroom supplies is all too common.  Cutting costs where you can is a necessity for most teachers, and a budget friendly printer can certainly help.  Brother recently released their Invkestment line of color inkjet printers, a series that makes low cost printing a top priority.  The MFC-J985DW is the least expensive printer of the bunch at $169.99, and its super high-yield cartridges provide an incredibly generous page yield for pennies on the dollar.  If low cost operating costs weren’t enticing enough, it also includes copy, scan and fax features, perfect for any teacher looking to make a quick copy in the comfort of their own classroom.

The Brother MFC-J985DW printer uses four super high yield LC20E ink cartridges, with the black cartridge offering 2,400 pages per cartridge and each color cartridge offering 1,200 pages apiece.  Brother sells the black cartridge for $23.49 and $14.99 per color.  LD brand compatible cartridges are even cheaper, at $8.49 for the black and $7.49 for each color.

Print Speed Up to 12 ppm (pages per minute)
Connectivity Wireless, Ethernet, Hi-Speed USB 2.0
Paper Size Letter and Legal Sizes
Warranty Two- year limited warranty offered by Brother
Photo Capable Yes
Cartridge Name Brother LC20E XXL Extra High Yield Black Ink (F6U19AN#140)
Page Yield 2,400 Pages
Cartridge Name Brother LC20E XXL Extra High Yield Cyan (L0S61AN#140) / Magenta (L0S64AN#140) / Yellow (L0S67AN#140)
Page Yield 1,200 Pages
Price Comparison of Original Brother LC20E XXL Black vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Brother Price $23.99
Original Brother Cost Per Page .99 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $8.49 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page .35 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Brother LC20E XXL Cyan vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Brother Price $14.99
Original Brother Cost Per Page 4.73 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $7.49 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 2.2 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Brother LC20E XXL Magenta vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Brother Price $14.99
Original Brother Cost Per Page 4.73 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $7.49 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 2.2 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Brother LC20E XXL Yellow vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Brother Price $14.99
Original Brother Cost Per Page 4.73 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $7.49 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 2.2 cents per page

Gallery Grade Photo Prints

Canon® Pixma® iP8720

A high quality photo printer is essential for any digital photography class.  For classes that print photos sporadically, you’ll be better off buying a lower priced color inkjet machine (see the “budget friendly all-in-one” option above).  The Canon Pixma iP8720 is a great entry-level option, featuring a 6 color ink system and sells for $169.81 on Amazon.  Students can print on a range of media sizes, including 13” x 19” borderless photos, and you’ll have your own high end photo printing lab right in your classroom.

The Canon PIXMA iP8720 printer uses 6 ink cartridges, which are sold in both a standard and high yield size.  Canon sells the PGI-250XL high yield black ink cartridge for $24.99, at a yield of 500 pages.  The CLI-251XL color cartridges are sold in five different colors, black, cyan, magenta and yellow, offering a yield of 660 pages per cartridge at $19.99.  You will need two different black cartridges to operate the machine, the PGI-250 cartridge is pigment based for text printing, while the CL-251 option is dye-based ink and formulated for photo prints.  LD brand compatible Canon PGI-250XL and CLI-251XL cartridges are a steal at just $6.49 each!

Print Speed Up to 35 ppm (pages per minute)
Connectivity USB and Wireless
Paper Size Up to 13″ x 19″
Warranty 1 year warranty offered by Canon
Photo Capable Yes
Cartridge Name Canon PGI-250 XL High Yield Black Ink (6448B001)
Page Yield 500 Pages
Cartridge Name Canon CLI-251 XL High Yield Black (6448B001) / Cyan (6449B001) / Magenta (6450B001) / Yellow (6451B001) / Gray (6452B001)
Page Yield 650 Pages
Price Comparison of Original Canon PGI-250 XL Black vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Canon Price $24.99
Original Canon Cost Per Page 4.9 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $6.49 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 1.2 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Canon CLI-251 XL Black vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Canon Price $19.99
Original Canon Cost Per Page 16.9 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $6.49 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 5.2 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Canon CLI-251 XL Cyan vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Canon Price $19.99
Original Canon Cost Per Page 9.6 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $6.49 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 5.2 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Canon CLI-251 XL Magenta vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Canon Price $19.99
Original Canon Cost Per Page 16.9 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $6.49 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 5.2 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Canon CLI-251 XL Yellow vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Canon Price $19.99
Original Canon Cost Per Page 16.9 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $6.49 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 5.2 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Canon CLI-251 XL Gray vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Canon Price $19.99
Original Canon Cost Per Page 16.9 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $6.49 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 5.2 cents per page

Frequent Color Prints

Brother® HL-3170CDW

If your classroom uses color regularly and isn’t interested in printing photos, color laser printers are the more economical choice.  It’s easy to be swayed by an inexpensive color inkjet printer but you’ll probably end up spending more replacing one set of ink cartridges than the initial cost of the machine.  Color laser printers are more of an investment upfront, but they make up for it in the generous page yield of their respective toner cartridges.  Brother’s HL-3170CDW printer is a well-respected machine that boasts easy to use wireless features and a handy secure function lock to help put a limit on your students’ page usage.  An automatic duplexer lets you print on both sides of the page and a 250-sheet paper capacity tray can adjust for both letter and legal size pages. Amazon is currently selling the machine for $199.99.

The Brother HL-3170CDW printer requires four individual color toner cartridges: black, cyan, magenta and yellow.  Brother sells the black TN-221 toner for $69.99, offering a yield of 2,500 pages and each color for $74.99 at 2,200 pages per cartridge.  Like the previously mentioned Brother machine, this printer also includes a separate drum unit that will need to be replaced after the use of 3 or 4 toners.  The Brother brand DR-221CL drum unit goes for $122.99.  LD brand compatible toner cartridges are considerably cheaper, at $19.99 apiece.

Monthly Duty Cycle 30,000 Pages
Print Speed Up to 23 ppm (pages per minute)
Connectivity Wireless, Ethernet, Hi-Speed USB 2.0
Paper Size Letter, Legal, Executive Sizes
Warranty Limited warranty offered by Brother
Cartridge Name Brother TN221 High Yield Black Toner
Page Yield 2,500 Pages
Cartridge Name Brother TN225 High Yield Toner Cyan / Magenta / Yellow
Page Yield 2,200 Pages
Price Comparison of Original Brother TN221 Black vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Brother Price $69.99
Original Brother Cost Per Page 2.7 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $19.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page .79 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Brother TN225 Cyan vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Brother Price $74.99
Original Brother Cost Per Page 12.9 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $19.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 3.5 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Brother TN225 Magenta vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Brother Price $74.99
Original Brother Cost Per Page 12.9 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $19.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 3.5 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Brother TN225 Yellow vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Brother Price $74.99
Original Brother Cost Per Page 12.9 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $19.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 3.5 cents per page

 

Heavy Duty Workhorse

HP® Color LaserJet® Enterprise M553n

Teachers or even office administrators that are serious about printing should invest in a reliable heavy-duty machine that can handle large print jobs.  HP’s Color Laserjet Enterprise M553n fits the bill, capable of printing high volume quality color pages at fast speeds.  The printer itself is pricey (currently $432.06 on Amazon), but it makes up for it with its cartridge yield. The printer uses four toner cartridges, sold as both a standard and high yield, with high yield black cartridge offering a yield of 12,500 pages and each color cartridge offering 9,500 pages apiece.  That’s some serious page yield power.  An original HP 508X goes for $232.99 at Staples and each color goes for $321.99.  If you go with LD brand compatible replacement cartridges, the savings are even greater.  The high yield black LD compatible cartridge is just $88.99 and each color is only $93.99.  LD also sells a 4 pack of compatible toners for $370.96.

Monthly Duty Cycle 80,000 Pages
Print Speed Up to 40 ppm (pages per minute)
Connectivity Wireless, Ethernet, Hi-Speed USB 2.0
Paper Size Letter, Legal, Executive Sizes
Warranty Limited warranty offered by HP
Cartridge Name HP 508X High Yield Toner Black (CF360X)
Page Yield 12,500 Pages
Cartridge Name HP 508X High Yield Toner Cyan (CF361X) / Magenta (CF362X) / Yellow (CF363X)
Page Yield 9,500 Pages
Price Comparison of Original HP 508X Black vs Compatible Cartridges
Original HP Price $232.99
Original HP Cost Per Page 1.86 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $88.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page .71 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original HP 508X Cyan vs Compatible Cartridges
Original HP Price $321.99
Original HP Cost Per Page 11.7 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $93.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 3.68 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original HP 508X Magenta vs Compatible Cartridges
Original HP Price $321.99
Original HP Cost Per Page 11.7 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $93.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 3.68 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original HP 508X Yellow vs Compatible Cartridges
Original HP Price $321.99
Original HP Cost Per Page 11.7 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $93.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 3.68 cents per page

 

There is a lot to keep in mind when shopping for the perfect printer for your classroom.  Now that you have a good idea of what to look for, you can make the best decision for your students and your classroom budget.  Before you go to the store, make a list of printing habits and match them up with the printer specifications and price range that work for you.   Most printers have basic specs listed on the side of the box, but you can always find a more detailed list of specs on the manufacturer’s website!  Happy hunting!

*Savings based on price comparison between remanufactured/compatible cartridge prices on www.LDProducts.com and OEM cartridge and printer prices from Staples® and Amazon®. All prices effective as of June 8, 2018.  OEM names are registered trademarks of their respective owners and are not affiliated with, and do not endorse LD Products.

 

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