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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 Monochrome Laser

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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.  It comes at a super affordable price on Amazon so 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.

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-J995DW Inkvestment Tank Color Inkjet

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Dipping into your own pocket for classroom supplies is all too common. That’s why cutting costs where you can is a necessity for most teachers, and a budget-friendly printer can certainly help.  Brother’s Inkvestment line of color inkjet printers makes low cost printing a top priority.  The MFC-J995DW is the least expensive printer of the bunch, and its ultra high-yield LC3033 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-J995DW printer uses four super high yield LC3033 ink cartridges or four ultra high yield LC3035 ink cartridges. Whether you pick the super high yield LC3033 or ultra high yield LC3035 is up to you and your printing needs. A black super high yield LC3033 cartridge prints 3,000 pages while an ultra high yield LC3035 black cartridge prints 6,000 pages per cartridge. Each super high yield LC3033 color cartridge prints 1,500 pages while each ultra high yield LC3035 color cartridge prints 5,000 pages.

Brother sells the original black Brother super high yield LC3033 cartridge for $34.99 and each color LC3033 cartridge for $24.99. An original Brother ultra high yield LC3035 cartridge sells for $59.99 and $66.49 for each color LC3035 cartridge.

On the other hand, LD brand aftermarket cartridges are much cheaper, at $12.99 for a Brother LC3033 black replacement and $9.99 for each color Brother LC3033 replacement cartridge. Ultra high yield aftermarket counterparts are also available with $22.99 for the black LC3035 ultra high yield and $24.99 for each color LC3035.

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 LC3035 Ultra High Yield Black Ink (F6U19AN#140)
Page Yield 6,000 Pages
Cartridge Name Brother LC3035 Ultra High Yield Cyan / Magenta / Yellow)
Page Yield 5,000 Pages
Price Comparison of Original Brother LC3035 Ultra High Yield Black vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Brother Price $59.99
Original Brother Cost Per Page .93 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $22.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page .38 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Brother LC3035 Ultra High Yield Cyan vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Brother Price $66.49
Original Brother Cost Per Page 4.83 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $24.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 1.78 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Brother LC3035 Ultra High Yield Magenta vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Brother Price $66.49
Original Brother Cost Per Page  4.83 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $24.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 1.78 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Brother LC3035 Ultra High Yield Yellow vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Brother Price $66.49
Original Brother Cost Per Page  4.83 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $24.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 1.78 cents per page


Gallery Grade Photo Prints

Epson Expression Photo XP-8500 Printer

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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 Epson Expression Photo XP-8500 is a great entry-level option, and uses 6 Claria Photo hi-definition inks: .

Students can print on a range of media sizes, including 8” x 10” borderless photos, and you’ll have your own high end photo printing lab right in your classroom.

The Epson Expression Photo XP-8500 printer uses 6 ink cartridges, which are sold in both a standard and high yield size.  Epson sells the 312XL high yield black ink cartridge for $19.99, at a yield of 500 pages.  The 312XL color cartridges are sold in five colors, cyan, magenta, yellow, light cyan and light magenta, offering a yield of 830 pages per cartridge at $24.99. LD brand compatible Canon 312XL  cartridges are a steal at just $11.99 for the black cartridge and $12.99 for each color.

Print Speed Up to 9.5 ppm (pages per minute)
Connectivity USB and Wireless
Paper Size Letter and Legal Sizes
Warranty 1 year warranty offered by Canon
Photo Capable Yes
Cartridge Name Epson 312XL High Yield Black
Page Yield 500 Pages
Cartridge Name Epson 312XL High Yield Cyan/ Magenta / Yellow / Light Cyan / Light Magenta
Page Yield 830 Pages
Price Comparison of Original Epson 312XL Black vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Epson Price $19.99
Original Epson Cost Per Page 3.9 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $11.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 2.3 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Epson 312XL Cyan vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Epson Price $22.89
Original Epson Cost Per Page 17.6 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $12.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 10.1 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Epson 312XL Magenta vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Epson Price $22.89
Original Epson Cost Per Page 17.6 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $12.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 10.1 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Epson 312XL Yellow vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Epson Price $22.89
Original Epson Cost Per Page 17.6 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $12.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 10.1 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Epson 312XL Light Cyan vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Epson Price $22.89
Original Epson Cost Per Page 17.6 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $12.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 10.1 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Epson 312XL Light Magenta vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Epson Price $22.89
Original Epson Cost Per Page 17.6 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $12.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 10.1 cents per page

Canon PIXMA iX6820 Wireless

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Canon makes excellent color inkjet printers and the iX6820 is one such model that delivers topnotch photos at a great price. The iX6820 uses 4 dye-based ink cartridges and 1 pigment-based black ink cartridge to deliver the color range your photos need.

Price Comparison of Original Canon PGI-250XL Black vs Compatible Cartridges (Pigment) – Prints 500 pages
Original Canon Price $24.99
Original Canon Cost Per Page 4.9 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $4.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 0.99 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Canon CLI-251XL Black vs Compatible Cartridges (Dye-Based) – Prints 4,525 pages
Original Canon Price $19.99
Original Canon Cost Per Page 0.44 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $4.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 0.11 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Canon CLI-251XL Cyan vs Compatible Cartridges – Prints 665 pages
Original Canon Price $19.99
Original Canon Cost Per Page 3.0 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $4.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 0.7 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Canon CLI-251XL Yellow vs Compatible Cartridges – Prints 675 pages
Original Canon Price $19.99
Original Canon Cost Per Page 2.9 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $4.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 0.7 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Canon CLI-251XL Magenta vs Compatible Cartridges – Prints 645 pages
Original Canon Price $19.99
Original Canon Cost Per Page 1.5 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $4.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 0.77 cents per page

Frequent Color Prints

Brother® HL-3230CDW

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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-3230CDW 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.

The Brother HL-3230CDW printer requires four individual color toner cartridges: black, cyan, magenta and yellow.  Brother sells the black TN-227 high yield toner for $77.99, offering a yield of 3,000 pages and each color for $99.99 at 2,300 pages per cartridge.  Like the previously mentioned Brother machine, this printer also requires a separate drum unit that will need to be replaced after the use of 3 or 4 toners.  The Brother brand DR-223 series drum unit goes for $125.99.  LD brand compatible toner cartridges are considerably cheaper, at $35.99 apiece.

Monthly Duty Cycle 30,000 Pages
Print Speed Up to 25 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 TN227 High Yield Black Toner
Page Yield 3,000 Pages
Cartridge Name Brother TN227 High Yield Toner Cyan / Magenta / Yellow
Page Yield 2,300 Pages
Price Comparison of Original Brother TN227 Black vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Brother Price $77.99
Original Brother Cost Per Page 2.5 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $35.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 1.2 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Brother TN227 Cyan vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Brother Price $99.99
Original Brother Cost Per Page 15.5 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $35.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 5.8 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Brother TN227 Magenta vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Brother Price $99.99
Original Brother Cost Per Page 15.5 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $35.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 5.8 cents per page
Price Comparison of Original Brother TN227 Yellow vs Compatible Cartridges
Original Brother Price $99.99
Original Brother Cost Per Page 15.5 cents per page
LD Brand Compatible Price $35.99 – Find out more!
LD Brand Compatible Cost Per Page 5.8 cents per page

Heavy Duty Workhorse

HP® Color LaserJet® Enterprise M553n

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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 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 19, 2019.  OEM names are registered trademarks of their respective owners and are not affiliated with, and do not endorse LD Products.

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