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Brother HL-L8250CDN

Front 3/4, Brother HL-L8250CDN
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £202
inc VAT

It's a fast network colour laser printer, but there are better choices than Brother's HL-L8250CDN


Technology: Single-pass colour laser, Maximum print resolution: 2,400x600dpi, Dimensions (HxWxD): 313x410x486mm, Weight: 21.9kg, Maximum paper size: A4/legal

Brother’s HL-L8250CDN is a colour laser printer with high quoted speeds of up to 28 pages per minute (ppm) in colour or monochrome. At £200 it’s aggressively priced given that an Ethernet interface and automatic duplex (double-sided) printing both come as standard. There’s a USB host port for walk-up print jobs, too. The design is pleasantly modern, with a short and shallow, 150-sheet output tray helping reduce clutter on the top panel.

While it looks good, this printer doesn’t feel especially nice. The 250-sheet main paper cassette is remarkably flexible, while the 50-sheet multi-purpose feed above it made a sound like fingers on a blackboard as we folded it away. The back panel opens to provide a straight paper path for special media, but you need to reach behind and flick two grey levers up or down depending on the media thickness – it’s likely to prove a pain.

Like other Brother laser printers, the HL-L8250CDN uses separate toner and photoconductor drums for each colour, rather than integrating the two into single black, cyan, magenta and yellow supplies. In theory this reduces waste and cost, as drums usually last far longer than toner, but it adds complexity; this printer has no fewer than 10 consumables.

Most users are unlikely to need a new transfer belt or waste toner box, however, as each is rated for 50,000 pages, and we doubt that many more will exhaust the 25,000-page life of the supplied drums. For toner alone, you’ll pay 1.1p per black page or 7.7p per colour page, while factoring in all the other consumables brings the price up to 1.7p and 8.3p respectively for a 10p per page total. While reasonably competitive, an office inkjet should prove much cheaper to run. 

^ Brother’s simple print interface is one of the best

Although the HL-L8250CDN didn’t match its rated speed on our tests, it’s one of the fastest colour printers at this price. Tested over a network, it delivered the 24 graphics-rich pages of our mixed-colour test at an impressive 20.6ppm – faster than any rival in our recent office printer labs test. At 22.7ppm, black text was a little less competitive, but this is still a quick printer.

^ Brother’s Android software also works well

^ The network security options are pretty basic, but for business users they’re better than none

Unfortunately, the results aren’t quite as exciting. There’s nothing wrong with the crisp black text, but graphical prints were far from class leading. The HL-L8250CDN appears to use a comparatively thin layer of toner, leaving colours lacking impact, and in the darkest fill areas its finish could seem a little inconsistent. We weren’t too enamoured with photo prints either, which revealed some rather course half-toning patterns. These also showed up as some jaggedness around the border of some large, red text.

Although it’s smart and fast, the HL-L8250CDN doesn’t produce great prints. We’d save money and opt for Epson’s WorkForce Pro WF-5110DW inkjet which, though much slower to print in colour, is otherwise ahead in many respects. If that doesn’t suit your needs then check out our regularly updated Best Printers 2015.

TechnologySingle-pass colour laser
Maximum print resolution2,400x600dpi
Number of colours (cartridges)4 (4)
Standard interfacesUSB, Ethernet
Optional interfacesNone
Dimensions (HxWxD)313x410x486mm
Duty cycle (pages per month)3,000 (recommended)
Paper handling
Maximum paper sizeA4/legal
Maximum paper weight163gsm
Standard paper trays (capacity)2 (300)
Maximum paper trays (capacity)3 (800)
Supported operating systemsWindows XP or later, Mac OS X 10.7.5 or later, Linux CUPS, LPD/LPRng, Android, iOS
LanguagesPCL 6, PostScript 3 emulation
Other featuresBacklit, two-line mono LCD display
Buying information
WarrantyOne-year onsite
Price£202 inc VAT
Consumable parts and pricesBelt unit BU-320CL (50,000 pages) £64, waste toner box WT-320CL (50,000 pages) £15, drum kit DR-321CL (25,000 pages) £113, black toner TN326BK (4,000 pages) £44. Cyan toner TN326C £89, magenta toner TN326M, yellow toner TN326Y £91, 3,500 pages each
Quoted life of supplied black toner2,500 pages (ISO/IEC 19798)
Quoted life of supplied colour toner1,500 pages (ISO/IEC 19798)
Cost per ISO/IEC 19798 A4 page inc VAT10.0p
Cost per ISO/IEC 19798 A4 page inc VAT (colour part)8.29p
Cost per ISO/IEC 19798 A4 page inc VAT (mono part)1.72p
Capacity of supplied drum/s (pages)25,0000 pages
Part codeHLL8250CDNZU1

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