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Why Brother printers are such good printers (2023)

My thoughts on Brother printers’ timeless reliability, cost-efficiency, simplicity, sustainability, and tech stability
Sid Metcalfe

Cartesian Mathematics Foundation


November 27, 2023


I’ve used a myriad of printers over the years and what I’ve learned is that sometimes less is more. My Brother printer has stood the test of time, championing the mantra ‘keep it simple.’ This machine prioritizes reliability over flashy features and has become a trusted companion in my home office. Below are more of my thoughts.



Click on photos to enlarge them:

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Timeless Reliability

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In the era of high-tech gadgets and the constant push for the latest features, there’s something to be said for devices that just perform consistently without a fuss. My Brother printer belongs to this rare breed, and I’ve come to appreciate its timeless reliability. It doesn’t boast the flashiest design or a plethora of smart features—it simply works, and that’s become its hallmark.

Here’s a side-by-side of my experiences:


  • Setup was a breeze: I remember taking it out of the box, connecting it to my WiFi, and it was ready to go.

  • Compatibility game strong: No matter the device—be it my Mac, Windows laptop, or my phone—I can always count on it to connect and print without a hitch.

  • Low maintenance: I’m still on my first toner after a solid year of use, and there’s no sign of it depleting anytime soon.


  • Interface could use a refresh: Its control panel feels a bit dated, like a relic from the Windows XP era.

  • Sleep mode quirks: At times it’s a struggle to wake it from sleep without resorting to a reboot.

I respect the fact that it doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel with each new model; instead, Brother focuses on refining the basics, like durability and ease of use. Yet, this approach does leave something to be desired in terms of modernization. Their printers could benefit from more intuitive interfaces and smoother sleep mode transitions. On the flip side, this conservative approach to innovation shields me from the pains of dealing with buggy new features that I didn’t need in the first place.

I’ve noticed other printer brands struggling to maintain network connections or demanding proprietary software for even the simplest tasks. Brother’s steadfastness in a “plug and play” philosophy is a breath of fresh air. Sure, toner costs can be steep, but this is offset by the extended lifespan of each cartridge.

In an ideal world, I’d love a Brother printer that embraces a minimalist design and silently receives upgrades for even smoother operation. Yet, the absence of these refinements doesn’t detract from the fact that when an urgent document needs printing or a form needs scanning, my Brother is always up to the task.

So, while Brother may not be the trendsetter in the printing world, their commitment to reliable and straightforward printing solutions earns my trust time and time again. It’s a sturdy ship in a sea of flash-in-the-pan tech trends, and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Cost-Effective Printing Solutions

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In my quest for a cost-effective printing solution, my experience has led me to settle quite comfortably with Brother printers. My appreciation for their products isn’t without a critical eye, though. Here’s a straightforward rundown from years of personal use:

  • Cost Efficiency: The upfront cost might be a stamp above the cheapest printers out there, but long-term, it’s a money-saver.

  • Toner Lifespan: The toner longevity is impressive. I haven’t had the nuisance of frequent replacements, giving me peace of mind and uninterrupted workflow.

  • Reliable Connectivity: A godsend. No more wrestling with reconnection issues every other day, especially on models that support Ethernet and WiFi.

  • Aftermarket Support: Whether it’s drivers or toner, finding what you need is rarely an odyssey.

But let’s not gloss over the drawbacks:

  • Initial Investment: Yes, you’re paying more upfront. Hard to swallow for those on a shoestring budget.

  • Bulkier Build: They can be a bit more substantial in size, which may not suit the minimalist or those with space constraints.

  • Limited Advanced Features: If you’re looking for cutting-edge tech in your printer, Brother might disappoint—simplicity over sophistication here.

Despite some trade-offs, my bottom line is satisfaction. I’ve had printers that were high maintenance, required frequent ink refills, or had erratic software updates that felt more like sabotage than support. Brother, however, has been the sibling in the tech family I can rely on to keep things running smoothly.

On a practical note, the ease of setup is a huge plus. You can often get up and running with minimal hassle, and the compatibility with multiple devices and operating systems means fewer headaches. It’s a breeze for both Mac and Windows users, and that universal appeal is essential for someone like me who uses a variety of platforms.

In essence, Brother printers do the job, do it well, and they don’t demand constant attention or deep pockets to keep going. For those considering options for home office setups, printing at home can be a significant part of productivity. For daily printing needs — whether it’s documents, shipping labels, or the occasional photo — it’s hard to beat the mix of durability, cost-effectiveness, and straightforward functionality that Brother offers.

Simplicity and User Experience

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Here are the key aspects of Brothers’ simplicity and user experience:

  • Ease of setup: Unboxing to first print, the process is straightforward.

  • Reliability: It’s rare to encounter issues, and when I do, a simple reboot usually solves them.

  • No-fuss maintenance: Toner replacements are infrequent and uncomplicated.

  • Basic, effective features: The essentials, like duplex printing, are included without overwhelming with extras.

  • Accessible support: When I had a question, their customer service was easy to reach and helpful.

These elements create a plug-and-play feel that’s incredibly refreshing in a tech landscape plagued by complexity. It’s like the difference between a smartphone you have to constantly troubleshoot and one that just works whenever you need it.

My Brother printer reminds me of the utilitarian design approach that Apple took with the early iPhones: it does what it needs to do, without any unnecessary flair. This design ethos extends to the printer’s interface. With no fancy touch screens or complex menus, accessing the settings via a web interface is painless and intuitive. And for a tech enthusiast like me, who is often frustrated with over-engineered solutions, Brother’s approach is a breath of fresh air.

There are, of course, drawbacks. Their focus on simplicity means that sometimes you might miss out on the latest features. And when there is a hiccup, like the occasional network disappearance after long periods of inactivity, it can be frustrating. But compared to the horror stories I’ve heard about other printers, these issues are minor.

I appreciate Brother’s commitment to a seamless user experience, which resonates with the ethos found in forums where practical advice takes precedence over theoretical or hype-driven discussions. There’s a sense of robustness and dependability that’s hard to articulate, but is immediately evident when you use one of their products. Despite the printer industry being notoriously cumbersome, Brother consistently delivers hassle-free devices that just work, mirroring the straightforward and no-nonsense communication valued by users on platforms like MacRumors.

Ultimately, in a world where we’re often sold on gadgets that end up in a drawer after a few months, a Brother printer stands as a stalwart daily driver that is genuinely useful. Their printers may not be the Rolls-Royce of the market, but they’re certainly the reliable workhorse that won’t let you down when you need to get things done.

Environmental Sustainability

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In the debate over environmental sustainability, I’ve constantly found myself weighing the pros and cons of consumer technology. It’s a tightrope walk between appreciating advancements and recognizing the environmental toll of rapid obsolescence. Here’s my breakdown:


  • Long-lasting products reduce the need for frequent replacements, cutting down on manufacturing demands and waste.

  • Simple, repairable design extends the life of devices and makes them more eco-friendly.


  • High upfront costs for durable products can be a deterrent for some consumers.

  • Lack of flashy new features may result in perceived “technological lag” for companies focusing on sustainability.

When it comes to printers, specifically, my Brother printer has been an unsung hero in this aspect. For starters, its longevity surpasses the expected lifespan of many tech products today, which in itself plays a part in reducing e-waste. The longer I can use a device without replacing it, the lesser the environmental impact from manufacturing and disposal of electronics. Similarly, I’ve explored the sustainability and practicality of another printer in my article Printing at home: My take on the Epson EcoTank ET-2850 printer, which also emphasizes the value of longevity in tech.

In terms of energy efficiency, it has commendably low power consumption — a positive for both my electricity bill and the planet. While the unit itself might not boast eco-friendly materials, its durability compensates by cutting the demand for new resources.

However, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. The consumables, such as toner cartridges, do add onto my carbon footprint. Priced at a premium, these cartridges are also a reminder that ‘sustainable’ doesn’t always align with ‘affordable’. Despite this, I often choose genuine cartridges to avoid compatibility issues and ensure best performance, which sometimes feels like I’m caught in a cycle of forced brand loyalty.

Repairability is another green flag for Brother printers. In an age where a short circuit can render most gadgets useless, being able to replace a $3 part and keep my printer running is a testament to a more sustainable and circular economy.

In summary, my personal experience leans towards the positive in terms of environmental impact. It’s crucial, though, to keep pushing for improvement, whether through recycling programs, better product life cycles, or greener materials. Embracing and advocating for sustainability doesn’t just make ethical sense — it’s a smart business strategy that ensures longevity not only of products but also brand loyalty among increasingly eco-conscious consumers.

Technological Stability over Unnecessary Features

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In the era of relentless innovation, I’ve found solace in technological stability. My take on this – and I guess many might nod in agreement – is pretty straightforward: I want gadgets that serve their purpose without fuss or fanfare. I’m not looking for a refrigerator that sends me tweets or a microwave that streams Netflix. My Brother printer epitomizes this no-nonsense philosophy, and it’s refreshing.

Here’s the deal:

  • Consistency: It’s a relief to have a piece of tech that delivers every single time without any surprises.

  • Functionality: AirPrint compatibility, Ethernet ports, and a simple but effective web interface – that’s about all I need.

  • Affordability: Sure, toner costs might pinch, but considering the lifespan and reliability, it’s a fair trade-off.

But of course, nothing’s perfect. Like an old guitar that may need re-tuning, my Brother printer sometimes needs a reboot to shake off its digital slumber after months of uptime. And I admit, the price of a full set of color cartridges might make you sweat a little. But hey, the starter cartridges are enduring champs, and I rarely have to replace them.

Let’s face it, tech companies have a habit of churning out “upgrades” that sometimes feel more like sidegrades or downgrades. I find myself questioning the actual value these new versions offer. With my Brother printer, upgrades haven’t been on my radar because it has yet to let me down.

My experience is different from the whirlwind of feature-heavy devices on the market. While I can’t knock innovation – it’s brought us some game-changing tech – I firmly believe not everything requires a digital makeover, especially when it compromises the core functionality. I’d take a sturdy, reliable printer over a finicky piece of advanced tech any day.

For anyone on the fence about what printer to bring into their home or office, consider the benefits of choosing a tried-and-tested workhorse over a shiny new toy. Brother may not be the flashiest, but it scores where it counts:

  • Solid build

  • Dependable performance

  • No unnecessary bells and whistles

If you value substance over style, you’ll understand why technological stability wins out in my book. It’s not about resisting progress; it’s about appreciating what truly enhances our daily lives without contributing to a cycle of wastefulness or frustration. Brother printers, in this respect, have certainly earned my trust.