Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer Review

The Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer

If you are in the market for a monochrome laser printer (a printer which prints black on white or colored paper), you will most likely want to do some research before making a choice on which printer to purchase. This review of the Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer aims to inform you on the benefits, features, pros, and cons of purchasing this particular monochrome printer so that you can make a fully informed, comfortable choice before you buy. This is a personal review of the Brother HL-2140 printer based on my own purchase, set up and frequent use of the device, and I will be honest and forthright in my attempt to give you a complete review that makes your laser printer shopping a knowledgeable, quick, easy, and satisfying buying experience. Buying a good monochrome laser printer does not have to be an unpleasant situation and this review is intended to prevent that from happening. After your read this review, you can select and buy with the confidence that you are making the right buyer's choice.


Why Buy A Monochrome Laser Pinter?

From the outset of this review I would like to cover the reasons why you might want to purchase a monochrome laser printer instead of an ink jet or color laser printer. To do this I will provide my rationale for choosing the monochrome laser printer over the other types of computer printers on the market today. I will assume for the sake of this printer review that you are either already thinking of buying a monochrome laser printer or that you are at least willing to consider buying one. If you are leaning towards purchasing an ink jet, perhaps this laser printer review will persuade you to consider doing otherwise.

For me, deciding to buy a monochrome laser printer rather than an ink jet or color laser printer comes down to two main factors: my intended tasks and use of the printer, and my budget and long term costs of using the printer. Let's take a closer look at those factors.

Reasons for Choosing and Using A Monochrome Laser Printer

The reasons why I choose to use a monochrome laser printer over a color laser printer or an ink jet printer come down to my standard uses of a computer printer and the overall costs of using the different types of printers. My general purposes for a computer printer are very simple. My main use for the printer is to print archivable copies of important information, to print correspondence documents, to print quality originals for copy shop reproductions, and for other various in-office or desktop publishing tasks that do not require decoration or color. So I don't really have much need or use for a color printer. I do have an ink jet printer for those very few times when I want to print something in color but it does not get much use.

The other reason I choose a monochrome laser printer over the other types of computer printers is the costs of buying and using the different types of printers. While ink jet printers are very cheap, the ink jet cartridges do not last long so the long term costs of using an ink jet printer can be more expensive on a cost per sheet basis. You can actually save on printing costs by using a laser printer because a laser toner will print many more copies before needing to be replaced. Color laser printers are much more expensive than monochrome laser printers and the costs to use them are even higher than the ink jet printers. So on the basis of those two factors (use of the printer and the cost of using it), I opt for buying a monochrome laser printer. Now that you know why I choose the laser printer over other printer options, let's take a a closer look at the Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer.

Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer
Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer

The Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer Up Close

The Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer is a relatively small footprint desktop printer measuring 14.5 x 6.7 x 14.2 inches (W x H x D) and weighing in at 15 pounds. It is made mostly from plastic and it is about 30% smaller and about 80% lighter than my previous, 1990s-era laser printer. Here are the specifications of the Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer:

  • Personal monochrome laser printer prints up to 23 pages per minute (ppm)
  • High-quality 2400 x 600 dots per inch resolution (dpi)
  • Toner Save Mode for extended toner life
  • 250-sheet capacity tray
  • One-year limited manufacturer's warranty
  • Print technology: B/W laser technology
  • Maximum print speed: 23 ppm
  • Maximum print resolution: 2400 x 600 dpi
  • Standard paper capacity: 250 sheets
  • Multi-purpose tray capacity: Single-sheet manual bypass
  • Interface: USB
  • Printer driver compatibility: Windows, Mac OS, Linux
  • Emulation: GDI
  • Maximum monthly duty cycle: Up to 10,000 pages
  • First time to print: Less than 10 seconds
  • Memory: 8 MB
  • CPU speed: 181 MHz
  • Toner save mode: Yes
  • Media type: Plain, bond, envelopes, labels, transparencies
  • Paper handling size (paper tray): Letter, legal, executive, A4, A5, A6, B5, B6
  • Paper handling size (multi-purpose tray): Letter, legal, executive, A4, A5, A6, B5, B6, envelopes, custom sizes (width: 3 to 8.5 inches; length: 4.57 to 14 inches)
  • Sheet weight (paper tray): 16 to 28 pounds (bond)
  • Sheet weight (multi-purpose tray): 16 to 43 pounds (bond)
  • Output paper capacity: 100 sheets
  • Power source: AC 120 V, 50/60 Hz
  • Energy Star compliant: Yes
  • Power consumption: 5 W (sleep), 80 W (standby), 460 W (peak)
  • Operating temperature: 50 to 90.5 degrees F
  • Operating humidity: 20 to 80 percent (without condensation)
  • Machine noise: 30 dB (standby), 51 dB (operating)
  • Dimensions: 14.5 x 6.7 x 14.2 inches (W x H x D)
  • Weight: 15.0 pounds
  • Warranty: 1-year limited warranty
  • What's in the Box: HL-2140 printer, AC power cord, starter toner cartridge, DR360 drum unit, quick setup guide, CD-ROM

Pros of the Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer

I bought this printer almost three months ago and have used it frequently since that time. Because of my experience with and use of this laser printer, I feel qualified to offer my review of the Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer. This is my honest opinion and appraisal of this laser printer, offered here as a review to help you make a better, more-informed laser printer buying decision. With that in mind, here are the pros of the Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer:

  • I bought the Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer from Amazon.com for $79.99 with free shipping included. As I write this, it is selling on Amazon for $88.98 + $11.99 shipping, so the price has gone up slightly since I bought mine. I received my laser printer via UPS two days after ordering, so shipping was quick and there was no damage to the printer upon arrival.
  • This printer is economical as the purchase price is reasonable and the costs of printing are acceptable, in my opinion. The replacement Brother TN360 High Yield Black Toner Cartridge, touts a lifetime yield of 2,600 pages based on 5-percent coverage and can be purchased at most office supply stores, or online at Amazon.com. The current price (as I write this) for the Brother TN360 High Yield Black Toner Cartridge on Amazon.com is $43.80 with free shipping included.
  • The Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer is easy to set up and begin using. From the time I opened the box to the time I printed my first page, only 30 minutes had passed. The Quick Setup Guide was well laid out, and the setup instructions were very easy to follow. The setup and installation of the printer and the printer software on my Windows XP computer was simple and quick.
  • The laser printer is very fast. Warm up only takes about ten seconds and the printer spits out the copies very fast, even faster than my much more expensive, previous (but older) laser printer, the HP LaserJet 4M.
  • Print quality is excellent with the 2400 X 600 DPI resolution and page curl is minimal and about average for a laser printer. I always lay my printed sheets of paper flat on a table and that takes out almost all of the page curl and what remains is minimal and acceptable. I am printing documents, after all, not museum pieces.
  • The Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer uses a USB cable interface to connect to the PC so it easy to connect and is Windows and Mac compatible.


Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer Paper Tray
Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer Paper Tray

Cons of the Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer

Although there are several pros to buying, owning, and using the Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer, an honest review of the laser printer must include it's cons, too. Here are the cons as I see them:

  • There are reports from some that the laser toner drum eventually fails and requires replacement. Current cost for replacement of the Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer toner drum unit is $66.74 with free shipping included. The Brother DR360 drum unit claims a 12,000-page life based on 5% coverage so it is possible that frequent, large volume printing may lead to replacing the toner drum every 12-18 months. That is probably still cheaper than buying a new laser printer but something to be aware of and to weigh when considering the purchase of this laser printer.
  • The starter cartridge is very low on toner (as was the starter cartridge in every other ink jet and laser printer I have ever bought). It helps to remember that these printer companies are really in the business of selling ink and toner. Below you will find a little trick to get ALL of the toner out of this unit's starter toner cartridge before replacing it with a new one.
  • The printer to computer USB cable is not included and will have to be purchased separately. This is another fact when buying any printer. This is the sixth computer printer I have purchased and none of them has ever come with a printer to computer cable included. You can buy a cheap, good quality cable for the Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer from Amazon.com. The Belkin F3U133-10 Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Cable is ten feet long and currently sells for $5.07 on Amazon.com. If you buy it at the same time as the printer, it ships free (though separately and a day or two behind the printer, from my experience.)
  • The laser printer is noisy. This is an unfortunate aspect of most laser printers (and many other types of printers) but I think it is best to mention it to prospective buyers.
  • The Brother HL-2140 Laser Printer is made up of mostly very lightweight plastic. The apparent flimsiness of the front panel and the paper tray make me very cautious about how I open the paper tray and other panels and doors on the printer. Use caution when handling this printer as it feels like quick, rough, or careless handling could possibly break something.
  • The paper flap support on the top surface of the printer seems intended to support multiple sheets of paper but it is very flimsy and does not appear to fully support large stacks of printed documents. Be prepared to frequently retrieve multiple-copy stacks of printed documents while printing to avoid putting too much weight on the paper flap, or break your print runs down to smaller amounts of sheets per session.


Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer Toner Cartridge Before
Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer Toner Cartridge Before

Extending the Life of Your Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer Starter Toner Cartridge

The Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer starter toner cartridge that comes with the printer has less toner in it than the replacement cartridges. This is standard for nearly any printer you buy but it frustrating none the less. In the case of this printer, as you begin to get close to the "end" of the toner in the starter cartridge, the printer software begins to warn you that the cartridge is almost out of toner. Soon after that it will inform you that the cartridge is out of toner and needs to be replaced. The good news is it is not really completely out of toner and there is a little trick you can use to continue using the starter toner cartridge until it is REALLY out of toner. Here's how it works:

Pull the starter toner cartridge out of the printer (see page 10 of the Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer Quick Setup Guide for how to do this). Next, hold the cartridge up with both hands and look on the right side of the cartridge about halfway back for a round opening (see photo above right).

Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer Toner Cartridge After
Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer Toner Cartridge After

Take a small piece of opaque tape and cover the opening on the right side of the toner cartridge. I used a small strip of duct tape. (see photo -->) Covering this opening blocks the toner level warning light from being triggered and allows you to continue using the starter cartridge until the toner is actually completely gone. Then it really is time to get a replacement toner cartridge.

My Recommendaton on the Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer

Based on my purchase, use, and evaluation of the Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer, I am happy with it and feel comfortable recommending it to others looking for an economical, reliable printing solution. The Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer is affordable, fast, has high quality output, is easy to use, is feature rich, has a small desktop footprint for a laser printer, has a USB interface, and is Windows and Mac compatible. Even with the cost of replacement cartridges and the possibility of needing a toner drum replacement down the road, I still feel like I made a good purchase with the Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer and I am confident enough in this printer that I can recommend it to others. If you are looking for a good quality, reliable personal laser printer for home or home office use, the Brother HL-2140 Laser Printer is a good choice. On a ratings scale of 1 to 5 stars, I give the Brother HL-2140 Personal Laser Printer 4.5 stars.

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