This Brother printer is nice, however right here’s why you shouldn’t purchase it

Brother's HL-L3280CDW is compact and attractive.
Brother HL-L3280CDW
MSRP $299.99

“Brother’s HL-L3280CDW is a fast, low-cost color laser printer with inexpensive toner, but after a deep dive into costs, we recommend another Brother printer that has better value.”

  • Excellent coloration doc print high quality
  • Fast prints on lengthy paperwork
  • Low toner price with tremendous high-yield cartridges
  • Low noise
  • Screen is difficult to see when seated
  • Touchscreen use is awkward
  • Paper curls

Brother’s HL-L3280CDW is a low-cost coloration laser printer that tries to seek out the suitable steadiness between worth and efficiency. As Brother is one of the best printer brands, I knew the HL-L3280CDW can be dependable and work with all my units.

Still, I wanted to analysis how sturdy and economical the Brother HL-L3280CDW is and check its pace and high quality to seek out out if it’s the best color laser printer for you. There’s lots to love about it, however I’ve discovered that there’s an identical Brother printer that may be a higher general worth that most individuals should purchase as a substitute.


Brother's HL-L3280CDW has a fixed 2.7-inch color touchscreen and a 250-sheet paper tray.
Brother’s HL-L3280CDW has a set 2.7-inch coloration touchscreen and a 250-sheet paper tray. Photo by Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

Brother’s HL-L3280CDW is sort of small for a coloration laser printer, taking on 15.7 by 15.7 inches on my printer stand with a peak of 10.8 inches. It appears good and is a manageable 33.9 kilos.

The 2.7-inch coloration touchscreen works nicely, however seems a bit of dim until I’m standing instantly in entrance of the printer. It’s positioned at a set angle that’s 20 levels from horizontal, so that you’ll wish to stand to make use of it.

The predominant paper tray holds 250 sheets of paper and there’s a handy media tray that may settle for a single sheet or envelope so that you don’t should take away your bulk paper from the primary tray.

The energy wire connects to the suitable rear of the HL-L3280CDW. Ethernet and USB cable connections are on the left rear. I exploit Wi-Fi since my printer stand is in a distinct room than my pc.

Printing efficiency

Brother's HL-L3280CDW is fast and has nice color document quality.
Brother’s HL-L3280CDW is quick and has good coloration doc high quality. Photo by Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

The HL-L3280CDW is quick for an affordable printer, rolling out monochrome and coloration paperwork at as much as 27 pages per minute (ppm). The first web page completes in about 14 seconds when the printer is warmed up. If you want extra pace and might afford a way more costly printer, HP’s Color LaserJet Pro MFP 4301dw prints the first page in just 9 seconds and has a sustained pace of 35 ppm.

Since it’s a duplex printer, it can save you paper by printing on either side of a sheet, reducing utilization in half. That’s necessary for a number of copies of lengthy paperwork.

For double-sided printing, paper is pulled again into the machine, decreasing the pace to 10 ppm for duplex. There are a number of printers that may print on either side directly, however single-pass duplex printers are uncommon.

Photo prints from the HL-L3280CDW look a bit washed out.
Photo prints from the HL-L3280CDW look a bit washed out. Photo by Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

Photo high quality is appropriate, however can’t compete with that of dearer, high-performance color laser printers like the Canon imageClass MF753cdw. Like most coloration laser printers, there’s no borderless possibility, so footage print with a couple of quarter-inch margin, nevertheless it handles coloration paperwork nicely.

The media tray works reliably for envelopes and labels, however solely accepts one sheet at a time.

Software and compatibility

I opened the HL-L3280CDW to remove the caps from the included toner cartridges.
I opened the HL-L3280CDW to take away the caps from the included toner cartridges. Photo by Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

Brother ships the HL-L3280CDW with the toner cartridges contained in the printer, however they should be eliminated to uncap the ends and changed earlier than use. That solely takes a second.

Connecting Wi-Fi was simple with the Brother Mobile Connect app and the HL-L3280CDW’s twin band Wi-Fi. I may have used the touchscreen to pick Wi-Fi and enter my community password with out a cellphone. It’s simply simpler with an iPhone or Android cellphone.

My Windows PC and Mac recognized the printer and linked rapidly. Brother makes drivers for Linux computer systems additionally.

The HL-L3280CDW's media tray makes one-off envelope and label printing from a computer easy.
The HL-L3280CDW’s media tray makes one-off envelope and label printing from a pc simple. Photo by Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

Everything labored as anticipated from my computer systems, and I solely had one difficulty with the cellular app. Printing envelopes continues to be an issue for a lot of printers and the HL-L3280CDW minimize off the return deal with.


At $300, the Brother HL-L3280CDW will catch your eye. It’s quick and dependable and might deal with a month-to-month obligation cycle of as much as 40,000 pages. Brother recommends printing a mean of three,000 pages, although. That means the HL-L3280CDW is hard sufficient for enterprise use.

When it involves toner price, Brother’s 3200-series gives tremendous high-yield cartridges that last more and make coloration paperwork extra reasonably priced. If your funds is tight, take a look at our guide to the best inexpensive printers for extra choices.

Color paperwork can common 10 cents per web page, which is sort of low for a coloration laser printer. Black toner is at all times cheap, however drops to only 2 cents per web page with Brother’s largest cartridges. The tremendous high-yield cartridges additionally final a very long time, offering as much as 4,500 black pages and three,000 coloration pages.

Standard-yield cartridges common 5 cents per monochrome web page and 18 cents for coloration. Brother additionally sells midsize toner cartridges in the event you don’t wish to put money into the dearer extra-high-capacity cartridges.

The HL-L3280CDW comes with starter cartridges that Brother says will print about 1,000 black pages and 1,000 coloration pages. While that may final some time, it’s lower than you get with standard-capacity cartridges.

Is this the printer for you?

Brother’s HL-L3280CDW is a sturdy, low-cost coloration laser printer. At about $300, it’s a very good worth for a fast coloration doc printer. That mentioned, you’ll get better long-term value from Brother’s HL-L3295CDW. It prices about $70 extra, nevertheless it’s sooner, has additional options, and comes with a further $75 value of toner within the included cartridges.

For most individuals, I’d advocate the HL-L3295CDW over the HL-L3280CDW. However, in the event you’re planning on utilizing Brother’s Refresh EZ Print toner subscription, the Brother HL-L3280CDW matches most of the options of the dearer mannequin with a decrease upfront price.

If neither Brother coloration laser printer meets your necessities, take a look at our information to the best color laser printers, the place you’re positive to discover a nearer match.



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