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Brother’s MFC-L2717DW ($199.99) is an entry-level all-in-one (AIO) printer aimed at small or home offices or workgroups with moderate printing and copying requirements. It also works well as a personal monochrome laser AIO. A direct competitor to our Editors’ Choice Canon imageClass MF269dw, another multifunction monochrome laser, and Epson’s EcoTank ET-M3170 Wireless Monochrome All-in-One Supertank Printer, an inkjet-based laser alternative that’s also a PCMag top pick, the Brother is fast and prints text well. However, like most entry-level lasers, it’s somewhat expensive to use, rendering it more of a low-volume print and copy solution.

Light and Compact

Measuring 12.5 by 15.7 by 12.5 inches and weighing only 26 pounds, the Brother MFC-L2717DW is about average in size and weight for an entry-level AIO. Several competing models, including the Canon MF269dw mentioned above, Lexmark’s MB2236adw, and HP’s LaserJet Pro MFP M148fdw, are within an inch here or there in size and a few pounds in girth. Epson’s ET-M3170 monochrome inkjet is significantly smaller and about 10 pounds lighter. In any case, they all take up very little desk space and are easy to get out of the box and simple to move around for cleaning and such.

The MFC-L2717DW comes with a handy 50-sheet manual-duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF) for scanning, copying, and faxing multipage originals. (“Manual duplexing” means you must flip two-sided pages yourself to scan the second sides.) So do the Canon and Lexmark, while the HP and Epson have only 35-sheet ADFs. The Canon and Epson ADFs, however, are auto-duplexing, meaning that they scan the second side of double-sided originals without your help.

You can handle scanning, copying, faxing, and most other walk-up tasks, such as setting security options or scanning to and printing from the cloud, from the Brother’s control panel. It’s somewhat antiquated-looking and button-busy, made up of a two-line monochrome LCD, several navigation and other buttons for setting up and initiating specific tasks, and a 10-key number pad for dialing fax numbers.

Brother MFC-L2717DW control panel

As with most business-oriented AIOs, this one also allows you to operate, monitor, configure, and generate and print reports from a built-in web portal accessible from most browsers, including mobile and remote browsers (when the printer is configured properly).

Brother MFC-L2717DW web portal

The MFC-L2717DW’s paper handling consists of a single 250-sheet tray and an override slot for one-off printing of envelopes, labels, and other media that might otherwise force you to empty and reconfigure the main cassette. This is the same capacity as the other machines mentioned here so far, except the HP M148fdw, which holds 260 sheets split between a 250-sheet main drawer and a 10-sheet override slot.

The Brother’s maximum monthly duty cycle is 15,000 pages, with a recommended ceiling of 2,000 pages. Canon hasn’t published a maximum volume rating for the MF269dw, but most of the company’s other similar entry-level models are rated at 15,000 pages maximum. Canon does, however, specify the recommended monthly print volume at up to 2,500 prints.

The Epson’s maximum rating is 3,000 pages lower than the MFC-L2717DW’s, and the recommended rating is 1,000 pages fewer, while the Lexmark’s duty cycle is twice that of the Brother model and the recommended volume is the same. Finally, the HP’s maximum rating is 5,000 prints more than the Brother’s, but its recommended volume is 500 pages fewer.

Brother backs up the MFC-L2717DW with a two-year limited warranty, extended to three years if you buy the printer at Sam’s Club or Costco.

Respectable Connectivity and Software

Standard connectivity is Ethernet, Wi-Fi, connecting to a single PC via USB, and Wi-Fi Direct. (The last is a peer-to-peer networking protocol for connecting your handheld devices to the printer without either being part of the same network.) In addition to Wi-Fi Direct, other mobile options consist of Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Mopria, and Brother’s iPrint&Scan for both Android and iOS.

In addition to iPrint&Scan and the standard drivers, other bundled software includes Nuance PaperPort SE with OCR for Windows, a popular document management and text conversion utility. Also available for download from Brother’s support site are drivers and software for macOS (10.10 through 10.15) and Linux (rpm and deb).

Scorching Print Speeds, On-Par Prints

Brother rates the MFC-L2717DW at 36 pages per minute (ppm), which is fast for an under-$200 entry-level laser AIO. When printing our 12-page Microsoft Word text document (over Ethernet from our standard Intel Core i5 testbed running Windows 10 Pro), it churned at 36.7ppm.

That’s the same as the Lexmark MB2236adw, 6.8ppm faster than the Canon MF269dw and HP M148fdw, and a whopping 15.4ppm faster than the Epson ET-M3170. When I combined the results from the 12-page Word document with the scores from printing our collection of complex graphics- and photo-laden Acrobat, Excel, and PowerPoint files, the MFC-L2717DW managed an overall speed of 14.2ppm.

That score trailed the competing laser AIOs mentioned here by 4 to 5 pages per minute and was 1.6ppm slower than the Epson inkjet. But then, the Brother isn’t exactly ideal for printing graphics and photos.

The MFC-L2717DW’s text print quality is about average for a low-end monochrome laser AIO. Common fonts came out well-shaped and highly legible, even at very small point sizes, making text output better than acceptable for most business applications. Business graphics such as charts, graphs, and clip art, on the other hand, printed with some instances of toner distribution flaws, including banding in dark fills and gradients and somewhat blurry grayscale tones. Simple graphics such as light fills and lines came out just fine, but this AIO is not well suited for PowerPoint and other handouts.

Average Entry-Level Running Costs

Compared to their alternatives, including high-volume inkjets and higher-volume laser AIOs, entry-level laser printers are typically expensive to use. When you buy the highest-yield toner cartridge (3,000 pages at a list price of $76.99) for the MFC-L2717DW, each monochrome page should cost you around 2.6 cents. That’s a tenth of a cent or so cheaper than the Canon and Lexmark and about 0.8 cent lower than the HP M148fdw.

Brother MFC-L2717DW toner

If you plan on printing anywhere near the Brother’s 2,500-page recommended volume, though, you should probably consider something else, such as Epson’s ET-M3170 (0.3 cent per page) or a heavier-duty, higher-volume laser. Our Editors’ Choice Brother MFC-L6700DW, for instance, prints at 1.5 cents per page, and if high volume and low running costs are what you’re looking for, check out Epson’s WorkForce Pro WF-M5799, another inkjet-based laser alternative that prints at about three-quarters of a cent.

The point is that a penny-per-page difference in cost will set you back $100 for every 10,000 pages you print. It makes a lot more sense to pay $100 or $200 more up front to save hundreds over the life of the printer. The more you print, the more important the running costs.

An In-House Text and Sales Counter Match

Not all printers meet all application requirements. While I can’t recommend the MFC-L2717DW for printing marketing materials and other visuals, it’s a fast, excellent text printer and copier ideal for sales and other front-counter applications where speed is critical.

If you need good-looking graphics, check out one of our Editors’ Choice models, such as Canon’s MF269dw. For print quality and low running costs (though not high speed), Epson’s inkjet-based ET-M3170 is a good choice. If, however, rapid text, times 200 to 300 pages per month, is what you need, the Brother MFC-L2717DW is a good bet, and it will probably last a very long time.

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