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Brother HL-L8360CDW Review

A great choice for small offices that print a lot, but overkill for most at home users
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:   $400 List | $300 at Amazon
Pros:  Excellent text quality, fast, great interface, easy setup
Cons:  Very large, expensive
Manufacturer:   Brother
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  Aug 1, 2018
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77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 13
  • Text Quality - 25% 9
  • Operating Cost - 25% 6
  • Ease of Use - 20% 9
  • Graphics and Photos - 15% 6
  • Printing Speed - 15% 8

The Skinny

For those that print 1000+ pages a month and want a single-function printer that can keep up, the Brother HL-L8360CDW is an excellent choice. This printer spits out pages at a respectable rate of 16 per minute, can hold 300 sheets (or even more if you buy additional paper trays), and produces nearly flawless text. Back that up with intuitive touchscreen controls and fairly good looking graphics and you've got a winner. Fair warning, this printer is quite large. Weighing in at nearly 50 pounds you'll probably want to have a dedicated table for the HL-L8360CDW. If you're looking for a high quality, single-function printer that isn't quite so large, we'd suggest looking at the HP Color LaserJet Pro M254dw. This printer doesn't hold as much paper as the HL-L8360CDW, but is appreciably smaller and still produces great text.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Brother HL-L8360CDW is the first printer we'd choose for a small office that prints a lot (1000+ pages a month). The large, expandable paper tray, high capacity toner cartridges, and above average speed make this a great machine for printing in large volumes. However, for anything short of a paper-heavy small office, the HL-L8360CDW will certainly be overkill.


Text Quality


The Brother HL-L8360CDW was one of the top performers in our text quality testing, sharing the top score of 9 out of 10.


In our testing text produced by the HL-L8360CDW came out crisp, dark, and with sharp edges. Under very close examination with a low powered microscope we were able to find a couple of imperfections here and there, but for all intents and purposes the text was perfect.

The HL-L8360CDW produced crisp black and white text.
The HL-L8360CDW produced crisp black and white text.

This performance was very similar to that of the other high end models we tested, like the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M281fdw and the HP Color LaserJet Pro M254dw. It was also noticable better than the text produced by most of the budget models which, while still quite good, had many more noticable blotches and imperfections.

Operating Cost


The HL-L8360CDW carries a hefty up front cost, listing for a whopping $400. However, once you make this investment, the HL-L8360CDW is very economical in its use of toner. It can print black and white at a rate of just $0.02 a page (or $8.89/readm) and color at a fairly reasonable $0.10/page ($47.63/ream). This high upfront cost makes the HL-L8360CDW a mediocre value in the short term. We calculated its estimated lifetime cost at $550, assuming a life of 7500 pages. However, the HL-L8360CDW is clearly designed for high volume printing, so it's low toner costs make it a better value the more you print.


If you don't print in the huge quantities that the HL-L8360CDW is designed for, you're probably better off going with a printer that costs less up front, even if the ink costs are higher. For instance, the HP Officejet Pro 8720 has higher ink costs, but its lower list price makes it a better value for people that don't go through multiple reams of paper in a year.

Ease of Use


The HL-L8360CDW was one of the most hassle-free printers we tested. Accordingly, it shares the top score of 9 out of 10 in our ease of use testing.


This printer mostly endeared itself to us because of it's larger, touchscreen display. This made navigating everything from initial setup to connecting to WiFi networks easy. It also gave us a great trouble shooting platform for the rare instance where we had trouble getting the HL-L8360CDW to talk to any of our wireless devices. The HL-L8360CDW also has the full complement of features you'd want from a high end printer, with the ability to print directly from a USB drive and optional Ethernet and USB connectivity.

We love the touchscreen controls of the HL-L8360CDW.
We love the touchscreen controls of the HL-L8360CDW.

Overall this user experience is very similar to those of the other high end models we tested, namely the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M281fdw and its sibling, the M254dw. Basically, if you're willing to spend more on a printer that comes with an intuitive touchscreen display, you're probably going to have fewer hassles than printers with tiny LCD displays and a few buttons.

The HL-L8360CDW's two paper trays can hold a total of 300 sheets. That capacity can be expanded to over 1000 with the purchase of additional paper trays.
The HL-L8360CDW's two paper trays can hold a total of 300 sheets. That capacity can be expanded to over 1000 with the purchase of additional paper trays.

Graphics/Photos


The HL-L8360CDW was one of the better printers we tested when it came to graphics earning a relatively high score of 6 out of 10 in this metric.


The HL-L8360CDW generally produced very sharp, crisp, and well saturated photos and graphics in our testing. 99% of the time we think this performance will work perfectly for any photos or charts that may appear in your printed documents. However, the one flaw in the HL-L8360CDW's graphics printing is its tendency to make everything look a bit darker than it does on the computer screen. This may lead to some issues if the photos you want to print are already on the darker side, or if you're printing complicated graphs with lots of subtly different colors, as the darker tone may cause some of the shades to start blending together a bit.

We were impressed with the HL-L8360CDW's ability to print sharp images with vibrant colors.
We were impressed with the HL-L8360CDW's ability to print sharp images with vibrant colors.

If graphs are a big concern of yours, you may want to take a look at the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M281fdw or its single function sibling, the M254dw. These models both did a better job of differentiating subtle color shades in complicated graphs. However, they didn't produce quite the same photo resolution as the HL-L8360CDW. The only models we tested that actually printed better photos was the ink guzzling HP Envy 4520.

The HL-L8360CDW tended to print graphics with darker shades in our testing. This isn't an issue unless your graphics have lots of subtlety different colors.
The HL-L8360CDW tended to print graphics with darker shades in our testing. This isn't an issue unless your graphics have lots of subtlety different colors.

Printing Speed


Clocking a speed of 16 pages per minute in our hallmark single sided text document speed test, the HL-L8360CDW's speed is above average but not exactly blazing. Notably it is slightly faster than the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M281fdw


The HL-L8360CDW's speed drops to 12 pages a minute when printing duplex. It also took 24 seconds to print a full page, high resolution photo. Both of these figures are again commensurate with other models in the same genre. Overall we don't see the HL-L8360CDW's speed being a limiting factor for any user.

Value


As we mentioned before, the HL-L8quiteW prints wuite economically, but carries a hefty upfront cost. Therefore, it is only a good value for those that print a lot (think approaching 1000 pages a month). If your printing needs are more moderate, there are plenty of other models that would provide better values, depending on your exact usage.

The HL-L8360CDW's flash drive USB port.
The HL-L8360CDW's flash drive USB port.

Conclusion


The HL-L8360CDW is an excellent printer, but its large size and up front cost make it a good option only for a small office that goes through a lot of paper.


Max Mutter and Steven Tata