The Canon ImageCLASS LBP151dw is a simple, monochrome laser printer that is inexpensive both to purchase and to operate. However, its printing quality is relatively poor. Both the text and graphics that it produced in our testing were some of the worst we observed. Those looking for an inexpensive option can get much better text quality, cheaper operating costs, and an overall better value in the Brother HL-L2350DW.
Canon ImageCLASS LBP151dw Review
Pros: Inexpensive, fast
Cons: Poor printing quality
Compare to Similar Products
Canon ImageCLASS LBP151dw
|Price||$170 List||$400 List|
$349.99 at Amazon
$298.99 at Amazon
$349.00 at Amazon
$149.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Inexpensive, fast||Excellent text quality, fast, great interface, easy setup||Great text and graphics quality, great interface||Great text and graphics quality, great interface||Excellent text quality and speed, simple|
|Cons||Poor printing quality||Very large, expensive||Relatively slow for a laser||Can be expensive, relatively slow for a laser||Poor graphics|
|Bottom Line||Very fast considering its price, but few other advantages||A great choice for small offices that print a lot, but overkill for most at home users||A great model if you want high end performance and don't need a built-in scanner||Great balance of functionality and quality for any home office||Perfect if you print a lot of text and don't need wireless connectivity|
|Rating Categories||Canon ImageCLASS...||Brother HL-L8360CDW||HP Color LaserJet...||Color LaserJet Pro...||HP LaserJet Pro...|
|Text Quality (25%)|
|Operating Cost (25%)|
|Ease Of Use (20%)|
|Graphics And Photos (15%)|
|Printing Speed (15%)|
|Specs||Canon ImageCLASS...||Brother HL-L8360CDW||HP Color LaserJet...||Color LaserJet Pro...||HP LaserJet Pro...|
|Type||Single function monochrome laser||Single function color laser||Single function color laser||All-in-one color laser||Single function monochrome laser|
|Capabilities||Print, Scan, Fax, Copy|
|Resolution (Black)||600 x 600 dpi; 1200 x 1200 dpi equivalent||2400 x 600||600 x 600||600 x 600||1200 x 1200|
|Resolution (Color)||N/A||2400 x 600||600 x 600||600 x 600||N/A|
|Supported Paper Sizes||Letter, Legal, A4, A5, B5, Executive, Statement||Letter, Envelope, Custom Sizes (3.0-8.5" (w), 5.0-14" (l)), Legal, Executive, A4, A5, A6||A4, A5(L), A5(P), A6, B5, B6, 16k, 10 x 15 cm, Post Cards (JIS); Envelopes (DL, C5, B5)||A4, A5(L), A5(P), A6, B5, B6, 16k, 10 x 15 cm, Post Cards (JIS); Envelopes (DL, C5, B5)||A4, A5, A6, B5 (JIS), Custom Size, A5-R, B6 (JIS),|
|Dimensions (excludes extensions)||15.4" x 13.2" x 9.7"||17.4" x 19.1" x 12.3"||15.4" x 16.4" x 9.3"||16.5" x 16.4" x 12.7"||15" x 14.1" x 8.5"|
|Weight (lbs)||19 lb||48.1 lb||27 lb||35.9 lb||18.92 lb|
|Paper Handling Input (sheets)||250 sheets||300 sheets||150 sheets||150 sheets||250 sheets|
|Monthly Duty Cycle||15000 sheets||60,000 Sheets||30000 sheets||30000 sheets||80000 sheets|
|Warranty||1 Year Limited||1 Year Limited||1 Year Limited||1 Year Limited||1 Year Limited|
|Ink Cost per Ream: B/W||$14.58||$8.89||$14.46||$14.46||$15.48|
|Ink Cost per Ream: Color||N/A||$47.63||$56.09||$56.09||N/A|
|Estimated Lifetime Cost of Ownership||$389||$550||$642||$768||$532|
|Claimed Pages Per Minute||28||33||22||22||40|
|Measured Pages per Minute: Single-Sided B/W||22||16||15||14||25|
|Connectivity||WiFi, USB 2.0, 10/100 Base-TX Ethernet||WiFi, Ethernet, USB 2.0, NFC||WiFi, USB 2.0, 10/100 Base-TX Ethernet, Walkup host USB||WiFi, USB 2.0, 10/100/1000 Base-TX Ethernet, Front Host USB||USB 2.0; 1 Host USB; 1 Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000T network|
|Operating System Compatability||Windows/Mac OS||Windows/Mac OS||Windows/Mac OS||Windows/Mac OS||Windows/Mac OS|
|Google Cloud Print||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Criteria for Evaluation
Below we dive into the details of the ImageCLASS LBP151dw's performance in each of our individual tests.
The ImageCLASS LBP151dw received the low score of 3 in our text quality testing, putting it well behind the top score of 9. This was a surprisingly poor performance for a black and white laser printer, as text is usually their forte. It produced very light characters when printing text documents. It also seemed to get lazy towards the bottom of each line, where there were often some untidy blotches of ink. This Is a significant issue for the ImageCLASS LBP151dw as reliable, high quality text is one of the main reasons to purchase a monochrome laser.
The ImageCLASS LBP151dw was towards the front of the pack in our cost testing, scoring a 6 in a metric that saw scores ranging from 2 to 7. This is mostly due to its estimated lifetime cost, which we calculated at $309. This is the lowest such figure that we calculated. It also printed black and white at the reasonable rate of about $0.03 per page or $14.58 per ream of paper. No matter your normal printing volume the ImageCLASS LBP151dw will not break the bank.
Ease of Use
The ImageCLASS LBP151dw ended up in the basement of our ease of use testing, scoring a 4, well behind the top score of 9. This was mostly due to our experiences in connecting it to a WiFi network. While USB printing setup was immediate, there were only vague instructions on how to setup WiFi printing, and after some frustration we had to resort to a call to the customer service line. While we found Canon's customer service to be excellent, this should not a be a necessity when setting up the printer. The ImageCLASS LBP151dw does not have any sort of screen on the printer itself, just 5 buttons. This means that setting up WiFi or troubleshooting anything requires plugging your computer into the printer. While we suggest always having a USB connection handy for when things go awry, this may annoy some users who would prefer to be untethered as much as possible. Overall we found the ImageCLASS LBP151dw to be one of the more disheartening printers to use, but Canon's excellent customer service rescued it from an absolutely terrible score.
In our testing the ImageCLASS LBP151dw displayed poor performance in both graphics and photo printing. The 'image' in ImageCLASS seems to be a misnomer. It shared the bottom score of 2 with two other printers, and was well off from the top score of 7. Simple graphics were very noticeably pixelated and had jagged edges. Photos were similarly pixelated with poor resolution and clarity. If you're planning on printing anything with a lot of graphics and care at all how they look, the ImageCLASS LBP151dw is not the right choice.
Unlike text quality, printing speed is an area where the ImageCLASS LBP151dw lives up to its thoroughbred monochrome laser pedigree. It scored an 8, putting it towards the front of the class in a metric that had scores falling between 2 and 9. In the keystone black and white single sided text document test it logged a speed of 22 pages per minute, just 3 pages off from the fastest model. It slowed down to a still respectable 13 pages per minute. It also blew through a full page photograph in just 14 seconds, though a monochrome laser is not a great choice for photo printing.
The ImageCLASS LBP151dw has a list price of $170.GIven its low performance in some key metrics, we would identify this as a very poor value. At the time of this writing the ImageCLASS LBP151dw is available online for nearly half its list price. This price point is low enough that it may be attractive to some people on a very tight budget, but the Brother HL-L2350DW still represents a much better value in a very similar price range.
The ImageCLASS LBP151dw is not a terrible choice if you're on a tight budget and don't mind making sacrifices in text quality and ease of use. However, the Best Buy on a Tight Budget Award winning Brother HL-L2350DW offers better performance at a much lower list price, and both a street price and estimated lifetime cost that are just a few dollars more.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata