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Brother MFC-L8905CDW [MFC-L8895CDW, MFC-L8900CDW] Printer Review

Tested using Methodology v1.2
Reviewed Apr 04, 2023 at 10:49 am
Latest change: Writing modified Jan 10, 2024 at 03:59 pm
Brother MFC-L8905CDW [MFC-L8895CDW, MFC-L8900CDW] Picture
8.2
Family
9.2
Small/Home Office
8.7
Student
9.1
Black & White
4.7
Photo

The Brother MFC-L8905CDW is an all-in-one color laser printer. It uses Brother's TN431 toner cartridges and is compatible with the TN433 high-yield, TN436 super high-yield, and TN437 ultra high-yield cartridges. Its connectivity options include USB, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet, and it can also print directly off a USB flash drive. It has a 7.1" color display, an 8.5" x 14" flatbed scanner, and an automatic document feeder with automatic single-pass duplex scanning.

This printer has a few variants, including the Brother MFC-L8610CDW, Brother MFC-L8895CDW, and Brother MFC-L8900CDW. They differ slightly in features, like the display size and duplex scanning; you can see more details in the Differences Between Variants section below.

Our Verdict

8.2 Family

The Brother MFC-L8905CDW is great for family use if you don't plan on printing photos. Like most laser printers, it produces very sharp documents, but it isn't ideal for photo printing, as printed pictures look flat and lacking in detail. It has many connectivity options, making it easy for every household member to access, and it doesn't require much maintenance. Plus, the toner cartridges last a long time, so it's cheap to maintain over time. The scanner produces very detailed scans, but colored areas look grainy, which might be bothersome when digitizing photos.

Pros
  • Produces very sharp documents.
  • High page yield, low cost per print.
  • Wide connectivity options.
  • Low maintenance.
Cons
  • Narrow color range and poor color accuracy.
  • Can't reproduce fine details in photos.
  • Takes up a lot of space.
9.2 Small/Home Office

The Brother MFC-L8905CDW is an outstanding printer for small and home offices. It produces incredibly sharp documents, prints quickly at up to 32 pages per minute, and doesn't require much maintenance. It has many connectivity options, including Ethernet, and its ADF-equipped scanner can quickly process multi-page and double-sided documents. The only downside is that it's bulky, so you'll need a fair amount of space.

Pros
  • Produces very sharp documents.
  • Fast printing speeds.
  • High page yield, low cost per print.
  • Wide connectivity options.
  • ADF with automatic duplex scanning.
  • Low maintenance.
Cons
  • Takes up a lot of space.
8.7 Student

The Brother MFC-L8905CDW is excellent for students. It produces amazingly sharp documents, prints very quickly, and is cheap to maintain because the toner cartridges last a long time. You can easily connect to the printer via various devices thanks to its wide connectivity options, and its scanner's lid hinges can extend to accommodate thick items like textbooks. It takes up a lot of space, so it might not be the best for small bedrooms or dorm rooms.

Pros
  • Produces very sharp documents.
  • Fast printing speeds.
  • High page yield, low cost per print.
  • Wide connectivity options.
  • Low maintenance.
Cons
  • Takes up a lot of space.
9.1 Black & White

The Brother MFC-L8905CDW is outstanding for printing black-and-white documents. It produces high-quality documents and prints quickly at up to 32 pages per minute. Additionally, its toner cartridges yield last a long time, so it doesn't cost much to maintain. The scanner has an automatic feeder with single-pass duplex scanning, allowing you to quickly process multi-page and double-sided documents.

Pros
  • Produces very sharp documents.
  • Fast printing speeds.
  • High page yield, low cost per print.
  • ADF with automatic duplex scanning.
  • Low maintenance.
Cons
  • Takes up a lot of space.
4.7 Photo

The Brother MFC-L8905CDW is bad for photo printing. Printed pictures look awful because it prints at a low resolution and can only produce a narrow range of colors. Also, like most laser printers, the printing pattern is very visible, causing further loss of detail. It doesn't support borderless printing and can't print on glossy paper.

Pros
  • High page yield, low cost per print.
  • Low maintenance.
Cons
  • Narrow color range and poor color accuracy.
  • Can't reproduce fine details in photos.
  • Can't print on glossy paper.
  • Takes up a lot of space.
  • 8.2 Family
  • 9.2 Small/Home Office
  • 8.7 Student
  • 9.1 Black & White
  • 4.7 Photo
  1. Updated Jan 10, 2024: Added mention of the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP 4301fdw/4301fdn as an alternative with a drum integrated into the toner cartridge in the Expected Maintenance section.
  2. Updated Jul 11, 2023: Added mention of an issue regarding Chrome OS compatibility in the OS Compatibility section.
  3. Updated Apr 04, 2023: Review published.
  4. Updated Mar 29, 2023: Early access published.
  5. Updated Mar 24, 2023: Our testers have started testing this product.
  6. Updated Mar 23, 2023: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  7. Updated Mar 14, 2023: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.
  8. Updated Mar 13, 2023: The product has won our suggestion poll, so we'll buy and test it soon.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the Brother MFC-L8905CDW printer. There are a few variants with slightly different features; you can see them in the table below.

Model Display Size ADF Capacity Scanner Glass Length Duplex Scanning NFC Notes
Brother MFC-L8610CDW 3.7" 50 11.8" N N -
Brother MFC-L8895CDW 5.0" 70 14" Y Y Same printer as MFC-L8900CDW - Costco/BJs exclusive
Brother MFC-L8900CDW 5.0" 70 14" Y Y -
Brother MFC-L8905CDW 7.0" 70 14" Y Y -

 You can see our units label here.

Compared To Other Printers

The Brother MFC-L8905CDW is among the best small office laser printers on the market. It stands out for its sturdy build and wide range of features, as well as for its outstanding print quality and fast printing speeds.

For more options, check out our recommendations for the best laser printers, the best office printers, and the best all-in-one printers.

Brother MFC-L3780CDW/MFC-L3720CDW

The Brother MFC-L8905CDW is ultimately a better overall laser printer than the Brother MFC-L3780CDW, though the MFC-L3780CDW is ultimately still a good option if you don't want to spend quite as much. The MFC-L8905CDW uses cartridges with a significantly higher page yield, has an ADF for its scanner with a larger-capacity input tray and faster scan speed, and prints documents faster.

Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw/MF654Cdw

For most uses, the Brother MFC-L8905CDW is slightly better than the Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw/MF654Cdw. The Brother has an ADF with a higher sheet capacity, scans documents more quickly, and has a faster maximum printing speed. Unlike Canon's PRINT Business app, you can print HTML files directly from the Brother iPrint&Scan app. Conversely, the Canon printer incurs lower ownership costs thanks to its higher-yield cartridges. Its scanner lid also has a wider height adjustment range, so it can more easily accommodate thicker books and documents.

Brother MFC-L3770CDW Laser

The Brother MFC-L8905CDW and the Brother MFC-L3770CDW Laser are both color laser printers with identical features. Performance-wise, the MFC-L8905CDW is better. It produces higher-quality color documents and scans, and it prints and scans faster.

HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP 4301fdw/4301fdn

The Brother MFC-L8905CDW is better than the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP 4301fdw/4301fdn for most uses. The Brother yields more prints, so you won't have to spend as much on toner. It has a scanner with adjustable lid hinges, and its optical character recognition is built-in, meaning you don't need a third-party app to use it. It also processes sheets faster through the ADF and produces higher-quality scans. On the other hand, the HP prints faster.

HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M479fdw

The Brother MFC-L8905CDW is slightly better than the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M479fdw for the most part. The Brother prints and scans faster than the HP, offers better scan quality, and has a higher page yield. The only other notable difference is that the HP has the drum built into the cartridge, while the Brother's drum is a separate unit. The HP's built-in drum makes maintenance more convenient but increases maintenance costs. This is because cartridges with a built-in drum are more expensive, and that extra expense adds up over time, resulting in higher maintenance costs than a printer with a separate drum.

Canon imageCLASS MF743Cdw

The Brother MFC-L8905CDW and the Canon imageCLASS MF743Cdw are very similar overall. The Brother prints and scans faster than the Canon, but the Canon yields more prints. The only other notable difference is that the Canon has the drum built into the cartridge, while the Brother's drum is a separate unit. The Canon's built-in drum makes maintenance more convenient but increases your maintenance cost. This is because the cartridges are more expensive, and that can add up over time, resulting in higher maintenance costs than a printer with a separate drum.

Xerox VersaLink C500/DN

The Brother MFC-L8905CDW and the Xerox VersaLink C500/DN are both color laser printers. The Brother is better feature-wise because it has a scanner and more connectivity options. However, the Xerox model prints much faster and yields significantly more prints.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
9.0
Design
Build Quality
Type All in One

The build quality is outstanding. The construction is a mix of plastic and metal and feels very sturdy, including the input tray and all the moving parts. The power cable is removable, so it's easy to replace if damaged. You can quickly access the toner cartridges from the front. For paper jams, you can get to the sheet rollers from a panel on the back or by removing the toner cartridges. Two minor complaints about the design: it's hard to move because it's bulky and heavy, and the display can't tilt or swivel for better visibility.

Design
Dimensions
Height 21.9" (55.5 cm)
Width 19.5" (49.5 cm)
Depth 20.1" (51.0 cm)
Height When In Use
21.9" (55.5 cm)
Width When In Use
21.3" (54.0 cm)
Depth When In Use
20.1" (51.0 cm)
Weight
50.0 lbs (22.7 kg)

The Brother MFC-L8610CDW variant is smaller. Here are the measurements (as indicated in Brother's specifications):

  • Height: 21.2" (53.9 cm)
  • Width: 17.1" (43.5 cm)
  • Depth: 20.7" (52.6 cm)

8.5
Design
Expected Maintenance
Ink Related Maintenance
Not Needed
Drum Unit
A Separate Unit

The printer doesn't need much maintenance. Unlike inkjet printers, there's no risk of clogging if you don't use the printer for a long time. Additionally, the toner cartridges last a long time, so you won't need to replace them often. If you experience print quality issues, there are a few built-in functions to help resolve them, like Toner Calibration and Toner Registration (which helps remove fringes around colored areas).

You can access the toner cartridges by opening the front cover and pulling out the tray. Paper jams are accessible through a large panel on the back of the printer. You can also access paper jams through the front; you just need to remove the toner cartridges, the waste toner box, and the belt first. Brother specifies that the waste toner box (WT-320CL) and belt (BU330-CL) are good for 50,000 prints, while the drum (DR431-CL) is good for 30,000 prints. The input trays (main tray + multi-purpose tray) hold 300 sheets of paper, which is a fair amount, so you likely won't need to refill it often unless you print a lot. If you want to make maintenance easier and prefer a laser printer that uses toner cartridges with an integrated drum, check out the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP 4301fdw/4301fdn.

You can download the user manuals here.

8.5
Design
Display Screen
Display Screen Yes
Display Screen Size
7.1" (18.0 cm)
Touchscreen Yes

The display is excellent. It's a large color screen with a user-friendly interface. You can quickly access important settings, like cartridge and network settings, from the top of the display and rearrange the icons to your preference. However, visibility is limited when viewing the screen at an angle, and there's no tilt or swivel adjustment.

The other variants have a different size display. The Brother MFC-L8900CDW and Brother MFC-L8895CDW have a 5-inch (12.59 cm) display, while the Brother MFC-L8610CDW has a 3.7-inch (9.34 cm) display.

9.3
Design
Cartridge
Technology Laser
SuperTank
No
Photo Cartridge
No
Color Yes
Number Of Color Cartridges
3
Black Cartridge Model
TN431BK
Tested Black Page Yield
153 prints
Estimated Black Page Yield
2,907 prints
Color Cartridge Model
TN431 C/M/Y
Tested Color Page Yield
68 prints
Estimated Color Page Yield
1,446 prints
Third Party Cartridge
Not Found At Time Of The Review
Ink Type
Toner
High Yield Cartridge
Yes

This printer yields a large number of prints, meaning you won't need to replace the cartridges often unless you print a lot. There are many high-yield cartridges available that'll further increase the page yield. Here are their advertised yields:

  • TN433 High-yield (CMY) - 4000 pages
  • TN433BK High-yield (Black) - 4500 pages
  • TN436 Super High-yield (CMYK) - 6500 pages
  • TN437 Ultra High Yield (CMY) - 8000 pages
  • TN437BK Ultra High Yield (Black) - 9000 pages

The printer warns you when the toner level is low. It can't detect the amount of toner left in the cartridge; it only uses an internal page counter. It's worth noting that once you remove a cartridge, the printer will consider it empty, even when there's toner left. This makes it hard to reuse a toner cartridge, as the printer continually prompts you to change it. The only way to resolve this issue is to access a hidden service menu and manually reset the toner level. This process isn't particularly user-friendly. It involves pressing multiple buttons in a specific sequence, which doesn't always work and isn't documented in the manual. Also, performing this reset repeatedly can damage the cartridge and the printer.

9.7
Design
Scanner Features
Scanner
ADF + Flatbed
ADF Capacity
70 pages
Scan Speed
32 PPM
Duplex Scanning
Automatic (Single-Pass)
Max Flatbed Scan Size
8.5" x 14"
Max ADF Scan Size
8.5" x 14"
Flatbed Hinge Adjustability
0.69" (18 mm)
Fax
Yes
Copy
Yes
OCR Included
Built-in

This printer has outstanding scanner features. It can quickly process multi-page and double-sided documents through its automatic feeder, saving precious time. The lid's hinges can extend so that it's easier to close the lid over thicker items like textbooks and magazines. Its OCR (optical character recognition) feature lets you scan and save documents as searchable files. You can use OCR with just the printer or through software. A few applications are available: iPrint&Scan or Kofax PaperPort SE for Windows devices and Brother ControlCenter2 for Macs.

The Brother MFC-L8610CDW variant has a smaller flatbed with a max scan size of 8.5" x 11". It also has a smaller 50-sheet ADF capacity and doesn't support automatic duplex scanning.

9.5
Design
Scan Quality
Max Scan Resolution
1,200 DPI
Max Scan Color Depth
24Bit

The scan quality is outstanding. Text looks sharp, and all of the finer elements are present. The only complaint is that the colored areas look a tad grainy.

Design
In The Box

  • Documentation
  • Power cord
  • Phone cable
  • Software and driver CD-ROM
  • Set of TN431 starter toner cartridges:
    • 1x Black
    • 1x Cyan
    • 1x Yellow
    • 1x Magenta
  • Not shown:
    • DR431-CL drum unit (comes pre-installed)

Design
Battery
Advertised Battery Life
N/A
Tested Charging Time
N/A
Document
9.5
Document
Black & White Documents
Color Ink Needed For Black & White
Yes

The print quality for black-and-white documents is outstanding. Text looks sharp, and all of the fine elements are present. There's some vertical banding, but they're only visible in colored areas and aren't overly distracting.

9.5
Document
Color Documents

The print quality for color documents is outstanding. Everything looks sharp and clean, and the colors look vibrant but not oversaturated.

8.6
Document
Cost-Per-Print
Black Cartridge Price
80.99 US$
Color Cartridge Price
218.49 US$
Black-Only Printing Cost
0.028 US$/print
Color Printing Cost
0.151 US$/print
Photo Printing Cost
0.401 US$/print
Ink Subscription
Optional

The cost per print is excellent. The toner cartridges are expensive, but since they last a long time, you won't have to replace them often. You have to replace the drum separately, which isn't factored into the cost; however, the drum doesn't need regular replacement. Brother specifies that the drum is good for 30,000 prints.

8.9
Document
Printing Speed
Black Only Text Document
32 PPM
Color Document
32 PPM
Photo Printing Time
28.0 s
Single Page Out Time (Black Only)
15.0 s
Duplex Printing
Automatic
Input Tray Capacity
300 pages

This printer is very fast. It doesn't take too long to warm up compared to most laser printers, and it prints documents very quickly, almost matching the advertised 33 pages per minute. It can automatically print double-sided sheets at up to 16 pages per minute (eight double-sided sheets). The posted input tray capacity includes the main and multi-purpose trays. The main tray holds 250 sheets, while the multi-purpose tray holds 50. The output tray holds 150 sheets.

Document
Document Printing Sizes
Letter (8.5" x 11") Yes
Legal (8.5" x 14") Yes
Tabloid (11" x 17") No
A6 (105mm x 148mm) Yes
A5 (148mm x 210mm) Yes
A4 (210mm x 297mm) Yes
Max Paper Weight
163 g/m²
Photo
5.0
Photo
Color Gamut

This printer has a poor color gamut. It can't produce bright, saturated colors, and it struggles with darker shades of green and yellow. Its narrow color range makes photos look flat and lacking in detail. There's banding in the lighter shades, and color transitions look grainy due to the printing pattern.

5.6
Photo
Color Accuracy
Average Color dE
9.02

Color accuracy is sub-par. Most colors, especially blues, greens, and browns, look different from the original image. It isn't an issue if you just want to add some colors to a document, but it isn't ideal for photo printing.

4.5
Photo
Small Details
Max Print Resolution (DPI)
2400 x 600

This printer is bad at reproducing small details. It prints at a low resolution, and like most laser printers, the printing pattern is very noticeable and causes the loss of fine details.

0
Photo
Photo Printing Sizes
Glossy Paper (4" x 6") No
Glossy Paper (5" x 7") No
Glossy Paper (8" x 10") No
Glossy Paper (8.5" x 11") No
Glossy Paper (13" x 19") No
Borderless Printing
No
Mobile App And Connectivity
9.0
Mobile App And Connectivity
Connectivity
Ethernet
Yes
USB Input To Computer
Yes
Wireless Yes
Bluetooth
No
Wi-Fi via Router
Yes
Wi-Fi Direct
Yes
External Storage Support
Yes
Apple AirPrint
Yes
Mopria Print Service
Yes

The Brother MFC-L8905CDW, as well as all of its variants, can print directly off a USB flash drive. The USB port is on the front left side of the printer. Except for the Brother MFC-L8600CDW, all variants support NFC, which allows you to connect to the printer by tapping your NFC-enabled device against the printer.

10
Mobile App And Connectivity
Mobile App
Mobile App Yes
App Name Brother iPrint&Scan
iOS Yes
Android Yes
Photo (JPEG, PNG)
Android and iOS
PDF
Android and iOS
Microsoft Office Files
Android and iOS
Text Files (TXT)
Android and iOS
Webpages (HTML)
Android and iOS

Brother's iPrint&Scan mobile app is superb. You can print, scan, copy, check the toner levels, and order supplies. The app also lets you access and print photos and documents stored on cloud services like iCloud, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, and OneDrive. On the iOS version of the app, you can only print documents shared through 'iTunes file sharing' and from the print history of other supported apps. Neither version (Android or iOS) can print HTML files directly; you need to go to the website and print from there.

Mobile App And Connectivity
OS Compatibility
Windows Fully
macOS Fully
Chrome OS Fully

You don't need to install any drivers to print or scan on Chrome OS and macOS devices, but you do on Windows devices. You can find the drivers here. Although it isn't necessary, you can use the same iPrint&Scan mobile app from the Google Play Store on Chrome OS devices. Some users have reported having trouble connecting to the printer on a Chrome OS device, even after successfully installing the printer; however, we didn't experience this issue.