[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

While all the bells and whistles on All-in-One inkjet printers are nice to have, there are times when you just need a simple black-and-white printer that is less expensive to operate. That’s where the Brother HL-2140 comes in. It prints up to 23 pages per minute at resolutions up to 2400 x 600 dots per inch. It is a monochrome laser printer that is less expensive to operate. Could this be the printer that becomes your daily workhorse? We decided to take a look.

The Brother HL-2140 comes in a large clearly marked box, as shown in Figure 1.

Brother HL-2140 Laser Printer ReviewFigure 1: The printer box.

Inside the box is the printer itself along with the toner cartridge/drum assembly, an AC power cable, a CD-ROM that includes the printer drivers and User’s Manual, and a Quick Setup Guide. These are shown in Figure 2. As with many of the printers of this type, this one comes with a starter toner cartridge that is rated for 1,000 pages.

Brother HL-2140 Laser Printer ReviewFigure 2: Accessories found in the box.

The USB cable, which is necessary for operation, is not included. So unless you have a spare cable lying around, you should include the cost of the cable in your budget.

The printer itself, shown in Figure 3, is a compact device that measures 6.7 inches by 14.5 inches by 14.2 inches (17 by 36.8 by 36 cm). It has a square shape with rounded edges. The top is a pale gray while the sides and back are dark gray. Its small footprint and lack of protruding paper trays mean that it can easily fit on or under a desk. It weighs only 15 pounds (6.8 kg), so it is easily moved.

Brother HL-2140 Laser Printer ReviewFigure 3: The Brother HL2140 printer.

[nextpage title=”Setup”]

The Brother HL-2140 is easy to setup. The Quick Setup Guide walks you through opening the printer and inserting the drum unit and toner cartridge. The open printer is shown in Figure 4 and the drum and toner assembly is shown in Figure 5. The toner sits atop the drum and they are inserted as one unit. As you can see the toner/drum assembly has a handle that makes insertion easy.

Brother HL-2140 Laser Printer ReviewFigure 4: The open printer.

Brother HL-2140 Laser Printer ReviewFigure 5: The toner/drum assembly.

The Setup Guide also gives instructions for installing the printer driver, loading the paper, and printing a test page.

This printer can be used for Windows XP computers, as well as Windows Vista and Windows 7. It can also be used for all newer Mac OS X computers including Snow Leopard. It performed well on all operating systems and in most was auto-detected, so we didn’t have to install the drivers separately.

On the back of the printer, shown in Figure 6, you will see the power connector on the left and the USB port on the right. In the middle is the back paper tray.

Brother HL-2140 Laser Printer ReviewFigure 6: The back of the printer.

The Brother HL-2140 is a monochrome laser printer. That means that it prints only in black or gray-scale and uses toner instead of ink. It has a good print speed up to 23 ppm and good resolution up to 2400×600 dpi. The generous-sized input paper tray, shown in Figure 7, can hold 250 sheets. The output tray on top of the printer is shown in Figure 8. It can hold up to 100 sheets.

Brother HL-2140 Laser Printer ReviewFigure 7: The input tray.

Brother HL-2140 Laser Printer ReviewFigure 8: The output tray.

[nextpage title=”Using the Brother 2140″]

The Brother 2140 prints good quality text and acceptable gray-scale graphics. It handles up to legal size paper. Because of its good print quality, it can easily be used professional-looking documents.

The printer has only three lights and a large blue lighted Go button. These are shown in Figure 9. The LED lights are labeled Toner, Drum, and Error. The Toner and Drum lights indicate replacement is needed soon. The Error light indicates no paper, a paper jam, or the cover open. The Go button is used as the wake-up button, error recovery, form feed, job cancel, and reprint. The form feed, job cancel and reprint functions are very useful. Again, more information on this functionality is in the manual, which is a must-read to get the most out of this printer.

Brother HL-2140 Laser Printer ReviewFigure 9: The printer lights.

The only other control on the printer is the on/off switch, which can be seen on the right side of the printer in Figure 10. The printer air vents can also be seen in this Figure.

Brother HL-2140 Laser Printer ReviewFigure 10: The right side of the printer.

The Brother 2140 handles card stock and envelopes quite well. These, however, must be fed in piece by piece using the manual feed slot, shown in Figure 11.

Brother HL-2140 Laser Printer ReviewFigure 11: The manual feed.

Details on using the manual feed slot and feeding in envelops and other media can be f
ound in the User’s Guide, which is on the included CD and can also be found online. We had to play with the settings, adjusting to a “Thick Paper” setting to get some envelopes to print without smearing.

The only real printing problem that we had was in printing three-up checks. Even after adjusting the settings, the second and third check on each page were left with an imprint of the header of the first check.

There was one other problem. The toner light comes on way before the toner is actually depleted. But there are plenty of YouTube videos that will show you how to put a piece of tape over the toner cartridge sensors so you can get to use every last drop of toner. We used this trick and it worked beautifully.

The Brother 2140 has a monthly duty cycle of up to 10,000 sheets. It comes with a toner cartridge that is good for 1,000 pages. Replacement cartridges are available in regular and high-yield capacities that are rated for 1500 and 2600 pages, respectively. Street prices are USD 25 to USD 70. This is one item to really shop around for because prices vary greatly.

Brother estimates the street price of the HL-2040 to be USD 119.99, but we have actually seen it on specials for as low as USD 39. This makes it a real bargain.

One thing to watch out for is that this printer also has a replaceable drum. The drum is rated for 12,000 pages. Again prices vary widely, but if you got a deal on the printer, you may have to pay more for a new drum than you paid for the printer.

Besides saving money over printing with an ink jet printer, this laser printer has an Energy star rating that will save on electricity costs. It also has a Toner Saver mode that can save even a little more on the cost of consumables.

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

Brother HL-2140 laser printer main specifications are:

  • Max. Black Print Speed: 23 ppm
  • Black Print Resolution: HQ1200 (up to 2400 x 600 dpi)
  • Interface: USB
  • Monthly Duty Cycle: 10,000 pages
  • Standard Memory: 8 MB
  • Media Type: Plain, Bond, Envelopes, Labels, Transparencies
  • Paper Handling Size, Paper Tray: Letter, Legal, Executive, A4, A5, A6, B5, B6
  • Paper Handling Size, Manual Feed: Letter, Legal, Executive, A4, A5, A6, B5, B6, Envelopes, Custom Sizes (3.0-8.5" x 4.57-14", 7.6-21.6 cm x 11.6-35.5 cm)
  • Sheet Weight, Paper Tray: 16-28 lbs. (7.25-12.7 kg) (bond)
  • Sheet Weight, Manual Feed: 16-43 lbs. (7.25-19.5 kg) (bond)
  • Output Paper Capacity: 100 sheets
  • More information: https://www.brother-usa.com
  • Suggested retail price: USD 119.99 (can be found for less)

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

This is a good printer for use when you don’t need color and don’t want to spend a fortune on ink. The cost per page for laser printers is inherently less than the cost for ink jets. So you can keep costs down by having a printer like this along side of your color ink jet.

The compact design, low profile, and small footprint allow this printer to fit most anywhere. It handles legal paper, card stock, and envelopes quite well, as long as you don’t mind feeding them in individually. Our only caveat was in printing three-up checks.


  • Quality prints
  • Low price
  • Toner Saver mode
  • Low profile, small footprint
  • Good speed
  • Energy Star rating


  • Premature low toner warning
  • Expensive drum replacement
  • Trouble printing three-up checks
  • No USB cable included