For the price, the Brother MFC-J5830DW Business Smart Plus inkjet printer works well, and it includes a generous two-year warranty.
Pros: Low-cost ink; 550 fax page memory; Double-sided printing; Two-year warranty; Prints from mobile and tablets; Wireless
Limitations: If this printer will be used by several employees, consider a more durable model.
The $249.99 Brother MFC-J5830DW is a color inkjet printer capable of printing up to 4800 x 1200 dots per inch (dpi) and a fast print speed of 21 pages per minute (ppm). Comparatively, the $299.99 Epson WorkForce Pro WF-5690, which features the same dpi, has a print speed of 20 ppm.
Another plus of the MFC-J5830DW is that it won't drain your budget due to ink cartridge costs. Cartridges for the Brother ($26 for black) are lower than all the models we tested, with the exception of the Epson, which was $3 less for black ink, for a total of $23.
Print Quality & Costs
Test prints of black-and-white text looked clear and fairly crisp on the Brother MFC-J5830DW. It rendered various fonts equally well. In our black-and-white copy tests, copies reproduced well, with clear definition between lines that were set very close together.
However, in tests where we scanned pages, we noted some blurring between lines. Color prints were mediocre, with vertical lines that appeared across images, which is quite common with printers in this price range, so as long as you don't expect photo-quality images, you'll be satisfied with its acceptable quality. In fact, all printers in this comparison are intended for general use and not specifically for printing images, and all suffered from the same color quality issues.
Brother's black ink cartridges start at a modest $26 per cartridge, which is less than most of the printers we tested, again with the exception of the Epson ($23). Brother states each cartridge prints up to 2,000 pages per month, with a max duty cycle of 30,000 pages. The Brother printer can also accommodate more paper sizes than any other printer we tested.
According to Brother, the MFC-J5830DW prints up to 35 black-and-white pages per minute and 27 color pages. Our tests, however, revealed an average black-and-white print speed of 21 ppm. While that doesn't match up with the company's claim, it's above the average for most printers, which is 17.6 ppm. It's not quite as fast, though, as the 22 ppm recorded by the HP LaserJet Pro MFP M130fw. Brother's MFC-J5830DW also printed our sample files consistently with only a 1-second variance between jobs.
Like most printers in this price range, we felt as if we might break the Brother MFC-J5830DW accidently when handling it. You have to be extra careful pulling it out of the box. When unpacking it from the box, you should tilt the 40-pound-plus box on its side and slide the printer out sideways by pulling the plastic bag it's enclosed in. It's fairly big, measuring 20.9 x 15.7 x 13 inches.
You'll also want to take extra care to not damage the back paper feeder when removing it from the packaging. Because there's a second paper feeder in the back of the printer, you'll want to set up the printer so people have access to all four sides of the printer.
We found the 3.7-inch touchscreen, and the numbers that appear on it, rather small. Fortunately, it has a standard physical keypad for entering fax numbers easily. Another thing to be aware of with this Brother printer is that you'll need to stay close by the printer as it prints. It shoots paper forcibly past the exit tray, so if no one is on hand to catch the exiting paper, chances are you'll be picking your document up off the floor.
Black-and-white prints from the Brother MFC-J5830DW are comparable in quality to other similarly priced printers we tested, but it prints a bit faster than all but the simple black-and-white HP LaserJet printer. Color images it printed were mediocre compared to the same images from other printers we evaluated, but still suitable for general use. Colors were not exceptionally vibrant, but subtle details did print. For the price, the Brother MFC-J5830DW is an adequate printer, and you get a generous two-year warranty.