The Canon imageClass MF269dw ($279.99) is a compact entry-level monochrome laser all-in-one (AIO) printer designed for use in a small or home-based office or as a personal AIO. It provides a wide range of connectivity choices and is loaded with features, including an auto-duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF) for scanning and copying two-sided pages automatically. It also prints well at competitive speeds, and its running costs are reasonable. The Canon MF269dw provides the right mix of features, performance, and output quality to vault it to our latest favorite business-oriented AIO with moderate monochrome print and copy volumes.
The MF269dw ($299.00 at Best Buy) is the latest in a long line of entry-level single-function and AIO monochrome laser printers Canon has offered for several years. While they have evolved in terms of features and output quality, their cube-shaped flat-black chassis haven’t changed much. The MF269dw, for example, measures 14.8 by 15.4 by 16 inches (HWD) and weighs 29.3 pounds, which is a little bigger and a few pounds heavier than the its predecessor, the MF249dw, but not enough to matter when scouting out a desk or countertop to put it on.
The MF269dw is also close in size and girth to the Lexmark MB2236adw ($149.99 at Dell Technologies) and HP’s LaserJet Pro MFP M148fdw, two similarly positioned monochrome AIOs. It’s significantly smaller and lighter than Canon’s higher-end imageClass MF424dw. And it’s smaller and lighter still than the higher-volume (and higher-priced) Epson WorkForce Pro WF-M5799 inkjet alternative.
For copying, scanning, and faxing, you get a 50-sheet auto-duplexing ADF that automatically scans the second side of two-sided multipage documents. The MF249dw ($540.80 at Amazon) , MB2236adw, and the WF-M5799 also come with 50-sheet auto-duplexing ADFs, but the smaller and lower-rated M148fdw’s document feeder holds only 35 sheets, and it can’t scan two-sided pages without your help to flip the stack of originals manually.
The control panel consists of a standard number pad and a handful of buttons (Home, Back, Start/Stop, Energy Saver, and Quiet Mode) anchored by a large six-line monochrome touch screen. This is a standard configuration for Canon’s entry-level laser machines, and despite the ability to navigate it with a finger, the outdated drill-down menus are a bit tedious.
You can also configure, monitor, generate reports, and do just about everything else you can do from the control panel from the MF269dw’s built-in website, which Canon calls the Remote UI: Portal, shown here.
Accessible from your browser, the web portal allows you to configure and monitor your printer from almost any computer or mobile device, including over the internet when you configure the printer properly.
As for paper handling, the MF269dw comes with a 250-sheet tray and a one-sheet override tray for printing one-off envelopes, labels, and other media. That’s the same input capacity as the MF249dw and the MB2236adw, and 10 sheets fewer than the HP M148fdw ($199.99 at HP) . Meanwhile, the MF424dw holds up to 300 sheets, expandable to 900, and the WF-M5799 ($259.00 at Amazon) holds 300 sheets, expandable to 850.
Canon hasn’t published a maximum volume rating for this AIO, which is unusual for a business printer. Most of the company’s other entry-level lasers are rated at 15,000 pages maximum. Canon does, however, provide a recommended monthly print volume rating of up to 2,500 pages.
The M148fdw, the MB2236adw, and the WF-M5799 all have the same recommended monthly print volume as the MF269dw, and the MF424dw’s rating is 1,500 pages higher.
While you might expect a $300 entry-level laser printer to support most connectivity options, many don’t. The MF269dw, however, covers all bases, and then some. Its standard interfaces include connecting to a single PC via USB 2.0, Ethernet, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), and Wi-Fi Direct. That last one, Wi-Fi Direct, is a peer-to-peer networking protocol for connecting mobile devices to the printer without either them or it being hooked up to a local area network or router.
Other mobile connectivity options include Apple AirPrint, Canon Print Business (a mobile app for both Android and iOS), Google Cloud Print, and Mopria. You do not, however, get support for the touch-to-print protocol, near-field communication (NFC), nor is there a port for printing from and scanning to USB thumb drives. And finally, scan-to file formats include JPEG, TIF, and image and searchable PDF.
Above-Average Entry-Level Speeds
Canon rates the MF269dw at 30 pages per minute for one-sided (simplex) pages. However, since this AIO defaults to two-sided (duplex) printing, we time and record both its simplex and duplex speeds. I put the MF269dw through its paces over an Ethernet connection from our standard testbed computer, an Intel Core i5 PC running Windows 10 Professional.
See How We Test Printers
In our first round of tests, comprised of a double-spaced 12-page Microsoft Word text document, I timed the MF269dw at 29.9 pages per minute (ppm) in simplex mode and 18.3ppm in duplex mode. Those speeds are 2.4ppm (simplex) and 3.5ppm (duplex) faster than the Canon MF249dw, but they are 6.2ppm and 0.5ppm, respectively, slower than the Lexmark MB2236adw. The Canon MF424dw beat the MF236dw by more than 10ppm in both modes. The HP M148fdw and the Epson WF-M5799 do not default to two-sided printing out of the box, so we didn’t record their duplex speeds. With that said, the HP AIO fell behind our Canon test unit by 9.8ppm and the Epson inkjet AIO came in 5.5ppm slower than the MF269DW, as well.
For the next portion of our tests, I printed a collection of complex documents containing embedded business graphics, spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentation handouts. Then I combined those scores with the results from the previous test and came up with a score of 18.4ppm in simplex mode.
These scores are in line with the other AIOs mentioned here, with the Lexmark model besting the MF269dw by a mere 1.1ppm in simplex mode. The MF424dw ($753.60 at Amazon) turned in the best results in the bunch, beating the MF269dw by about 3ppm. Perhaps most impressive, though, is the Epson WF-M5799’s score of 17.2ppm, given that it’s rated at 6ppm slower than the MF269dw.
Seldom do I have any complaints about the output from a Canon printer, whether it’s an under-$100 family-oriented inkjet, a $1,000 color laser, or anything in between. Granted, it’s difficult to get excited about monochrome output, but I’ve no complaints about the MF269dw’s prints and copies.
It printed our standard serif and sans-serif font test pages with near-typesetter quality, with well-shaped characters at all sizes and attractive spacing and kerning. Our full-page Excel and PowerPoint charts and graphs came out highly detailed, with good-looking gradient backgrounds and fills, and only minimal banding in those large dark areas where many monochrome printers have trouble reproducing flawlessly.
The test photos I printed look good, too; much more detailed and devoid of the graininess that we often see in grayscale prints. The bottom line is, the MF269dw’s output is suitable for most business applications where monochrome output is acceptable.
Competitive Running Costs
When you buy the highest-yield (4,100 pages) toner cartridge for the MF269dw at its list price of $115, each page will cost you about 2.8 cents, which is a little better than average for an entry-level monochrome laser printer in this price range. The MF269dw’s predecessor, the MF249dw, costs about 0.7 cents per page more to use, while Canon’s higher-yield MF424dw’s running costs are around 0.5 cents per page lower. Lexmark’s MB2236adw and HP’s M148fdw, at 0.8 cents more per page than the MF269dw, are also more expensive to use, whereas Epson’s WF-M5799, when you buy its 40,000-page replacement ink bags, costs less than 1 cent per page.
It’s also important to note that at the time of publication, the price on Canon’s site for the MF269dw’s highest-yield cartridge was $103.50, reducing the CPP to about 2.5 cents per page. With some shopping around, I found the cartridge on an office supply store’s site for $71.99, which delivers an impressive CPP of 1.8 cents, or 1 cent lower than when you buy the toner at Canon’s MSRP.
No-Nonsense Small-Office Printing and Copying
The only real missing feature on the MF269dw is its lack of a port for printing from and scanning to USB thumb drives, but given the full range of mobile and wireless connectivity options, this port probably won’t be missed. If you need paper capacity expansion options, higher volume, and the lowest possible running costs, Epson’s WF-M5799 is a good choice. And if you need expansion options, low running costs and the output must be toner-based, rather than ink, consider Canon’s MF424dw. Otherwise, if all you need is to print and copy a few hundred quality monochrome pages each month at a reasonable cost per page, the Canon imageClass MF269dw is our Editors’ Choice for entry-level monochrome output in a small office, or as a personal AIO.