Printer Review Brother HL-3070CW



Toner Buzz Rating: 3.1/ 5.0 stars

Pros: Affordable LED-based color laser printer, compact, durable, good print quality

Cons: Erroneous “low toner” messages, wireless connectivity issues, manual paper feed jams

Overall: Once you find the right workarounds for repeated performance problems, the Brother HL-3070CW is a solid printer with a respectable lifespan.

Strong Start

When the  Brother HL-3070CW debuted a decade ago, it turned heads as a compact color laser printer with a (relatively) low price-tag ($500). The HL-3070CW came with a 250-sheet main paper tray, a single-line display, front-port USB connectivity, and print speeds of up to 17 pages-per-minute. All-in-all, The Brother HL-3070CW (Color/Wireless) offered an impressive package and tight footprint for a good price.

The Brother HL-3070CW

LED Print Engine

Another feature setting the Brother HL-3070CW apart from other printers in its class was its LED print engine. Traditional laser printers etch an image onto a rotating photo-sensitive drum with a laser beam bounced off a spinning mirror. The image on the drum attracts charged toner particles which fuse to paper with heat and rollers.

LED printers etch the image onto the rotating drum with an array of LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes). LED printers can be easier and cheaper to manufacturer — since there are no moving parts in the print engine. LED-based printers have a smaller footprint and can deliver sharper text at smaller sizes. The HL-3070CW printed crisp, legible text even in tiny, six-point type.

All-in-all, The Brother HL-3070CW (Color/Wireless) offered an impressive package and tight footprint for a good price. 

Feature Rich

The HL-3070CW has built-in wireless 802.11b/g and 10/100 Base-TX Ethernet (wired) connections to enable printer sharing. A single line, 16-character LCD display and square navigation buttons make accessing the HL-3070CW’s functions easy. There’s a front panel USB socket which allows you to print from USB drives as well PictBridge-enabled cameras.

While the HL-3070CW’s 250-sheet main paper tray may be fine for home and small business use, the lack of paper tray expansion may be a deal-breaker for busier offices. There is also no duplexer available, so forget about two-sided printing with the HL-3070CW.

The HL-3070CW print quality was pretty good in both black-and-white and color. However, the cost per page — 4.4 cents for monochrome, and 19.4 cents for color — ran a bit high.

There’s a front panel USB socket which allows you to print from USB drives as well PictBridge-enabled cameras.

Toner Troubles

With months of the HL-3070CWs release, reports of toner troubles began to filter back to Brother. The printer would display a low toner message and cease printing until a new Brother TN-210 toner cartridge was installed. However, there was still plenty of toner left inside those toner cartridges! Annoying!

Time to replace your toner cartridges...or is it?

Missed Connection

Additional frustrations occurred when users attempted to connect the HL-3070CW to wireless networks. Many found they couldn’t get the printer to join their computer network unless connected with a USB cable.

What Brother HL-3070CW Owners Think

The HL-3070CW has garnered mixed user reviews across the Internet, averaging 3.5 out of 5.0 stars. While most felt the printer delivered quality prints, many were disappointed by wireless connectivity issues and false “low toner” messages that caused the printer to stop printing even though there was still toner left in the cartridge. Some users had trouble with paper jams in the manual paper feeder, especially when printing envelopes. Other reviewers hammered Brother’s lackluster customer support.

Deep In The Amazon

The  Brother HL-3070CW gets an average 3.2 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.

Steve was pleased with the Brother HL-3070CW, writing: “I've had the printer for 14 months and have used it for a variety of printing — school papers & work presentations, invitations and flyers, address labels, even beer bottle labels for my homebrew.”

Mike Mc calls the HL-3070CW a “good compact color LED printer,” noting the machine “prints great quality, even photos aren't bad for an LED.” Update: “A year after purchase the toner is still good which is why I went with something other than inkjets because past inkjets I've owned, the ink would dry up or run out too quickly.”

The majority of negative reviews felt the HL-3070CW fell short on wireless connectivity and false “low toner” messages. Cartridges still had plenty of toner left, yet the HL-3070cw would read them as empty and refuse to print.

Just Richard was disappointed with the HL-30760CW’s network connectivity issues and short toner life, suggesting he’d purchase an HP Color Enterprise printer if given another chance. “I have a 20 year old HP 4000 that has never given me problems.”

Is this 250-page paper tray enough for you?

Rage Against The Machine

User Mrs. Beasley raged at the HL-3070CW: “This printer, so far, has been a money pit. The quality is okay, but it seems like I'm always buying cartridges and drums for this printer! In addition, we had a defective leaky yellow cartridge, and a black cartridge (or drum?) that started putting out "blobs" on the paper prematurely. The toner is always nagging to be refilled, even though it has plenty. The starter cartridges are a joke. I have spent SO much money on ink and supplies for this printer since I got it! I'm going back to Canon inkjets for color and buy another Samsung laser for black printing. This thing is going in the trash heap the next time it dares nag me for something else…”

Disappointed user Original Vidiot said the HL-3070CW’s short toner life, coupled with repeated “low toner” messages, render the machine unusable. “It's currently listed on Craig's List for $45 and still not a single person is interested in this giant piece of feces. I can't stress enough how turned off I am to Brother products after this experience. We still use the HP Deskjet 6540 that I bought for my wife on a whim in 1997 and it still works flawlessly.”

Workable Workarounds

Amazoner My Eyes Are Up Here offers this tip to solve the HL-3070CW’s false “low toner” message, claiming, “after I found this trick, I got another 1,000 pages out of that ‘empty’ toner cartridge.”

  1. Turn the printer off and then on again.
  2. Open cover.
  3. Press Cancel and Secure Print buttons at the same time.
  4. Press the + button and scroll through the colors that need to be reset. (reset both STR and STD when prompted. I just reset them all.)
  5. Press OK (twice, once for STR and STD)
  6. You're done. You don't even need to take the cartridges out and the printer thinks you just installed four new Brother toner cartridges.

Reset menu for the durable parts counters:

  1. Open cover where you access toners
  2. Press GO and + button at once, you'll see menu come up displaying reset counters for drum, fuser, etc.

My Eyes claims this reset method worked three times on the same toner cartridge! “I'm still on the original magenta cartridge. This ‘secret’ reset method has saved me $200.”

Helpful Brother HL-3070CW Videos

Unpacking Brother HL-3070CW LED printer

How to Repair Brother Color Laser / LED Printer. Blank ,light pages

Brother Cleaning and Replacing Fuser

How To Refill / Reset Brother Tn-210 Toner Cartridge Brother HL-3070CW

HL-3070CW Brother digital color wireless printer

Brother Canada Playlist

Brother HL-3070CW SPECS


  • Printer TypeWorkgroup printer - LED - color
  • ManufacturerBrother International


  • Wireless ReadyYes


  • Typepower supply
  • Nominal VoltageAC 120 V
  • Frequency Required50/60 Hz
  • Power Consumption Operational480 Watt
  • Form Factorinternal


  • TechnologyLED
  • Print SpeedUp to 17 ppm - B/WUp to 17 ppm - color
  • Built-in Devicesstatus LCD
  • Connectivity Technologywired, wireless
  • InterfaceUSB, LAN, USB host, Wi-Fi
  • PostScript Supportstandard
  • First Print Out Time B/W15 sec
  • Language SimulationPCL 6, PostScript 3
  • Media Handling1-sheet multipurpose tray, 250-sheet input tray
  • Typeworkgroup printer
  • Min H-Document Size3 in
  • Min V-Document Size4.57 in
  • Max H-Document Size8.5 m
  • Max V-Document Size14 in
  • Media Typebond paper, envelopes, labels, plain paper, recycled paper
  • Media SizesA4 (8.25 in x 11.7 in), A5 (5.83 in x 8.25 in), A6 (4.13 in x 5.83 in), B5 (6.93 in x 9.83 in), B6 (4.92 in x 6.93 in), Executive (7.25 in x 10.5 in), Legal (8.5 in x 14 in), Letter A Size (8.5 in x 11 in)
  • Min Media Weight60 g/m²
  • Max Media Weight162 g/m²
  • Total Media Capacity250 sheets


  • Microsoft CertificationsCompatible with Windows 7
  • Consumables Included1 x toner cartridge (black) - up to 1000 pages1 x toner cartridge (cyan) - up to 1000 pages1 x toner cartridge (magenta) - up to 1000 pages1 x toner cartridge (yellow) - up to 1000 pages1 x drum - up to 15000 pages - Brother DR-2100


  • Power Consumption Stand by / Sleep70 Watt
  • Frequency Required50/60 Hz
  • Power Consumption Operational480 Watt


  • TypeVR5500
  • ManufacturerNEC
  • Clock Speed300 MHz


  • NetworkingPrint server - integrated
  • Remote Management ProtocolHTTP, HTTPS, IPP, SNMP 1, SNMP 2, SNMP 3, Telnet
  • Network / Transport ProtocolAppleTalk, LPR/LPD, NetBEUI/NetBIOS
  • Security Protocols & FeaturesLEAP, SMD, SSL, Secure Print, TLS, WEP, WPA-PSK, WPA2
  • Data Link ProtocolEthernet, Fast Ethernet, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g
  • Compliant StandardsIEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED
  • Connectivity Technologywired, wireless


  • Installed Size64 MB
  • Technology / Form FactorSO-DIMM 144-pin
  • Max Supported Size576 MB
  • Slots Qty1
  • Empty Slots1
  • Form FactorSO-DIMM 144-pin


  • ENERGY STAR CertifiedYes


  • Max Resolution B/W600 x 2400 dpi
  • Max Resolution Color600 x 2400 dpi
  • Max Printing Speed B/W (ppm)17 ppm
  • Max Printing Speed Color (ppm)17 ppm


  • Service & SupportLimited warranty - 1 year


  • Min Media Size (Custom)3 in x 4.57 in
  • Max Media Size (Custom)8.5 in x 14 in
  • Media Weight60 g/m² - 162 g/m²
  • Output Trays Capacity100 sheets
  • Media TypeEnvelopes, labels, plain paper, bond paper, recycled paper
  • Total Media Capacity250 sheets
  • Media SizesLetter A Size (8.5 in x 11 in), Legal (8.5 in x 14 in), Executive (7.25 in x 10.5 in), A4 (8.25 in x 11.7 in), A5 (5.83 in x 8.25 in), B5 (6.93 in x 9.83 in), A6 (4.13 in x 5.83 in), B6 (4.92 in x 6.93 in)


  • Monthly Duty Cycle (max)25000 pages


  • Copier Typenone


  • Sound Emission (Idle)30 dB
  • Sound Emission (Operating)53 dB
  • Min Operating Temperature50 °F
  • Max Operating Temperature90.5 °F
  • Humidity Range Operating20 - 80%


  • Media Type Classenvelopes, other, plain paper
  • Media Size ClassA4/Legal


  • BrandBrother
  • Product LineBrother
  • Model3070CW
  • Packaged Quantity1
  • CompatibilityMac, PC


  • Connector Type4 pin USB Type A, RJ-45
  • TypeGigabit LAN, USB 2.0, direct print port
  • Total Qty1


  • Typeprinter
  • Functionsprinter
  • Monthly Duty Cycle Range (Printer Class)20,000 - 49,999 pages
  • Monthly Duty Cycle (max)25000 pages
  • Printing TechnologyLED
  • Printing Output Typecolor


  • Width16.1 in
  • Depth18.3 in
  • Height9.8 in
  • Weight41.89 lbs


  • Width (Shipping)24.7 in
  • Depth (Shipping)21.9 in
  • Height (Shipping)18.1 in
  • Weight (Shipping)48.5 lbs


  • First Print Out Time B/W15 sec


  • Product NameBrother DR-2100
  • Colorblack, cyan, magenta, yellow
  • Included Qty1


  • TypeBRAdmin Light, BRAdmin Professional, Web BRAdmin


  • Max Speed17 ppm
  • Output QualityB/W, color


  • Media Load Typeautomatic, manual
  • Media Feeder Qty1
  • Media Feeder Max FormatLegal (8.5 in x 14 in)
  • Min Media Weight60 g/m²
  • Max Media Weight105 g/m², 162 g/m²
  • Media Feeder Capacity1 sheets, 250 sheets


  • InterfaceLAN, USB, USB host, Wi-Fi


  • Type1 year warranty


  • Typelimited warranty
  • Full Contract Period1 year


  • ManufacturerBrother International
Rob Errera

Rob Errera

Rob Errera is an award-winning journalist embedded in the world of printers and printing supplies. Rob has nearly two decades of experience writing about cutting edge technology, business trends, and the ever-evolving industry of printing.

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