Reviewed on: March 2015
Any small to medium office that wants a printer able to handle large print jobs from multiple sources. It can comfortably handle use up to 5,000 pages a month and has all the functionality an office needs.
Features & Connectivity
You get a good selection of features with this printer, one of the many reasons it's perfect for a demanding office:
- Wireless & Ethernet
- AirPrint compatible
- Automatic 2-sided printing (duplex)
- Scan, Fax & Copy, all in duplex
- Automatic Document Feeder (ADF)
- 250 sheet paper tray + 500 page optional tray
- 50 sheet multi-purpose tray
- Full width control panel
- front facing USB
Connectivity options are diverse with every option you need, be it wireless, ethernet or a USB connection for a single PC. Setup is equally simple whichever method you choose and you'll find yourself ready to print after a few minutes initialisation from the printer.
One excellent feature is how integrated the duplex is for this printer. It works in tandem with other functionality, such as scanning and copying, so all of your printouts can become 2-sided and be far more environmentally friendly. The ADF allows scanning of multiple pages too, so combining that with the duplex means replicating large double-sided documents is a breeze. There's also a front-facing USB so you can scan-to or print from any devices you plug in.
The control panel opens up access to all of the features of the printer and Canon have kept it simple with clear buttons and directional arrows for navigating. On the left-hand side there's a huge 19 quick dial options (7 on top, 12 below the panel), and on the right shortcut buttons to scan straight to pre-set PC's. The only downside is the large 'standby' button. Typically when a printer is 'sleeping' you can wake it by pressing any button, not so with this Canon. If you don't hit that big green button you'll find the MF6180dw in the deepest of sleeps.
As standard the MF6180dw comes with a 250 sheet paper tray with the option to upgrade with an extra 500-sheet tray. This is more than enough for this printers target market and means you won't be replacing paper too often throughout the month.
Print Speed & Quality
First-page speeds, measuring the time it takes for you to send a print request to the first page being finished, are impressively fast for a laser printer of this size, which lends itself to faster overall print speed as you're not sitting around waiting for it to warm up. Short print runs (under 10 pages) come out at a speedy 19 pages per minute (ppm), and larger print runs increased to a pacey 26ppm. Even more impressively was duplex barely slowed this down, getting over 14 pages per minute on large double-sided print jobs. This is as fast as any other equal priced machine you'll find and is definitely a plus point.
Print quality was superb for standard documents but slightly lacking when trying to print graphics. Text was sharp and legible no matter the text and there was no obvious graining or edging to fonts, always appearing nice and smooth with consistent blacks. Graphics still looked good and would be suitable for presentational handouts, however some of the greys were hard to distinguish in certain charts and graphs, a similar issue you see in quite a few mono laser printers. As long as colours are clearly differentiable before converting to greyscale the print quality should be more than good enough.
Cartridges & Running Costs
The Canon MF6180dw has one consumable, a single cartridge containing both the toner and drum to keep things nice and simple. Handily these come in two capacities, standard (2,100 pages) and high capacity (6,400 pages), so if you have a quiet period you don't need to fork out for the larger cartridge.
Installation is simple, just pull down a hatch on the front of the printer to find the cartridge sitting merrily, unclip the empty cartridge then slot the replacement in. After a few times it will take under a minute replacing the cartridge, easy. The control panel gives you clear messages for the cartridges remaining life and when it needs replacing so you should never be caught unaware.
Running costs are surprisingly competitive for the standard capacity cartridge, close to 2.2pence per page. Opting for the higher capacity version nearly halves this to 1.2pence per page, a very impressive figure that is considerably cheaper than many machines and on a par with top recommended higher duty printers.
Who Should Buy This Printer
Small-to-medium offices who want one printer handling all of the office requirements in an efficient machine. As long as you don't need colour, but need anything else a printer can offer, this printer is perfect for you up to 5,000 pages a month.