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Brother MFC-J6955DW review: An inkjet the whole office can rely on

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £432
inc VAT

The Brother MFC-J6955DW is an office inkjet powerhouse, printing pages at a phenomenal rate


  • Fast printing
  • Packed with features
  • Affordable running costs


  • Text not as sharp as a laser printer
  • Photos not as perfect as an A3 photo printer
  • Enormous

The Brother MFC-J6955DW will flip your expectations of what makes an office printer. This behemoth certainly looks the part, with voluminous paper trays, print speeds that leave rivals in the dust, and the capability to scan and print up to A3 size.

What it doesn’t have is toner cartridges. That’s because this isn’t an office laser but an inkjet printer. While inkjets are more often spotted in homes, the MFC-J6955DW has been designed to buck that trend, and it does so with aplomb.

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Brother MFC-J6955DW review: What do you get for the money?

While the Brother MFC-J6955DW is arguably expensive, you’re getting a lot of printer for your money. Its size alone is a good indicator of this – measuring 576 x 477 x 375mm (WDH) and weighing 24kg, it’s an absolute beast. However, there’s a reason why it’s so big, and it’s that no corners have been cut in its list of features. It’s truly a “do everything” printer.

Some of the size comes hand in hand with its ability to process A3 paper, whether that’s printing, copying, scanning or storing. It has three paper trays, two in the base of the printer for storing up to 250 sheets each, and a third 100-sheet multi-purpose tray at the rear for envelopes and other occasional paper requirements. All three of these can cope with A3 sheets.

The scanner and copier bed is also A3, so you can scan almost anything you want without having to resort to stitching scans together later. Even the document feeder on the top, which can hold up to 50 pages, can scan A3. Two-sided paper management is handled automatically throughout, including both printing and scanning through the sheet feeder.

On-printer control is managed through a 3.5in colour touchscreen, which functions well. It doesn’t have the smooth glassy effect you’ll find on your smartphone, but it’s reasonably bright, and large enough to ensure that navigation around the printer’s options is simple. There’s also a number pad to the right of the touchscreen, to help entering phone numbers if you’re going to make use of the device’s fax function.

The printer uses four cartridges (black, cyan, magenta and yellow), and it comes with enough ink to print 2,250 mono pages and 975 colour. After that, replacement cartridges are available in standard- and high-yield capacities, which we’ll break down into cost per page in the ‘how much does it cost to run’ section, below.

Brother MFC-J6955DW review: Is it easy to use?

For such a large and complex-looking printer, the Brother MFC-J6955DW is surprisingly simple to set up. Because the printer is an inkjet model, installing the ink is as simple as opening a panel on the front and slotting the cartridges into the labelled slots. A test page is produced so you can check all the colours are operating, and the printer automatically handles head alignment by printing a page and scanning it.

I set the printer up on a local Wi-Fi network through the Windows software and it worked seamlessly. You can access the printer’s settings direct from the Windows software you’re printing from, as usual, or go through Brother’s easy to use iPrint&Scan software to directly print existing files or perform scans. You can connect to Ethernet or to a single device via USB if you prefer.

Printing from mobile devices can be done through the Brother Mobile Connect app, which is straightforward and simple to use. This adds extra functions such as ‘scanning’ through your phone’s camera, and you can perform any action you might otherwise control through the touchscreen on the printer. The J6955DW also has an NFC pad, which lets you print files from compatible devices just by touching them together.

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Brother MFC-J6955DW review: How fast is it and how much does it cost to run?

The Brother MFC-J6955DW is a printer designed to sit in an office and be shared amongst a group of people, so you don’t want to be hanging around in the print queue while other people print reams of paper. Thankfully, you won’t have to, because this printer may be built like a lorry but it prints like a sports car.

For starters, it’s quick off the mark. The time shown in the chart below is the time it takes for the printer to produce the first of 25 copies of a standard letter. Brother’s inkjets are all fast to print, and as you can see, it doesn’t better the seven seconds attained by the much cheaper Brother MFC-J4540DW, which costs around half the price.

However, it does the job in less than half the time taken by the HP OfficeJet Pro 9022e and the Lexmark MC3426adw laser printer. Laser printers often take longer to warm up, but then outpace inkjets when churning out larger print jobs. The Lexmark MC3426adw is included here because it’s the fastest laser printer we’ve reviewed in the last couple of years.

You can see the Lexmark speeding up over the whole 25-page print job in the chart below. However, with a mono print speed of 27.8ppm, the Brother MFC-J6955DW is still over 40% faster. The other Brother and even the laser printer are left languishing below 20ppm, while the faster HP OfficeJet Pro 9022e only just passes the 20ppm mark.

Where the Lexmark laser printer comes into its own is in colour printing, which it can manage at 14.5ppm. The MFC-6955DW only cranks this up to 10.4ppm, though it’s still faster than the HP and the cheaper Brother.

It’s just as speedy when printing on both sides of a sheet. In my tests it produced double-sided printing at 11.5ppm, more than doubling the speed that the rival inkjets could manage. The fast laser printer got closer, but it still drops behind by 2.5 pages per minute.

The one area where it isn’t quite so fast is photo printing. The Brother MFC-J6955DW took well over eight minutes to produce six 15 x 10cm photos at its best setting. This is faster than the MFC-J4045DW (over nine minutes). However, it’s a long way behind the HP OfficeJet Pro 9022e (4.5 mins) and the Lexmark MC3426adw (20 seconds).

Having said that, the quality of printing from the Brother is a country mile ahead of both the HP and the Lexmark. I’d argue strongly that, if you’re printing a photo onto decent quality paper at a printer’s best settings, your ideal outcome has a greater emphasis on quality than speed.

Cost of printing is a key metric to consider before you buy, too, and I’ve swapped in some different printers into the chart below to help establish where the printer lies amongst A3 rivals.

As you’ll notice, according to Brother’s figures (using the price of cartridges on Brother’s website and their quoted page capacity based on the ISO 24711 standard) the Brother MFC-J6955DW is far cheaper to run than the Canon Pixma PRO-200. This isn’t a huge surprise – the Canon uses eight ink cartridges at a time to produce beautiful-looking A3 photo prints. But you wouldn’t buy it for its ability with regular office documents.

The Lexmark MC3426adw is also more expensive to run. There are laser printers that offer better value for money than this, but the Lexmark is still a long way behind Brother.

The only printer it can’t match is the Epson EcoTank ET-8550. This printer uses ink tanks to store ink in larger quantities, and refills come in simple bottles rather than complex cartridges. If you want the absolute best value printing, this is a good option, but compared to where the other printers sit, the Brother isn’t too far behind.

READ NEXT: Best photo printer

Brother MFC-J6955DW review: What’s print quality like?

All round, the print quality of the Brother MFC-J6955DW is good. If you’re looking for a versatile all-rounder, there’s almost nothing in our test prints that will disappoint.

The biggest blot on the score sheet is probably the text quality. To the naked eye it looks fine, but under magnification, you can see ragged edges to letters. In comparison, the text output of the Lexmark MC3426adw is as sharp as you’d hope from a laser, and the HP OfficeJet Pro 9022e does a better job from an inkjet perspective. For that truly crisp professional feel, though, you should opt for a laser printer.

The printing on our mixed text and graphics business document fared similarly. In its standard quality setting the printer is perfectly acceptable, but text and blocks of bold, solid colour look better when printed by the laser. As soon as there’s subtlety required, such as from a gradient or a photo for example, the inkjet comes back into its own. The printer performed well in these tests.

It’s rare for office printers to be particularly strong at photo printing but the J6955DW makes a remarkable stab at this. Photo prints aren’t as rich and subtle as the expert photo printing of the Canon Pixma PRO-200, but it significantly outclasses the laser and lacklustre photo efforts of the HP OfficeJet Pro 9022e.

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Brother MFC-J6955DW review: Should you buy it?

If you’re looking for a hefty A3 printer that can handle the rigours and pace of office life, does everything you ask of it, and isn’t too expensive to run, the Brother MFC-J6955DW is a surprisingly good option. It’s the fastest printer we’ve reviewed in recent times, and it produces decent (though not perfect) prints across the board.

The price might appear high in comparison to basic inkjets but nothing has been left off the spec sheet. It can handle plenty of paper in a variety of sizes, print from any device, operate across your network, and has the speeds to keep your office running. There’s little not to like.

If the quality of your text printing is business-critical, then you might need to plump for a laser printer instead, however. If you want to rival the speed of the J6955DW in terms of speed, then you’ll need to go for the Lexmark MC3426adw, but note that this doesn’t handle A3 prints.

For perfect A3 photos, the Canon Pixma PRO-200 is a great option, capable of reproducing impressive photographs at all sizes. This is expensive to run, though, and not well suited to being a general purpose office printer.

For the best value printing in terms of running costs, look to the Epson EcoTank ET-8550. This A3 printer comes with enough ink to print 1,800 mono and 1,800 colour pages out of the box, and is refilled from affordable bottles, which makes printing as cheap as it gets.

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