Canon's imageCLASS D1550 Black and White Laser Printer

Legal-size monochrome prints, copies, scans, and faxes

Canon's imageCLASS D1550 monochrome laser printer
Canon's imageCLASS D1550 monochrome laser printer. Photograph courtesy of Canon


  • Wide selection of connectivity options, including peer-to-peer NFC and Wi-Fi Direct and other multiple mobile options
  • Legal-size (8.5”x 14”) prints, copies, scans, and faxes
  • 1GB of memory for fast imaging
  • Optional second 500-sheet paper cassette
  • Good print quality
  • Respectable performance


  • High MSRP for what you get
  • Too-high cost per page
  • Supports only one toner cartridge yield size

Bottom line: The imageCLASS D1550 monochrome laser printer is reasonably fast, it prints well, and it’s loaded with features, but a somewhat high purchase price and an ongoing high per-page cost of operation, or cost per page, diminish its overall value and relegate it to a low-volume solution.

When you think of laser printers, does the Japanese imaging giant, Canon, come to mind? While the company may not make a lot of noise about its laser printer prowess, the truth is that it has been manufacturing all spectrums, from entry-level single-function, black-and-white models like the imageClass LBP151dw Wireless Printer, to full-blown high-volume Howitzers, such as Canon’s Color imageCLASS MF810Cdn

And everything between (Did you know that Canon makes laser printers for HP?), including the topic of today’s review, the ($599-MSRP, $425-street) imageCLASS D1550, a black-and-white, multifunction (print, copy, scan, and fax) laser printer. As monochrome laser printers go, this one comes through in three of the four key criteria a printer must meet to be a relatively good high-volume machine: print speed, print quality, and a in this case a 50,000-page monthly duty cycle. The duty cycle is, of course, the number of prints the manufacturer says the printer can handle each month without undue wear on the machine.

Design & Features

At 17.7 inches across, or from side-to-side, by 18.6 inches from front to back, by 18.3 inches tall, and weighing a stout 47.2 pounds, the ImageClass D1550 is no desktop printer, but it’s small and compact enough that, when combined with the D1550’s many connectivity options—Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or connecting to a single PC via USB—not to mention the secondary peer-to-peer Wi-Fi Direct and Near-Field Communication (NFC) features, you can put it just about anywhere.

The first, Wi-Fi Direct, is a peer-to-peer protocol for connecting compatible devices, such as your Android smartphone or tablet and this printer, without either being connected to a network or router; while the second, NFC, works in this case as a touch-to-print protocol that connects to the printer when you touch your Android smartphone or tablet to a hotspot on the printer. In addition to these mobile features, the D1550 also supports other numerous productivity and convenience options, such as the ability to print from and scan to numerous cloud sites, USB drives, and network drives.

Also impressive is this multifunction printer’s 50-sheet, auto-duplexing automatic document feeder, or ADF, for copying, scanning, and faxing two-sided originals. This is not, however, the latest “single-pass” scanner for capturing both sides of the original document simultaneously; instead, like most others, this ADF must scan one side of the original, draw it back into the ADF, flip it, and then scan the other side. As you can imagine, the single-pass method is faster and more reliable, but also because it requires two scanning mechanisms, making the entire scanning apparatus more expensive.

Oh, and did I mention that not only printer, but the ADF and the scanner are configured to support up to legal-size (8.5”x14”) documents?

You can configure the MFP itself, as well as many of the PC-free, or walk-up, solutions mentioned throughout, via a 3.5-inch color touch screen. I also found the screen useful while setting up the printer.

Performance, Print Quality, Paper Handling

Canon rates this MFP at 35 pages per minute, or ppm, and 17ipm (images per minute) when printing in duplex (two-sided) mode. (Keep in mind that 17 two-sided pages per minute is actually 34 page per minute.) As with most other printers, though, as you add text formatting, images, and graphics to the mix, that ppm count begins to plummet—to about 9ppm, or less than a third of the 34-page rating in this case. While this may sound like a drastic reduction, it’s about par for any printer when printing high-overhead documents, as opposed to low-overhead ones.

As with most black-and-white printers, the D1550 print quality is a mixed bag. Text looks good at nearly all sizes and typeface styles, near-typesetter quality all the way down to fonts about 7 points and above. Graphics and images looked good, too, keeping in mind that color content must be converted to grayscale. For the most part, the gradients in graphics converted and printed smoothly enough; hairlines (0.5 points and thinner), even photos, printed well enough for most needs. (The next step up is, of course, color.)

As to paper handling, out-of-the-box the imageCLASS D1550 comes with two paper sources, a 500-sheet cassette and a 50-sheet multipurpose, or override, tray. Printed pages, of course, land on top of the printer, as they do on most single-function laser printers.

If, however, 550 pages are not enough, you can always pick up the $149.99 optional 500-sheet paper tray, for a total of 1050 sheets from three sources, which is darned good variety from a printer this size.

Cost Per Page

Unlike most laser printers, monochrome or otherwise, this one supports only one toner cartridge iteration—a 5,000-page black toner cartridge. And, unfortunately, Canon charges enough ($176) for it to make this monochrome laser printer too expensive to use in all but low-volume environments. In fact, this MFP’s 3.5-cents per page is quite high for any printer that you plan to print more than a few hundred pages per month on.

The problem for Canon here is that nowadays there are several printers in the $400 to $500 (and some even lower) price range with a monochrome cost per page well below 2 cents per page, a few even below one cent, and some of those are laser printers. Brother’s single-function ($250-MSRP) HL-L6200DW Business Laser Printer, when you use its highest-yield toner, delivers a CPP of 1.5 cents, for instance. And, on the highly competitive inkjet front, HP’s PageWide Pro 577dw Multifunction Printer delivers eight-tenths of a cent for black-and-white pages and 6.5 for color pages—a nice bonus, since the two laser machines mentioned here don’t print color.

In any case, a 2-cent difference in the cost per page is big, especially if you’re printing big. This is an easy one to figure out. For example, printing 20,000 pages at 2 cents more per page is about a $400 premium, or, worse yet, $4,800 per year—enough to buy this printer (or any other mentioned in this review) at least 5 times over. My point is, of course, that, compared to so many other high-volume and midrange printers out there, this otherwise fine imageCLASS printer simply cost too much to use when churning out these kinds of print volumes.

The End

The bottom line here is that this is a great multifunction monochrome printer; it has nearly every productivity and convenience feature available, it prints well, and it’s reasonably fast. I hate to have to say those things, and then follow it up with, “but it cost too much too use.” The truth is, with laser printers that happens more often than it doesn’t. I’m all for spending a little more to guarantee a decent CPP, but not everybody is willing to do that. And that’s where models like this come in.

Again, I liked this printer, and apparently so did the people who gave it a 4.9 out 5 rating on Amazon. At some point, especially in business where having a reliable office machine is as important as saving a few bucks. (But we’re not really talking a few bucks here, are we?) Even so, the imageCLASS D1550 is great monochrome MFP.

Buy the Canon ImageCLASS D1550 Monochrome Printer at Amazon

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