Lexmark CS521dn Review

Good: Extra-high-yield replacement toner cartridges that contribute to lower operating costs, compact footprint, affordable upfront cost for small businesses.
Bad: Doesn't accept 11" x 17" paper.
Bottom Line: Powerful and compact color printer that helps offices print more efficiently.
Intended Users:
Small workgroups
Speed Black:
Speed Color:
35 ppm
35 ppm
1 GHz
1 GB

Product Overview

Lexmark has refreshed its color printer and MFP lineup intended for small-to-medium-sized workgroups. The new devices include upgrades, such a faster speed, mobile functionality, enhanced environmental features, and extensive security.

One of those devices is the CS521dn ($449), which is the single-function version of the CX522ade. It prints up to 35 ppm in both black and color, and includes a 2.4″ color LCD display panel.

There’s a 1 GHz processor and 1 GB of memory that’s not expandable. There’s an optional hard drive available. First-page-out-time in color is up to 7.5 seconds.

PCL and PostScript printing language are supported. Other standard printing languages include direct PDF, direct image, personal printer data stream (PPDS) and Microsoft XPS.

USB and Ethernet connectivity are standard. Wireless connectivity is optional. Mobile printing is supported via the Lexmark Mobile Print, Apple AirPrint, Mopria, Windows Mobile and Google Cloud Print apps.

The printer also includes features that gives color output a more professional look, such as PANTONE® calibration, embedded color sample pages and Lexmark Color Replacement.

More details on this printer is in our Features section below.

The CS521dn provides compact features for small businesses or teams that’s looking for a single-function color printer.


Paper handling starts with a 250-sheet tray and a single-sheet manual feed. Lexmark offers optional paper trays for up to a maximum of 1,450 sheets. They include a 550-sheet tray and a 550-sheet duo tray with 100-sheet feeder. The trays can accept paper from envelope-size up to legal-sized (8.5″ x 14″).

Output is a 125-sheet bin. Duplexing is standard. The maximum monthly duty cycle is 85,000 pages. However, Lexmark recommends a monthly page volume range of 1,500 to 8,500 pages.

As with its older printers and MFPs, the CS521dn uses Lexmark’s Unison Toner. The Unison Toner’s print system has a separate toner, imaging unit and fuser, using a multi-piece architecture design that leads to reduced toner waste and long-life system reliability.

It also prints at up to 1,200 dpi for crisper print quality. And it alerts users when supplies are needed (e.g., low toner warning and number of pages left to print).

Just like it’s done for many years, Lexmark offers its Return Program, which is a loyalty program that provides customers with a free high-yield toner cartridge for every 10 toner cartridges sent back to Lexmark for recycling. It also provides a free imaging kit when needed. Consumable prices under the Return Program tend to be significantly cheaper.

Users have a choice of a standard, extra-high-yield or ultra-high-yield replacement black and color cartridges. The ultra-high-yield cartridges has capacities of 10,500 pages in black and 7,000 pages in each color. Using the ultra-high-yield capacities and prices, we’ve calculated the cost per page at 1.5 cents in black and 11.2 cents in color.

Users can also take advantage of other features to help keep printing costs down, such as sleep mode and duplexing. They can also take advantage of Lexmark’s suite of tools that help them control color printing costs, such as mono-only print drivers, user-based color print permissions, global color density control, object-specific Color Saver, and proof before printing.

The CS521dn includes strong security features that’s present on Lexmark’s other printers and MFPs. Some of those features include user authentication, network security, document security, and secure remote management.

Finally, there’s a one-year limited warranty.

  • Automatic Document Feeder?
  • Duplexing?
  • Ethernet Connectivity?
  • Wireless Connectivity?
  • Mobile Printing/Scanning?
  • Finishers?


The CS521dn doesn’t accept ledger-sized (11″ x 17″ or A3) paper.


Lexmark creates innovative imaging solutions and technologies that help customers worldwide print, secure and manage information with ease, efficiency and unmatched value.

Send feedback or corrections to feedback@betterbuys.com.

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