Although color printers are relatively affordable these days, many people only print in black, especially in the commercial environment. A lot of offices only need to print invoices and receipts, so why pay more for a color printer? Monochrome printers often have room for a bigger ink or toner cartridge, giving you a higher page yield, so you don't have to replace the cartridge as frequently.
Laser printers are usually the preferred choice for black and white printing, as they typically print faster. That said, inkjet printers are more versatile, and those with an ink tank system can often match or surpass the page yield of their laser counterpart. The main downside of a monochrome printer is that it's severely limiting, as you can't print in color even if it's just occasionally, so you need to be sure that you won't need color printing in the future.
We've tested over 80 printers, and below are our recommendations for the best black and white printers you can buy. You can also check out our recommendations for the best all-in-one printers, the best laser printers, and the best printers for small businesses.
The best laser printer for black and white printing we've tested is the Canon imageCLASS MF445dw. It's an all-in-one monochrome model with an incredibly high page yield and an outstandingly low cost-per-print. It feels very well-built, providing easy access to toner cartridges and paper jams. It also accepts high-yield cartridges that should last even longer, though we haven't tested them.
It prints remarkably fast, so you shouldn't have to wait long for a 30-paged document. Its two input trays hold up to a total of 350 sheets, and they support most paper sizes. There are multiple ways to connect to it, via Ethernet, USB cable, or Wi-Fi, and you can even print directly off a USB thumb drive or through AirPrint or Mopria Print. Also, it has both a flatbed scanner and a sheetfed scanner, and it can perform duplex scanning.
Unfortunately, the scanner flatbed's resolution maxes out at 600 DPI, which is lower than other options, but it should still be high enough for most office uses. Also, it doesn't have Bluetooth support or a slot for SD cards. The display screen sticks out and isn't removable, so you can't place it flush to a wall. Nevertheless, this is a fantastic black and white printer, and it's among the best laser printers we've tested.
If you want a printer with an even faster printing speed, check out the HP LaserJet Enterprise M507dn. While it doesn't have a scanner and it has fewer connectivity options than the Canon imageCLASS MF445dw, it has a lower cost-per-print, and it prints faster. Plus, its input tray can hold up to 650 sheets, which is almost double that of the Canon. It yields more pages, and it has two high-yield toner cartridge sizes, but it doesn't accept third-party cartridges. Unfortunately, it doesn't have an app, it doesn't support Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and you can't print via AirPrint or Mopria Print Service.
If you want a monochrome printer with an excellent scanner, go with the Canon, but if you want a printer that can print incredibly quickly, get the HP.
The best inkjet black and white printer we've tested is the Epson EcoTank ET-3760. It's a great choice for monochrome printing thanks to its incredible supertank ink system. It yields an outstandingly high number of black pages, and since the ink lasts a long time before the tanks need to be refilled, the cost-per-print remains incredibly low.
Black-only text documents print out decently fast, and it has an adjustable front input cassette that supports most common paper sizes. It's equipped with a high-resolution flatbed scanner for fragile items and an automatic document feeder to process multi-page documents. Also, there's a variety of wireless and wired connection options, and it's also compatible with the Epson iPrint from where you can print, scan, copy, and perform maintenance tasks.
Unfortunately, some of its parts feel thin and flimsy, and its scanner lid hinges don't raise high enough to scan thick items. Also, while it had a sheetfed scanner, it can't automatically scan double-sided sheets, so you have to manually flip over each page, which can be tedious if your document is long. That said, this is still an impressive and cost-efficient printer for black and white printing.
If you're looking for something a little cheaper, consider the HP OfficeJet Pro 9025. Although its page yields aren't as high, and its cost-per-print isn't as low as the Epson EcoTank ET-3760, it has much better scanner features and the printer cost itself is cheaper. This well-built, all-in-one model features a flatbed scanner and a sheetfed scanner, but it can also automatically process double-sided scans. It has a great printing speed, and its input cassette can hold up to 500 pages, so you shouldn't need to refill it often. Unfortunately, the companion HP Smart app is only decent since you can't print too many file types from it.
If you're looking for a printer with outstanding page yields and don't mind spending the extra money, go with the Epson. If you want a printer with better scanner features that costs a bit less upfront, get the HP.
The best black and white printer in the budget category that we've tested is the Brother HL-L2370DW. All of the parts on this laser monochrome model feel well-built and sturdy, and it has easy access to the toner cartridge, drum units, and paper jams. You can print via Ethernet, USB, Wi-Fi, and even directly from your mobile device using Apple AirPrint or Mopria Print Service. It's also compatible with the Brother iPrint&Scan app, letting you print and check its toner level with the tap of a finger.
Its cost-per-print is exceptionally low thanks to its outstanding cartridge system. The black page yield is remarkably high, with higher yield options available that are expected to last even longer, though we haven't tested them. Although the first page takes a little longer to come out, the subsequent pages print out incredibly fast. Its input tray can hold up to 250 sheets, and it has a width slider to accommodate most common paper sizes.
Unfortunately, it doesn't have a scanner, so this may be an issue if you occasionally need to scan documents or photos. Also, its drum unit is separate from the toner, which means it's an extra cost down the road when it needs to be replaced. It also doesn't have Bluetooth support, and you can't print off of an external storage device. Nevertheless, this is an excellent black and white model, and it's among the best cheap printers we've tested.
Feb 26, 2021: Updated text for clarity and accuracy.
Jan 08, 2021: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
Nov 06, 2020: Replaced the Lexmark B2236dw with the Brother HL-L2370DW for the 'Best Budget Black and White Printer'.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best black and white printers for most people. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability.
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here's the list of our monochrome printer reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no printer is perfect for every use, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.