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 95 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 monochrome laser printer that we've tested is the Canon imageCLASS MF445dw. This all-in-one monochrome model feels outstandingly well built, with easy access to paper jams and the toner cartridge. Its two paper trays can hold up to 350 sheets in total, and it also features an excellent touchscreen with a responsive feel and easy task navigation.
It prints black text documents at an amazingly fast speed and yields a superb number of black pages, so its cost-per-print is remarkably good as a result. You can also get a high-yield cartridge that should offer an even better page yield and cost-per-print, though we haven't tested it. It also has a flatbed scanner with a fair scan resolution and good color depth, as well as an automatic document feeder with duplex scanning.
Unfortunately, being a laser printer, it's terrible at printing photos, and since it's a monochrome-only unit, you won't be able to print in color at all. Also, while it offers an outstanding variety of wireless and wired options, it doesn't support printing via Bluetooth. All in all, however, this is a fantastic black and white printer and is 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 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 a great scanner, go with the Canon, but if you want a printer that can print incredibly quickly, get the HP.
The best black and white printer with an inkjet that we've tested is the Epson EcoTank ET-3760. This inkjet model has a supertank, which uses four refillable ink tanks instead of disposable cartridges. It yields an outstandingly high number of black pages, which keeps the cost-per-print incredibly low, especially since you shouldn't need to buy new ink bottles often.
It's equipped with a high-resolution flatbed scanner and an automatic document feeder to suit your scanning needs. There's a wide range of connectivity options, including Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Apple AirPrint, and Mopria Print Service. It prints black-only text documents decently quickly, although the first page takes a bit more time.
Unfortunately, although it has a sheetfed scanner, there's no duplex scanning feature, so you need to manually flip over double-sided sheets yourself. Also, there's no fax feature or printing via Bluetooth. That said, this is still an amazing option if you're looking for a model to print large numbers of black and white documents at a very low cost-per-print.
If you want a slightly cheaper alternative, consider the HP OfficeJet Pro 9025e. Although its page yield isn't as high and the cost-per-print isn't nearly as low as on the Epson EcoTank ET-3760, it's cheaper and can automatically process double-sided documents. Also, it prints black-only text documents slightly faster, although not by much. Unlike the Epson, this all-in-one model lets you print directly off a USB flash drive, but it also doesn't support Bluetooth printing. Unfortunately, scans produced with its ADF scanner come out tilted, which isn't ideal if you need to scan documents for work.
If you want a printer with an incredibly high page yield and low cost-per-print mostly for printing, go with the Epson. However, if you need to scan double-sided documents often and want a cheaper option, get the HP.
The best black and white printer in the budget category that we've tested is the Brother HL-L2370DW. This monochrome printer-only unit is straightforward, with a durable body and easy access to the toner cartridges and potential paper jams. It features a variety of connectivity options like Wi-Fi Direct, Apple AirPrint, and Mopria Print Service.
It prints black text documents at a fantastic speed, its page yield is superbly high, and the cost-per-print is remarkably low. It also supports automatic duplex printing and can print on most standard formats of plain paper. It's compatible with the Brother iPrint&Scan app, where you can print all the most common printable file types, check toner level, and order new toner online.
However, the printer doesn't have any scanning features, and since it's a monochrome laser printer, it prints terrible photos. Also, keep in mind that the drum unit needs to be replaced separately and isn't factored into the cost-per-print. Nevertheless, this is an amazing choice for black and white printing and is among the best cheap printers we've tested.
Jun 25, 2021: Added Canon MAXIFY GX7020 to Notable Mentions. Verified accuracy and availability of picks, and updated text for clarity.
Apr 27, 2021: Made the HP OfficeJet Pro 9025e the 'Cheaper Alternative' to the 'Best Inkjet Black And White Printer' since the HP OfficeJet Pro 9025 is now discontinued. Added the HP OfficeJet Pro 9025 and the HP PageWide Pro 577dw to the Notable Mentions.
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 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.