Although color printers are relatively affordable, many people only print in black, especially in the commercial environment. Many 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. Whether you're looking for the best black and white laser printer for home use or office use, you should be able to find a good option that fits your printing needs.
We've tested over 105 printers, and below are our recommendations for the best black and white printers you can buy. You can also check out our picks for the best all-in-one printers, the best laser printers, and the best printers for small businesses.
The best monochrome laser printer 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 an easy-to-navigate menu.
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 low as a result. You can also get a high-yield cartridge that should offer an even better page yield and cost-per-print. It also has a flatbed scanner with a fair scan resolution and good color depth and 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 can't print in color at all. Also, while it offers an outstanding variety of wireless and wired options, it doesn't support printing via Bluetooth. Despite these shortcomings, it's among the best office 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, almost double that of the Canon. It yields more pages and 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 and wireless printing, go with the Canon, but if you want a printer that can print incredibly quickly, get the HP.
The best black and white inkjet printer we've tested is the Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850. This very well-built model uses a high-ink-capacity, refillable supertank system that can yield a few thousand typical black text documents before needing a refill. Since the ink bottles are inexpensive, the cost-per-print is outstandingly cheap, saving you loads of money in the long run.
It gets the first page out in under 10 seconds, with subsequent pages printing out quickly, so you can easily get both short and long print jobs done without waiting. The flatbed scanner has an outstanding scan resolution and color depth, while the ADF can scan double-sided documents in one pass. It's fully compatible with Windows, macOS, and Chrome OS, and you can also print via Apple AirPrint, Mopria Print Service, and directly from USB flash drives.
Unfortunately, it doesn't support printing via Bluetooth, limiting the devices you can use to print. On the bright side, you can use the Epson Smart Panel app to print, scan, and perform maintenance tasks. It also prints in color in case you need it. All in all, this model is an amazing choice if you need an inkjet printer for black and white printing.
If you're looking for an inkjet printer for black and white prints but need something cheaper, consider the HP OfficeJet Pro 9025e. It doesn't yield nearly as many pages as the Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850, and it prints much slower overall, but it's cheaper to buy upfront, and it also has the same scanning features. Unfortunately, its automatic document feeder produces tilted scans, which can be annoying when digitizing important documents. On the bright side, you can get six months of free ink if you register it with HP's Instant Ink subscription.
If you want a model with an incredible black page yield that prints much faster, go with the Epson. However, if you need something with the same scanning features that's cheaper, go with the HP.
In the budget category, the best black and white printer we've tested is the Brother MFC-J4335DW. It uses Brother's INKvestment cartridge system, which uses cartridges similar to a regular inkjet printer. However, these cartridges drain the ink into reservoir tanks to optimize ink usage and prevent print heads from drying out. Thanks to this system, it has excellent page yields and an outstanding cost-per-print.
It doesn't take a long time to print the first page, and subsequent pages come out impressively fast. It has good connectivity options, including Wi-Fi Direct and an Ethernet port, and you can use it for faxing. Additionally, there's a high-resolution flatbed scanner that can capture impressive details of any scanned item, and you can extend the scanner lid's hinges to fit thicker materials. There's also an automatic document feeder that can hold around 20 pages; however, it can't perform automatic duplex scanning, so you'll have to manually flip pages over when scanning long documents.
Unfortunately, the power cord can't be easily removed or replaced if it's damaged, and the USB-B port to connect the printer to your computer is inconveniently located under the scan bed. Due to the specialized cartridge system, it can't accept third-party cartridges. It also can't print from an external storage device or over a Bluetooth connection. That said, it's an extremely high-performing all-in-one inkjet printer for its price point.
Dec 21, 2021: Made the Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850 'Best Inkjet' and moved the Epson EcoTank ET-3760 to Notable Mentions. Removed the Epson EcoTank ET-15000 from Notable Mentions. Verified availability and accuracy of picks.
Oct 22, 2021: Replaced the Brother HL-2370DW with the Brother MFC-J4335DW for 'Best Budget'; moved the Brother HL-2370DW to Notable Mentions.
Aug 24, 2021: Added the Brother MFC-J6945DW to Notable Mentions; no change to main product picks.
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.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best black and white printers and the best black and white laser printers for home use 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.