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 65 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 black and white laser printer we've tested is the Canon imageCLASS MF445dw. It's a large all-in-one designed for small businesses that regularly print in bulk. It has both a flatbed and sheetfed scanner with duplex scanning capability, allowing you to scan long or double-sided documents with ease. The display screen is big and colorful, and the interface is easy to navigate. You can connect it using a cable or over Wi-Fi, and it also supports USB thumb drives and direct printing through AirPrint or Mopria.
Its standout feature is its superb cartridge system. It has a single black toner cartridge with an exceptionally high page yield, so you don't have to replace it as often. There are also high-yield cartridges available, and it accepts third-party cartridges. Needless to say, the cost-per-print is exceptionally low, which is great for high-volume printing. The cartridge is a bit pricey, but keep in mind that the drum unit is built-in, which means you won't have to change it manually.
Printing speed is outstanding, as it can churn out 28 pages per minute with little to no warm-up time. It has two input trays with a combined capacity of 350 sheets of paper and supports most paper sizes, including envelopes. It's compatible with the Canon PRINT Business mobile app, which lets you print, copy, or scan directly from your smartphone. All in all, it's an excellent all-in-one that should satisfy the needs of most offices.
If you need a printer that prints faster, then check out the HP LaserJet Enterprise M507dn. Unlike the Canon imageCLASS MF445dw, this isn't an all-in-one, which means that you lose the scanner, and there are fewer connectivity options. However, it has a faster printing speed to push out 42 pages per minute, and its much bigger input trays can hold up to 650 sheets of paper. Also, its toner cartridge has a higher yield, making it more cost-effective in the long run. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a mobile companion app, and it doesn't accept third-party toner cartridges.
Overall, the Canon is a better choice for most people, as it has a scanner and more connectivity options. However, if you need the faster printing speed and don't mind compromising a bit, then go with the HP.
The best black and white inkjet printer we've tested is the Epson EcoTank ET-3760. It's technically an all-in-one color printer; however, it has a massive black ink tank that makes it a great choice for black-only printing. Plus, you have the flexibility to print in color when you need it. It comes equipped with a flatbed and sheetfed scanner, but it can't perform duplex scanning, so you have to manually scan double-sided documents. It can connect over your existing Wi-Fi network, and it also supports direct printing through AirPrint and Mopria.
As mentioned, it has an ink tank system that can yield an astonishing number of black and color pages. Instead of replacing cartridges, you simply buy bottles of ink and refill the tank as needed. Ink is fairly cheap as you can often buy the bottles as a bundle, making it very cost-effective for high-volume printing. It can get the first page of a document out pretty quickly, and it does pick up speed for subsequent pages, but it isn't as fast as a laser printer. Unfortunately, the input tray can only hold 150 sheets of paper, which means you have to reload it more often during big print jobs.
If you want to print photos once in a while, its photo printing quality is decent, but its color accuracy is mediocre. It supports most paper sizes and can print on glossy photo paper as well. Epson has a superb mobile app called iPrint, which you can use to print, copy, scan, and perform maintenance tasks. On the whole, this is a great all-in-one for home or office use, even if you only print in black.
If you find the Epson EcoTank ET-3760 too expensive, then check out the HP OfficeJet Pro 9025. It's also a color inkjet all-in-one printer, but it doesn't have a refillable ink tank and instead uses ink cartridges. It's exceptionally well-built, with a colorful touch-sensitive display and a full-featured scanner that can perform duplex scanning. The cartridge system is excellent as it has a high black page yield, and the ink cartridges are inexpensive, which helps to keep costs low over time. It can print directly off a USB thumb drive, it has a decent mobile app, and it prints faster than the Epson. Also, it has two input trays that can hold up to 500 sheets of paper.
For most people, the Epson is a better choice due to its significantly higher page yield. However, if you're shopping on a smaller budget, the HP is a great alternative.
The best black and white printer in the budget category we've tested is the Lexmark B2236dw. It's a simple monochrome laser model with an outstanding cartridge system and exceptional printing speed. Since it doesn't have a scanner, its footprint is considerably smaller, so it shouldn't take up much space on your desk. It has a good build quality and is designed to give you easy access to the toner cartridge and paper jams. Its 2-line monochrome display screen is bad but functional.
For a budget option, its black page yield is impressive. There are XL and XXL high-yield cartridges if you want to increase the output further, and it also accepts third-party cartridges. It's worth mentioning that the drum unit isn't built into the cartridge, so even though the cartridge is cheap, you have to change the drum unit yourself, which is expensive. Thankfully, the drum is typically good for 12,000 pages. It has exceptional printing speed, churning out 35 pages per minute, and it can automatically perform duplex printing.
There are many connectivity options; however, there's no support for external storage devices like a USB thumb drive or SD card. The mobile companion app is great; it lets you print, scan, and perform maintenance tasks. Like most laser models, it isn't meant for printing photos, as it can't print on glossy photo paper and the photos look terrible. Nonetheless, if you only need a simple printer that can get the job done quickly, you should check this one out.
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 all 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.