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.
We've tested over 100 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 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. However, this is still one of the best black and white laser printers for home use that 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, 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. Instead of using disposable cartridges, this inkjet has four ink tanks that you can refill yourself, which yield an incredible number of pages. Its cost-per-print for black-only text documents is among the lowest we've tested.
It features a flatbed scanner with high resolution and color depth, and it has an automatic document feeder to quickly process multi-page documents. It prints black-only text documents at a decent speed, although it can take a few minutes if you have a lot to print. There are many connectivity options to choose from, including Ethernet, USB cable, Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi Direct. There's also support for Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service, and there's a mobile app from where you can perform other tasks.
Unfortunately, its automatic document feeder can't duplex scan, so scanning many double-sided documents back-to-back may be tedious since you need to flip over each page manually. Also, its ADF tray feels thin and flimsy, and the scanner lid's hinges can't lift enough to scan a thick book. That said, this is still a great option for monochrome printing if you want to pay as little as possible per print.
If you're looking for a cheaper option, check out the HP OfficeJet Pro 9025e. While it doesn't yield nearly as many pages, and its cost-per-print is higher than the Epson EcoTank ET-3760, the printer itself costs less. Also, its ADF has a duplex scanning feature, meaning you don't need to worry about flipping over your sheets while scanning them. Its input tray holds much more paper, and the printer has a USB port for USB sticks, which is great if you need to print something without using your computer. Unfortunately, there's a known issue with the ADF scanner that produces tilted scans.
If your priority is high page yields at an exceptionally low cost-per-print, get the Epson. If you're looking for something cheaper with duplex scanning, the HP is also a great choice.
If you're on a budget, the best black and white laser printer for home use 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 it's among the best cheap printers we've tested.
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.
Feb 26, 2021: Updated text for clarity and accuracy.
Jan 08, 2021: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
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.